Well under the radar, one of the Tri-State's most enduring sports traditions stepped off in October. That is when the seeds were planted for this year’s class of inductees to the Buddy LaRosa’s High School Sports Hall of Fame. The fruit will be harvested with the Christmas Eve announcement of a 39th edition of honorees.
Visitors to any of the iconic brand’s restaurants throughout the Tri-State are aware of the program to one extent or another. But the pen and ink depictions of local legends gracing the walls of neighborhood locations are just the tip of the iceberg.
While great deliberation is devoted to identifying and saluting the week’s outstanding student-athlete, nearly 500 years of accumulated sports-related experience is brought to bear in the selection of each year’s Hall of Fame inductees. The selection committee, of which I am a member, convenes twice yearly to pore over a comprehensive list of nominees, whose eligibility is based solely on their exploits during high school. Many have gone on to stellar college and professional careers, but their formative prep years matter most.
And the panel that deliberates and presides over the process is equally impressive.
Mother of Mercy coach Mary Jo Huismann brings four decades of experience to the process. Wayne "Box" Miller, one of the more recent additions to the body, boasts a 30-year association with Greater Cincinnati sports. All told, the voting members have 495 years of combined contributions to the cause, either as coaches, administrators, reporters or officials. Hence the honorees are the distillation of a very precise, well considered formula - like Buddy's legendary tomato sauce. Standing the test of time is of utmost concern.
Look for the Athlete of the Year nominees soon to follow. It all culminates in the Hall of Fame Banquet, telecast live every June on CET.
Congratulations to the class of 2013 from the entire LaRosa’s organization and Hall of Fame Committee.
Trust me, they deserve it.