Rod Smith and Neil Smith to be inducted into the HOF
Jan. 2, 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact: Andrea Porter, Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, 417-889-3100
Springfield (Mo) - The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame is proud to announce the members of the 2008 Enshrinement Class. Fifteen individuals from diverse sports backgrounds and two teams will be inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in ceremonies on Sunday, February 10, at the University Plaza Convention Center in Springfield, Mo. The Killian Group is the presenting sponsor of the annual event. The 2008 John Q. Hammons Founder's Award recipient will also be recognized during the ceremony, as well as 12 Sports Achievement Award winners.
KEITH HERNANDEZ - BASEBALL
Widely regarded as one of the best defensive first basemen in all of baseball, Hernandez excelled as an offensive player as well. Hernandez was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1971 and made his Major League debut in 1974. He played with the Cardinals organization until 1983, when he was traded to the New York Mets mid-season. In 1990, Hernandez retired as a five-time All-Star with two World Series rings, one with the Cardinals in 1982 and the second with the Mets in 1986. In his 17-year career Hernandez compiled a .296 batting average, over 2,000 hits, and over 1,000 runs scored. Hernandez won 11 consecutive Gold Glove Awards at first base from 1978-1988 and two National League Silver Slugger Awards (1980, 1984). With his .344 batting average, 48 doubles, and 116 runs scored in 1979, Hernandez won the National League Batting Title and was voted the National League Most Valuable Player. He batted over .300 for seven seasons of his career and had an on-base percentage of over .400 for seven seasons. Hernandez was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 1997 and was also voted the Mets all-time first baseman by fans for the team's 40th anniversary in 2000.
NEIL SMITH - FOOTBALL
An All-America at Nebraska, Smith was drafted in the first round of the 1988 draft by the Kansas City Chiefs where he made a name for himself as one of the top defensive linemen of his era. Smith registered double-digit sacks for four straight seasons (1992-1995) and led the NFL in sacks during the 1993 season with 15. Smith ranks second in Chiefs history in sacks and with forced fumbles with 86.5 and 29 respectively. Playing in 138 regular season games for the Chiefs Smith garnered 546 tackles, 403 of which were solo tackles. In addition, he recorded three interceptions with one touchdown, and had 12 fumble recoveries with one touchdown. In 1997, Smith went on to play for the Denver Broncos where he added two Super Bowl Championships to his long list of accomplishments. After playing the 2000 season with the San Diego Chargers Smith retired with 104.5 sacks (19th on the all-time sack leaders list), 12 fumble recoveries, four interceptions, and two touchdowns. Smith appeared in the Pro-Bowl six times during his 13 seasons with the NFL and was inducted into the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame in 2006.
ROD SMITH - FOOTBALL
Smith enjoyed a stellar career at Missouri Southern State University, finishing with conference records in career receiving yards (3,043) and touchdowns (34). He also broke the school's reception record (153), and was named first-team All-America by AP, Kodak, Football Gazette and NCAA Division II sports information directors after his senior year. In his final season, Smith caught 63 passes for 986 yards and 13 touchdowns, and was a finalist for the Harlon Hill Award, given annually to the top football player at the Division II level. He was named Missouri Southern's Outstanding Graduate in 1994 after completing his collegiate studies with three degrees in, economics and finance, general business, as well as marketing and management. Smith entered the NFL with the Broncos as a college free agent on May 3, 1994. A 13-year wide receiver, Smith holds Broncos franchise records for career receptions (849), receiving yards (11,389), touchdown catches (68) and overall touchdowns (71). He also leads all undrafted players in NFL history in every major career-receiving category. Smith entered the 2007 season ranked 11th in overall league annals in career receptions, 17th in career receiving yards, and tied for 30th in career receiving touchdowns. In 2005, Smith became one of the 25 players in NFL history to reach 10,000 career yards, a feat he accomplished on Monday Night Football vs. Kansas City (9/26/05). Smith is the first player from the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletics Association to score a touchdown in the Super Bowl, and the first to play for two Super Bowl winning teams (Super Bowl XXXII and XXXIII).
JOHN BROWN - BASKETBALL
The first nationally honored basketball player of the Norm Stewart era, Dixon MO, native John Brown was an All-American and All-Big Eight forward/center in 1972 and `73, starring on the first two University of Missouri teams to win more than 20 games and to go to the NIT. He completed his career as the Tigers' all-time leading scored with 1,421 points, which now ranks sixth in school history. Brown led the Tigers in scoring in 1972 and `73, and in field goal percentage in 1971 and `72. Recognized as Missouri's MVP in 1972 and `73, Brown's 41 points vs. Oklahoma State in 1973, stood as the Hearnes Center record for 14 years. Brown was a first-round draft pick of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, where he played for six years and was named to the 1974 NBA All-Rookie Team. He also played professionally in Europe; his final season was split between the Hawks and the Utah Jazz in 1979-80.
JOHN WATHAN - BASEBALL
Wathan returns for his 36th year in baseball, his 32nd with the Royals and will serve as the Assistant to Player Development in 2008. He began his career as the Royals 1st round pick in the 1971 January Free Agent Draft and played for 15 years in the system, including 10 at the Major League level from 1976-85. Wathan was a member of the Royals World Series teams in 1980 and 1985 and still owns the modern day record for stolen bases by a catcher with 36 in 1982. He served as a coach in Kansas City in 1986 prior to managing the minor league affiliate, Omaha Royals in 1987. Wathan was named Royals manager on August 27, 1987, where he compiled a 287-270 record, including a 92-70 mark in 1989. He worked for the California Angels in 1992 and 1993, serving as the interim manager, 3rd base coach and bench coach, before becoming Red Sox bullpen coach in 1994. "Duke" worked in broadcasting as an analyst for The Baseball Network in 1995 and for the Royals Radio Network from 1996-97. He also worked at special assignments in scouting and player development from 1999-2004. Wathan resides in Lee's Summit, MO, with his wife, Nancy. The couple has three children, Dusty, Derek, and Dina, and five grandchildren.
CHARLIE SHARE - BASKETBALL
Because of his height and talent, Share was offered scholarships to play basketball at Ohio State University, Indiana University and Bowling Green State University. After attending Bowling Green, Share was selected by the Boston Celtics as the first pick in the first year of the NBA draft. Traded from the Boston Celtics to the Milwaukee Hawks before ever playing a game, Share became a vital part of the Hawks franchise. The 6'11 center moved with the Hawks when they relocated to St. Louis in 1955 and was appointed team captain by owner Ben Kerner. As captain, Share helped his team to a National Championship victory in 1958. Though posting top 10 shooting percentages, Share's role involved mostly defensive play, rebounding and setting picks. Share started in the 1950 East-West College All-Star game at Madison Square Garden. Share was inducted into the Bowling Green State University Hall of Fame in 1964 and he is also a member of the Greater Cincinnati Hall of Fame.
RICK HUMMEL - SPORTS COLUMNIST
Richard Lowell Hummel, known to many as "Commish", is a 1968 graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and began working at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1971. He has covered basketball, football, hockey, boxing and baseball, with his concentration on baseball for the last 28 years. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1980 and has been a columnist/national baseball writer for the newspaper since 2002. He has covered 27 MLB All-Star Games, 29 World Series and two NCAA Final Four tournaments. Hummel was inducted into the writer's wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 29, 2007, as the recipient of the 2006 J. G. Taylor Spink Award. Since 1962 the award, named after the late editor of The Sporting News, has been voted upon by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. The award honors a baseball writer "for meritorious contributions to baseball writing" and is presented at the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
LEE THOMAS- BASEBALL
Lee, a St. Louisan, attended Beaumont High School where the New York Yankees signed him in 1954 as a free agent. He is considered to be one of the top players to have ever graduated from Beaumont. After spending almost eight years in the minor leagues, he briefly played for the Yankees at the major league level and was then traded to the Los Angeles Angels in 1961. It was with the Angels that Lee was named to the "All Star Rookie Team" in 1961 and the following season earned a place on the American League All-Star team. His career included playing in 1,027 major league games with the Yankees, Angels, Red Sox, Braves, Cubs and Astros. He then played one year in Japan before returning to St. Louis. In 1972 he joined the Cardinals and remained in the St. Louis organization until June of 1988. His career with the Cardinals allowed him to gain experience on and off the field. He served as major league coach, minor league coach, ticket sales assistant, traveling secretary and director of player development. His successful development of the Cardinals' minor leagues drew the attention of Philadelphia Phillies, and in 1988 Lee joined the Phillies as their Vice President and General Manager. Under his leadership the Phillies won the National League Pennant in 1993 and played the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1993 World Series before losing the Series in Game six. That same year he was voted by his peers as the Sporting News Executive of the Year and was chosen by the Boston Sports Writers as Baseball's Executive of the Year. In the fall of 2006 he was elected to the Greater Midwest Scouts Hall of Fame.
TRISH KISSIAR-KNIGHT - VOLLEYBALL COACH
Knight is a native of Licking, MO, and has long been considered one of the nation's top volleyball coaches. As coach of the West Plains High School Zizzer volleyball teams, her squads won four consecutive Class 4A state championships, two third place state trophies, and numerous tournaments across the state and region during her 13-year stay at the school. A 1980 graduate of Southwest Missouri State University (Missouri State University) and a former member of the SMSU VolleyBears, Trish also teaches physical education at Missouri State University-West Plains. With Trish at the helm of the MSU-West Plains Grizzlies Volleyball team, they have accumulated a record of 607-141-3 over 14 years of play. The Grizzlies are the Region 16 champions for the ninth consecutive year, and were Region 16 runners up six years in a row from 1993-1998. Trish was named Region 16 Coach of the Year for the 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 seasons; District H Coach of the Year for 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006; District N Coach of the Year for 2004; and AVCA Junior College/Community College Midwest Coach of the Year for 2000 and 2002. Trish reached a career milestone with her 600th career victory during the 2006 season.
THOMAS H. BURNETT - HANDBALL COACH & FOOTBALL
Under the direction of Dr. Tommy Burnett, head of the Physical Education and Recreation Department, the Missouri State University handball team has been crowned with National Collegiate Titles nine times during Burnett's 20-year coaching tenure. Twenty-one of the handball athletes have achieved All-American status and nine handball alumni have entered the professional ranks, with one of them becoming a national champion nine times and a world champion three times. Burnett attended the University of Arkansas where he lettered three years in football, 1964-1966. This three-year period was the best win-loss record of any other three-year Razorback team, as they won 29 games and lost only three. Also joining Burnett on the Razorback roster were Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson...two very recognizable names from that team. During Burnett's junior year, the New York Jets drafted him as "future" in the fourth round. Tommy however chose to stay at the University of Arkansas, where he finished his senior year. Following his senior year, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Burnett. He later joined the New York Jets football team for the 1967 and 1968 season and was a part of the team that won Super Bowl III in 1969. Burnett is a member of the Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame (2004), State of Missouri Handball Hall of Fame in St. Louis (2004) and the United States Handball Association's National Hall of Fame (2005).
EARL DENNY - FOOTBALL
During his football days at Golden City High School in Golden City, Missouri, Denny was selected to the All-Midwest and All-District Conference teams in 1960, 61, and 62. Also in 1961, he was selected to the All-Ozark Conference and the All-State Conference football teams. Denny attended the University of Missouri on an athletic scholarship from 1963 - 1966 where he lettered in football all four years. In the 1966 Sugar Bowl, Denny caught a touchdown pass to help propel the Tigers to a win over the University of Florida. In addition to his football achievements, Denny excelled at Indoor Track and Field at both the high school and collegiate level. Denny won the Big Eight Long Jump event in 1965 and was a member of that year's Championship team. In January 1996, he was inducted into the University of Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame as a member of that 1965 Championship team. Denny was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings and spent two years playing football for the Viking franchise. Denny then returned to coach high school sports for six years.
JIM REDD - FOOTBALL / ADMINISTRATOR
A stellar high school athlete, Redd excelled in football, basketball and baseball. In college however, Jim turned his attention to his first athletic love, football. At Northwest Missouri State University, he captained the team for three years and played on both sides of the ball garnering First Team Defensive Lineman and Second Team Offensive Tackle awards in 1965. Jim began his coaching career in 1966 as a graduate assistant at the University of Colorado - Boulder. From there he steadily climbed the coaching ladder until he landed his first head coaching job in 1976, mentoring the Bearcats of his alma mater. Along the way he picked up an MIAA Coach of the Year Award in 1979. All the while, Jim kept focused on his educational goals and in 1986 received his doctorate in education from Oklahoma State University - Stillwater. That same year Redd became Northwest's coordinator of HPERD and received Associate Professor status. The next desk Jim occupied was that of Director of Athletics for Northwest, a position he held until his retirement in 2001. After only a year away from his love for education and sports, Jim was appointed Director of Athletics and Physical Education Chair at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, a position he still holds. In addition to his academic and athletic endeavors, Jim has spent numerous years serving the needs of organizations such as Pony League Baseball, AAU Basketball, American Youth Soccer and Special Olympics.
GEORGE WILSON - BASKETBALL COACH
Under his tenure as the Women's Head Coach at College of the Ozarks, the Lady Bobcats have amassed an impressive 263-61 record and have become one the strongest NAIA women's basketball programs in the country. Last season, Coach Wilson picked up his overall 800th career win, and after completing 41 years of coaching, has an impressive record of 822-345. While at College of the Ozarks, Coach Wilson has led his teams to eight Midland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships and advanced to the NAIA Division II National Tournament nine times. The nine appearances in the National Tournament by the Lady Bobcats have resulted in two quarterfinal appearances and the past two seasons, back-to-back finishes as the National Championship Runner-up. In addition, he has also coached eight All-Americans, several of whom were multiple honorees, as well as eight Academic All-Americans. Before coming to College of the Ozarks, Wilson coached high school boys' basketball for 31 years in the southwest Missouri area, compiling a 559-284 record.
SANFORD "SANDY" POMERANTZ - BASKETBALL
Sandy's basketball career began at the University City Senior High School where he was a first-team All-American basketball star. Following high school, he was recruited by more than 50 universities, he went on to play for the University of Cincinnati Bearcats and won the 1960 Missouri Valley Conference Championship. After transferring to Washington University in St. Louis at semester break of his sophomore season, he averaged 24.9 points per game in his eight games. Recognized as one of the best basketball players in Washington University's history, Pomerantz earned All-American honors with the Bears. He also hold the Washington University single season scoring record, including most points in a season and highest scoring average. Pomerantz missed his junior season with an injury before scoring a single-season school record 580 (22.3 points per game) in 1962-3. Named the conference MVP, he led the Bears to an 18-8 record and their first NCAA tournament berth. Pomerantz scored a career-high 41 points in a victory over Valparaiso University. He also played on the U.S. basketball and volleyball teams in 1961 and 1965 Maccabiah Games in Israel, where he brought home a gold medal for basketball and a bronze medal for volleyball.
GARY O'NEAL - FOOTBALL
Compiling an impressive record of 239 wins, 52 losses, and one tie during his 28-year tenure as Hardin-Central High School Head Football Coach from (1976-2003), O'Neal has 10 undefeated regular seasons under his belt. He also served as the Principle for 27 of his 28 years at the school. A 1996 inductee into the Missouri High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Coach O'Neal is a three-time State Coach of the Year recipient. His two State runner-up trophies are rivaled only by his two State Championships, which his teams won in 1980 and 1987. Coach O'Neal ranks first in all-time number of wins among Missouri Class A football coaches and is number six on the all-time wins list among Missouri high school football coaches of all classes. Gary is currently retired from coaching, but still teaches part- time at Lexington High School.
1984 SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY TEAM
The Southeast Missouri State University Men's Cross Country 1984 team had an unparallel season in September of '84 with the utter demolition of two Division I teams, Murray State and Arkansas State. Southeast scored a perfect 15 points. The next week they easily defeated a 19-team field in the SIU-Edwardsville Classic without their best runner even competing. In late September of '84 their next conquest came at their own SEMO Invitational when they put five runners in the top 10 to easily out distance a primarily Division II field of seven teams. Perhaps their most impressive performance, however, came at the Notre Dame Invitational in early October when they placed 2nd in the 19-team University Division, only seven points behind Notre Dame. In this meet Southeast easily defeated schools such as Ohio State and Michigan from the Big Ten Conference, and Bowling Green, Illinois State and Western Illinois from the Mid-American Conference. On November 17, 1984, the Southeast team capped a fairy tale season in Clinton, Mississippi (Mississippi College) by placing three runners in the top 10, scoring 87 points to Edinboro University's 129, and winning the National Championship. Mike Vanatta was the individual champion. This team not only distinguished a Missouri institution at the highest level, its roster was decidedly comprised of native Missourians from far and wide. Art Waddle is a native of Poplar Bluff, Joe Leuchtmann from St. Louis Ritenour High School; Joe Lackner is from St. Louis St. Mary's, Mike Bryne from Imperial (Fox High), Scott Laneman and Norm Kellar from St. Louis Pattonville, Jay Townsend from Neosho, and Larry Hennier from Independence (Truman High). Mike Vanatta, a Colorado native and the individual national champion on the squad, was coached at Colorado Springs Wasson High by Rex Miller, a 1957 SEMO All-American from tiny Oak Ridge, Missouri. The teams coach Fred Binggeli, a Fulton native, is a past U.S. Olympic Trials distance runner and member of the Missouri Track & Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame. In 1984, he was barely four years into a college coaching career.
1974 SOUTHWEST MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY SOFTBALL TEAM
The Southwest Missouri State University Softball Team captured the heart and spirit of collegiate softball back in 1974 as it was crowned Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) Division I National Champions. Coached by Kay Hunter, the team compiled a 19-4 record, and posted a 4-0 record in the Missouri AIAW Championship. It then went on to compete in the national meet in Omaha, Neb., where it won five straight games to claim SMS' first national championship by a women's athletic team. In their national tournament run, SMS beat Massachusetts 11-1, edged out Luther College of Iowa 1-0, escaped Eastern Illinois 9-8, beat Wayne State 8-5, and walloped Northern Colorado 14-7 to bring the title to Springfield. Five competitors from that team have been inducted into the SMS Athletics Hall of Fame. They include pitcher Cindy Henderson-Snead, catcher Karen Bethurem, pitcher Debbie Dace, infielder Glenda Bond and head coach Kay Hunter.
HILAND DAIRY - JOHN Q. HAMMONS FOUNDERS AWARD
Hiland Dairy began in Springfield, Missouri, in 1938 by two men, Mr. Putman and Mr. Carter, who used a gas-powered electric generator to facilitate the milking of a 50-cow herd. All sales at this time were conducted door-to-door to homes in the area. Hiland Dairy was one of about 40 such dairies that existed around Springfield in the late 1930s. In 1948, Hiland moved to a single, two-story brick building on old Route 66. Mr. Putman worked hard for many years and developed the business until 1979, when he sold the operation to Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc. and Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. Hiland Dairy was now jointly owned by these two dairy farmer cooperatives. Since the late 1970s, Hiland has competed against the much larger Foremost Dairy. Today, Hiland is the only locally operated dairy due in large part to its single-minded commitment to quality. Hiland's stringent production standards exceed the toughest state and federal requirements, which help ensure the highest quality dairy products available. Currently, Hiland has eight manufacturing plants located in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. In addition to these plants, 25 distribution sites are located around a six state area that includes Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.
SPORTS ACHIEVEMENT AWARD WINNERS
The Missouri Sports Achievement Awards will be presented to Roger Wehrli (2007 Pro Football Hall of Fame), Al MacInnis (2007 Hockey Hall of Fame), Irl Robinson (2007 - 4th consecutive year as the Golf Clubmakers Association Missouri State Clubmaker of the Year and named Golf Clubmakers Association Top Ten Worldwide Clubmaker of the Year for the 2nd straight year), Larry O'Reilly (2007 - for completing a 4,409 mile bike ride across America in 72 days), Dan Schumacher (2007 Midwest Section PGA Professional Golfer of the Year Award), University of Missouri Football Team (2008 Cotton Bowl Champions), 2007 Lincoln University Women's Outdoor Track & Field Team (NCAA Division II National Champions), 2007 Lindenwood University Wrestling Team (NAIA National Champions), 2007 Missouri State University Men's Handball Team (National Collegiate Men's Handball Champions), 2007 Washington University Volleyball Team (NCAA Division III National Champions), 2007 EasyRiders Precision Drill Team (Two National Championships in the United States Equestrian Drill Competition), and the 2007 Milestone Christian Academy Boys Basketball Team (National Association of Christian Athletes (NACA) Division III National Champions)
The Hall of Fame will also recognize a Special Olympics Missouri Hall of Fame inductee during its ceremony, which will be released at a later date. If you know of other teams that have won National Championships in 2007 or would like additional information please contact Andrea Porter at the Hall of Fame at (417) 889-3100.
Tickets for the Enshrinement are $150 each or $1,500 for a table of 10. Tickets are on sale now and available by calling (417) 889-3100; tickets are limited so reserve your seat today. An afternoon reception will kick-off the events on Sunday at the Hall of Fame from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. The evening reception will get underway at 5:00 p.m. The ceremonies will start at 6:00 p.m. and will conclude at 9:00 p.m.
For additional information please contact Andrea Porter, director of marketing, at (417) 889-3100 or visit the Hall of Fame website at www.MoSportsHallOfFame.com.
I am for sure going, if anyone is interested in joining me, please let me know so we can reserve our seats together, thanks
Congrats to Rod on the recognition.
Nice! Congrats to Rod.
The Missouri Sports HOF is cool as hell. I used to work right by there and would stroll in every now and then during the afternoon to beat the heat.
They have really interesting stuff about every Missouri pro or college team...big or small and really extensive high school stuff. The first time I went I was kind of shocked I was actually in it. They had a picture of my high school football state title team. There is a really cool setup where they feature all the different Missouri announcers from different sports and eras with some of their calls for you to listen to.
Let us talk about the handball coach that is going in. I am sure he knows Jake Plummer personally. Congrats Smith boys. At least he will get in some time of Hall because Canton doesnt do Broncos.
bumping hoping that someone in the area would like to attend!!!
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