The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame honored Jodie Adams, the former Director of the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, with the President’s Award and welcomed new inductees on Thursday during the fourth annual Women’s Sports Luncheon presented by the Bee Payne-Stewart Foundation.
A crowd of almost 700 gathered at the University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center as Adams became the first woman to receive the President’s Award, while the Hall of Fame inducted the All American Red Heads Basketball Program, former Missouri Southern State University Athletic Director Sallie Beard as well as two women’s basketball coaches – Evangel University’s Leon Neal and the University of Missouri’s Joann Rutherford – and former Lockwood High School volleyball coach Cheryl Shores. Beard was unable to attend due to a death in the family, and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame offers its condolences.
The Hall of Fame also recognized eight former high school and college standouts with the Wynn Awards, named in honor of Dr. Mary Jo Wynn, the longtime Senior Women’s Administrator at Missouri State University, a 1999 inductee of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame and a 2014 Missouri Sports Legend. The awards are presented to former high school and college standouts who made an impact in their sports.
This year’s Wynn Award recipients were Tara Bailes (Springfield Catholic High School/Missouri State soccer), Teresa Baird Beshore (Springfield Catholic High School/University of Tulsa tennis & basketball), Chelsea Taylor Corp (Sarcoxie High School/Missouri State-West Plains), Aleah Hayes (Ozark High School/Texas Tech University/Columbia College volleyball), Tonya Choate McCall (Mount Vernon High School/Drury University/Cactus Tour golf), Amanda Newton Plotner (Republic High School/Drury University basketball), Melissa Hoffmeister Sanders (Joplin High School/University of Arkansas tennis) and Sophie Cox Stagner (Rolla High School/University of Tennessee-Martin soccer).
Jodie Adams – President’s Award
Adams was the first woman, and 10th recipient, to be honored with the President’s Award, given to someone who promotes sports across the state as well as promotes the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. Adams has served on the Hall of Fame’s Board of Trustees since 2004, supporting numerous efforts that have helped the Hall of Fame achieve more successes. A 2004 Missouri Sports Hall of Fame inductee and graduate of then-Southwest Missouri State, Adams worked 37 years (32 full-time) in leadership positions for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board. Her tenure included serving as the City-County Director from 2006-2011. Adams was the first woman ever elected from Missouri to serve as National President of the National Parks and Recreation Association, which supports all municipal park boards throughout the country. Adams enjoyed a standout tennis collegiate career, served as the General Manager of the Springfield Lasers of World Team Tennis and in 2010 was given the Samuel Hardy Award by the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
All American Red Heads Basketball Program
Founded by C.M. Olson in the southwest Missouri town of Cassville, the All American Red Heads Basketball Program was one of the first professional women’s programs in the country. The Red Heads barnstormed across the country for 50 years (1936 to 1986), breaking stereotypes and paving the way for the addition of women’s basketball among national colleges as they played upwards of 220 games a year. Eventually, the team was coached and owned by Orwell Moore. The team has since been inducted in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Sallie Beard – Athletic Director, Missouri Southern State University
Sallie Beard worked for the Missouri Southern State University athletic department for 37 years. She was the Director of Women’s Athletics for 25 years and was Athletics Director from 2001 to 2009, becoming the first woman to be an A.D. in the history of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. Beard created women’s sports on campus in the 1970s following the passage of Title IX and was the first coach of the university’s women’s basketball, softball, tennis and track and field teams. As athletic director, she oversaw upgrades or construction of numerous facilities, helped steer the department from the NAIA to NCAA Division II and served on national committees. Beard also was a coach for the U.S. in the 1981 World University Games and in the 1983 National Olympic Festival.
Leon Neal – Basketball Coach, Evangel University
In 2017, Neal completed his 34th season on campus, including his 23rd consecutive as head coach. Overall, he owns a 422-303 record (.583), which includes nine NAIA Tournament appearances, including two national semifinal berths, and eight Heart of America Athletic Conference championships. Neal also was a conference Coach of the Year six times. In fact, the No. 44 jersey, worn by Neal (1976-1978) and his All-American daughter, Tasha, (2002-2005), has since been retired. Neal was Evangel’s first NAIA All-American in any sport, and his 782 points scored in the 1977-1978 season remains No. 2 in single-season school history.
Joann Rutherford – Basketball Coach, University of Missouri
Joann Rutherford is the winningest coach in the history of the University of Missouri Women’s Basketball Program, with a 422-263 record (.617) in 23 seasons – including 19 winning seasons. Her 422 wins ranked among the NCAA’s Top 35 all-time at the time of her retirement. Rutherford’s teams captured four Big Eight Conference regular-season titles, five conference tournament championships and reached six NCAA Tournaments, including an Elite Eight appearance in 1982. She was the Big Eight Coach of the Decade in the 1980s, when her teams were 213-98 (.685). Rutherford also was Mizzou’s Senior Women’s Administrator in the latter part of her career and is in the MU Athletics Hall of Fame.
Cheryl Shores – Volleyball Coach, Lockwood High School
Cheryl Shores put the Lockwood High School Volleyball Program on the state map. Overall, she coached 31 seasons, compiling a 614-235-33 record combined at Lockwood and Pleasant Hope high schools. In 28 seasons at Lockwood, Shores’ teams were 577-190-30. She guided the program to four state semifinal berths in Class 1, with the 2004 team winning a state championship. The 1991 team placed third, and the 1990 and 2001 teams placed fourth. Shores, whose teams won 21 district and 19 conference titles, finished her career with three seasons at Pleasant Hope and retired after the 2013 season.
Tara Bailes – Springfield Catholic High School & Missouri State University, Soccer
Bailes was a four-time, First Team All-State selection, All-Region, All-District and All-Ozarks Conference at Springfield Catholic. She was the All-Region Offensive Player of the Year in 2006 and the All-Region Player of the Year as a junior and senior. Upon graduation, she held school records for points in both a season (99) and career (263), plus goals in a career (100). She also was second in career assists (63). Along the way, she led Catholic to four state quarterfinal appearances and was selected to the Southwest Missouri All-Star team. At Missouri State, Bailes started every match in her final two seasons, 2010 and 2011.
Teresa Baird Beshore – Springfield Catholic High School & Tulsa University, Tennis & Basketball
At Springfield Catholic High School from 1991 to 1995, Baird placed second in No. 1 singles at the state tennis tournament as a junior and senior, after finishing sixth as a sophomore and third in doubles as a freshman. She was a semifinalist for the Wendy’s High School National Heisman award. In basketball, Baird played as a freshman and sophomore on back-to-back state championship teams and, as a junior and senior, helped the team to a third-place finish and quarterfinal berth, respectively. Baird earned First Team All-State her final three seasons, and USA Today named her one of the state’s top 10 women’s basketball players her senior year. She was valedictorian of her graduating class. At the University of Tulsa, Baird was a member of the basketball team one season and tennis team all four years. She was captain of the tennis team, and an NCAA Division I All-American Scholar Athlete and Western Athletic Conference Academic All-Conference her final two seasons. Her senior year, she was one of seven athletes to receive the University of Tulsa Ultimate Team Award, given for achievements in academics, community service and athletics. She in an attorney in Springfield.
Chelsea Taylor Corp – Sarcoxie High School & Missouri State-West Plains, Volleyball
A 1993 graduate of Sarcoxie High School, Corp was First Team All-State in Class 2 in volleyball as well as on the All-Mid-Lakes Conference, and part of the Joplin Globe’s All-Area team. At Missouri State-West Plains, she was coached by Trish Kissiar-Knight (MSHOF 2008), who moved Corp to middle hitter. The position switch led to Corp’s career taking off, as she finished No. 1 in school history in attack percentage (.353) and became the program’s first All-American. When inducted into the MSU-West Plains Hall of Fame about a decade later, she still ranked high in several statistical categories — third in kills (744), fifth in blocks (200.5) and sixth in attacking attempts (1,492). Corp, who went on to play at the University of West Alabama, lives in Springfield.
Aleah Hayes – Ozark High School, Texas Tech University & Columbia College, Volleyball
Hayes was a two-time All-State selection and two-time All-District first team in the mid-2000s for Ozark High School, where she was team captain her senior year. She was a three-time Southwest Missouri All-Region team pick and was Ozark’s MVP two years. Overall, she was a four-year starting varsity setter and part of the 2007 district championship team, finishing as the school record holder in aces in a match (11), season assists (724), career assists (2,076) and career aces (120). She went on to Texas Tech University and finished her final two seasons at Columbia College. There, she was an NAIA All-American and two-time All-Midwest Conference selection, plus helped the program to three national tournaments in three seasons as an assistant coach, including its 2015 national championship. She is now an assistant volleyball coach at Evangel University.
Tonya Choate McCall – Mount Vernon High School & Drury University, Golf
At Mount Vernon High School, McCall was a state medalist her senior year. She also won district titles as a junior and senior, when she was one of two girls in the U.S. to participate in the Bogey Golfer International program that toured Europe. At Drury University from 2005 to 2007, she became a three-time All-American, a three-time conference champion and the 2006 Player of the Year. In fact, she won 12 tournaments and had 19 Top 10 finishes before transferring to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas for her final season. McCall, who also won the Missouri Amateur in 2005 and 2006, earned conditional status on the Ladies European Tour in 2010. She went on to compete on the Cactus Tour, with four top 10 finishes in 2013, and won the 2014 Shriners Golf Classic. That same year, she competed on Big Break Florida on the Golf Channel. McCall also has earned four Top 10 finishes on the Suncoast Series and fourth- and 20th-place finishes on the Canadian Women’s Tour, where she was 15th on the money list.
Amanda Newton Plotner – Republic High School & Drury University, Basketball
A 2002 Republic High School graduate, Plotner was a two-time All-State selection in basketball, a four-time All-State medalist in track and All-State in volleyball. As a senior, she set the Class 3 State Outdoor record in the discus with a throw of 143 feet, 6 inches. At Drury University, Plotner’s No. 42 jersey is retired following a standout career from 2002 and 2006. She was a three-time NCAA Division II All-American and finished as the Lady Panthers’ career scoring leader (1,815 points) and rebounding leader (793 rebounds). The team reached four NCAA D-II Tournaments in her time there, including a national runner-up finish her sophomore season. Plotner, who coaches track and field for Republic High School, is married to Curt Plotner and they have two children, Macy Ruth and Cayden Alan.
Melissa Hoffmeister Sanders – Joplin High School & University of Arkansas, Tennis
A Joplin High School graduate, Sanders was a Class 2 state tennis champion in No. 1 singles in 2005, completing a high school career in which she was 132-13. Along the way, she was All-State as a freshman and junior, plus became a four-time champion of both the Ozark Conference and district tournaments. Sanders later earned three letters at the University of Arkansas, helping the team win the Southeastern Conference West Division in 2008 and reach the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. She later served as the head coach of the Evangel University tennis team and currently works for the United States Tennis Association as the District Administrator for Missouri in Springfield.
Sophie Cox Stagner – Rolla High School & University of Tennessee-Martin, Soccer
Stagner, who got her start on youth travel clubs coached by her dad and on St. Louis teams, was a multiple All-State, All-District and All-Ozark Conference selection for Rolla High School girls soccer. She led the team to three consecutive district championships (2003, 2004, 2005), with the 2004 team reaching the state quarterfinals. At the University of Tennessee-Martin, her 71 matches started are tied for ninth-most in program history. In 2009, when she was the team captain, Stagner made the Ohio Valley Conference All-Tournament team, Academic All-American and earned the first of two OVC Academic Awards. Stagner, who graduated cum laude in both high school and college, now works for Mercy in Rolla.