Need your help for athletic HOF

Jeff Gilliland Staff Columnist

Jeff Gilliland Staff Columnist

The end of the 2016-17 school year is quickly approaching and that means The Times-Gazette is accepting nominations for its 8th annual Highland County Athletic Hall of Fame class and for the 2017 Highland County Scholar-Athlete Award, announced each year in June.

While The Times-Gazette organizes the honors, it takes the community’s help to make them a success.

So, we are looking to the community for hall of fame nominations and to local coaches and athletic directors to help us honor outstanding high school senior scholar-athletes in the county.

Anyone can nominate someone for the hall of fame. The only requirement is that the nominee must have had some sort of positive impact on athletics in Highland County. The deadline to nominate someone is May 19. That can be done by contacting yours truly at 937-402-2522, [email protected] or simply stopping by our offices at 108 Gov. Trimble Place in Hillsboro.

There are currently 31 members of The Times-Gazette Highland County Athletic Hall of Fame. They include a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame (William “Buck” Ewing), two Major League Baseball pitchers (Joe Crawford and Kip Young), a former National Football League player (T.J. Turner), a former player in the Canadian Football League (Raymond “Dutch” Purdin), and a multi-time world champion trapshooter (Joe Hiestand).

That’s a pretty elite group. But the hall also includes former All-Americans at Ohio State and the University of Dayton, coaches, athletic directors, officials, scorekeepers, announcers, bus drivers, teachers and athletes who have achieved all different kinds of success at the high school and collegiate levels.

So it’s also a fairly all-inclusive group. We not only like to honor Highland County athletes who have stood out among their peers, we also like to honor those who have had a significant and long-lasting impact on athletics in the county. One of the inductees last year, Lynchburg-Clay’s Jesse Mount, has been impacting Highland County athletics for 70-plus years, and he’s still going.

For the record, the other inductees are James “Jimmy” Hull, Bill Uhl Sr., Paul Cluxton, Linda Fittro-Hatten, Don Grate, Dante Jackson, Ernie Blankenship, Jim Cook, Dennis Overstake, Rick Van Matre, Jon Cole, Kevin Greer, Whitney Lewis, Otis Wagner, Angie (Roush) Bogart, Audra Cook-Branham, Mark Pierson, Terry McConnaughey, Danny Long, Sarah (Hull) Marietta, Glenn Moberly, Bob Bergstrom, Galen Neal and Craig Unger.

If you would like to nominate someone, please provide us with as much information as possible about the nominee’s accomplishments, because that is largely what they will be judged on when we determine this year’s class.

The Times-Gazette Highland County Scholar-Athlete Award is a bit different.

Nominees must be a senior in high school, must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better, and must have lettered in at least one sport, including cheerleading, during their senior year. Exceptions may be made for someone who had injuries or health issues that prevented them from competing their senior year.

The scholar-athletes can be nominated only by their varsity coaches. Each varsity coach in Highland County can nominate one student-athlete for each sport they coached. Coaches can pick up nomination forms from their respective athletic directors, who have been provided with the forms, or from The Times-Gazette.

The deadline to nominate a scholar-athlete is June 11. Forms can be dropped off at The Times-Gazette offices or emailed to [email protected]

Past winners of the scholar-athlete award – there was a tie three different years – are: Andrew Goolsby (Hillsboro) and Cali Hatten (Lynchburg-Clay), Aric Carroll (Hillsboro), Karen Hilt (Lynchburg-Clay) and Luis Rivas (McClain), Morgan Dettwiller (McClain), Tara Karnes (McClain), Trey Moberly (Hillsboro) and Kiley Sosby (Whiteoak), and Devin Pierson (Lynchburg-Clay).

All the scholar-athlete nominees, as well as the hall of fame inductees, will be honored at a dinner/banquet planned for 6 p.m. Thursday, June 22 at the Ponderosa Banquet Center in Hillsboro. The banquet is open to the public. The scholar-athletes, the coaches who nominated them, and the hall of fame inductees are guests of The Times-Gazette. Others can purchase tickets. They can be reserved by calling 937-402-2522.

If you’re a local sports fan, we think you would enjoy it. There is always lots of laughter, some tall tales, a few tears, and mostly plenty of good food and fun.

Thanks for your help, and we hope to see you there.

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.

Jeff Gilliland Staff Columnist Gilliland Staff Columnist