The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame will soon induct 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 – along with former Lockwood High School volleyball coach Cheryl Shores. The Hall of Fame also will honor Jodie Adams, a longtime leader in the Springfield Greene-County Park and Recreation Department who will be the first woman to receive the President’s Award.
It’s all part of the fourth annual Women’s Sports Luncheon presented by the Bee Payne-Stewart Foundation, set for 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 30 at the University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center. President and Executive Director Jerald Andrews announced the upcoming honorees on Wednesday.
The Hall of Fame also will recognize 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, college and pro standouts who made an impact in their sports.
This year’s Wynn Award recipients will be Tara Bailes (Springfield Catholic High School/Missouri State soccer), Teresa Baird Beshore (Springfield Catholic High School/University of Tulsa tennis), 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).
A sponsorship table of eight is $400 and includes associate sponsor recognition in the printed program and an autographed print. An individual ticket is $40, while a head table ticket is $100. Numerous other sponsorships, including congratulatory ads, also are available. Call the Hall of Fame at 417-889-3100.
Jodie Adams – President’s Award
Adams will be 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 in leadership positions for the Springfield-Greene County Parks and Recreation Department. 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), operating three teams annually as they played 133 games in six months, all covering 30 states. Eventually, the team was coached and owned by Orwell Moore. Players from Missouri included Cairo’s Brenda Koester and Kay Burk, and Edina’s Pat Overman.
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 A.D. in the history of the MIAA. 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
Now in his 23rd year as the coach of the Evangel University Women’s Basketball Program, Leon Neal entered this season with a 409-286 record (.588). Under his guidance, Evangel has made nine NAIA Tournament appearances, including two semifinals, and captured eight Heart of America Athletic Conference championships. He 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 finished her career with three seasons at Pleasant Hope and retired after the 2013 season.
Tara Bailes – Soccer, Springfield Catholic High School & Missouri State University
Bailes was a four-time All-State selection, All-Region, All-District and All-Ozarks Conference at Springfield Catholic, where she became the career leader in points and record-holder for most points in a season (99). She led Catholic to four state quarterfinal appearances and was selected to the Southwest Missouri All-Star team. At Missouri State, she started every match in her final two seasons, 2010 and 2011.
Teresa Baird Beshore – Tennis, Springfield Catholic High School & Tulsa University
At Springfield Catholic High School, Beshore was All-State in tennis by placing second in Class 1-3 in 1993 and 1994. She also was a freshman and sophomore on the Lady Irish’s back-to-back state championship basketball teams in 1992 and 1993, and All-State in basketball as sophomore, junior and senior – with her junior year leading to a third-place finish in Class 2. Baird then was a four-year letter-winner in tennis at the University of Tulsa.
Chelsea Taylor Corp – Volleyball, Sarcoxie High School & Missouri State-West Plains
A 1993 graduate of Sarcoxie High School, Corp was First Team All-State in Class 2 in volleyball as well as a First Team All-Mid-Lakes Conference, All-District and on the Joplin Globe’s All-Area team. She also was All-State, All-District and all-conference in basketball. When she graduated from Missouri State-West Plains, she ranked first in school history in attack percentage (.353) and was the program’s first All-American. When inducted into the MSU-West Plains Hall of Fame, she was third in kills (744), fifth in blocks (200.5) and sixth in attacking attempts (1,492). She finished at the University of West Alabama.
Aleah Hayes – Volleyball, Ozark High School & Texas Tech University & Columbia College
Hayes was a two-time All-State selection and two-time All-District for Ozark High School in the mid-2000s. She was a three-time Southwest Missouri All-Region selection and Ozark’s MVP twice. Overall, Hayes was a four-year varsity setter and part of a 2007 district title. In two seasons at Columbia College, she was an NAIA All-American and two-time All-Midwest Conference selection, plus was an assistant coach on three of Columbia’s national tournament teams, including the 2015 national championship team. She currently is an assistant at Evangel.
Tonya Choate McCall – Golf, Mount Vernon High School & Drury University
McCall was a state golf medalist her senior year and a two-time district champion for Mount Vernon High School. At Drury University, she was a three-time NCAA Division II All-American, a three-time conference champion and the 2006 Player of the Year. She won 12 tournaments before transferring to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. McCall, who won the 2005 and 2006 Missouri Amateur, was on the Golf Channel’s “Big Break Florida” in 2014 and has competed on the Cactus Tour (four top 10 finishes) and other mini tours since.
Amanda Newton Plotner – Basketball, Republic High School & Drury University
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. 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 (1,815 points) and rebounding leader (793 rebounds). The team reached four NCAA Tournaments, including a national runner-up finish her sophomore season.
Melissa Hoffmeister Sanders – Tennis, Joplin High School & University of Arkansas
A Joplin High School graduate, Sanders was a Class 2 state tennis champion in No. 1 singles in 2005 and was All-State as a freshman and junior. Overall, she was 132-13 and a four-time champion of both the Ozark Conference and district tournaments. She went on to earn three letters at the University of Arkansas, helping the team win the Southeastern Conference West Division in 2008, and later served as the head coach of the Evangel University tennis team. These days, Sanders is the district administrator for the Missouri district of the United States Tennis Association.
Sophie Cox Stagner – Soccer, Rolla High School & Tennessee-Martin
Stagner was a multiple All-State, All-District and All-Ozark Conference selection for the Rolla High School girls soccer program. She led teams to three district championships (2003, 2004, 2005), with the 2004 team advancing to the state quarterfinals. At the University of Tennessee-Martin, her 71 matches started are tied for ninth-most in program history, and she helped the team win the 2009 Ohio Valley Conference as she earned a place on the All-OVC Tournament team.