ISSA Hall of Fame, Class of 2017
For the 22nd year, the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association is pleased to announce its annual Hall of Fame Class, set to be inducted at its annual award banquet to be held on Sunday, April 9th at Valle Vista Golf Club in Greenwood.
This year’s class includes the following personalities who have graced Hoosier newspapers, radio stations, and television airwaves over the past several decades. The inductees are as follows:
Bill Benner, reporter/columnist Indianapolis Star & News_Bill spent over 30 years writing for the Star & News, covering the Pacers, the Hoosiers, and eventually the Colts. Bill became a columnist in 1990, remaining in that role through 2001. Bill also covered Final Fours, Olympic Games and any major sporting event to grace the Circle City. These days, Bill is a senior vice president with Pacers Sports & Entertainment.
Reggie Hayes, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel_Reggie has spent his entire 32-year journalism career with the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel. Reggie began his days covering all things high school sports, and eventually both the Notre Dame football and Indiana basketball beats. For the past 15 years, he’s handled both column work and the Indianapolis Colts beat. Reggie also has covered Olympic Games and Final Fours.
Jim Brunner, WBAT/WMRI Marion_Jim has been broadcasting seemingly every sporting event in Madison County since 1971. Jim has broadcast high school state championships, including the last seven Marion Giants’ basketball state titles. He’s also been on the call of NAIA national championship games for Indiana Wesleyan. In addition to his play-by-play work, he’s the host of “In The Press Box” on 860 ESPN (WMRI) in Marion.
Dan Egierski, WEOA Evansville_Dan has been a part of the sports scene in Southwestern Indiana for more than 30 years. Dan was the ISSA Sportscaster of the Year in 2010, and he is a member of three different sports halls of fame in the Evansville area. Dan hosts a daily show currently on WEOA in Evansville, in addition to serving as the play-by-play voice of Evansville area high school sports.
Arv Koontz, Seymour Tribune_Arv has been documenting all things Jackson County sports since 1972, and for all but six of those years at the Seymour Tribune. Arv was named the ISSA’s Corky Lamm Sportswriter of the Year in 1999. By Arv’s count, he has covered more than 1,500 Indiana high school basketball games, a number he is building on to this day, despite retiring from full-time sports writing in 2009.
Bob Simmers (deceased), WITZ Jasper_Bob Simmers came to WITZ as an engineer and left as the voice of the Wildcats. Prior to his days in Jasper, Bob worked in his hometown of Sullivan after spending time in the Navy. Bob received the IHSAA’s Distinguished Media Service Award in 1987. He also served as a mentor for another member of the ISSA Hall of Fame in Walt Ferber. Bob passed away in 2006.
In addition to these new Hall of Famers, the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association will recognize winners of annual honors like the Marv Bates Sportscaster of the Year, the Corky Lamm Sportswriter of the Year, The Ron Lemasters Lifetime Achievement Award and the Bob Williams Helping Hand Award. Those winners are as follows:
Marv Bates Sportscaster of the Year: Chuck Freeby WHME South Bend_Chuck began his television career in South Bend at WNDU, where he worked for 17 years before making the move to WHME. At WHME, Chuck handles the play-by-play for the area high school game of the week. In addition to that, Chuck is radio voice of Notre Dame baseball and handles various other small college play-by-play as well.
Corky Lamm Sportswriter of the Year: James Peters, the Times of Northwest Indiana_James began his career in the mid-80s covering high school sports in northwest Indiana, and he joined the Times of Northwest Indiana in 1998. Since then, he’s primarily covered all things high school sports in Porter County, ranging from football and basketball to cross-country and track.
Ron Lemasters Lifetime Achievement Award: Rex Kirts, Bloomington Herald-Times_Rex spent more than 40 years chronicling primarily high school sports for the Bloomington Courier-Tribune and Bloomington Herald-Times. Rex also assisted on coverage of Indiana University sports, plus auto racing, including a great passion for the Indy 500. Rex is a member of the ISSA Hall of Fame, and is a four-time winner of the Indiana Sportswriter of the Year. The annual media award given out by the Indiana Football Coaches’ Association is named in his honor.
Bob Williams Helping Hand Award: Terry Downham_Terry has been assisting those covering high school sports in Kokomo for more than 40 years. Terry serves as the sports information director for Kokomo High School, and he’s also the public address voice of the ’Kats. He’s also been a part of the game-day stats crew for the Colts, since they moved to Indy in 1984, and he has been a part of the Purdue game-day crew for 25 years. Terry even assisted Bob Williams in game-day operations for the IHSAA football state finals at the RCA Dome.
All 10 honorees will be recognized at the ISSA’s annual banquet on April 9th, which will begin at 2 p.m. at Valle Vista Golf Club in Greenwood. Tickets are available with meal included for $30. To order tickets, send a check for $30 to Fred Inniger, ISSA Treasurer, 3011 Noble Hawk Drive, Kendallville, IN 46755.
To become an ISSA member, or to renew your membership, please send a check for $20 (annual dues) to Inniger. Or you may join on the day of the banquet.
The Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association was founded in 1946. It created its Hall of Fame 50 years later in 1996. The Hall of Fame currently has 105 members.