Elizabeth (Haning) Hadler was one of the very best all-around female athletes to ever graduate from Knoxville High School.

Elizabeth was inducted into the Knoxville High School Athletic Hall of Fame earlier this month.

In the 16th annual induction ceremonies, Elizabeth joined Brian Hiemstra, Graham Fee and Michael Stults as newly inducted hall of fame members in the Class of 2020.

She graduated from Knoxville in 1984 and she virtually could do it all in a varsity of sports.

Elizabeth lettered five years as a Panther in the sport of softball as a catcher. In volleyball she lettered four times serving as a setter.

In basketball, Elizabeth earned three letters, the same in tennis and she picked up a varsity monogram in the sport of track for one year.

Husband Gary and Elizabeth make their home in Medina, Ohio, located near Cleveland.

The couple have six children, Danielle, Nicole, Joshua, Isaac, Emily and Elijah. They also have a grandson son, Nolan.

Elizabeth is the daughter of John and Pat Haning of Knoxville. She has two brothers, Randy and Tony and a sister., Debby. Her brothers and sister are on teams that have been inducted into the Knoxville Hall of Fame.

Currently Elizabeth serves a Lutheran Church in Medina, a two of approximately 40,000 as an ordained paster.

In addition to the ministry work, she is a tennis pro and teaches math at a community college.

Her husband is a mechanical engineer who is employed by 3M.

In high school volleyball the Panthers finished second at the State Tournament one year with Elizabeth as the setter. Among the many other talented Panthers on that team coached by Curt Froyen were Katy Lavery, who went on to play at Iowa State, Kristi Conway, who played the sport at Kansas University, Jennifer Rankin and Holly Ward to name a few.

She made the all-state team twice.

Basketball was Elizabeth’s favorite sport.

“I went to college on a basketball and academic scholarship,” she said.

She was a guard and played when the 3-point shot was introduced to Iowa during the 6-on-6 game of basketball.

Elizabeth led the State in 3-point shooting her junior year.

She attended college at the University of Missouri Rolla, a Division II school.

The team was known as the Miners. The school is located between St. Louis and Springfield. It was a six hour drive to Knoxville from the school.

The school has since been renamed Missouri School of Science and Technology.

In track she ran the 800 meters. “I lettered but I didn’t enjoy track,” she replied.

In tennis she played for Bob Tallman and she qualified for State in Singles.

“What I liked about tennis is the individual aspect of the sport. It is a sport you need to be mentally tough in,” she said.

Elizabeth recalls playing one match in high school that took four hours to finish.

In addition to playing basketball in college she also played tennis and ran cross country as well.

Elizabeth is really into fitness. She has run five miles a day since the age of 12.

“Why do I still run. I do it to stay in shape and to work on the mental side of life,” she commented.

She has competed in a marathon and her daughter ran in the Boston Marathon.

Elizabeth’s family attends the First United Methodist Church in Knoxville.

She made a mission trip to Brazil.

Before becoming a pastor she said she wasn’t at first answering a call from God to serve as a pastor. She has since answered that call.

Hall of Fame

Elizabeth wanted to thank people in Knoxville who helped her get to where she is at today.

“Mary Keefer was my favorite coach. She was a role model. She loved the students and really cared about us,” Elizabeth said.

Others who she mentioned helped her along the path of life were coaches Curt Froyen, Joel Johnson, Bob Tallman, Paul Giehl and Lana Wohlers, Mr. Nichols and Mr. Dieken.

“Most important is my family, my husband and especially my kids. I’m humbled by this honor. I did all the sports, music, jazz band and I loved hem all,” she stated.

“I was fortunate that God gave me the talent and I was able to use it. It has helped my balance life and raise six children along the way,” Elizabeth commented.

She added, “Over the years, sports has taught me how to treat others and to compete with integrity.”

Perry Bell can be reached at sports@journalexpress.net or by calling the newsroom at 641-842-2155.

Perry Bell can be reached at sports@journalexpress.net or by calling the newsroom at 641-842-2155.

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