- School District of Beloit
36th Beloit Sports Hall of Fame Banquet Honors BMHS Alumni and Retired SDB Teacher
BELOIT—Tuesday night’s 36th annual Beloit Historical Society Elliott-Perring Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was another terrific success, despite the steamy weather testing the AC at the Rotary River Center.
It’s always an opportunity for everyone involved to remember the glory days.
Inductee Chris Whitt, now a law enforcement officer in Georgia, was unable to attend the event and his father, Harley, was there to represent him. In accepting the award, Harley introduced himself as a former SoBo and immediately congratulated inductee Lenette (Range) Holden, the former South Beloit High School basketball star. He also told inductee Michael Borgerding, the former Beloit Catholic track star, that when he was the MVP of the football team in 1967, the SoBos’ lone loss was to the Crusaders.
Harley also took some credit for his son’s decision to become a football player, a few years before he became an All-State linebacker at Beloit Memorial High School.
“I was mowing my grass and Chris was up in the attic and found an old football trophy of mine,” Harley said. “He asked me if he could have it. I said sure, but it won’t mean much because you didn’t earn it. He asked me if he could earn one.”
With his dad’s blessing, Chris Whitt, who had skipped Pop Warner football, then went out for the sport at McNeel Junior High. Before he was donem he was one of head coach John Heineke’s all-time favorite Purple Knights. Tuesday he added a nifty Hall of Fame plaque to his honors.
“I’m heading (to Georgia) tomorrow and I’ll make sure he gets it,” Harley said.
Each of the inductees thanked parents, coaches and teammates for being instrumental in their individual Hall of Fame careers.
Michael Hodges, who starred for Beloit Memorial’s basketball team and went on to play for NCAA Division 1 Richmond University, said he considered his induction a family award and that he considered all his coaches and teammates his extended family. Borgerding, Jim Stiener and Holden echoed those sentiments.
Many family members, old coaches and teammates were in attendance Tuesday not only to congratulate the inductees, but also Bernie Barkin/Everett Haskell Lifetime Achievement Award winner Andy Trice.
The former SoBo head football coach, who held assistant positions at Beloit Memorial, Beloit College and Hononegah, received some of the warmest wishes. He recently whipped cancer just like he taught his players to overcome all obstacles. Former Buccaneers John Fitzpatrick, Joe DeGeorge and Chris Fleming were among those on hand to celebrate the moment with their old coach.
Due to some logistics with the newspaper, I wasn't able to be as active as in the past with the night's festivities. Co-chairman Rick West deserves credit for another remarkable job emceeing the event and basically bringing it all together. The community is fortunate to have someone like Rick.
Which brings me to my usual pitch. Anyone who thinks they know someone who should be considered for the Hall of Fame in the future, please help out our committee. Just providing a name is fine, but also representing us with some historical background is even better. An email to firstname.lastname@example.org would be appreciated.
We work off a list of worthy candidates, but we continually update it when we learn of someone who may have slipped through our research or, in the case of Rick and I, our own experience. The nice thing about having longevity is that we've seen a lot of those candidates firsthand.
We had seen all of this year's inductees in action. Well, I had watched all but Borgerding and Rick had attended Beloit Catholic with him.
The Sports Hall of Fame committee members believe Beloit and South Beloit have enjoyed remarkable sports histories that should be celebrated. That's why we remain committed to honoring the best of the best.