The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame ushered in its Class of 2023 on Sunday, with former Kansas City Royals All-Star centerfielder Lorenzo Cain and longtime Sporting KC soccer player Matt Besler headlining the honorees. Additionally, former Kansas City Chiefs President Carl Peterson received the Hall of Fame’s President’s Award.
A crowd of 600 turned out to the LEX at Municipal Auditorium, with CEO & Executive Director Byron Shive presiding over the ceremony. St. Joseph-based Hillyard, Inc., was an associate sponsor.
“What a great group of honorees,” Shive said. “All of them are so deserving of being honored and made such an impact in their respective sports and areas of expertise. We are very pleased to welcome each of them into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. We also want to thank the numerous businesses and individuals who supported these Enshrinement Ceremonies, either with congratulatory ad sponsorships or the purchase of tables and individual tickets. We cannot do what we do without the tremendous support of these individuals and businesses.”
The event came a day before the Hall of Fame hosts its Kansas City Celebrity Golf Classic on Monday morning at Tiffany Greens Golf Club, with Shive hoping to enhance the Hall of Fame’s presence in the area.
The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit and has never applied for state or federal funding in its 29-year history. Instead, it relies exclusively on private donations.
The Class of 2023 is as follows:
- Carl Peterson – President’s Award
- Lorenzo Cain – Kansas City Royals
- Matt Besler – Sporting KC
- Muna Lee – Central High School/LSU/Olympic Track & Field
- Rockhurst High School Football Program
- Vic Bonuchi – Excelsior Springs High School Football Coach
- Charlie Burri – Missouri Western State University
- Don Edwards – Jefferson (Conception) High School Basketball Coach
- Blair Kerkhoff – Kansas City Star Sportswriter
- Claude English – Park University Athletic Director
- Archbishop O’Hara High School Volleyball Era 2002-2010
- Tom O’Brien – High School Tennis Coach
- William Jewell College 2003 Women’s Soccer Team
- Karen Schull MacGee – Golf
- Larry Lady – Commissioner of Heart of America Athletic Conference
- Michael Watson – UMKC Basketball Player
- Karen Kornacki – Sports Broadcaster
- Benton High School 2007 Girls Basketball State Championship Team
- Northeast Nodaway High School Girls Basketball 1973-1979 & 1982
Carl Peterson – President’s Award
The former longtime president and general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs, Peterson will be honored with the President’s Award. It is bestowed on individuals who champion the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame and sports in general in the Show-Me State. Peterson, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005, oversaw the Chiefs from 1989 to 2008. He has been a great friend of the Hall of Fame, especially through financial support of Chiefs inductees, as well as making time to record videos in honor of Chiefs being honored. In 2020, he flew in to Springfield for the Enshrinement Ceremonies and delivered the acceptance speech for the late Derrick Thomas. In his days leading the Chiefs, Peterson built the team’s second Golden Era. His hiring of coach Marty Schottenheimer led to 15 winning seasons, including nine playoff berths, and all through an overall record of 176-141-1. He also invigorated the fanbase, as he supported tailgating and saw to it that players were part of the community. Overall, the Chiefs sold out 149 consecutive games from 1990 to 2008 and led the AFC in paid attendance every year during that time frame.
Lorenzo Cain – Kansas City Royals
Cain will be forever remembered in Kansas City for helping the Royals win two American League pennants and the 2015 World Series. A center fielder, he played for the Royals for seven seasons after being acquired in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers. In Kansas City, he batted .289 with 765 hits – including 56 home runs, 21 triples and 140 doubles. He also stole 120 bases and drove in 308 runs. He was a 2015 American League All-Star and finished third in MVP voting in 2015, joining George Brett (MSHOF 1994) as the only Royals to win a World Series and finish in top three of MVP. Defensively, he made jaw-dropping catches. He also had a three-run double in the clinching game of the 2015 World Series, giving the Royals their first title in 30 years. Most, though, may remember Cain scoring the decisive run in the 2015 American League Championship Series, as he scored all the way from first base on Eric Hosmer’s hit down the right-field line. Overall, Cain played 13 seasons in the big leagues, including six with the Brewers.
Matt Besler – Sporting KC
Besler played 12 seasons for Sporting KC and earned numerous honors. Those include Major League Soccer’s Best XI (2012, 2013), All-Star (2011, 2013-2016), Defender of the Year (2012) and Breakout Player of the Year (2012). He’s an MLS Cup Champion (2013) and a three-time Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Champion (2012, 2015, 2017). He was named Sporting KC Defender of the Year four times (2011-2013, 2015) and was also awarded the 2014 KC Sportsman of the Year by the Kansas City Sports Commission. At the time of Besler’s retirement, his 348 appearances, 337 starts and 30,397 minutes played for Sporting in all competitions are the most in club history. He earned 47 caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team and participated in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. He is also a two-time CONCACAF Gold Cup Champion (2013, 2017). Besler previously starred at Notre Dame, becoming the first player in program history to earn First Team All-American and First Team Academic All-American in the same season.
Muna Lee – Central High School (Kansas City)/Louisiana State University/Olympics
Lee enjoyed quite a career in track and field. Even when she was a student-athlete at Central High School in Kansas City, she competed in the 2000 Olympic Trials as a senior, finishing the 100 meters in 11.36 seconds. That made her the fastest female in the nation. She also was a four-time state champion in the 100 meters and 200 meters (1997-2000). Her best 100 meters time was 11.54 seconds, which set a state record in 2000 and stood for 12 years. Her best 200 meters time was 23.83 seconds, which set a state record and is now third-best all-time. Lee went on to Louisiana State University from 2001 to 2004, and was a seven-time NCAA champion, a 12-time Southeastern Conference champion and 21-time All-American. In Olympic competition, she was an Olympic qualifier in 2004 and, in 2008, was fifth in the 100 meters and fourth in the 200 meters. At the Olympic Trials, she won the 100 meters and placed second in the 200 meters. She also was part of the U.S. 2005 world champion 4×100 meter relay and was the 100-meter runner-up that year. Lee is now an assistant coach at Tennessee State University.
Rockhurst High School Football Program
The Football Hawklets of Rockhurst High School have been one of the most storied programs in state history. Overall, they have played in 18 state championships games, winning nine of them. The state titles are fourth-most in state history and cover 1971, 1981, 1983, 1986, 1987, 2000, 2002, 2007 and 2010. Rockhurst’s state runner-up finishes were in the years 1969, 1974, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1989, 1999, 2014 and 2018. Overall, the program is 760-263-35 since its founding in 1916, and has had four head coaches since 1952. Al Davis’ teams earned 153 wins between then and 1975, Jerry Culver’s had 63 through 1982, and Tony Severino (MSHOF 2018) was 345-92-1 from 1983 to 2019. Kelly Donohoe (MSHOF 2019) has coached since. Over the years, the program produced at least several NFLers in Tim Ryan, Kenyon Rasheed, Derek Hall, Jordan Willis, Robert Gamble, Dexter McDonald, Kerry Reardon, Jerry Reardon, Mark Goodspeed, Chris Garlich, Brad Budde and Paul Migliazzo.
Vic Bonuchi – High School Football & Wrestling Coach
Bonuchi made quite the mark at Excelsior Springs High School as a football and wrestling coach. In football, his teams were 137-44-7 as he enjoyed two stints as the Tigers’ head coach. He began his career in 1960 and stayed at Excelsior until 1973, when he left for his alma mater, William Jewell College, where he served as the defensive coordinator. He returned to the Tigers in 1989 and took the program to another level. Excelsior Springs won two state titles, in 1994 and 1996. The Tigers also won 45 consecutive games between 1963 to 1968. In fact, the football field in Excelsior Springs bears his name. Bonuchi also coached the high school’s wrestling program, leading the squad to state titles in 1974 and 1975. He later guided the school’s baseball team to three Final Fours in 1995, 1996 and 1999. He has been inducted into several halls of fame: Missouri High School Football Coaches Association, Missouri High School Wrestling Coaches Association, the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association and the Excelsior Springs High School Athletic Hall of Fame. He also was among the inaugural class of the Missouri Chapter of the National Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame.
Charlie Burri – Missouri Western State University
A St. Joseph native, Burri has been a fixture at Missouri Western since 1967, when he was offered the role of athletic director for the new formed college. He also was appointed chair of the physical education department, basketball coach and golf coach. He bought the first football for Missouri Western in 1979, formed the athletic boosters in 1970 – the Gold Coat Club – and Spratt Memorial Stadium for football and the Looney Athletic Complex for basketball were built during his tenure. At one point, the NBA’s Kansas City Kings played at the MWSC Fieldhouse. Along the way, the softball team won a national title, the golf team made several national tournament appearances, and the football team earned bowl victories. He retired in 1984, but has remained a supporter of the Griffons athletic department. He has been inducted into the National Association of College Athletic Directors Hall of Fame and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame. Burri graduated from Christian Brothers High School (now Bishop LeBlond High School), the St. Joseph Junior College and Northwest Missouri State University.
Don Edwards – Jefferson (Conception) High School Basketball Coach
Edwards was a basketball coach whose boys and girls teams earned 824 wins over a 20-year period at Jefferson High School in Conception Junction. They appeared in six Final Fours, won three state championships, 18 conference championships and 16 district titles. He also was a three-time Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year. Two of his girls teams won state titles in Class 1. The 1989 team was 31-0, and the 1997 team finished 30-2. The 1990 team placed third. In boys basketball, his 2000 team won Class 1 with a 29-3 record. That came four years after his 1996 team placed third. He also coached softball, guiding the team to six Final Fours and winning three state titles (1981, 1987, 1998). Basketball has long been a part of his life, as Edwards was a 1974 All-State selection at North Harrison High School in Eagleville. He went on to play at Northwest Missouri State, where he lettered in the sport.
Blair Kerkhoff – Kansas City Star Sportswriter
Kerkhoff has been a reporter, beat writer and has written columns for the Kansas City Star since 1989, and overall, has been a sportswriter for more than four decades. He arrived in Kansas City in 1989 as a college beat writer. When the Big 12 Conference was formed in 1996, he became a regional and national college sports reporter. Overall, he has covered 30 Final Fours and 25 college football championship games. Additionally, he has covered Super Bowls, World Series, the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Playoffs and U.S. Open golf. Over the past decade, Kerkhoff has covered the Chiefs and Royals in addition to college sports. He is the author of five books, has been elected to the United States Basketball Writers Hall of Fame and won the Bert McGrane Award from the Football Writers Association of America. Kerkhoff grew up in Raleigh, N.C., and attended Broughton High School, where he played baseball and football. He later graduated from Appalachian State University. He previously worked at the News & Observer in Raleigh and, after graduation, covered sports at the Roanoke Times in Virginia.
Claude English – Park University Athletic Director
English made a tremendous impact at Park University, where he was the men’s basketball coach from the fall of 1992 through March 2005. He was the athletic director for 25 ½ years, retiring in July 2021. During his tenure as AD, Park won seven NAIA national volleyball championships (five men’s and two women’s), 79 conference championships, produced 170 NAIA All-Americans, 428 NAIA Scholar-Athletes and was a 17-time NAIA Champions of Character awardee. During his tenure as director of athletics, English guided the University’s addition of four sports programs, men’s baseball and golf, and women’s beach volleyball and golf. In 2017, the university added seven developmental (junior varsity) athletics programs. In coaching basketball, English compiled the second-most victories (182 in 13 seasons) in program history. He was the AMC Coach of the Year twice, including in March 1999 when the Pirates reached the NAIA Division I semifinals. Following the tournament, the team was recognized with the Dr. James Naismith / Emil S. Liston Sportsmanship Award, and English received the Charles A Krigel Award for coaching sportsmanship. He graduated from Rhode Island and played one season for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Archbishop O’Hara High School Volleyball Era
What a run it was for the Archbishop O’Hara High School Volleyball Program from 2002 to 2010. The team won seven state titles, which cover the years 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 – all in Class 3. And leading the way was coach Lori Hanaway, who was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2017. The 2002 team beat Willard in the finals, the 2003 team beat Pleasant Hill in three sets, and the 2004 squad placed third. In 2005, O’Hara beat St. Francis Borgia in three sets in the championship match. The 2007 team topped Westminster Christian Academy in two sets to win it all, and the 2008 team handled Logan-Rogersville in two sets in the finals. The 2009 team finished 27-6-1 after beating Villa Duschesne in two sets, and it was a 34-4 season in 2010 after O’Hara beat Borgia in two sets.
Tom O’Brien – High School Tennis Coach
A Kansas City native, O’Brien coached high school sports for 51 years. He began at Bishop Hogan High School, later at Hickman Mills High School and then The Barstow School. In 2006, he took over the tennis program at The Barstow School, and the teams have combined for eight top-four finishes since. That includes two girls state championships in 2013 and 2021, and a boys state title in 2021. He oversaw nine doubles titles combined, including six doubles state championships in girls tennis. O’Brien has been a Coach of the Year by the Missouri and Midwest Sections (2013, 2021), the Missouri Valley Heart of America and the National Federation of High School Associations. At Hickman Mills from 1980 to 1992, his girls basketball teams won 10 conference championships, with the 1986 team finishing as the Class 4 state runner-up. He holds the second-highest winning percentage (.785) in the 60-year history of the Suburban Conference. In 1992, he was the Kansas City Metro Girls Basketball Coach of the Year by the Kansas City Star. For 31 years, he taught at Hickman Mills, where he also was the head coach of boys golf and junior varsity coach for eight years for boys basketball. O’Brien is a graduate of St. John Seminary and Rockhurst University.
Karen Schull MacGee – Golf
A longtime Kansas City-area resident, MacGee is synonymous with the sport of golf. She won seven Missouri Golf Association Women’s Amateurs, which cover the years 1960, 1962, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1973 and 1979. She also was a four-time runner-up in the Missouri Women’s Amateur (1957, 1959, 1974, 1976), and was a three-time medalist (1960, 1967, 1975). Her record of 70-15 in Missouri Amateur matches won leads the second-place player by 18 wins. Nationally, she reached the quarterfinals of the 1961 U.S. Women’s Amateur, placed as the runner-up in the 1961 Women’s Collegiate, and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 1963 and 1965 Trans-Miss Championship. MacGee also was an eight-time champion of the Kansas City Women’s Match Play, and four-time country club champion. Overall, she enjoyed eight appearances in the USGA Women’s Amateur, five appearances in both the Women’s Trans-Miss Championship and the Women’s Western Amateur. She also was a match play qualifier for the USGA Girls Junior Championship and the Women’s Western Junior Championship in 1957. And living in the Kansas City area allowed her to have success across the state line, as she won five Kansas Women’s Amateurs.
William Jewell College 2003 Women’s Soccer Team
Considered to be the best team in program history, the 2003 William Jewell women’s soccer team became the first team in any sport in school history to reach the Final Four of the NAIA Tournament. Additionally, the Cardinal were the highest-scoring team in the nation at any level, and finished the year 21-1-1 and No. 3 in the nation. Coached by Chris Cissell, the team also was a perfect 18-0 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference. Team members were Andrea Turner, Stefanie Carson, Lara Melenbrink, Melissa Reh, Rebekah Lassiter, Kerry Regan, Anneliese Laughman, Sarah Alderman, Charleen Keller, Lindsay Davis, Sydney Boggess, Celine Jaiko, Tasha Soltis, Sarah McCarty, Kristin Neher, Megan Penrod, Aly Diaz, Mallori Kaminski, Sabrina Denny, Megan Sharp, Molly Thye, Jenna Einhellig, Chrissie Miller, Alyson Cox and Allison Mallams.
Larry Lady – Commissioner, Heart of America Athletic Conference
Lady retired in 2014 after 21 years as commissioner of the Heart of America Athletic Conference, an NAIA league with a rich history in Missouri. Mainly, he has been the HAAC’s men’s basketball supervisor of officials, selecting and supervising officials for conference, district and regional playoffs. That was right in his wheelhouse, as he was a college basketball referee from 1959 to 2000, working all NCAA levels and jucos in Kansas and Missouri, and officiated the NAIA Tournament in Kansas City from 1989-1993. He was a football referee in college, and officiated three sports at the high school level. Lady served as NAIA National Supervisor of Officials for 17 years for basketball and football. Additionally, Lady served 20 years as commissioner of the Kansas City (Kan.) High School League and of the Huron High School League. In that capacity, he was responsible for selecting, training, assigning and supervising 350 high school officials in all sports for KC Metro schools.
Michael Watson – UMKC Basketball Player
Watson played four seasons for the Kangaroos from 2000 to 2004 and made such an impact that the school has since retired his jersey No. 22 in February 2019. A 1999 First Team All-State selection at Kansas City Central (Mo.) High School, he went on to score nearly 2,500 points to become UMKC’s all-time leading scorer. He also is the third all-time leading scorer in the conference formerly known as the Mid-Continent Conference (The Summit League). In 2004, he was a First Team All-Mid-Continent Conference selection for the third consecutive year – and that was the most of any Roos player. He also joined Tony Dumas as the only Roo players to be recognized twice on the National Basketball Coaches Association’s All-District Second Team. Watson is the school career leader in 3-pointers made (391), which in 2004 ranked fourth all-time in NCAA Division I history. He also holds UMKC career records for games started, games played, minutes played, field goals made and 3-pointers attempted. On Feb. 22, 2003, he set UMKC’s single-game scoring record, with 54 points, against Oral Roberts. A 6-foot-1 guard, he signed a free agent contract with the NBA’s Boston Celtics in 2004 and played professionally for 10 seasons in Poland, Turkey, Italy, France and his native Puerto Rico.
Karen Kornacki – Sports Broadcaster
Kornacki is a longtime sports broadcaster, having covered sports for 44 years. She has worked for KMBC TV in Kansas City since 1983 and now anchors the Saturday sportscasts at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. In her time in Kansas City, she covered the Royals – including their 1985, 2014 and 2015 World Series seasons – as well as the University of Kansas’ 1988 national championship and its title run last year. Kornacki also has long covered the Chiefs, including their three Super Bowl trips in the past four seasons. She has made history by being the first woman sportscaster in locker rooms for the Chiefs, Royals, Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Reds. She also was the first woman to cover the New York Yankees’ Triple-A team. A native of New York who graduated from North Towanda High School, Kornacki has won numerous awards throughout her career, including for high school sports. Among them is the Kansas City Image Award. It was presented to her in 1995 in recognition of work in the community, as well as on the job. She also won an Emmy in 2003 for a special show on the Royals. Additionally, Kornacki has been involved with various charities throughout her years in Kansas City. She is a graduate of the University of Denver and previously worked in the Columbus, Ohio market.
Benton High School Girls Basketball 2007 State Championship Team
Coached by Brett Goodwin, the Benton High School Girls Basketball Team of 2007 won the Class 4 state championship and finished 30-0. The team beat Farmington 52-37 in the finals, with Alecia Bell scoring 24 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, making four assists and four steals. Melissa McIntosh added 10 points. That came after a 46-40 semifinal victory against Bolivar. The team had advanced to the state tournament with a 46-42 win against Savannah in the district championship game, and then beat Lincoln Prep 49-36 in the sectionals and Excelsior Springs 46-27 in the quarterfinals. That season, Benton won the Jefferson City Tournament with a 44-37 victory against Liberty, which went on to win the Class 5 state championship. Benton also won the Lindwood-Basehor (Kan.) Tournament, beating Holton 53-27 weeks before Holton won the Kansas Class 4 state title. Other team members were seniors Claire Brown, Delissa Hall, Charnelle Starling, Blair Brown, junior Jenni Musser and sophomores Chelsie Strong, Nicole Wilkerson, Meghan Curtis and Holly Switzer, and freshmen Kerstyn Bolton, Shelbee Cox, Hannah Moore and Karli Sample. Assistant coach was Adam Willard, and Bryce Mereness was the student manager. Mike Ziesel was athletic director.
Northeast Nodaway High School Girls Basketball Era 1973-1979 Era & 1982 Team
When the Missouri State High School Activities Association launched a postseason tournament to decide a girls basketball state champion, Northeast Nodaway stormed out of the chute. The Lady Jays advanced to seven Final Fours in the eight seasons between 1973 and 1979, winning state six times (1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979), and then won it again in 1982. All were in Class 1. Coached by Claude Samson, Northeast Nodaway finished 31-0 in 1973 after beating South Shelby 41-35. The 1974 team placed third, and the 1975 team was a state runner-up. The 1976 squad finished 301 after a 38-31 victory against Hale. A year later, Northeast Nodaway scored a 41-17 victory in the finals and finished 32-0. The 1978 team held off Wheaton 41-32 in the finals and ended the year 32-0. It was a 30-3 season to close out the 1970s, as Northeast Nodaway beat Greenwood 52-37. The Lady Jays won it all again in 1982, beating Purdy 44-28, and finished 30-1.