ST. JOSEPH SPORTS COMMISSION ANNOUNCES 2022 ST. JOSEPH AREA SPORTS HALL OF FAME CLASS INDUCTION CEREMONY IN MEMORY & HONOR OF FRANK O’MALLEY SET FOR SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
For Immediate Release: Thursday, June 16, 2022
The St. Joseph Sports Commission, a division of the St. Joseph Convention & Visitors Bureau is pleased to announce the 2022 St. Joseph Area Sports of Hall of Fame Class!
Officially created in November of 2020, the St. Joseph Area Sports of Hall recognizes those individuals, families, teams, entities or significant feats/accomplishments that have made a significant impact on sports history in Buchanan County in which the inaugural induction class was enshrined in September 2021.
To be eligible for selection, the individual or team must have been born in Buchanan County, must have made their sports career or accomplished their feat in Buchanan County or must be contributing to sports in Buchanan County at the present time.
The 2022 Hall of Fame Class includes:
- H.L. “Doc” Childress – World Renowned Sporting Clays Shooter
- Janet (Clark) Moody – Women’s Basketball Legend
- Vic Eaton – Football Legend
- Gary Filbert – Missouri Sports Legend
- George Hayward – National Football League Official
- Michael Hill – Football Trailblazer
- Gust Karras – Legendary Wrestling Promoter
- Bill McKinney – Area Sports Innovator
- Tom Smith – Legendary Basketball Coach
- Dennis Snethen – Wesley Weightlifters and USA Olympic Coach
- Herzog Motorsports – Midwest Racing Icons
- Special Olympics Athlete of the Year presented by the Hook Family – Tanner Hrenchir
An additional award recipient in conjunction with the enshrinement ceremony will be announced later in the summer as the inaugural Coach Bill Snyder Woman of Impact Award will be presented by Coach Snyder. The award recognizes an athlete, coach, administrator or other outstanding feat accomplished in Buchanan County over the past year. The award is named in Coach Snyder’s honor as a tribute to not only the impact that his mother made on his life and upbringing in our community but that impact of women in all levels of sport in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Title IX.
The 2022 St. Joseph Area Sports Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony, being in held in memory and honor of the St. Joseph Sports Commissions’ founder and first chairman Frank O’Malley will be held on Sunday, September 18 at Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center. Social hour presented by Ellison-Auxier Architects begins at 4 PM with the enshrinement and presentation of awards beginning at 5 PM.
A limited amount of tickets for the event will go on sale in early July for $25 per person and may be purchased at stjomosports.com.
To inquire about sponsorship of the event, congratulatory program ads and other engagement opportunities, contact the commission at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 816-233-6688.
2022 ST. JOSEPH AREA SPORTS HALL OF FAME CLASS BIOGRAPHIES
H.L. “Doc” Childress – World Renowned Sports Clays Shooter
A local optometrist for 53 years, Harold “Doc” Childress was legendary to waterfowling. He loved hunting and shooting sporting clays, the most difficult shooting sport in the world. He started shooting sporting clays in 1989 in the veterans’ division and made Team USA in 1991. The next year, at the World Championships in Vermont, he tied for the bronze medal and became the first American to win a medal in world competition. He won three Missouri State Championships; two SGA’s in the 1990’s and was in Outdoor Life magazine’s list of All American Sporting Clays for ten straight years. He was the first shooter inducted into the Missouri Sporting Clays Association, is the only sporting clays shooter inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, is a member of the Water Fowlers Hall of Fame in Mound City, Missouri and the Missouri Western Athletics Hall of Fame.
Janet (Clark) Moody – Women’s Basketball Legend
Growing up in St. Joseph, Janet (Clark) Moody was special on the hardwood. A graduate of Lafayette High School in 1985, she was a highly successful athlete participating in volleyball, basketball and track. With great all-around athletic success, she excelled in basketball, lettering all four years and receiving All City, All Conference, All District and All State honors an amazing three times. She was also named the first ever Miss Show-Me Basketball her senior year. She took her talents to Northwest Missouri State University where she played four seasons at the NCAA Division II level. Clark is the only Northwest Missouri State women’s basketball player to be in the 2,000 point club. As one of the best shooters in MIAA women’s basketball history, she also ranks fourth on the all-time MIAA scoring list. Clark averaged over 20 points per game in her final three seasons at Northwest in route to being named First Team All-MIAA in 1987, 1988 and 1989. She is also in the 500 rebound club and ranks sixth all-time at Northwest in assists (320) and sixth in steals (204). Clark also finished her career as the all-time leader in three-point percentage at 40.1 percent, a mark she still holds. Her jersey has been retired at Northwest in which she was inducted into the M-Club Hall of Fame in 1996 and the MIAA Hall of Fame in 2013.
Vic Eaton – Area Football Legend
Not known for winning when he entered the door as a freshman, Vic Eaton’s talents were instrumental in helping resurrect a Lafayette High School football program from the bottom of the heap to a winner. Eaton was a four-year letterwinner, All-City selection and received honorable mention honors as a National High School All-American. Not only did he excel on the gridiron, but his multi-talented skillset was showcased on the basketball court and track as he lettered in those sports as well. Upon graduation in 1951, Vic signed to play football at the University of Missouri not as the quarterback but also the punter where he was a three-year letterman including leading the Big Seven Conference in passing in 1954. Following his senior season, he was named the Outstanding Back in the Blue/Gray Game for the victorious North team. He was selected in the 11th round of the 1955 NFL Draft by the Pittsburg Steelers and made the active roster beating out Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas for the spot. Eaton only played one season for the Steelers before being commissioned into the Air Force as a pilot in which he served our country for three seasons.
Gary Filbert – Missouri Sports Legend
Founder, pioneer, innovator……..legend, those are just a few of the words people have used to describe the life and career of Gary Filbert. Filbert grew up in St. Joseph and was a star athlete and graduate of Benton High School lettering in football, basketball and track. He took his talents to the University of Missouri and played one season on the hardwood before leaving to serve a four year stint in the Marine Corps. Upon his return, Filbert was a three year letterwinner for the Tigers. Following graduation, he began his coaching and administration career at Mexico (Mo.) High School recording 260 wins. In 1969, as Missouri Western State College was a making landmark move from a two year to four year institution, Filbert also made a landmark move jumping from high school to the college ranks in taking over as the Griffon head coach. Over the next 13 seasons, Filbert pioneered the Griffs into this new era amassing 210 wins, three NAIA National Tournament appearances and was a three time Missouri NAIA District Coach of the Year. For these accomplishments, Filbert was inducted into the Missouri Western Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000. Following the 1982 season, Coach Filbert once again made a landmark move going from the hardwood of the NAIA to the Big 8 as he was hired as an assistant coach under Norm Stewart at Mizzou where he helped lead the Tigers to a #2 national ranking and a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. After three seasons on the bench in Columbia, Filbert went from assistant coach to assistant athletics director and after three more years in that role, he became the executive director of the Show-Me State Games and took a struggling program and exploded it to one of the biggest state games in the country. For all of his accomplishments, Filbert has received many honors including being inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame receiving the prestigious designation as a Missouri Sports Legend.
George Hayward – National Football League Official
Working his way up the ranks………that’s has been the path for St. Joseph native George Hayward. A graduate of Central High School, Hayward was an all-city and all-district performer as an offensive lineman. He played on Missouri Western’s first football teams transitioning to the defensive side of the ball playing end and linebacker. Like many players when their playing career ends, Hayward had interest in staying in football but instead of transitioning into the coaching ranks he became a game official. He started on Pop Warner games, middle school and high school crews before graduating into junior college and then small college football working in the Heart of America Conference and the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. In 1984 after years of excellent performance on the field, he was hired by the Big Eight Conference as a line judge where he spent seven seasons working a number of big games including the 1986 Citrus Bowl and 1988 Sun Bowl. In the fall of 1991, his officiating body of work became complete as he reached the pinnacle of officiating joining the National Football League. In 25 seasons, he worked 425 games including 19 playoff games including Super Bowl XLI won by Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.
Michael Hill – Local Football Trailblazer
Born and raised in St. Joseph, Missouri, Michael Hill has lived out the ideal pathway for a hometown athlete and blazed the trail for others to follow. A three-year starter and all-state selection at Central High School, Hill took his talents to Missouri Western State University where he was a four year All-MIAA selection including being the MIAA Offensive MVP in 2012 and Harlon Hill Award Finalist (Division II’s version of the Heisman Trophy). Hill is MWSU’s all-time leading rusher with 4,969 yards, a mark that is 6th all-time in MIAA history. He was instrumental in helping lead the Griffons to the best season in school history going 12-2, claiming the MIAA title and securing the school’s first two NCAA playoff victories finishing with a final team ranking of 8th in the country. In addition to his already mentioned accolades, Hill was the D2football.com National Offensive Player of the Year and a first team All-American in two different outlets. Hill took his talents to the professional ranks spending four years in the National Football League with five different teams including playing in two AFC playoff games with the Indianapolis Colts.
Gust Karras – Legendary Wrestling Promoter
An early ambassador of St. Joseph, Gust Karras was more than one of the best known wrestling promoters of his era. He was a legend in this region and believed in this city. Born in Greece, Gust arrived in the states in 1922 and quickly became a top-level wrestler becoming the heavyweight champion of Montana. Living with his new bride Goldie in Chillicothe, he began supplementing his income by promoting events. He moved to St. Joseph in 1933 and began promoting wrestling not only locally but to larger locales all over the country. His shows at City Auditorium consistently drew crowds of 3,000 every Friday night. Not just a promoter, he was a judge of talent and teacher helping develop two of the world’s best wrestlers in Harley Race and Sonny Myers. When KQTV television debuted in 1953, Gust brought his wrestling shows to television which helped expand his fan base with the highly “Big 2 Wrestling” show on Saturday evenings. His reputation as a promoter reached his talents beyond wrestling as he brought the Harlem Globetrotters to town, promoted Golden Gloves boxing and also live musicals and vaudeville. Always dressed in a coat and tie, wearing a hat with a pipe in his mouth, he was a St. Joseph institution.
Bill McKinney – Area Sports Innovator
Community leader and champion to recreational activities, Bill McKinney’s legacy in St. Joseph began at an early age. He was a three-sport athlete at Lafayette High School excelling in football which led to a scholarship at the University of Missouri where he played three seasons as a two-way player. Following graduation, he came back to the area serving as a teacher and a coach at Plattsburg High School and then later Lafayette, before opening a sporting goods business that he owned for 20 years. His 1987 career change not only had an impact on his life, but also on the future of his hometown as he was named the interim director of the parks and recreation department. Under Bill’s leadership which quickly turned into permanent; Phil Welch Stadium, Bartlett Park, Bode Ice Arena, Missouri Theater, Civic Arena, Fairview Golf Course Clubhouse and Noyes Tennis Complex have all undergone major renovation along with the creation of the St. Joseph Aquatic Park. Bill’s innovation and inspiration helped further enhance three notable projects to ensure their success; these projects included Remington Nature Center, St. Joseph REC Center and Heritage Park Softball Complex. While Bill loved all sports, he had a special tie to softball being instrumental in bringing numerous regional, national and international competitions to town. For his efforts, he was inducted into the Missouri Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame.
Tom Smith – Hall of Fame Basketball Coach
On the last home game of his first season as head basketball coach at Missouri Western, Tom Smith took the arena microphone and told the crowd “I want everyone back here next year and I want the place rocking.” Rocking it was in that 1989-90 season and began a tradition of excellence that spanned 25 seasons in the black & gold. Smith is the all time leader in wins in MWSU history with 448 in which he lead the Griffons to five MIAA Regular Season Championships, five MIAA Conference Tournament Championships and 11 appearances in the NCAA Tournament. In doing so, he coached 49 All-MIAA players including two MIAA MVP’s and three NCAA All-Americans. Combined with his tenure at the University of Central Missouri, his 534 MIAA victories rank second all time in league history. Including his stint at his alma mater Valparaiso, Smith compiled 618 career victories in his 36 seasons on the bench. For his career achievements, Smith is a member of the Missouri Western Athletics Hall of Fame, MIAA Hall of Fame, Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, Missouri Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame and Valparaiso Athletics Hall of Fame. Additionally, the court in the MWSU Fieldhouse will forever bear his name being dedicated in February of 2019.
Dennis Snethen – Wesley Weightlifters, USA Weightlifting Coach
Simply put, Dennis Snethen is iconic. Snethen, a Benton High School graduate, began his lore in coaching weightlifters in 1978 when he became Head Coach of the Wesley Weightlifters taking a then small club and turning it in to a world power. In coaching numerous local athletes, he first made his mark on USA Weightlifting as a coach developing athletes that became some of America’s best weightlifters that have represented the United States on the world’s greatest sporting stage, the Olympic Games. U.S. Olympians Wes Barnett (1992 and 1996) and Pete Kelley (1996) both got their starts under Snethen in St. Joseph at the Wesley Center. Snethen made his Olympic coaching debut as an assistant at the 1996 Atlanta games. The 2008 Beijing games, were his first as a head coach. Snethen has received numerous accolades in his career including being honor by USA Weightlifting as its Coach of the Year in 1996 and 1999. Prior to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team, Snethen served as the Women’s Weightlifting Head Coach for the 2007 Pan American Games and World Championships Teams. In addition to coaching, he has served as the interim director of USA Weightlifting and seven years as the National Governing Body’s President. He is a member of the USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame.
Herzog Motorsports – Midwest Racing Icons
The Herzog Companies are an institution in St. Joseph and across the country. Founded in 1969 by Bill and then joined by sons Stan and Randy, starting as a small-town company, Herzog has grown to become one of North America’s most respected private rail and heavy/highway construction organizations. In 1987, Herzog founded its motorsports division which started as an off-road racing team in which you could say the rest is history. Their driver, Ricky Johnson, won 6 of 16 events during the 1998 season which led to the SODA (Short Course Off Road Drivers Association) Pro-2 Championship. It was two years earlier however that the team signed on a California native named Jimmie Johnson who took top honors in the SODA. Johnson is now a seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and credits the Herzog family for playing a major role in helping launch his racing career. In 2000, after merging with MLB legend Reggie Jackson to form Herzog-Jackson Motorsports, the team competed in NASCAR’s Busch Grand National Series with Jimmie, Todd Bodine and Jeff Green along with Larry Ragland in off-road and the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb. Ragland would go on to be inducted into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2016. Following the team’s last year competing in the NASCAR Busch Series in 2005, the Herzog’s turned to NHRA drag racing and were a major associate sponsor of Tony and Cruz Pedregon’s Funny Car teams for nearly a decade. The Pedregon’s won numerous races and two of their four World Championships came under the Herzog banner. In all after a quarter century in racing which concluded in 2015, the Herzog’s owned or sponsored race teams that won championships in SCORE, CORR, SODA and NHRA and have scored victories in such prestigious events as the Baja 1000 and Pikes Peak International Hillclimb.
Special Olympics Area Athlete Of The Year presented by the Hook Family – Tanner Hrenchir
Tanner Hrenchir is an institution in the Special Olympics world. Beginning his career at age 9, Hrenchir has now competed in the sports of track & field, softball, bowling, basketball, flag football and powerlifting. His efforts have produced numerous medals at Area, District, Regional and State Competition. He has also taken his talents to the national stage in being selected as a member of Team Missouri at the 2010 Special Olympics National Games in Lincoln, Nebraska coming away with a silver and bronze medal as well as two 4th place finishes. In all, Hrenchir has been a member of the national team three times including just recently where he won a gold medal, two silver medals and bronze in powerlifting at the just completed Orlando games June 5-10. In addition to being an outstanding athlete, Tanner is an outstanding ambassador serving as a Global Messenger for the organization sharing his story to over 5,000 people worldwide and also volunteering numerous hours to Special Olympics Missouri and other local causes.
2021 Inaugural Class:
- Wes Barnett – Two Time Olympic Team Weightlifter
- Byron Browne – 10 year Major League Baseball veteran
- Charlie Burri – Missouri Western’s First Athletics Director
- Newt Hillyard – Founder of the Hillyard Companies
- Julius Hochman – Father of Boys Baseball in St. Joseph
- Terin Humphrey – Two Time Olympic Medalist in Gymnastics
- Henry Iba – Naismith National Basketball Hall of Fame Coach
- Cheri Kempf – Softball Pioneer
- Mike Rucker – 9 year National Football League veteran
- Bill Snyder – College Football Coaching Legend
- Team Induction – Meierhoffer/St. Jo Frontier Casino Fast Pitch Softball Team 1997-2003
- Special Olympics Athlete of the Year presented by the Hook Family – Mike Grossman