Knoxville — The upstairs ballroom of the Lake Red Rock Cultural Center was full this afternoon, as a special luncheon was held in honor of the 2013 inductees into the Knoxville HIgh School Athletic Hall of Fame.
This year's inductees included Tracy (Flowers) Curren, Mike Conway and the undefeated 1975 football team. Emcee Joe Cunningham opened the luncheon by introducing Activities Director, and previous Hall of Fame inductee Randy Wilson. Wilson shared information with the crowd, regarding the school's plan to return to the South Central Conference in the fall of 2014 and the procedure for getting into the high school tonight for the induction ceremony.
The first inductee introduced was Conway, class of 1991. Conway earned several accolades in many sports during his KHS career, but his induction comes as a baseball player.
Conway said Knoxville baseball is in his blood. He has many fond memories of his time as a Panther baseball player and even shared a story about the time his coach, Joel Johnson, hit a post after a double-header loss to Albia. The crowd had a good laugh at that one, though Conway's speech was filled with sincere appreciation for his hometown, the sport of baseball and the field.
"Whenever I come back, I like to drive by and see it," Conway said. "It's something I'm very proud of."
Curren was the second inductee introduced. A member of the class of 1997, she was also a three-sport athlete, excelling in all three. As a track star, for which she is inducted, she earned a gold medal at the Drake Relays and was a class 2A high jump champion.
Curren gave much credit to her parents, as well as her coaches and teachers, for making her the person she is today. She shared her faith in God and credited Him for blessing her with athleticism. Her speech included references to those times in her youth, in which she was kept on the right path by the entire community, all of whom seemed to look out for her...and would report any of her wrongdoings to her parents.
The final induction revolved around the 1975 football team. Coaches and players, who were able to be present at the luncheon, were introduced and recognized. Each was presented with a pin in honor of their accomplishment. The team went 9-0 and had an average margin of victory of 38 points against its opponents. The season set records, including five shutouts and included two, 1,000-yard rushers. The five coaches on staff were each starters in their college careers.
Bill Autry was the first to speak on the team's behalf. He said it was an honor to be inducted and could say a lot about his team.
"I could talk about this team forever," Autry said. Autry was followed by Scott Allen, previously inducted as an individual athlete.
"I think I got into teaching and coaching because of you guys," Allen said to his coaches in the room. Mike Sloan, son of the team's head coach, Marv Sloan, was the last to speak on the team's behalf.
"Our community was always so behind our teams," Sloan said.
The formal inductions will be held tonight (Friday, Feb. 1) during the basketball games against Pella at Knoxville High School. Tickets are still available for the game and ceremony.
Journal-Express Sports Editor Perry Bell, a member of the 1975 team, will have in-depth features on the inductees in upcoming print editions. Look for those, and coverage of tonight's ceremony, in the Journal-Express.