Two former southwest Missouri football standouts who later reached the National Football League – Missouri State’s Clay Harbor and Springfield Catholic High School’s Seth Wand – will soon headline the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame’s upcoming Fall Sports Luncheon presented by the Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company.
The Class of 2023 also will feature three other individuals and four teams/eras: Butler native and football coach Bob Beatty; Rhonda (Blades) Brown, a former basketball star at Parkview High School and Vanderbilt University who played in the WNBA; Carl Junction High School Public Address Announcer Terry Higgins; the 1992 Missouri Southern State University National Championship Softball Team; the 2004-2006 Era of Raymore-Peculiar High School Football; the 1993-1997 Era of Wheaton High School Softball; and the 1993-1995 Era of Kickapoo High School Boys Cross Country.
CEO & Executive Director Byron Shive announced the Class of 2023 on Tuesday, noting the ceremony is set for 11 AM on Wednesday, October 18 at the University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center in Springfield.
Additionally, the Hall of Fame will present Elite 11 Awards to former high school, college and/or professional football players who made positive contributions to the game. They are: Chris Bodoin – Hillcrest High School/Evangel University, Atiba Bradley – Joplin High School/Missouri Southern State University, Tyler Curts – Skyline High School/Southwest Baptist University, Malachi Daniels – Branson High School/Missouri Valley College, Dr. Van Darkow – Rock Bridge High School/University of Missouri, Brandon Gutshall – Platte County High School/Truman State University, Jared Helming – Kickapoo High School/University of Nebraska, Ryan Helming – Kickapoo High School/University of Northern Iowa, Samuel Morton – Strafford High School/Evangel University, Jeff Shore – Camdenton High School/University of Arkansas/Missouri State University, and Bruce Stancell – McDonald County High School/Pittsburg State University.
Sponsorship tables of eight are $450 and features recognition in the printed program and at the table. A head table ticket is $100 and includes the same perks. An individual advance ticket is $60, or $70 at the door. Numerous sponsorships are available, including associate sponsorships and congratulatory ads. The ceremony supports the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit. Call 417-889-3100 for more information or to secure tickets.
Clay Harbor – Missouri State University/National Football League
Harbor won Associated Press All-America honors three times at Missouri State and was an All-American by the Walter Camp Football Foundation in the Football Championship Subdivision. A tight end, he played in the East-West Shrine game in 2009, capping a career in which he was a three-time First Team Missouri Valley Football Conference selection – one of only six MSU players ever to do so. He became the Bears’ career pass receiving record holder by leading the team in receiving three consecutive years. He set the team tight end records for pass receptions (150) and consecutive games with a pass reception (33). Harbor was a fourth-round selection of the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2010 National Football League Draft and played 98 career NFL games for the Eagles, Jaguars, Lions and Patriots. He hauled in 1,170 receiving yards and scored eight touchdowns. It was quite a career for the standout from Dwight, Ill.
Seth Wand – Springfield Catholic High School/Northwest Missouri State University/NFL
A lineman, Wand helped Springfield Catholic’s 1997 Football Team (MSHOF 2017) win the Class 2 state championship as a senior, a year after the team was the state runner-up. Ultimately, he chose Northwest Missouri State, serving as an offensive tackle from 1999 to 2002 before graduating in 2003. He allowed only one sack at Northwest in his three seasons as a starter, mostly at left tackle, and garnered numerous accolades. He was a First Team NCAA Division II All-American by the NFL Draft Report and competed in the 2003 Senior Bowl. Additionally, Wand was a two-time First Team All-MIAA selection and twice was a First Team All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America and the American Football Coaches Association. He also was an Associated Press Little All-American. He later played 53 games in the National Football League, spending the 2003-2005 seasons with the Houston Texans, the 2006 season with the Tennessee Titans and then 2007 & 2008 with the Oakland Raiders. Wand, who later played two seasons in the United Football League, lives in Kansas City.
Bob Beatty – Football Coach
A native of Butler in Bates County and a 1978 graduate of Missouri Southern State University, Beatty was a longtime high school football coach. He enjoyed a great deal of his success at Trinity, a private school in Louisville, Ky., where his teams were 254-44 in 21 seasons and won 15 state championships. After graduating from Missouri Southern in 1978, his first coaching job came that year at Clinton High School, starting a 43-year career. He also coached at Yeokum Middle School in Belton and William Jewell College in Liberty (1980-1986). Before Trinity, he spent 10 seasons (1987-1996) as offensive coordinator at Blue Springs High School and then was head coach for two seasons.
Rhonda (Blades) Brown – Parkview High School/Vanderbilt University/WNBA
Brown was a multiple All-State selection at Parkview, where she played basketball, volleyball and ran track, and was on a travel softball team in the summer. At Vanderbilt from 1992 to 1995, she led the team to the 1993 Final Four and two Southeastern Conference championships – part of a career in which she was a four-year starting point guard and was a captain, finishing with 1,017 points and earning honorable mention All-American honors as a senior. Overall, she played in 132 games there, making 103 starts and had a then-program record 505 assists. She later was a No. 1 draft pick of the Detroit Shock in the WNBA expansion draft, and went on to play for the New York Liberty and Washington Mystics. She played in the first game, hitting the first 3-pointer, and played in the first championship in league history. At Brentwood Academy in Nashville, Tenn., Brown has been the girls basketball coach for 23 seasons, winning five state championships and earning five state runner-up finishes.
Terry Higgins – Carl Junction High School Radio Announcer
Known as the “Voice of the Bulldogs,” Higgins served as the public address announcer for Carl Junction High School football games from 1993 to 2022. During this time, he worked about 175 varsity football games, a number that surpasses 400 when adding junior varsity and freshmen games (1983-2022), as well as junior high school (2001-2022). Along the way, his daughter, Terra, ran the 25/40 second play clock and his wife, Lynne, was his spotter, handling the yards and downs on the scoreboard. From the mid-1980s until his retirement in 2023, Higgins also worked as PA announcer, scorekeeper, and clock operator for boys and girls basketball, wrestling, track and field, cross country, boys and girls soccer, baseball and volleyball. Higgins also coached boys basketball and baseball in the 1980s and is still the all-time winningest softball coach in school history. He retired from his position as a History and Psychology teacher and Social Studies departmental chair this past May, after 43 years at Carl Junction High School.
2004-2006 Raymore-Peculiar High School Football Era
Coached by Tom Kruse, Raymore-Peculiar won Class 5 state championships in 2004, 2005 and 2006. They were 36-3 those seasons, including a pair of 13-0 seasons in the first two seasons. The era included a 28-game winning streak. In championship games, Ray-Pec beat McCluer North 37-18 in 2004, and again 43-21 the next year before beating Kirkwood 42-32 in 2006. In the three championships games, Derrick Washington scored a combined 12 touchdowns, including five as a senior in 2006. In 2004, Ray-Pec beat Park Hill, the defending Class 5 state champions, and then beat them twice each of the next two seasons as they faced off in the regular season and playoffs. The Panthers also scored notable wins against Blue Springs South in 2004 and 2005, as that marked the first time Ray-Pec played a Class 6 opponent. All-State players were: Clyde Aufner, Matt Breit, Kendall Burke, Carson Coffman, Chase Coffman (MSHOF 2019), Robbie Corder, Nick Falcon, Landarian Gordon, David Gutierrez, Thomas Hodges, Nathan Hogue, Robert Link, Gavin Lutman, Tim Mincher, Adam Peterson, Jamison Shaw, Levi Thompson, Brett Twigg, Derrick Washington and Andrew Wilson. Assistant coaches in that run were Ron Barnes, Mark Cook, Matt Copeland, Sean Martin, James Merrell, and Limbo Parks.
1992 Missouri Southern National Championship Softball Team
The 1992 Missouri Southern State University softball team won the NCAA Division II national championship, finishing 50-7. Coached by Pat Lipira (MSHOF 2014), the Lady Lions set school records in hits (500), batting average (.345) and slugging percentage (.476). In 1992, the team had two 11-game win streaks and rode the pitching of 31-game winner and All-American Andrea Clarke and a potent offense led by Katrina Marshall, who finished with a .425 batting average with eight home runs and 50 RBI. Seven members of the team batted .335 or better. In the championship game win against California State-Hayward, Dana Presley’s pinch-hit, bases-loaded single in the fifth inning knocked in Carrie Carter in a 1-0 victory. The team also included second baseman Cindy Cole, pitcher Angie Hadley, first baseman Stacy Harter, outfielder Leah Ingram, outfielder Krissy Konkol, pitcher Cheryl Kopf, All-American catcher Diane Miller, third baseman Sharla Snow, catcher Jaki Staggs, outfielder Marcie Waters, designated player Renee Weih, pitcher Sharon Wright and assistant Dee Gerlach.
1993-1997 Era of Wheaton High School Softball
High school softball has long been a big deal in Wheaton, where successful teams of the 1980s inspired those a decade later. The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame is inducting Wheaton’s Era of 1993-1997, as the Lady Bulldogs earned a third-place finish in 1993, state runner-up in 1994, third place in 1995, a state championship in 1996 and a fourth-place finish in 1997. The coach of those teams was Keith McGee, who guided the program – and the school – to its only state title in its history in 1996 when Wheaton beat South Nodaway 11-8. More than 40 girls were on the rosters in the era as Wheaton continued to churn out victories. All-State players were Mindy Ray, Heather Wheeler, Tracy Schad, Korrie Butler, Susan Hall, Christy Brown, Tracy Keel, Ami Tichenor, Missy Keel and Laura Wilson.
1993-1995 Era of Kickapoo High School Boys Cross Country
The Kickapoo High School Boys Cross Country Teams of 1993-1995 left their mark, not only in southwest Missouri but across the state in Class 4, the largest classification at the time. The 1993 team won state with a score of 61, while the 1994 team placed third, and the 1995 team won state with a score of 80. The 1993 team featured Shawn Hamilton, Bobby Hyde, Joel McCune, Jay Bob Esquivel, Jeremy Combs, Shaun McMaster and John Dexter. Hamilton, Hyde and McCune placed fourth, seventh and 11th, respectively, at the state meet. The 1994 team saw Esquivel and McCune place 12th and 13th, respectively, and the rest of the team included John Jura, McMaster, Combs, Brad Linnell and Andrae Wilberding. The 1995 team saw McCune, Combs and Esquivel finish fourth, seventh and 10th, respectively, at the state meet, with the rest of the team featuring Jura, Bret Anderson, Riley Hamilton and Jon Thurman. All were coached by Jon Ewing.
Chris Bodoin – Hillcrest High School/Evangel University
Bodoin graduated from Hillcrest High School as a two-sport, All-State athlete in 2002 after playing for Gary Turner in football, Greg Harding in basketball and Coach Jim Vaughn in track. He was All-State in football as a defensive back in 2001, his senior season. That also marked his third consecutive All-Ozark Conference selection as a wide receiver and defensive back, as well as his third time as an All-District selection. Bodoin also landed on the News-Leader’s All-Ozarks team. Overall, he had more than 2,000 career receiving yards and 20 interceptions. In track, he competed in the long jump, high jump and relay teams, including the All-State 4×200 relay, and was featured in Speed Magazine among top high school athletes. At Evangel, Bodoin was a four-year starter at wide receiver, defensive back and returner. He earned Don Hansen All-American honors in NAIA as a defensive back and earned All-Heart of America Athletic Conference recognition. He was later offered contracts from the USF, Europe Football League and indoor arena league. These days, he helps coach football, basketball and track at Aurora High School.
Atiba Bradley – Joplin High School/Missouri Southern State University
At Joplin, Bradley emerged as a standout on the offensive and defensive lines, earning Second Team All-State honors in addition to First Team All-Ozark Conference, All-District and All-Joplin Globe. At Missouri Southern, he was a two-time All-MIAA selection as a linebacker. As a senior, he finished as the team’s second-leading tackler with 72 stops (30 solo), including 9.5 losses and one sack. He was ninth in the MIAA that year in tackles. In his career, Bradley finished with 224 tackles, including 17.5 for a loss of 69 years, 6.5 sacks for a loss of 52 yards, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and one interception return of 37 yards. He returned to campus in 2021 as head coach following a decade-plus of coaching at the collegiate level. He was a graduate assistant for MSSU (2006-2008), again at the University of Missouri (2008-2010), and then an assistant at Quincy University (2012), Western Illinois University (2013-2016), South Dakota (2016-2018) and McKendree University (2018-2021).
Tyler Curts – Skyline High School/Southwest Baptist University
Curts is a 2013 graduate of Skyline, where he was a three-sport athlete (football, basketball, baseball) and was All-State in football and basketball. A linebacker, he helped Skyline reach the Class 1 state quarterfinals his senior season. Overall, he finished with 427 career total tackles (342 solos), including 61 for loss, 12 sacks, 11 forced fumbles and four interceptions. He also hauled in 1,254 yards receiving and scored 22 touchdowns. He was a two-time All-State selection in football. At SBU, he was a three-time captain and started more than 50 career games. He finished second all-time in tackles, was a three-time All-MIAA selection and helped lead a defense and team to the only GLVC championship and NCAA playoff appearance in school history. He has since given back to the game as an assistant defensive coach, first at Northwest Missouri State in 2021 and then back at SBU this fall. At Northwest Missouri State, he coached defensive backs and special teams, with the defense finishing fourth in NCAA Division II in total defense and the team winning the MIAA outright.
Malachi Daniels – Branson High School/Missouri Valley College
A 2012 graduate of Branson High School, Daniels played four seasons for the Pirates under coach Steve Hancock (MSHOF 2009). He earned First Team All-State, All-District and All-Central Ozark Conference in 2010 and 2011 as a running back and helped the Pirates win 19 games in three seasons, reaching the playoffs each fall. He ranks third all-time in both all-purpose yards (4,964) and rushing yards (3,795) in program history, and his 54 touchdowns are fourth-most. As a senior, he not only had 1,924 all-purpose yards but also 51 tackles and two forced fumbles. At Missouri Valley College from 2012-2015, he was a two-time selection to the All-Heart of America Athletic Conference team and helped the Vikings win the conference three times. These days, he is an office manager in Kansas City.
Dr. Van Darkow – Rock Bridge High School/University of Missouri
Darkow graduated from Rock Bridge High School in 1977, after earning First Team All-State honors in Class 3 as a linebacker. He played for coach Rich Davies and started on the 1975 undefeated state championship team, and was co-captain his senior year as he finished as the program’s all-time leading tackler. At Mizzou, he played his freshman year for coach Al Onofrio (MSHOF 2012) and then played four years for coach Warren Powers (MSHOF 2017), the first being a redshirt season. In his time, Mizzou played in four bowl games, as Darkow posted back-to-back 100-tackle seasons as a junior and senior. His 122 tackles from 1980 are tied for 16th on Missouri’s single-season list, and were second at the time. As a senior, he had 110 tackles, giving him 294 total for his career – 19th on Mizzou’s all-time list. In 1981, he also was a First Team CoSIDA Academic All-American, an NCAA Postgraduate Scholar and a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete. He is now a physician/pathologist with Boyce & Byum/MAWD Pathology in Columbia.
Brandon Gutshall – Platte County High School/Truman State University
Gutshall went 34-4 as a starting quarterback between 1998-2000 for Platte County. In fact, he was there during an era that saw the Pirates win 65 of 66 games beginning in 1999, including 52 consecutive – the second-longest streak in state history. Between 1992 and 2006, which included Gutshall’s entire career in a Pirate uniform, Platte County’s .867 win percentage was the best in the state. Gutshall earned Missouri Football Coaches Association All-State honors as a junior and senior, leading the Pirates to the Class 3 semifinals in 1999 and to the Class 3 state championship a year later. He held career records for passing yards (4,874) and touchdown passes (56). He was also the single-season record holder for touchdown passes with 30 during the 2000 state championship run. He then played at Truman State from 2001 to 2003 and later graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. These days, he is a partner at the law firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon in Kansas City.
Jared Helming – Kickapoo High School/University
Ryan Helming – Kickapoo High School/University of Northern Iowa
Helming earned Second Team All-State honors in Class 5 in 1995 as a quarterback for Kickapoo, where he was a four-sport letterman (football, basketball, baseball and track). He then went on to be a four-year quarterback – and three-year starter – for Northern Iowa from 1997 to 2000. He led the Panthers to 22 wins and finished his career as both the UNI and the Gateway Conference’s all-time leader in pass completions (662), passing yards (9,089), passing touchdowns (77) and total offense (9,217). A two-time First Team All-Gateway passer and twice a top 14 finisher for the Walter Payton Award, he picked up Second Team All-American honors in 1999 and earned First Team All-American recognition the following year. Helming was also named to the Missouri Valley Football Conference’s Silver Anniversary Team in 2009. In his final two seasons, he threw for 6,614 yards combined and 61 TDs, making him the only passer in program history with multiple 30-plus TD pass seasons. Helming later had brief stints with the Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Rams, as well as the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League. He currently lives outside of Des Moines in Johnston, Iowa, and is a project manager for Farm Bureau Insurance.
Samuel Morton – Strafford High School/Evangel University
A 2016 graduate of Strafford High School, Morton was a standout on the Indians’ football team – and that’s putting it mildly. He played linebacker, center, left guard, kicker and punter. He earned All-State, All-Mid-Lakes Conference and All-District in his time there. Along the way, he had 569 career tackles, including 250 solo (seven sacks). He made 30 tackles in a single game against Lamar his junior year, and had an incredible senior season when he had 232 tackles, including 144 solos. Strafford was 37-9 in his career, including 10-1 in his sophomore and junior seasons. He also was on the state runner-up basketball team as a sophomore and third-place baseball team his junior year. At Evangel through 2019, he was a unanimous First Team NAIA All-American selection by the Associated Press and the Heart of America Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2019. His 26 tackles for loss were the second-highest in a single season. He also averaged 39.5 yards punting.
Jeff Shore – Camdenton High School/University of Arkansas/Missouri State University
Most fans these days probably know Shore as the former head coach of the Camdenton Lakers Football Program (MSHOF 2016) from 2011 to 2022 – and before that as an assistant. He was a pretty good athlete himself, though he never lost a regular-season game as a quarterback from seventh grade through his senior year in high school, although he wasn’t the QB his sophomore season. He was All-State in 1986 and 1987 when Camdenton won state championships and won 26 consecutive games. Overall, he threw for 3,172 yards, completing 241 of 327 passes – including 51 touchdowns. In 1987, he led the state with a 78 percent completion percentage and, at one point, completed 29 consecutive passes – a record noted in USA Today. He later was a redshirt freshman at the University of Arkansas, and then was a three-year letterman at Missouri State as a wide receiver. In coaching, he worked for his dad, Bob Shore (MSHOF 2004), and helped the program win two state championships. He was 95-44 as a head coach, winning three Ozark Conference championships and five district titles, with four teams reaching the state quarterfinals.
Bruce Stancell – McDonald County High School/Pittsburg State University
Stancell earned All-State honors in 1982 at McDonald County as a bruising running back. In fact, he rushed for more than 1,000 yards in his junior and senior seasons. He also helped the basketball team to a third-place state finish in 1981. At Pittsburg State, Stancell earned honorable mention NAIA All-America honors at fullback in 1986. A two-time all-conference selection, he finished his career with 2,750 yards – the second-highest career rushing total in school history at the time. He also helped pave the way for Pitt State’s entire starting backfield to earn All-American honors in 1986, as the Gorillas led the NAIA in rushing (385.7 ypg), scoring (43.5 ppg) and total offense (490.7 ypg). He also was an NAIA All-American in discus in track & field in 1986. Stancell later worked 25 years for McDonald County High School as a teacher. He coached track & field coach for a majority of his years – and also started the wrestling program – before retiring in 2017. He is an inductee of the Pitt State Athletics Hall of Fame.