Paducah Tilghman High School

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Paducah Tilghman High School
2400 Washington Street
Paducah, KY 42003
School type Public
Motto Academic Excellence, Tradition, and Pride
School district Paducah Public Schools
CEEB code 182085
Principal Art Davis
Staff 66 faculty, 83 staff
Grades 9–12
Enrollment c. 820 (2007)
Campus Small city
Athletics Football, soccer, baseball, track, fast-pitch softball, wrestling, tennis, golf, cheerleading, swimming, volleyball, basketball, cross-country, mountain biking,Bowling
Nickname Blue Tornado
Newspaper The Bell
Yearbook Pathways
Feeder schools Paducah Middle School

Paducah Tilghman High School is a public secondary school in Paducah, Kentucky, and is the only high school of the Paducah Independent School District.

In recent years,[when?] Tilghman has earned fame for its championship track team and highly competitive football squad.


Paducah Tilghman High School's predecessor was the Augusta Tilghman High School, which received its name from the wife of Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman, an officer in the Confederate Army. In 1919, as a memorial to their parents, the sons of General Tilghman erected a statue of their father in Paducah, and gave the city $20,000 to buy a site for a high school. A site on Murrell Boulevard (currently South 10th Street) between Clark and Adams Streets was chosen, and the Augusta Tilghman High School was opened on September 19, 1921, replacing the former Paducah High School. In 1956, the new Paducah Tilghman High School was built alongside it. It honors General Tilghman. Paducah Tilghman High School is now located at 2400 Washington Street. The current school was built at a cost of 3.5 million dollars and opened in 1956. Sitting on a 23 acres (9 ha) site, the facilities include an auditorium that seats 1,612 and also contains The Paducah Area Vocational Technical School.


Paducah Tilghman High School participates in 12 sports. It is a member of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association. The Blue Tornado Football team plays its games at McRight Field (capacity 8,500),[1] on the Tilghman campus. PTHS has won state titles in 1973, 1985, and 2009 with runner-up finishes in 1976, 1980, 1987–1989, and 1992. The football program has produced two Kentucky Mr. Football award winners, Kurt Barber in 1987 and Billy Jack Haskins in 1992. During the 2007 season, Tilghman won its 700th football game, beating Webster County 49-21 to become just the fourth team in Kentucky to reach this mark. Tilghman has fielded a football team since 1904,[1] with an overall record of 704-286-25 entering the 2009 season.[1] In the 2009 season,they won the AAA State Championship against the Somerset BriarJumpers 21-0. They run a play called the "doom dive".


The Tilghman basketball team is a member of the First Region and the Second District. The school plays its home games in Otis Dinning Gymnasium, which has a seating capacity of 3,200 and is named after long-time coach Otis Dinning.

The Tornado was the state runner-up in 1953 (27-5) and 2002 (29-6), and was beaten in the state semifinals in 1999 (30-6). Bill Chumbler coached the Tornado from 1995 to 2002. He coached arguably the best team in school history in the 1996 (30-5) season. The team featured PG Brandon Warfield and F John Smith, among others. The '96 Tornado even cracked the Nation's Top 25, but was ultimately upset in the 1st round of the Sweet 16.

In 1999 the Tornado made some noise in Lexington, Kentucky at the Sweet 16. The team featured sophomore sharpshooter G Brett Jones, PG Chris Wilson, and F George Wilson. The Tornado matched up with Scott County in the Final Four. In a finish to forget for the Tornado, Scott County stole the game after trailing by six with under a minute to go. This finish sparked some controversy due to the questionable calls favoring Scott County down the stretch. One in particular being the fifth foul on Tilghman G Chauncey Kelley as he blocked out Scott County's G Scott Hundley.

The 2002 Tilghman Tornado was a veteran team, yet mostly untested. The team's anchor was four-year starter C Orlandus Hill. The Tornado had a historic season, going undefeated in not only the district, but the entire region. After beating rival Marshall County at Murray State University in the Region Championship, the Tornado was onto the Sweet 16. There the Tornado defeated Rock Castle County in the first round. Next the Tornado defeated then-future Tennessee star G Chris Lofton and Mason County. It was in this game that Tilghman's Hill had one of his many memorable performances. Hill not only recorded a double-double in the game, but he had one after only the first quarter. In the Final Four Tilghman faced off against a goliath of an opponent: Louisville Male. The Male team featured future Chicago Bear RB Michael Bush, Creighton G Johnny Mathies, and Marshall C LaVar Carter. The Tornado had a rather surprising convincing victory over Male. Tilghman marched onto the State Championship – for the second time in school history – to face Lexington Catholic. Lexington Catholic's team featured future University of Mississippi PG Bryant Smith and Middle Tennessee State University's G DeMetrius Green. The Tornado trailed by just four points at half, but Lex Cath proved to be too much. Tilghman ran out of gas and ended up on the wrong end of a 30-point thumping.

Brad Steig took over as coach following the 2002 season. Since then Steig has led the Tornado to three Sweet 16 appearances, the best being losing in the State Quarterfinals in 2008 (28-7).

The school ranks second behind Paul G. Blazer High School in Ashland in total wins in Kentucky. Despite this it has never won the Kentucky High School State Basketball Tournament. Tilghman's girls basketball team reached the state final four in 2005.


The boys track team has won 8 straight Class 2A state titles under the leadership of Randy Wyatt. The boys track team won the 2015 Class 2A state tiltle as well. The boys team currently has won a total of 30 state track titles, two behind Louisville Male for the state record. The boys team won 14 state titles under Lyman Brown from 1972 to 1990, including a streak of 11 straight from 1979 to 1989. The girls track team won 8 straight state titles under Cecil Ward, and most recently finished 2nd in the 2008 State Track Finals. The first girls track team to win a State Championship was in 1973. The mile relay team led the nation with the fastest time. Mr. Mills also coached the boys tennis teams, losing in the semi-finals and finals. The girls team currently has won a total of 14 state track titles, a state record.

Cross country[edit]

Tilghman's Lady Tornado won the Region 1 Class 2A girls cross country championship in the 2015–2016 season.


Steve Duncan , took the title as the new PTHS Head Football Coach for the 2017-18 school year.


Paducah Tilghman has fielded a baseball team for 62 seasons. The program was dropped after the 1927 season and resumed in 1958 following the move to the school's present location. Home games are played at the refurbished historic (1200 seats) J. Polk Brooks Stadium. They play in District 2, Region 1 of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association. Teams have won 27 district titles, 12 Regional titles, and the State Championship in 1960. The schools overall record is 751-469-2.(.616) and has produced numerous professional players most notably Steve Finley (Bal, Hou, Ari, SD) and Terry Shumpert (ChiC, Col). Chris Johnson, a former standout at Murray State University and drafted by the Cincinnati Reds, is the team's current head coach. Was State Runner-Up in 1974.


Tilghman created the area's first soccer team in 1986, mostly with the encouragement and help of the class of 1988. Since then the team has won three Regional Titles, and has one State Runner-Up finish. The team is generally in the District 1 Championship and faces rival Heath for a top seed in the Regional Tournament. The team plays at Jetton Field (2,800 seats) and is coached by Austin Davis. Notable players throughout Tilghman soccer history have been Rafael Ortega, head of Nike Soccer in the Western Hemisphere and Adam Beth.


Tilghman Alumni (2016) Teri Doss was the first in the history of PTHS to win the 2015 KHSAA girls golf state championship.


The cheerleading team is coached by David Wade. The PTHS Cheerleaders attended a National Cheerleading Association (NCA) camp during the summer of 2009, and won the Performance Award and a bid to NCA Nationals in Dallas, Texas.


Tilghman's rivalry with Mayfield H.S. dates back 98 years, when Tilghman won a competitive football game. Tilghman participates in "Mayfield Week" where students show school spirit by dressing up throughout the week on "hick day, dooms day, blue and white day, 80's day and twin day."

In addition Tilghman often battles Lone Oak for division championships in most sports, and Heath in soccer, having met in the District Championships for the last 9 years. Lastly, Tilghman's rivalry with Hopkinsville dates back to when both schools participated in Class AAA football. Before the playoff format changed in the late 1980s, only the district champion made the playoffs. This game was very important to both schools since both were usually undefeated in district play before they met on the field for the final game of the season.

Clubs and organizations[edit]

Paducah Tilghman's concert choir is among the finest high school choirs in the nation.[citation needed] They have performed in notable venues such as Carnegie Hall in New York City, The Summer Music Festival in San Diego and at The Vatican and other cathedrals throughout Italy. The choir has two select a cappella groups, Concordia and Prime Rib, who sing more upbeat, pop style a cappella music. They are known as two of the most prestigious a cappella groups in the state of Kentucky. The choral program was under the direction of Art Deweese for many years. In 2012 Matt Hinz became the choral director. Under the direction of Matt Hinz, the a cappella group formerly known as "PrimeCordia" changed their name to "Another Shade of Blue". The group can be seen in video performing "Feelin' Good" at the annual Spring Concert. The video has gained over 16,000 views on Facebook.

The Mock Trial Team at Paducah Tilghman High School is very competitive at the state level and is undefeated in its regions for 21 years. The team finished 2nd in the state tournament in 2007, and is the only mock trial team in Paducah. Teacher Susan Hancock and Attorney Mark Whitlow coach the team.

Speech and debate[edit]

In speech and debate, seniors Emily Hensel and Rachel Smith won the 2009 Kentucky High Speech League State Tournament in Duo Interpretation at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green on March 14, performing "Becoming Woman," written by Kentucky natives Alecia Whitaker and Ellen Hagan.

In 2009 the Speech and Forensics team received the National Forensic League Kentucky District Leading Chapter Award. In 2011 Chandler Emmons Smith was named one of 11 National Youth Storytellers at the National Storytelling Conference in Provo, UT. A member of the Tilghman Speech Team won the Paducah Rotary Club Speech Contest every year from at least 2006 through 2014. Andrea Ramsey, 2007, and Victoria Potter, 2013, each winning multiple years.

Other clubs at Tilghman include NHS, FEA, FBLA, Equestrian Club, Recycling Club, Beta Club, Chess Club, Spanish Club, French Club, Japanese Club, BABES, Yearbook Staff, Poetry Club, FFA, Prime Rib, Concordia, Chamber Choir, Drama Club, Student Council, Mock Trial, Speech, Heartland Youth Action Committee, and Health Club.

Student section[edit]

The Paducah Tilghman High School Student Section was named the Best Student Section in Kentucky for the 2015–2016 School year. The student section was highly active, and even featured in The Paducah Sun. The SS was led by PTHS Alumni (2016) Andrew Shannon. Shannon brought new ideas and chants including a fan favorite "If you winning and you know it." Shannon has passed the title as Student Section President to Maddie Ybarzabal (PTHS Senior '17).

Notable alumni[edit]


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External links[edit]