Hornets program among 20 teams, programs, individuals honored Sunday night (Jan. 26, 2020) in annual ceremony at Hall's Springfield base
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame ushered in Chillicothe High School’s highly-successful football program into its membership as part of the Hall’s Class of 2020 Sunday night, Jan. 26, 2020.
The Hornets program, which has five state championships and two state runnerup finishes on its resumé, as well as over 100 All-State players and other team accomplishments, was part of a Hall 21-members group that included now-retired Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost, former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson, retired St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals player Terry Pendleton, and ex-University of Missouri football Tigers and National Football League star defensive lineman Justin Smith, as well as several other individuals and high school and college teams or programs.
The enshrinement, occurring in the University Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in downtown Springfield by Killian Construction, drew a crowd of more than 1,500 people, according to a Hall news release. That attendance included a turnout of about 70 former Hornets players and coaches, many of whom were accompanied by spouses or other family members. Each of the CHS players and coaches who purchased a $150 ticket – some of whom did not attend, it turned out, received or will receive through CHS a personal plaque citing their status as a one-time member of the now-Hall of Fame program.
“We are delighted to welcome our latest honorees into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame,” President and Executive Director Jerald Andrews said. “Each not only was a standout in their respective sport, but they’re also great ambassadors away from the field. We also want to thank all businesses and individuals who threw their support behind the Enshrinement.”
Former Hornets player, assistant, and head coach Phil Willard gave the official acceptance remarks on behalf of the program he led for 20 year. Understandably, he referenced his late predecessor as head coach, Bob Fairchild, for being the architect of the program’s extraordinary success since Fairchild, who died late last October, began his 35-years tenure as head coach in 1963.
Willard also cited the thousands of players who have worn the red-and-black during the program’s 100-plus years of existence for their indispensable role in the Hornets having posted over 650 victories in that time.
He also gave an oral nod to the various head and assistant coaches for their equally-critical contributions to the program’s existence and success. Chillicothe’s long has been unofficially recognized as among the state’s best prep gridiron programs, a viewpoint now officially certified permanently by the Hall. More details from his brief, prepared remarks will be added to this story later Monday.
In addition to the induction of the CHS football program, former William Jewell College/University basketball head coach Larry Holley, already a HOF member who retired from coaching after the 2018-19 season, was given an additional, special annual award, the Pinnacle Award. Holley is a native of Jameson in northern Daviess County and was head coach at then-Central Methodist College in Fayette and Jewell for a half-century after coaching one year at Harrisburg High.
Other Class of 2020 honorees included former Missouri State (then Southwest Missouri state) University & major loegue baseball pitcher Brad Ziegler, track and field athlete John Richardson, golfer Jim Morris, basketball official Gerry Pollard, sports medicine physician Dr. Bernard Griesemer, high school football coach Greg Oder, retired St. Francis Borgia High basketball coach Dave Neier (whose 1997-98 team edged Chillicothe for the Class 3 state crown), shooting sports standout and television personality Allen Treadwell, long-time southwest Missouri broadcaster Don West, Springfield Catholic High School’s Lady Irish basketball program, Ozark High School’s cheerleading program, and the University of Central Missouri 2003 NCAA Division II national champion baseball Mules.
Additionally, Springfield-based Killian Construction, the Hall enshrinement event’s presenting sponsor for a 25th-consecutive year in 2020, was bestowed the prestigious John Q. Hammons Founder’s Award. The Hall of Fame also honored Larry O’Reilly of O’Reilly Auto Parts with its President’s Award and Sharyn Wagoner, retiring after 25 years with the PGA Korn Ferry Tour’s Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper and played annually at Springfield, was recognized with the Summit Award.