By Jon Gremmels
Herald Sports Editor
When Gary Lueders was hired as athletic director at Clinton High School for the 2006-07 school year, he brought an idea along with him. It was an idea hatched years earlier.
Now, he says the time is right to turn his idea into reality. Clinton High School is going to start an athletic hall of fame.
“As a native, I knew we had a strong legacy, but I was not sure we were doing enough (to promote it),” said Lueders, a 1973 CHS graduate who returned to the school after serving as athletic director at Northeast in Goose Lake. “When I would travel, I would see where other schools were doing it.”
Lueders put the idea on hold for several years since the school was entering a major construction phase, with the renovation of the football stadium and the addition of the new athletic wing at the high school that includes a gymnasium and swimming pool. With those projects completed, Lueders decided the timing was right, so the hall of fame induction will coincide with a final piece of the facilities upgrades at the high school.
The inaugural hall of fame class will be inducted on Aug. 30, when Clinton plays host to Davenport North in football, the same night it will debut the new athletic turf on Coan Field.
Noting that there are members of the community who will remember worthy candidates whom others may have forgotten or not known exist, Lueders is asking current and former Clinton residents to nominate anyone they believe is worthy of recognition. There are nomination forms available at http://www.clintonia.org.
“The first group will have no limit (in size),” Lueders said. “After the first year, we will put in the most deserving. There won’t necessarily be someone each year.”
Lueders said those nominated could come from one of four categories: former athletes who graduated 10 or more years ago, former coaches who served five or more years ago, contributors and teams.”
A nine-member committee will review the nominations in March, and the first hall of fame class will be announced in May, Lueders said. A scoring rubric has been developed to judge the nominees.