Butte Sports HOF election nears

The election for new inductees into the Butte Sports Hall of Fame is close at hand.

During the next eight weeks, the process for selecting new individuals and teams into the local shrine will take place.

Once every two years when the election process nears I received lots of phone calls and questions. Many people want to know how do you nominate a person. Others want to inquire how the election works. Still other people want to know what type of credentials is my committee looking for from the candidates.

First of all, anyone from the general public can nominate a candidate provided that candidate has been removed from their high school graduation in Butte fifteen years. It is very common for relatives to nominate a person in their family.

The way you nominate a candidate is by submitting a letter with facts on the candidate backed by copies of newspaper clippings if possible. The information can be dropped off at the Butte Civic Center office during regular business hours. I personally go through every nomination and will double check facts on every candidate.

The Butte Sports Hall of Fame committee has complete statistics on football,  basketball plus track and field from each of our two high schools.

The way the election works is nominees are divided into various categories based on age, gender and sport. My twelve-person committee will look at candidates who graduated between 15 to 49 years ago from their high school graduation. That means my committee will be looking at candidates from 1964 through 1998.

My committee will select at least six candidates. They judge candidates in specific categories: male high school athlete, female high school athlete, coach and other sports not in the main-stream. This means candidates in sports like handball, golf, boxing, baseball, trap shooting, bowling, power lifting and cycling will be looked at separately from high school athletics and coaches. The bottom line is each group will be judged separately so our committee will be looking at nominees against their own peers.

For any candidate to be elected they must receive 75 percent of the vote by my committee. That translates into nine of twelve people must agree on a candidate before they can be elected. Trust me with so many good nominees its not easy for any person to get nine votes easily.

Our rules states that we are looking for certain things from candidates especially in high school athletics and coaching. There are four main goals my committee seeks from each high school nominate.

The four achievements we look for are: did this person win an individual state championship in sports such as track, wrestling, swimming, cross country, tennis and golf. A second point is did  this person make first team All-State in their sport while they competed. A third item is did the nominee set a school record in the sport they competed. The final goal is did they play on a state championship team during their playing career.

A nominee must achieve at least one of these four goals in order to receive serious consideration from our committee. They do not need to achieve all four things, but the more accomplishments the better are the chances of a candidate.

Let me give you an example of how it works. During our last election, Kelly Davis, a former Butte High athlete was elected. Davis won four individual gold medals in track and field, setting school records in both hurdles races at the state meet. He was also a member of two state track championship teams and one state title club in football. In addition, he made first team All-State in football. He hit the mark on every item that my committee is looking for from a candidate.

In the coaching category, our committee is looking for coaches who won either a divisional or state championship in their sport. If a coach did not do this their chance of serious consideration by our committee is almost non-existent.

The main item my committee is looking for from a non-main stream sport candidate is how big an accomplishment and how consistent was a nominee in their sport from a local, state, national and international scope. Secondly, the candidate can not longer be competing at the highest level in their sport.

My committee is just one aspect of the selection process. There is a second election done with the 98 living individual members of the Butte Sports Hall of Fame. Each of the 98 individuals will receive a ballot and vote in categories for veteran athlete and for a contributor.

The veteran athlete must have graduated from high school 50 years ago or longer to be considered. During this year’s election, the veteran athlete starts with 1963 graduates and goes back from there.

Once every three elections we separate the veteran athlete category in two with one candidate being selected from 50-75 years ago and one for athletes over 75 years ago. This enables those great athletes who competed a long time ago to get some of their better nominees into the Butte Sports Hall of Fame.

The main thing we look for in a contributor is a person who has made a significant contribution to Butte athletics.

Prior to the ballots being sent out, five individual members of the Hall of Fame meet and reduce the list of candidates in each category down to fifteen individuals. The streamline of candidates is a must because we have more than fifty nominees. That is entirely too much information for our individual Hall of Fame members to look at.

Each Hall of Fame member can vote for three candidates in each category with their number one selection receiving three votes, the second choice gets two votes and the third pick receives one point. The candidate with the highest number of points in each category will be elected.

During the night of our election, the ballots are opened in front of our entire committee. The top candidate in each category is elected into the local shrine. The bottom five people who receive the fewest votes are eliminated from further consideration in the election process.

The concept of actually eliminating candidates from future consideration is needed because each year we get more and more nominees. There has to been an end for some of the candidates who simply may not have enough accomplishments or support to receive serious consideration from the Hall of Fame members.

This process and vote is taken very seriously by the Hall of Fame members. During our election two years ago, more than 80 percent of the individual members turned in ballots.

The individual members of the Hall of Fame spend plenty of time on the phone discussing various candidates with each other before mailing in their ballots. They have an overload of information in front of them to make their choices. They have requested to me that they do not need phone calls, letters or other forms of information given to them from the general public on any candidate during the election process.

The deadline for turning in nominations for the election this time is January 4, 2013. If my committee has received information on a candidate prior to a previous election you do not need to re-submit information unless that nominee has achieved something new in the past two years.

The Butte Sports Hall of Fame committee will hold a public hearing in January so the general public can come and talk about any candidate that my committee will be considering for this year’s election. That means we will hear testimony for candidates in the era from 15 to 49 years since graduation.

As chairmen of the Butte Sports Hall of Fame committee my main duty is to make sure every candidate in each category receives fair consideration based on their accomplishments. Its not an easy process, but I assure any person who nominees a candidate that the nominee will receive serious consideration.

I realize this article might only produce more questions than answers about the Butte Sports Hall of Fame. I am always willing to discuss the process and the election with any person who calls me at 490-0688.

Hall of Fame candidates presented before Hall of Fame committee
Ted Ackerman , Tony Banovich, Tom Berg, Corey Bolton, Pat Bolton, Bob Burns, Matt Buckley, Mike Carle, Barbara Cockhill, Jim Crowley, Mark DeVore, Don Douglas, Deanna Dugdale,Michelle Durkin, Paul “Duke” Edwards, Todd Ericson, Jay Fagen, Scott Ferguson, Mike Ferriter, Jim George, John Gibson, Bob Hodge, Pete Hristou, Jim Janhunen, Deann Johnson, Kellie Johnson, Ray Jay Johnson, Susan Kaluza, Gary Kane, Dave Keltz, Gary Keltz, Kelley Kingston, Henry Klobucar, Julie Leary, Levi Leipheimer, Chad Lembke, Paul LeProwse, Fawn Lyons, Rick Lyons, Mike Mahoney, Dave Manovich, John Marinovich, Bert Markovich, Lori Markovich, Tami Mathewson, Dave McDougall, Tom McIntyre, Mike McLaughlin, Ron Mehrens, Bill Miller, Chris Milodragovich, Tim Mueller, Marc Murphy, Rick Nadeau, John O’Neill, Craig Padbury, Josh Paffhausen, Todd Paffhausen, Linda Lyons-Paull, Matt Pelletier, Mark Peterson, Joe Petroni, Pat Prendergast, Chris Rasmussen, Scott Reed, Tom Reopelle, John Ries, Tom Roberts, Leroy Romero, Greg Salo, Scott Salo, Kelvin Sampson, Ed Semansky, Monte Sever, Debbie Silk, Jon Smitham, Rob Spear, Stan Stanisich, Butch Starin, Randy Street, Barry Sullivan, Dan Sullivan, John Sullivan, Steve Sullivan, George Tarrant, Bryl Thompson,  Mike Thompson, Si Timberman, Dan Ueland, Chris Cuchine Vidrich, Jay Vogelsang, Sean Walsh, Dick Wilson, Ernie Wilson, Mary Yakawich and Ed Yeo.

Contributors list of candidates
Fritz Apostel, Ron Collins, Mick Delaney, Francis Dolan, Troy Evans, Hoot Gibson, Vern “Hanna’ Griffith, George Huddleston, Merlyn “Huz” Jensen, Fraser MacDonald, Daniel McCarthy, George “Nig” McGrath, Sig Meyer, Jim Michelotti, Jim Peltomaa, George Perry, Frank Quinn, Bob Rowling, Brother Robert Satterthwaite, Jim Scown, C. Owen Smithers, Rudy Tomazich and Tom Tutty.

Veterans’ list of candidates
Floyd Actis, Bill Albright, Martha Apostel, E. J. Barker, Floyd Berg, Ed Boyle, Rusty Bretherton, Owen Bush, Emmett Casey, Larry Connors, Ray Cote, Jack Coyne, Agnus Cromrich, Emil “Shimmy” Crnich, Jack Davidson, Joe Devich, John “Butter” Driscoll, Doug Edwards, Gene Evans, Ray Gallant, Bob Given, Bob Graham, Connie Griffin, John Hall, Ray Harris, Dan Hodge, Danny Kane, Stanley Ketchell, Gary Koprivica, Namen “Dixie” LaHood, Jack Lloyd, Walt Lonner, Joe Malia, Ann Marcille, John McAuliffe, Bob McDonough, Ted McElhenney, Gary Monahan, Bill Mufich, Bill Mulcahy, Jack O’Billovich, Mick O’Brien, Sonny O’Day, Babe O’Farrell, Alan O’Leary, Ralph Olsen, Don “Lefty” Orlich, Wayne Paffhausen, George Paul, George “Buddy” Phelps. Gerry Pochervina, John Rickman, Dick Roche, Lefty Rundle, Chuck Sicotte, Joe Simonich, Marco Stanisich, Jim Stevens, Jack Walsh, Don Williamson, Dan Yovetich, Phil Yoveitch and Joe Zderick.

Nominees not longer considered for a lack of voter support
Albert “Birdie” Aho, Jack Atcheson, Ed Austin, Leo Benz, Dick Bork, Bill Boston, Charles “Tods” Brothers, AEH “Pops” Clarke, Jack Cloward, George “Jiggs” Dahlberg, Ed Dawson, Rosie DesJardins, Matt Dosen, George Downer, Dan Ducich, Betty Hall, Timothy Harrington, Sonny Hicks, Al Hockaday, Shanty House, Ray Hubber, Archie Jackelini, Chuck Jackson, Eugene Jones, Jean Jordan, Dot Joyce, Martin Kall, Joanne Kerlee, Gene Killoy, Jim Konen Sr., Don Laird, Bernie Lazzarri, Maurice Maffei, Nick Malkovich, Bern Maloney, Bronco Manovich, Mike Mansfield, Ed Markovich, John Masonovich, Robert McDonough Sr., Bernard McGinley, Bill Meagor, Rudy Merhar, Jim Miller, Darrell “Beanie” Parks, Russ Penhole, John “Onzi” Powers, John Regan, Charles “Red” Robbins, Helen Richards, Steve Ryan, Duke Schroeder, John Sheehy, Carol Skertanc, Lester Sodja, Blackie Uzlic, Hughie Welsh, Joe Wiendl,  Ed Woodland, and Frank Worden.

— Pat Kearny is the Butte Sports Hall of Fame Chairman