By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
“For a long time, we haven’t recognized our athletes the way we should,” said Matt Mason, Madison-Plains athletic director.
At the Aug. 20 school board meeting, Mason unveiled a plan to institute an Athletic Hall of Fame at the high school. The first honorees will be recognized at half-time during the Madison-Plains home football game Oct. 25, then inducted during a catered ceremony set for 6 p.m. Oct. 26.
“It will be a formal event…Our fall athletes will be waiters. The goal is to get 400 people there,” Mason said.
The first class of honorees includes: the late Denny Morris, who coached baseball; Dean Porter, who coached football; the 1960-61 Madison South basketball team, which made it to the state final four; Zach Nelson, a state wrestling champion; and Ashley Dennison Meade, a two-time state pole vault champion.
Mason nominated this year’s inductees, with approval from the athletic boosters club. Going forward, however, the public will make the nominations, and a committee of coaches, booster members and the athletic director will make each year’s selections from those nominations. Recommendations for next year’s class of nominees are due by May 1, 2014. The plan, Mason said, is to induct five individuals or groups each year.
The basic selection criteria for nominees is as follows:
• Athletes—must have had outstanding varsity participation, received athletic honors in high school and beyond, be of outstanding character, be a high school graduate or equivalent and/or beyond, and have last attended high school five years ago or more. Special consideration will be given to record-setting or state championship performances.
• Teams—Any Madison-Plains High School team that won a state championship, including all players, coaches, team personnel and cheerleaders. Other teams will be considered that have earned special recognition through record-setting performances and all-district, all-area or all-state recognition.
• Coaches—must be a former Madison-Plains High School head coach or assistant coach, completed their tenure from the school for at least five years (with exceptions for special circumstances), and made outstanding contributions to the athletic program. Other factors will be considered for coaches whose teams earned multiple league titles or district, regional or state recognition.
• Special nominee—may include any Madison-Plains Local Schools staff whose tenure has been completed for at least five years (with exceptions for special circumstances) or any athletic booster, community member or business that has made significant contributions to the athletic program over an extended period of time.
Mason noted that the criteria list is a working document, meaning suggestions for changes will be considered at any time.
Newly appointed school board member Rick Blosser said he would like to see more of an emphasis on academic achievement as part of the criteria.
Mason said committee members considered academics when putting the list together. They decided that the fact that nominees were able to play sports indicated they were meeting academic standards required for eligibility. Mason said he would take Blosser’s recommendation under consideration.
For more information about the Hall of Fame, a nomination form or a ticket to the inaugural induction ceremony and dinner, contact Matt Mason at mma...@mplsd.org or (740) 852-0364. Tickets also will be sold at home football games. They are $20 each.