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Warwick’s first Athletic Hall of Fame class to be inducted Sept. 5 at Grosh
That is the sentiment of Warwick’s Ryan Landis in regards to forming an Athletic Hall of Fame.
Plus, the school’s athletic director believes there is support in the community for such an enterprise.
This September, the wait will be over.
A committee is currently in place, nominations are being accepted and Warwick’s first hall of fame class will be inducted at halftime of the Warrior football team’s non-league opener against Garden Spot on Friday, Sept. 5 at Joseph Grosh Field.
“It’s a great way to bring the community back together and support many of the people – coaches and athletes – that we’ve grown up watching,” Landis said.
Anyone in the community can submit a nomination. Forms are available in the A.D.’s office, high school office and online by going to the athletics link at warwicksd.org. There are categories for coach, athlete and “other” (which could include administrators, teachers, trainers and medical personnel, community members, etc. who have contributed to Warwick athletics).
The deadline for nominations is Wednesday, July 16, after which the committee &tstr; consisting of about 10 people who are former coaches and athletes, administrators and community members &tstr; will have until July 31 to vote. They will then convene as a group in early August to make final selections and determine the first class.
A reception, which is open to the public, will be held in the Warwick Middle School cafeteria before the Warwick-Garden Spot football game on Sept. 5. Anyone interested in paying a small fee will be able to enjoy a light dinner and listen to each inductee speak for a few minutes.
Putting the wheels in motion to create a hall of fame was one of the objectives that Landis sought to undertake when he was hired last December. Within the first year of his tenure, it’s coming to fruition.
“I think it’s very important that we as an athletic department do things to try to involve the community,” Landis said. “In my opinion, this is not just involving the community, this is a way to give back. When you look at the amount of people who have been involved with athletics … I think by having a hall of fame, it’s a way to recognize the contributions people have made over the years.”
It’s important to note that the Athletic Hall of Fame will be privately funded, not relying on tax-payer school board money, Landis said. To help raise funds, a community night at Hoss’s Steak and Sea House Restaurant, 100 W. Airport Road, has been scheduled for next Friday, June 27. Hoss’s will donate 20 percent of the bill to the hall of fame fund for anyone who presents a card or paper containing their group number, name, etc. Information is available on the hall of fame section on the school’s website. Also, collection cans will be set up at various sites in the community, including Dosie Dough, if anyone wants to donate loose change.
Plus, Landis has talked to a number of individuals who have expressed an interest in making a donation. If anyone so desires, they can send a check to the Warwick athletic office for the “Athletic Hall of Fame” account.
The initial class will probably have eight to 10 inductees. In following years, that number will likely be in the range of four or five.
Student-athletes will have a five-year waiting period from the time they graduate. Retired or current coaches, along with “other” candidates, are eligible at any time.
“Some schools have recognized entire teams and it may be something Warwick looks at down the road,” Landis said, “but because we have so many years and so many candidates to pull from, for the initial few years at least, we’re just going to keep it to individuals.”
Due to the pool of candidates being so deep at this time, patience will be a virtue.
“We can’t put 20 people in right away or it dilutes the whole evening and the whole process,” Landis remarked. “One of the bumps I’ve heard from other athletic directors is that for the first year or two, there’s going to be a portion of candidates that clearly should be in right away and you’re just going to have to have some patience over the first two, three years until that plays out. The community’s waited a long time and I think they’ll at least recognize we’re moving in that direction.”
Most neighboring school districts already have a hall of fame, and Landis acknowledged that the Warriors’ model is similar to that of others.
“I got a lot of feedback from athletic directors across the league,” Landis said. “Many of them have things right on their website with different guidelines. It was modeled pretty consistently with how different schools are doing it.”
While Warwick already honors legendary Dr. Joseph W. Grosh with having the football field named after him, Landis said that an Athletic Hall of Fame provides an opportunity to recognize many deserving individuals who have contributed much to the athletic landscape.
“There’s been a lot of conversation about how do you recognize some legendary people,” he explained. “The hall of fame creates that avenue where there’s a clear simple way that we nominate and recognize. And then for those people that are inducted, their children, grandchildren and family can always come back and say, ‘Look, this is your dad, this is your mom, this is your grandpa or grandma. This is what we did when we were here.’ I think that’s always neat. I know as a basketball coach, there have been many times where I would be at an away gym and you’ve got to pass the time off before the game so you look at the lobby and you read about different people.”
Another bonus with creating the fall of fame is that it could give the Warwick Alumni Association more of a presence at the school. The association is looking to increase its membership. Those interested can contact president Rick Dombach at 615-7001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’s not an athletic alumni association &tstr; it’s an overall alumni association,” Landis said. “(But) one of the things we’re looking to do is find a way to support our alumni association. This could maybe be a way that we bridge the gap and start to get our alumni involved a little bit in the school and have their voice heard.”
Certainly, many alumni will be excited with the progress which is taking place in the athletic department. In fact, Landis has already heard from quite a few individuals who are pleased with the idea of having an Athletic Hall of Fame.
“They feel like this has been something that it’s been a long time coming and ready to go,” Landis said. “The thing that’s always interesting about sports is there’s kind of a ‘whatever happened to’ natural curiosity that people have. They want to know what happened to that coach or that athlete who was All-State or broke this record or has his name on the plaques out there (in the showcases). So that’s appealing to track them down if they’re nominated and bring them back.”