By John R. Schirmer
An idea that’s been discussed for years could become reality within the next few weeks.
The Scrapper Athletic Hall of Fame is like to hold its first induction at some point during 2023.
“I thought it was time,” Superintendent Doug Graham said Monday. “We brought it up 15 years ago and again about six or seven years ago, and it never got off the ground. I decided to try again.”
The school district is considering the Hall of Fame “with the understanding that like any year with All-District and All-State, people are subject to getting their feelings hurt. We can’t induct everybody,” Graham said
Last week, Scrapper social media included an announcement of the Hall of Fame and a QR code allowing fans to submit nominations.
“In the first 24 hours, we had 114 nominations,” according to Graham. “People need to understand that scanning the QR code is only a nomination, not a vote. They are only sending a name with some background information” for a committee of Nashville educators to consider.
Individuals may nominate a maximum of two former athletes or others who have supported the athletic program, Graham said. Nominees must have been out of school for more than five years.
As the nominations come in, “One of the challenges will be to research and get enough background information, especially for those prior to 1970,” according to Graham. “Our group will have to do its due diligence” in determining nominees for the inaugural class.
“Year one will be stressful to get the right ones. I don’t think anybody will have a problem with people who are in the first group, but some will feel left out. Over the course of several years as more names are added, they’ll be more satisfied,” Graham said.
Graham said the intention is to “name the first class this spring. We’ll have a banquet to recognize them. We’ll recognize them at a home football game” during the fall.
Selections likely will fall into two categories – those from “the modern area of 1970 and up, and those before 1970.”
Participants in all men’s and women’s sports are eligible for consideration, Graham said. Nominees may also include coaches, along with teachers and others who have shown their support of Nashville athletics, according to Graham.
“You don’t have to be the star quarterback to be nominated. This can be teachers who have made a difference,” Graham said. Those who make nominations should “make a strong case for the person they’re nominating. This is not just for athletes only,” Graham said.
“We’ve weighed the pros and cons of a Hall of Fame. Some will take issue with it. I think the pros outweigh the negatives in so many ways. The need to be recognized doesn’t cheapen the fact that they’re all Scrappers. I hope we look at this as an opportunity to celebrate some of our highlights and not be offended over those who didn’t get in,” Graham said.
The Scrapper Room at the football stadium will be changed to the Hall of Fame Room, Graham said, and will include memorabilia from those who are named. Graham plans to include TV monitors to have interactive displays of the inductees.
The Hall of Fame at the University of Central Arkansas has such a system, Graham said. Those who want to look at the university’s selections may click on a year and find all of the inductees from that year. By clicking on a a picture of the person selected, fans will see information about that individual’s accomplishments.
Graham looks for the first class to have about 10 inductees, with 5-7 in future groups. “There may be more” Initially. As time goes on, “We may have to limit the number each year. This won’t be flawless, but I hope it’s something that people will be proud of.”
By having a successful athletic program without a Hall of Fame, Nashville is “certainly in a minority,” Graham said. Schools such as Arkadelphia, Gurdon, UCA, Benton, Conway and many others have them in place, he said.