There is a long list of potential hall inductees, including former athletes and coaches

Few communities in Oregon have been as steadfastly supportive of their high school's athletic programs as Prineville and Crook County.

With that in mind, we'd put forth that it's beyond time that a sports hall of fame for Crook County High School be established.

We're aware that we aren't the first to put forth the idea, that discussion on a sports hall has been bumped about over the years. But let us shout the discussion out to the community: Let's do it.

The funnest part of getting a hall established — and maybe the most difficult — would be determining who would be in the inaugural class of inductees.

Let's see: Rosi Honl (no-brainer), Michele Hoppes, 1930s javelin national record holder Warren Demaris, perhaps Kim Hyatt, who played three sports at CCHS then went on to a successful javelin career at the University of Oregon. Then there's Jim Hagen, who wrestled at CCHS, then went on to wrestle for the OSU Beavers. Hagen changed wrestling forever. As a 220-pounder, he wrestled heavyweight his senior year in college, finishing second to 450-pound Chris Taylor in the NCAA championships. The weight mismatch ultimately resulted in the heavyweight weight class being capped at 285 pounds.

Others who could crack a first class: former coaches and administrators Russ Thurman (wrestling) Diane Hayes (track and cross country), and Tim Huntley (girls basketball). Perhaps Brian Whitcomb, a CCHS golfer who went on to become president of the PGA, should also be considered.

As for establishing a hall, there are several roadmaps to follow. Many Oregon high schools have sports halls of fame. Madras High School recently established theirs and set their bylaws after studying those of other Oregon schools. Among their induction rules: an athlete has to be out of school for 10 years to be eligible, and coaches, administrators, teams and even exemplary supporters can be considered. They also consider an individual's post-high school athletic endeavors and achievements. Sounds like good ideas.

Among its first class, Major Leaguer Jacoby Ellsbury, a five-time state track champion (Ryan Boyle), and 1950s basketball standout Bill Machamer, who would became a star scorer and track athlete at Linfield. Two female athletes were first class MHYS hall inductees, and those around to watch Crook County and Madras battle in the 1970s might remember them: Bonnie Souers, a multisport athlete who graduated in 1972 and who would play five varsity sports in college, and Kim Manion, who led the '77 girls basketball team to a 22-1 record and the state title. Their only loss? To the 1976 state runner-up Cowgirls — Cheri (Hoppes) Rasmussen surely remembers the battles.

Not sure any team would be more deserving of being the first squad inducted into a Crook County hall than the '84 state champion football team, but there might be some volleyball and wrestling squads, maybe the state title football teams of the 1950s, that might enter that debate, as well as girls cross country, track & field, and basketball teams from the '70s which all won multiple state championships.

Obviously, a key element behind establishing a hall of fame would be funding. Though a hall would need the backing and support of CCHS and its athletic department, we'd suggest that the school not be asked to fund the program. Although it would honor the exemplary achievements of former athletes and other personnel of the school, district dollars should be spent on current students. A sports hall would merely be a celebration of the school's athletic history. A hall of fame committee could easily raise what dollars would be required to get something simple established — say a plaque display area near the gymnasium. If something more grand is in the works, potentially a nice induction dinner-fundraiser could be employed.

A Crook County High School Sports Hall of Fame would have a long list of potential hall inductees. The former athletes and coaches deserve it, and the school's sport history should be celebrated. We'd love to see a committee of local sports historians put together to get the things rolling.

Let the debate over who should be in that inaugural class get started.

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