A little over a month ago, Missouri Western Athletics Department unveiled their new Hall of Fame, finally giving a physical place for past Griffon greats to be recognized. The Hall of Fame is located inside the pre-existing Hall of Fame Room on the second floor of Spratt Stadium.
Senior Associate Athletic Director of External Relations Brett Esely was the project manager for the Hall of Fame and said that the space has four main parts. The first are strips running from the ceiling to the floor that show the progress that Griffon Athletics has made over the years, dating back to their junior college days.
The second are flags running from the ceiling to the floor, that tell stories of memorable moments in Griffon Athletics.
The third are defining moments running across the back wall, with 10 different stories of individuals, coaches or seasons that helped Griffon Athletics get where it is today.
Lastly, there’s a listing of all Missouri Western Hall of Famers that runs across the middle of the back wall. Esely said it now includes 115 individuals, 12 teams and one corporate partner. Above that, there’s a space honoring Missouri Western’s current Hall of Fame class.
But the space as a whole is not completely filled.
“You’ll see some empty wall space,” Esely said. “That’s by design. Certainly, you know, we’ve had great history here, but some of our best moments might not be told yet.”
Scott Graham graduated from Missouri Western in 1978 and is currently the chair of the Hall of Fame Committee. He was a part of Griffon football in the 1970s and was on two teams that have since been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Graham was also inducted as an individual. He says the new space acts as a living room for the family that is Griffon Athletics.
“It’s kind of a touchstone where people that are now out in their careers and out living their lives can come back and see what they had a role in accomplishing, in building,” Graham said.
Even though there’s been a Hall of Fame since the early 1990s, Graham said there’s never been a physical site to honor those inducted. Until this year, the only place the Hall of Fame really existed was on the internet.
That’s why the Hall of Fame Room was created back in 2016 when Spratt Stadium was renovated. Esely said they’d had the idea for a real Hall of Fame space when creating that room, but it took a few years to finalize plans and find a gracious sponsor in Rogers Pharmacy.
Now that it’s completed, Graham said that he hopes a physical Hall of Fame will encourage current Missouri Western athletes to aim higher.
“It’s good to see that the people before you did well to encourage you to do even better,” Graham said. “We want to see those that follow us do better, and we hope that they have aspirations to shoot for more than we did.”
Graham was able to speak at the ribbon cutting ceremony on July 29, but due to social distancing guidelines, only a handful of people could be part of that special day. Missouri Western hopes to have an induction ceremony for both 2020 and 2021 inductees sometime in 2021, and eventually invite all of their current Hall of Famers to see the new space.