Zach Winn

Equinox Staff

 

MICHELLE BERTHIAUME

Sports editor

Keene State College has made changes to the Hall of Fame system over the years, but they’ve always had the same goal.

“What we really want to do is make it a very memorable experience when they go into the hall of fame,” KSC Athletic Director, John Ratliff said.

Ratliff added, “And hopefully when they look back at it, it will be one of the highlights of their time here at KSC.  Being inducted into the Hall of Fame should be a big deal and we try to make it one,” Ratliff continued.

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KeeneOwls.com said the KSC Hall of Fame is, “Sponsored by the Alumni Association and the Athletic Department, the Hall of Fame recognizes outstanding alumni, coaches, and contributors to the sports tradition at Keene State College.”

The annual induction ceremony took place in Centennial Hall last year. However, the event has also been held in the Mabel Brown Room in years past, and the school is currently planning on holding the event in the Zorn Dining Commons this year.

That isn’t the only thing changing about the ceremony.  Usually held in the fall, this year’s event will be on the first weekend of June, as part of Reunion Weekend for the alumni of KSC.

Ratliff explained the school’s decision to make the move.

“We think the change will be a natural fit.  Ninety-nine percent of the people in the Hall of Fame are alumni anyways, so everyone will already be gathering at the campus,” Ratliff said.

The slight alterations the school has been making to the ceremony are all part of an effort to bring even more prominence to an already prestigious award.  Members of the Hall of Fame receive a plaque that is displayed in the Spaulding Gymnasium that features a description of their accomplishments at the school.

They receive their award as part of a ceremonial dinner, which features speeches from coaches and peers of the inductee.

KSC Men’s Soccer coach Ron Butcher, inducted in 2005 said he was humbled when people spoke on his behalf at the dinner.

“It was great because any ceremony like that you have a lot of old friends and alumns coming back,” Butcher explained.  He added, “So it’s always great to see the guys that helped make your career.”

Butcher said he had to give credit to the people he’s worked with in his 42 years of coaching when he received the award.

“Everyone who’s in the hall-of-fame has a story but I think they all recognize that without their teammates they might have just been an average player,” Butcher said.

The selection process itself is a complicated matter.  Keene State College usually relies on a nomination letter to begin the evaluation.

Once someone has been nominated, a committee of seven people, all either members themselves or KSC community members, look into a number of things to determine if the person being evaluated is truly worthy of the induction.

“So, the committee will look and ask themselves, ‘was this person an impact player?  Did they have a major impact on the team?” Ratliff said.

But the line isn’t always that clear, Ratliff said.  He explained that problems like comparing players of different generations and considering whole teams, rather than individuals can often be challenging. Regardless of the process, the inductees are always grateful.

“It always feels good,” Butcher said. “Anytime you’re recognized for your accomplishments, it makes you appreciate your career because not everyone has a great career.”

The enthusiasm for this year is already beginning.  The committee usually selects four to six people or teams a year. Ratliff said he is excited about the school once again hosting a successful event.

“We try to make it a first-class event and make it another highlight of their careers,” Ratliff said.

So far, 94 athletes, contributors, or coaches have been inducted into the hall-of-fame. Fifty-six of these inductees were men. Thirty-eight were women. And on top of the 94 individual inductees, 16 teams were also inducted into the Hall of Fame.

 

Zach Winn can be contacted at

zwinn@ksc.keene.edu

 

Michelle Berthiaume can be contacted at

mberthiaume@keene-equinox.com

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