The Udell family continues to leave a lasting legacy at FHC


If you’ve ever been to FHC, you’ve heard the footsteps and witnessed the smiles of the youngest in the Udell family: Clay. He is the son of FHC’s athletic director Clark Udell, the last of the Udell kids to go through the high school, and the biggest Ranger fan you’ll ever meet.

He comes bouncing down the hallways to greet teachers and students alike. His love for FHC is obvious — and it’s a love that has been shared by his three older siblings who all attended FHC.

“I think Clay being the last of our children to go through FHC will be very good,” Clay’s mom, Lisa Udell said. “He has met a lot of teachers, coaches, and students that his older siblings knew and therefore it makes him feel included and cared for by the FHC community. Everyone at FHC has been very kind and accepting to Clay. Clay brings a lot of energy and life to FHC and I think that is great for him as well as the FHC community.”

Clay is a friend to pretty much everyone: the seniors, the teachers, the freshmen and anyone else who comes to sporting events. He can always be found on the sidelines, under the arm of a coach, or sitting on the bench hanging out with the team.

Clay was born with Down Syndrome and enjoys playing lacrosse, football, and hockey. He also plays on the Forest Hills United Special Olympics basketball team. One of his favorite things to do outside of school and being a huge Ranger fan, is spending time with his older sister, Mya, who is a junior at Cornerstone University and plays on the basketball team.

“I love hanging out with Mya,” Clay said. “I like going to watch her play basketball and I love her a lot.”

Mya considers Clay as her best friend. They talk every day and find joy in just being in the presence of one another. It could be Clay going to watch Mya and his Mom coach the FHC JV softball team or singing along to music in the car; no matter the activity, they just love being together and sports are a big part of their bonding.

“I love spending time with Clay,” Mya said. “He is most definitely my very best friend. We FaceTime at least once a day. We love spending time together. I think honestly we just like being together and that is what we treasure the most. We always have a good time together.”

Mya graduated in 2014 and played volleyball, basketball, and softball for the Rangers. Despite leaving the high school after graduation, Mya hasn’t really been gone. She comes to sporting events to watch her brother Seth play and can be seen running the scoreboard at the girls basketball games. Mya also assists her mom in coaching the JV softball team.

“I am so blessed to still have my family involved in this school,” Mya said. “I absolutely love being able to come back and coach within the school with my mom. Being a Ranger is something that I do not take for granted, and I love being able to be a part of this school with my family.”

The entire Udell family is involved in the athletic community in some way. The oldest Udell son, Ross, played soccer, baseball, and ran a couple of years for the track team. He also coached soccer for a couple of years but is currently in Mexico doing mission work.

Lisa and Clark Udell have both been coaching several sports ranging from softball to soccer, with Lisa at about 24 years and Clark at about 30. The coaching gene has spread to the kids, as Mya and Ross have both coached a couple of years themselves as well.

“Athletics is a unifying thing that we do as a family and that’s been a real strength,” Clark said. “My kids have grown up in Forest Hills Central athletics. When Ross and Mya were little, they remember being on the bench when I was coaching. Seth stood up at my soccer banquet when he was three years old and sang the FHC fight song all the way through in front of the entire soccer community. It’s kind of who they are and what they do.”

The Udell family has experienced a great deal of success in athletics with Seth being a part of the football team winning regionals and with Lisa coming off of a JV softball OK White conference win last year.

“We just talk athletics all the time,” Clark said. “I think we really approach it as a mission; we believe that in high school athletics, we use it to shape others’ lives outside of athletics. Our goal is not about who athletes are now, it’s about when they’re done being athletes and what they have learned.”

Lisa is thankful for the time her children have spent involved in FHC athletics.

“I have found so much joy in watching our kids participate in athletics at FHC,” Lisa said. “They have participated in many different sports, therefore we have met a lot of coaches and it has been a real joy to get to know them. They all have grown as athletes and people through these experiences. Representing the green and white of FHC has been wonderful for all of them. We feel cared for and loved by this community.”

Throughout all of these years, this family of Rangers continues to leave its mark on the school. Whether it be Clay lighting up the hallways or the rest of the Udells coming back to coach, this family has left a legacy at FHC. Mya knows she will always be a part of the FHC family.

“I think our family is blessed by all of the different people we have met throughout our times that we have either gone through school with or coached,” Mya said. “I know that my older brother and I both came back and coached within the sports we have played and I know my [younger] brothers are still impacting the school while they’re still there. I feel that my parents are blessing so many people that are walking the halls. Looking back, I do treasure going to FHC; it taught me a lot about myself. I will always enjoy coming back and giving back to this school.”