Local Town Pages - Hopedale High’s athletic hall of fame is making a comeback this year.
Bill Gaine, who’s in his second year as the Blue Raiders’ athletic director, made the revival of the school’s hall of fame high a high priority on his to-do list for 2018. And, if all the planning and the work that’s necessary goes smoothly, then there’ll be an induction ceremony in November.
“When I became athletic director, I knew there was a hall of fame in place but it was dormant,’’ Gaine said. “I also knew the school had lots of good athletes and teams that should be recognized. We’ve had so much success in athletics at Hopedale and I felt that it was time to promote our athletes and champions and all the accolades they’ve achieved.’’
To get the ball rolling, Gaine contacted Kelley Butler, who served as Hopedale’s A.D. from 2005 to 2012. She was the athletic chief when the only induction ceremony was conducted in 2011.
“We inducted two teams, one coach and one athlete in 2011,’’ she noted. “The inductees were the 1968 state championship baseball team, the 1993 state title field hockey squad, coach Don Klocek and cross-country runner Paul Abbruzzese. The reason why the hall of fame went dormant was because of transition and turnover on the committee and also in the athletic department. I’m so excited it’s making a comeback and that I can be a part of its return.’’
The revival process is already underway — a hall of fame committee will be selected this month and nomination forms have been updated and became available on-line and at various sites in town. Gaine said that nominations can be made by any fan of Hopedale athletics.
Other areas will need attention going forward and Gaine is acutely aware that the previous by-laws will need to be reviewed, a venue for a November ceremony has to be secured and the printing of a hall of fame program is a must for those attending the ceremony. Also, those selected for induction will have to be contacted and audio and video clips of their careers will need processing.
The current by-laws include four categories for induction — players, coaches, teams and contributors/administrators. The by-laws also state that players to be inducted must be 10 years beyond graduation and that coaches must be retired for five years or more. There is also a character clause in the by-laws.
“I’d like to see 5-7 inductees for the November ceremony,’’ Gaine said. “Hopefully, an announcement of the names can come as early as May. We’re also planning a virtual hall of fame. There’ll be a website that will supplement and publicize news and notes about the hall of fame. Its purpose will be to provide biographical information on inductees and a list of their achievements. Photos also will be on the site.
Butler no doubt will be a dynamic resource on how to approach the various tasks that are needed to make the hall of fame’s return a success. Gaine will also get some help from two senior interns in the athletic office. Brandon Hall, who runs cross-country and track, and Evan Kober will be dealing with the day-to-day chores that are necessary to ensure a positive return for the hall of fame.
“Working on the website will be one of our functions,’’ Hall and Kober said. “This is a very special opportunity for us to get involved and to play a role in what will be a very prestigious undertaking.’’ Hall is planning on a career in sports management or business and Kober’s future likely will involve a management role.
Butler indicated that starting the hall of fame in 2011 was a dream come true for her and for the late Dennis Breen, who served as Hopedale High’s principal and later as the town’s school superintendent.
“I had conversations about starting a hall of fame with Dennis and he embraced the concept immediately,’’ Butler noted. “He should be inducted in the November ceremony because of his passion for both Hopedale’s student-athletes and the community in general.’’
Plaques of the previous inductees currently are displayed on a “wall of fame’’ outside the high school auditorium. Gaine and Butler both expect lots of additions in the years to come.
“We’ve won many championships over the years and we’ve have so many spectacular athletes, coaches and contributors,’’ Gaine emphasized. “I don’t want them to be forgotten and I take personal responsibility that they’ll all be remembered.’’