He grew up attending Missouri State basketball games and, later as a teenager, played on the offensive and defensive lines for the Glendale High School football team before going on to play for Drake University.

In other words, Joe Turner and sports are a natural fit. Which also helps explain the years-long support of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame from the President & CEO of Great Southern Bank.

“I think it is the celebration of sports and the celebration of sports at all levels,” Turner said of why he enjoys the Hall of Fame. “Sports has such importance in people’s lives. To have an organization that’s dedicated to celebrating sports is something that is attractive to us.”

In 1999, Turner took the lead from his father, Bill, in not only leading Great Southern Bank but also in backing the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. It’s been a tremendous friendship, and led the Hall of Fame to bestow the President’s Award on Joe at the 2023 Enshrinement.

The honor, which is coupled with Bill also receiving the President’s Award, is presented to those who champion the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame and sports in general in the Show-Me State.

Bill saw to it that Great Southern Bank join the Hall of Fame as one of its first corporate sponsors in 1994. Since moving into the CEO’s chair, Joe has continued the bank’s involvement.

Great Southern Bank remains a corporate sponsor, and is the Hall of Fame’s official bank. Additionally, Joe served several years on the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors. That seat is now held by Great Southern Bank executive Kris Conley, the Chairman of the Hall of Fame board.

This June, Great Southern Bank will mark its 28th year as the title sponsor of the Hall of Fame’s Springfield Celebrity Golf Classic. Additionally, the bank has sponsored November Enshrinements in Kansas City, Columbia and St. Louis over the past dozen years.

The former Great Southern Travel, led by Joe’s late mother, Ann, was a corporate sponsor of the Hall of Fame as well. In 2004, Great Southern Bank was honored with the Hall of Fame’s John Q. Hammons Founder’s Award.

A former attorney in Kansas City, Joe joined Great Southern Bank in 1991. Hammons founded the Hall of Fame in 1994, and Jerald Andrews came aboard a year later as CEO & Executive Director.

“John Q. Hammons was a good friend and a customer of our bank,” Joe said. “And when we saw all the good work Jerald Andrews was doing, we knew it was something we wanted to be a part of.”

The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit.

“My mom and dad set an example for my sister and me – and all of the people here at Great Southern Bank – about the importance of supporting non-profits,” Joe said. “My dad was a big believer in supporting organizations in the Ozarks.”

To Joe, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame represents all the good about sports – and can inspire others, either to play sports or somehow get involved in teams that make a difference.

That’s not the only reason why Joe has maintained the bank’s support of the Hall of Fame. A chief reason is his family’s relationship with Jerald Andrews, who was the CEO & Executive Director of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame from October 1995 to July 2022.

“When Jerald came to the Hall of Fame, it was a bit touch and go,” Joe said. “Jerald came in and put the Hall of Fame on solid footing.”

Joe’s success at growing Great Southern Bank has led the bank to support Missouri State University and the University of Missouri athletic departments. In the past year, the MSU basketball arena was renamed Great Southern Bank Arena.

Joe is on the Board of CoxHealth system, and past Board member of the Missouri State University Board of Governors, Springfield Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of the Ozarks.

For his success, Joe credits his parents, as the support of his wife, Traci, and his daughters Clarie and Anna. A number of friends and colleagues – too many for Joe to name, understandably – have helped along the way.

“I’ve been fortunate,” Joe said, “to get to know a lot of great people over the years.”