Class of 2021 set for January Enshrinement presented by Killian Construction

The late Derrick Thomas of the Kansas City Chiefs as well as Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore, angler Edwin Evers, Webb City High School football coach John Roderique and Springfield philanthropist Bobby Allison will be among the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame’s induction Class of 2021.

President and Executive Director Jerald Andrews on Tuesday announced the annual Enshrinement presented by Killian Construction, set for Sunday, January 31 at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds. The event’s associate sponsors are Advertising Plus, Bryan Properties, Hiland Dairy Foods, Great Southern Bank and Hillyard, Inc.

Edwin “Cookie” Rice, the longtime CEO of the Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company, will receive the President’s Award. Former Chiefs President Carl Peterson (MSHOF 2005) will accept on behalf of Thomas.

The Class of 2021 consists of:

  • Derrick Thomas, Chiefs linebacker
  • Dayton Moore, Royals GM
  • Edwin Evers, Angler
  • Mark Lamping, Former President of the St. Louis Cardinals
  • John Roderique, Webb City football coach
  • Bobby Allison, Springfield philanthropist
  • Dennis Heim, Monett & Missouri State football standout
  • Jim Middleton, Basketball coach
  • Alex Hall, Kickapoo & Drury basketball standout
  • Jim Whytlaw, Swim coach
  • Missouri State Sugar Bears
  • Dan Boever, Golf Long Driver & Entertainer
  • Pat Colon, Southeast Missouri State basketball standout
  • Poplar Bluff High School Boys Golf Program
  • Paul Evans, Missouri State pitching coach
  • The Mizzou Football Chain Crew
  • Tom Mast, Sports Media
  • Warrensburg High School Country Programs
  • Ron Clawson, Warrensburg coach
  • Bryan Blitz, University of Missouri soccer coach
  • Cookie Rice of Ozarks Coca-Cola/Pepper – the President’s Award

A sponsorship table of 10 is $1,500 and includes perks such as a poster (drawn by artist Dayne Dudley) autographed by individual inductees and recognition in the printed program and at the table. An individual ticket is $150. Numerous sponsorships are available, including congratulatory ads, trading cards and 20-month calendars. For tickets, call 417-889-3100.

Derrick Thomas – Kansas City Chiefs

Thomas will be inducted posthumously, with former Chiefs President Carl Peterson (MSHOF 2005) to accept on his behalf. In his 11 seasons with the Chiefs, Thomas transformed Kansas City into an annual contender in the 1990s. A first-round draft pick in 1989 from the University of Alabama, the inside linebacker made 10 career playoff appearances, was selected to a Chiefs-record nine consecutive Pro Bowls from 1989 to 1997 and was a two-time winner of the franchise’s MVP trophy (1991, 1994), which now bears his name. Thomas established Chiefs career records for sacks (126.5), safeties (3), fumble recoveries (18) and forced fumbles (45). His 126.5 sacks were the fourth-highest total ever by a linebacker at the time of his death in February 2000. Thomas produced a club-record 20 sacks in 1990, including an NFL single-game sacks record (7). He also remains the only Chief to appear in action in three different decades. Overall, he played in 169 games (158 starts) and won the 1989 Mack Hill Lee Award.

Dayton Moore – Kansas City Royals General Manager

The architect who brought Kansas City baseball back, Moore will enter his 15th full season with the Royals in 2021. The Wichita, Kan., native cut his professional teeth in the Atlanta Braves’ organization during that club’s annual dominance in the National League East and then he returned to the Midwest in 2006 to take the reins of the Royals, who had not reached the postseason since 1985. Under Moore’s leadership, the franchise was constructed from within, using the skills he developed in scouting and player development. It ultimately resulted in consecutive American League pennants in 2014 and 2015, capped off by a World Series title in 2015. A graduate of George Mason University, Moore’s impact is all over Kansas City, highlighted by the opening of the Urban Youth Academy in 2017, a $21 million facility that not only affords youth the opportunity to play baseball and softball, but also learn valuable life skills.

Edwin Evers – Fishing

Born in Louisiana, Missouri, Evers is one of the most successful anglers of all time. He competes in Major League Fishing and has become one of only five competitors in history to pass $3 million in career winnings. Officially, he has earned $3,688,943 million. Evers has recorded 13 wins and 119 Top 20s in his 22-year career, which includes winning the Bassmaster Classic in 2016. Additionally, Evers is the winner of the 2019 REDCREST, MLF Bass Pro Tour Stage Two in Conroe, Texas, and Bass Pro Tour Angler of the Year. It’s been quite the career for Evers, whose sponsors now feature Bass Pro Shops, Nitro Boats, General Tire, Optima Batteries, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance, TrueTimber, Wiley X, Luna Sea Cush-It and Navionics. He attended high school in Seneca, Illinois and later played football for Southeastern Oklahoma State University. These days, he lives in Talala, Okla.

Mark Lamping – Sports Executive

Lamping is now in his 27th year as an executive in professional sports, with 2020 marking his eighth as President of the National Football League’s Jacksonville Jaguars. His career began with 13 years (1989 to 1994) as a marketing executive with Anheuser-Busch, followed by 14 seasons (1994 to 2008) as President of the St. Louis Cardinals. He then spent four seasons as CEO of New Meadowlands Stadium Company as he oversaw the construction and operation of MetLife Stadium, home of the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets. In his St. Louis days, the Cardinals enjoyed a Golden Era of playoff runs and moved into new Busch Stadium in 2006. In 1999 and 2003, the organization was honored by United Sports Fans of America as Major League Baseball’s Fan Friendly Team. At Anheuser-Busch, Lamping served as Group Director of Sports Marketing, a role that led to sponsorship agreements with all professional sports leagues as well as the Olympics.

John Roderique – Webb City High School Football Coach

Roderique has won the most state football championships in Missouri high school history, with 12 at his alma mater, Webb City High School. Since his hiring in 1997, his teams have compiled a record of 298-28 and enjoyed 10 undefeated seasons. The state championships have all happened in Class 4 and cover 1997, 2000, 2001, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2019. Overall, the Cardinals have advanced to the playoffs in 22 of Roderique’s 24 seasons, reached 18 state semifinals – including eight consecutive from 2008 to 2015 – and also finished as a state-runner-up in 2004 and 2015. His teams also have won 21 consecutive district titles and had a 92-game regular-season win streak (2003-2013). All of this followed an outstanding playing career, as Roderique was an All-State linebacker for Webb City in 1985 before going on to Pittsburg State University, where he was an All-American linebacker – including a consensus NCAA Division II All-American in 1989, his senior year.

Bobby Allison – Sports Contributor

Allison has long thrown his financial support behind Springfield athletics. His backing of the PGA Korn Ferry Tour’s Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper has included the long-running Betty Allison’s Pro-Am – the only women’s pro-am on the Korn Ferry Tour – as well as the Betty & Bobby Allison’s Junior Pro-Am. Allison’s significant gifts in 2013 to Missouri State University led to improvements of athletics facilities and student recreation. The improvements gave first-class homes to MSU’s soccer, women’s track and field as well as field hockey programs along with sand volleyball courts – all named in honor for him and his late mother, Betty. He also contributed funds to support construction of MSU’s Bill R. Foster and Family Recreation Center and recently provided the lead gift toward MSU’s Greenwood Laboratory School’s Betty & Bobby Allison Event Center. Additionally, Allison has supported numerous causes and non-profits. They include Miracle League Ball Field – a baseball field for those with disabilities – as well as Harmony House, a shelter for survivors of domestic violence, and Lost and Found Grief Center.

Dennis Heim – Monett High School/Missouri State University/CFL & NFL

A standout football player at Monett High School in the early 1970s, Heim became one of the best in Missouri State University football history soon thereafter. He finished his collegiate career with 338 total tackles in 42 games, with 141 unassisted stops. He still owns the MSU single-season and career records for quarterback sacks with 16 for a single season and 41 for his career, creating a total of 267 yards in losses. He still ranks among the all-time MSU Top 10 in total career tackles. His senior year was among his best, as Heim was a team co-captain and led the Bears with 133 total tackles, including 45 unassisted stops – and earned his second consecutive First Team All-MIAA selection. He was drafted by the National Football League’s New York Giants. He spent most of the 1978 and 1979 seasons with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League before spending time with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is co-founder of Heim, Young & Associates in Springfield.

Jim Middleton – Basketball Coach

A graduate of Nixa High School and Missouri State University, Middleton became one of the state’s most successful basketball coaches. He initially coached at West Plains High School (1989-1991) and then was an assistant coach for the MSU Lady Bears’ 1992 Final Four team. He later coached 14 seasons at Southwest Baptist University, with a program-best 239-158 record (.602 win percentage). He guided the Lady Bearcats to six NCAA Division II Tournament appearances, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2000 and was twice nominated for the NCAA Division II Basketball Coach of the Year (2001, 2008) and named the MIAA Coach of the Year in 2008. He then coached the Nixa girls for five seasons (2009-2013), with the 2009 team winning the Class 5 state title and earning a No. 15 national ranking. His Nixa teams produced eight collegiate players. As an athlete, Middleton was a four-sport letterman, including for Nixa’s 1978 state championship team and 1979 state third-place team.

Alex Hall – Kickapoo High School/Drury University Basketball Player

Hall is among Springfield’s basketball royalty. When he graduated from Kickapoo in 2009, he ranked 10th on the program’s all-time scoring list (1,055 points). As a senior, he averaged 24 points, was a McDonald’s All-America nominee and a Show-Me Basketball finalist, plus was selected to the Lions Club All-Star team – all after the Chiefs won the Greenwood Blue & Gold Tournament and placed fourth at the Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions. At Drury, he led the Panthers to the 2013 NCAA Division II national championship, scoring a game-high 21 points in the championship game and earning MVP. Career-wise at Drury, he ranks third all-time in points scored (2,200) and first in both 3-point field goals made (389) and points in the postseason (189). He also set single-season records for points (711) and 3-pointers made (125) in 2013, when he earned numerous postseason honors, including First Team All-American.

Jim Whytlaw – Swim Coach

Whytlaw coached high school swimming and diving for 37 years, including 34 years at Glendale High School. His teams were 810-58 (.933 win percentage) in duals. Whytlaw was voted Missouri Swimming Coach of the Year eight times and was a three-time Section 5 Coach of the Year for an eight-state region. In 2008, he was voted the National High School Girls Swimming and Diving Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations – the third time he had been a finalist. Born in Staten Island, N.Y., Whytlaw grew up in Oklahoma, placing second at the state meet and qualified for the Olympic Trials. He later attended Brigham Young University and was a four-time All-Western Athletic Conference diver and WAC champion in 1971. Whytlaw, who taught math at Central, Glendale and Greenwood, also coached swimming at Marshfield from 2005 to 2010. Additionally, he was the longtime summer swim team coach and pool manager at Highland Springs Country Club since 1989.

Missouri State University Sugar Bears Dance Team

The Missouri State Sugar Bears Dance Team has been among the top-ranked programs in the country, earning top three rankings by the Universal Dance Association. They also received paid bids to the UDA College National Championships in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. Each January, the team travels to Orlando, Fla., to compete in nationals.  Sugar Bears have placed in the Top 10 for the past 12 years. At the UCA/UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championships in 2020, they were eighth in Division I Jazz and sixth in Division I Game Day a year after placing 10th in Division I Jazz, ninth in Division I Pom and seventh in Division I Game Day. In addition to performing at all home football and basketball games, the Sugar Bears practice an average of 10 hours a week and fund-raise the money necessary to cover the cost of competition and other squad benefits. They also host an annual high school dance team competition, visit children at Mercy Kids Hospital, and participate in community service projects was well as events for charitable organizations, including Champions Committed to Kids.

Dan Boever – Golf Long Driver & Entertainer

Boever has been one of golf’s best ambassadors for 24 years, as he entertained golf enthusiasts at more than 1,800 exhibitions worldwide. In 1996, he qualified for his first RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship and, a year later, performed at the State Farm/Red Cross Disaster Tournament in Branson. He then went full-time in 2000, as many of America’s top companies, charities, golf clubs and PGA Tour events hired Boever to entertain guests. He made 18 consecutive appearances in the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championships, recorded eight national TV commercials, hosted a dedicated half-hour special on the Golf Channel and had an one-word scene in the New Line Cinema movie “Hoot.” He also participated in Feherty’s Troops First Foundation’s goodwill trips to U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. Boever also has been a RE/MAX Senior World Long Drive Champion. The Remsen, Iowa native previously played college baseball, first at Arkansas-Fort Smith and then at the University of Nebraska, where he earned NCAA Division I Third Team All-American and All-Big Eight Conference honors. Boever was the Cincinnati Reds’ eighth-round draft pick in 1983 and reached Triple-A within his seven seasons.

Pat Colon – Cape Girardeau Central H.S./Southeast Missouri State University Basketball Standout

Colon was the first woman – and only the second basketball player at the time – whose number (No. 54) was retired by Southeast Missouri State. At the end of her final game in 1987, she had scored 2,034 points and grabbed 1,003 rebounds in her career. In fact, her point total stood as the school record for nine seasons after her final game – and it’s still No. 2 all-time. Her rebounding total is still tops in program history. Those were among 13 school records she held when SEMO retired her jersey in 1994. This for a four-time all-conference selection who helped Southeast Missouri State reach four NCAA Division II Tournaments, win two MIAA regular-season championships and the 1987 MIAA Tournament title. Her teams were 88-28 overall, including 44-14 in her final two seasons. Colon, who was a two-time All-State selection i(1981, 1982) at Cape Girardeau’s Central High School, is the Chief Deputy Officer of Cape Girardeau County.

Poplar Bluff High School Boys Golf Program

The Poplar Bluff High School Boys Golf Program will be the first boys golf program to be inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. The Mules have finished among the top four in the state 19 times. That’s the third-most in state history behind Rockhurst’s 33 and Pembroke Hill’s 22 – and includes six state championships. The state titles cover 1938, 1980, 1981, 1988, 1995 and 1996. E.T. Peters coached the 1938 team, while Dave Porter coached the 1980 and 1981 state championship teams, Bruce Power led the 1988 team, and Bill Caputo the 1995 and 1996 teams. Overall, Poplar Bluff has finished as a runner-up five times (1982, 1989, 1994, 2005, 2017), placed third four times (1986, 1987, 2004, 2012) and placed fourth in 1939, 1958, 1977 and 2010. The Mules also count 15 district titles since 1994. Individual state champions have been Craig Caringer (1980), Brent Pennington (1986), Colby Robertson (1994, 1996) and Tyler Hillis (2004).

Paul Evans – Missouri State Baseball Pitching Coach

Evans will begin his 33rd season as Missouri State’s pitching coach in 2021. In his time, 63 Bears pitchers have signed pro contracts, with 13 reaching the big leagues. Five were first-round draft picks. Three earned a spot with Team USA. Additionally, 26 Bears were First Team All-Missouri Valley Conference, with 15 claiming All-American honors — including Nick Petree, the 2012 Collegiate Baseball/Louisville Slugger National Player of the Year. Evans was the 2015’s National Assistant Coach of the Year and the 2016 Midwest Scouts Association Coach of the Year. Evans is an inductee of Halls of Fame at Granite City (Ill.) High School and Rend Lake College. At Rend Lake, he was 201-95 in three seasons as head coach, earning two Coach of the Year honors in his seasons when the team won conference and sectional titles. A Southern Illinois University graduate, Evans pitched in the prestigious Cape Cod League and later coached in the circuit.

University of Missouri Football Chain Crew

The University of Missouri Football Chain Crew will be the first of its kind ever inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. What began in the late 1960s with Claude Menefee of Fulton, the current game-day crew includes 10 workers for each Tigers home game as they handle the chains and down markers on the sidelines. Blue Springs resident Rich Montgomery was a part of it for 50 years, and his two sons, Jeff Montgomery (MSHOF Elite 11 2019) and Mark, have been members of the Mizzou Chain Crew since the 1980s and 1990s. The crew also consists of Dale Shepherd, a Parkway West High School cross country coach whose son-in-law, Mike Alagna, and grandson, Ryan Alagna, now work the chains. Rob Feree, a high school official in the St Louis area, has been a part of the crew since the 1980s. His dad, Bob, an original member, passed away in 1985.

Tom Mast – Sports Media

Mast will mark his 50th year in sports broadcasting in 2021. He joined the Springfield market in 1976, working as a TV Sports Director for 16 years, first at KOLR TV for a dozen years before joining KSPR TV through 1992. He later became the producer of local sports for TeleCable, which later became Mediacom, until 1999. In 1997, he joined Wannenmacher Advertising in publishing Big Sports, a monthly magazine. Additionally, Mast has handled play-by-play on radio of Evangel University football (1977-1978), Missouri State basketball in the mid-1980s and on TV of MSU football in 1989 as well as cable TV of Springfield high school sports – including football, basketball and soccer in the 1990s. He also has handled TV play-by-play for Missouri State basketball, Drury University basketball and the Springfield Cardinals. Mast, who continues to cover sports for Mediacom, is a graduate of Baxter Springs (Kan.) High School and attended Wichita State University.

Warrensburg High Boys & Girls Country Programs & Coach Ron Clawson

  • Warrensburg High School’s Boys and Girls Cross Country Programs: They’ve ombined for 31 top four finishes, which include a combined 10 state championships. On the boys side, the Tigers have earned 20 top four finishes, which includes six state titles (1984, 1985, 1986, 1991, 1995, 2011) and nine runner-up finishes (1980, 1981, 1982, 1987, 1989, 1990, 2001, 2012, 2017). It placed third in 1979 and 2013 and fourth in 1975, 1983 and 1996. Rob McCarter in 1985 and Edward Wilhite in 2017 were individual state champions. The Warrensburg girls program has 11 top four finishes, including four state championships (1986, 1988, 1989, 2003). They also have three state runner-up trophies (1985, 1987, 2002), placed third in 1992 and fourth in 2001, 2009 and 2019. Coach Ron Clawson guided the first three state title teams, and Jamie Moreno coached the 2003 team. Individual state champions have been Tammy Lossman in 1986, Stephanie Clendenin in 1987 and 1988 and Kara Eckard in 2002.
  • Coach Ron Clawson: Clawson worked 32 years in the Warrensburg School district, including 25 coaching the high school cross country programs (1973-1995) and 28 coaching the high school track and field programs (1973-1998). His cross country teams combined for eight state championships, five in boys competition, while the track and field programs won 25 conference championships and 25 district titles. The school later named its track facility Ron Clawson Stadium and its annual spring track showcase the Ron Clawson Relays. Clawson, who was a physical education teacher for 19 years before spending 10 years in administration, is an alum of Meadville High School and Truman State University.

Bryan Blitz – University of Missouri Soccer Coach

The 2021 season will be Blitz’s 26th as head coach of the Mizzou women’s soccer program. He is 252-214-38 since the program’s start in 1996. Overall, he has coached 29 seasons, with a record of 297-258-46. The 297 wins rank him 28th nationally among active head coaches, while his 252 wins at Mizzou are fourth among Southeastern Conference coaches at their current institutions. Building the program from scratch, Blitz has guided the Tigers to seven NCAA Tournament appearances, advancing to the second round four times. Since transitioning to the SEC, the Tigers have qualified for the SEC Tournament in all but one season as a member and have never lost an SEC opener. Blitz has earned Coach of the Year honors three times – SEC (2015), Big 12 Conference (2007, 2009) – and Mizzou athletes have earned 61 all-conference honors. Blitz previously started soccer programs at Butler University and Tulsa University.

Edwin “Cookie” Rice – President’s Award

Rice will be bestowed the President’s Award, given to individuals who champion the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame as well as sports across the state. He has been the longtime CEO of Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2020 after being founded by Rice’s father, Edwin C. Rice.  In fact, the company received the Hall of Fame’s first John Q. Hammons Founder’s Award in 2003. Cookie Rice has seen to it that Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper has been a corporate sponsor since the Hall of Fame’s inception in 1994, with the company’s products available at every event. Additionally, the 700-employee company is the presenting sponsor of the Hall of Fame’s Baseball, Football and Outdoor Sports Luncheons. Rice, who has been employed with Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper since 1953, for years supported the local auto racing circuit, including Joe Naegler (MSHOF 2020) beginning in 1970. Rice, who was named among the Springfield Business Journal’s Men of the Year in 2017, has served on the American Beverage Association Board of Directors and has held roles of treasurer, vice president and president of the Coca-Cola Bottlers Association.