Springfield has an impressive basketball history, and that showed again at Tuesday night’s Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame ceremony with four of the five inductees going in for basketball accomplishments. A few of them made those accomplishments happen at the same school.
“Glendale was a special place, I came to Springfield when girls basketball, women’s basketball was really booming. The Lady Bears had just been in the final four so it was an exciting time, and Glendale I had a very good seven years there,” said Nyla Milleson.
Milleson is the current women’s basketball coach at George Mason University. She started her coaching career at Glendale before starting the program at Drury and then eventually coaching at Missouri State.
But she wasn’t the only inductee with ties to the Falcons.
“[I was] five years old, they said what do you want to be and I spelled coach C-A-O-C-H in a first grade class. I kinda knew [pretty early on], I couldn’t spell it, I could say it, but I think I knew what I wanted to do,” said former Glendale boys basketball coach Mike Keltner.
Mike Keltner lived out that dream for 15 years as Glendale’s head basketball coach where he won nearly 300 games and reached the state final four twice.
He joined another former Falcon basketball coach on Tuesday, but this one made his biggest impact at Kickapoo.
“What I’m probably more proud of than anything else is it became a program. Not just one team, one year. We didn’t rebuild, we just reloaded,” said former Glendale and Kickapoo Boys Basketball Coach Roy Green.
Under 26 years of Roy Green’s guidance, Kickapoo won nearly 600 games and two state championships.
But Glendale basketball wasn’t the only Springfield program represented Tuesday night.
A Springfield Central legend was honored for his accomplishments in Missouri and around the world.
“I played in a lot of places. I played in bull rings, ice hockey arenas, soccer fields where they put portable boards down. I’ve been everywhere,” said Manny Oliver.
Oliver really did play all over the world, as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters.
He wasn’t the only world-traveled athlete Tuesday night, as Glendale standout and LPGA tour player Cathy Reynolds was honored as well.
“It’s just old stories and faces that I haven’t seen, and looking up everything and seeing my past and all and my play, it just kind of brings back the memories. It’s amazing because it feels like a different life,” said Reynolds.