The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame will soon honor late basketball coach Charlie Spoonhour as a Missouri Sports Legend and also induct longtime New Haven coach Ray Steinhoff, former Lincoln High School and Missouri Southern State University standout Anita Rank Oplotnik as well as the Marshfield High School Girls Basketball Program and the Nixa High School Boys Basketball Program.
The Basketball Tipoff Luncheon presented by Mercy is set for 11 a.m. on Wednesday, December 11 at the Oasis Hotel & Convention Center in Springfield. For tickets, call 417-889-3100.
President and Executive Director Jerald Andrews announced the luncheon Monday. A bust of Spoonhour, specially cast in bronze, will be unveiled during the luncheon and will be forever on display on the Legends Walkway at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in southeast Springfield. In fact, fans who contribute to the bronze can have their names featured on a bronze plaque affixed to Spoonhour’s pedestal on the walkway.
The Hall of Fame also will honor the Filbert Five men’s and women’s teams. The award is named for the late Gary Filbert, a Missouri Sports Legend (2011) who was a successful basketball coach before assisting legendary Missouri Tigers coach Norm Stewart and then directing the Show-Me State Games.
The Filbert Five women are: Jill Esely Durnin (Savannah High School/William Jewell College), Dr. Tammy Erwin (Walnut Grove High School/Southwest Baptist University/College of the Ozarks), Carrie Long Green (Skyline High School/Southwest Baptist University), Brittany Percival Lyon (Hartville High School/Missouri Science & Technology) and Kelsey Williams (Eminence High School/Moberly Area Community College/Lincoln University, University of Central Missouri).
The Filbert Five men are: Brent Blevins (Forsyth High School/College of the Ozarks), Avery Dingman (Branson High School/Creighton University), Chris Ijames (Republic High School/Drury University), Stan Jinks (Parkview High School/Missouri State University) and Rob Yanders (Milwaukee’s Vincent High School/Missouri State-West Plains/Missouri State).
A sponsorship table of eight is $400 and includes an artist rending of Spoonhour, an autographed poster of inductees and recognition in the printed program. A head table ticket is $100, and an individual ticket is $40. Numerous other sponsorships are available, including congratulatory ads.
The Spoonhour Legends Campaign has several sponsorship levels, with each including your name on the bronze plaque: Founder ($5,000) – includes a miniature bust, table of eight, full-page ad in the printed program and eight Legend prints; Coach ($2,500) – miniature resin bust, table of eight, half-page ad in printed program, eight Legend prints; All-Star ($1,000) – table of eight, recognition in printed program, name on plaque, Legend print; Captain ($500) – two head table tickets, recognition in printed program, Legend print; Charlie’s Friends ($250) – one ticket to the luncheon, name on plaque, Legend print.
Charlie Spoonhour – Missouri Sports Legend
Known for his homespun humor and unique ability to lift teams to new heights, Spoonhour was 373-202 as an NCAA basketball coach, guiding 12 teams to NCAA postseason berths. Among his signature coaching jobs was elevating the national profile of the Missouri State University men’s basketball program. From 1982 to 1993, Spoonhour’s Bears earned 197 wins and qualified for seven NCAA postseasons, including five NCAA Tournaments and two National Invitation Tournaments (NIT). Along the way, Hammons Student Center became known as “Spoon’s Temple of Doom” as each of his final seven Missouri State teams earned at least 20 wins and reached NCAA postseasons. The 1987 team scored the program’s first NCAA Tournament victory, beating Clemson in the first round. Spoonhour went on to lead Saint Louis University to three NCAA Tournaments, and Nevada-Las Vegas to two NITs. All of which came after he had climbed the coaching ladder. A 1961 graduate of the University of the Ozarks, Spoonhour was a Bears’ assistant basketball coach under Bill Thomas and Jay Kinser from 1969 to 1972, helping to provide the foundation toward Missouri State’s 1973 and 1974 conference titles. In 1974, he led Moberly Area Community College to a No. 3 national ranking. Spoonhour, inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 1994, passed away in 2012.
Ray Steinhoff – New Haven High School basketball coach
Steinhoff spent 39 years at New Haven High School (1980 to 2019), holding roles such as boys basketball coach, baseball coach and athletic director. In basketball, he was an assistant from 1980 to 1984 and then head coach from 1985 to 2014 (30 seasons). His teams were 550-288 and advanced to four Final Fours, with the 1997, 1999 and 2001 teams winning Class 1 state championships and the 1998 team placing third. New Haven won the Four Rivers Conference four times despite being the smallest school in the conference, and won 11 district titles. Steinhoff was named Coach of the Year four times by the conference and three times by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association and twice (1997, 2001) by the Missouri Sports Writers and Sportscasters Association. In 2011, Steinhoff was inducted into the MBCA Hall of Fame, and the school district dedicated its basketball court in his name. New Haven Basketball was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2012. He was athletic director in his final 35 seasons there, when New Haven teams reached 44 Final Fours and won 13 state championships. In baseball, he was a part of four Final Four teams, including as head coach of the 1987 state championship team. A 1976 graduate of Orchard Farm High School in St. Charles County, Steinhoff is a graduate of East Central College in Union and Southeast Missouri State University.
Anita Rank Oplotnik – Lincoln High School/Missouri Southern State University
Oplotnik is a 1984 graduate of Lincoln High School, which was a Class 1 state runner-up her senior year and a quarterfinalist her junior season. As a senior, she was a third team All-American by USA Today and an All-State selection. Oplotnik was a first team all-district in her final two seasons and all-conference her final three seasons. She also was the first Lincoln girls player to score more than 1,000 points in a career and averaged 16.7 points. In fact, her teams were a combined 75-10 in high school, including an 11-0 record on her freshman team. A four-year letter-winner at Missouri Southern State University, Oplotnik was a two-time All-American selection and a two-time first team NAIA All-District selection. Additionally, she was the conference Player of the Year in 1987 as well as a three-time, first team all-conference selection. She is still the all-time leading scorer in school history (1,842 points) and holds 10 other records, including points in a game (42). Oplotnik, who twice led the Lady Lions in scoring and led the team in rebounding for three seasons, is a First Vice President Branch Manager of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in Springfield. She also is a member of the MSSU Board of Governors.
Marshfield High School Lady Jays Basketball Program
Undoubtedly, the Marshfield Lady Jays Basketball Program is one of the most recognized in the state. Marshfield has advanced to 12 Final Fours, which include seven state championships (1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1999). The Lady Jays were state runners-up in 1992 and 1998 and have placed third twice (2002, 2014) and were fourth in 2001. The program has 14 conference championships and 17 district titles, including 16 consecutive from 1987 to 2002. Marshfield also has advanced to 15 state quarterfinals. Sixteen Lady Jays have filled 33 slots on MBCA or media All-State lists dating back to 1987: Trish Van Diggelen, Melody Howard, Stacy Nunn, Nikki Cooper, Julie Howard, Melissa Grider, Carissa Wilson, Michelle Mikkelsen, Lauren Ivey, Natalie Mottesheard, Jennifer Fisher, Cheratin Dunn, Kelsey Theobald, Lacy Boshe, Lauren Aldridge and Peyton Greenlee. The program is 825-396 (.676) since November 1974, including 226-105 (.683) in conference play. In order, coaches have been Deborah Hirsch Claus, Sandra Brown, Max Willis, Steve Hubbell, Scott Ballard (three state titles), Gary Murphy (four state titles), Shelly Jones (2014 Final Four) and Katie Pritchard (current).
Nixa Eagles Boys Basketball Program
Talk about a tremendous tradition. The Nixa High School Boys Basketball Program has earned nine trips to the Final Four, winning two state championships – 1978 in Class 2 and 1999 in Class 3. The Eagles were state runners-up in 1959, 1974, 1986 and 2012, and placed third in 1979, 1984 and 2002. The 1978 team was coached by Frank Branstetter and finished 30-1. The 1999 team finished 29-4 for coach Jay Osborne. The program has captured 26 conference championships and earned 18 district titles. Additionally, the Eagles have advanced to two other state quarterfinals (1994, 2015). The program has produced All-State selections in Randy Towe, Kent Russell, Shelly Sellers, Randy Pogue, Kevin Cheffey, Bob Collier, David Dye, Anthony Welcome, Zach Towe, Kevin Bartow, Glennon Hayes, Royce Moore, Zac Hill, Jalen Norman, Austin Ruder, Kameron Bundy, Jacob Ruder, Chase Allen and Christian Bundy. The success is remarkable, considering Nixa basketball has been one of southwest Missouri’s top programs despite growing from Class S level in basketball in 1959 to Class 5, a reflection of Christian County being the fastest-growing county in the state since the early 2000s.
FILBERT FIVE – WOMEN’S TEAM
Jill Esely Durnin – Savannah High School/William Jewell College
Durnin earned a pair of Class 3 First Team All-State selections at Savannah High School (1997, 1998) and led the 1998 team to a state runner-up finish, which kick-started a run of three consecutive seasons of Savannah reaching the Class 3 state championship game. At William Jewell, Durnin is the program’s all-time leading scorer with 2,163 points and ranks No. 12 all-time in assists (253). She was a two-time NAIA All-American (2001, 2002) and a four-time All-Heart of America Athletic Conference selection, including first team her final three years after earning Freshman of the Year honors. Durnin, who was inducted into the William Jewell Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012, is the assistant principal for Camdenton Middle School.
Dr. Tammy Erwin – Walnut Grove High School/Southwest Baptist University/College of the Ozarks:
Dr. Erwin was a three-time All-State selection at Walnut Grove, where she scored 2,513 points. That total was the sixth-best in the history of Missouri high school girls basketball upon graduation, and it also stood as the school record – boys or girls – until boys basketball player Logan Thomazin broke it in 2018. Erwin, who earned varsity letters all four years in volleyball, basketball and softball, led the Ozarks in scoring her sophomore and senior seasons and was selected to the Missouri Basketball Coaches All-Star game. In college, Dr. Erwin played her first season at Southwest Baptist. At College of the Ozarks (MSHOF 2018), she was a two-year letter-winner and, after a
fourth knee surgery (two in high school, two in college), served as a student assistant for then-coach George Wilson (MSHOF 2008) in 1998-1999. Dr. Erwin is now the Superintendent of the Humansville R-IV School District.
Carrie Long Green – Skyline High School/Southwest Baptist University
Green played a significant role in kick-starting Skyline High School’s girls basketball program toward becoming a state tournament regular. She led Skyline to Class 2 state championships in 1996 and 1997. That was part of a stretch in which the Lady Tigers were 114-9, with Green earning All-State honors in 1996, 1997 and 1998 – including first team her junior and senior seasons. She went on to Southwest Baptist University, becoming an NCAA Division II All-American in 2001 and 2002 in addition to twice earning All-MIAA selections. Green was All-Region in 2001 and selected to the NCAA Regional All-Tournament teams twice. Upon graduation, Green held school records for career free throws (398) and free throws attempted (533), ranked third in career points (1,380) and was fifth in field goals made (466).
Brittany Percival Lyon – Hartville High School/Missouri S&T
Hartville High School has long had a competitive girls basketball team, with six players earning All-State honors and becoming a postseason regular. Among the All-State selections was Lyon, who was a three-time First Team All-State selection in Class 2 (2006, 2007, 2008). She also led Hartville to the state championship in 2007, with her dad, Mike Percival, as the coach. Lyon averaged 17.2 points her senior year and 18.2 points her junior year. She also was a first team all-conference selection each season, plus earned a spot on the KKOZ Dream Team and a KJEL All-Star honor all four seasons. At Missouri S&T from 2008 to 2010, Lyon helped the 2010 team to a 20-7 season that reached the NCAA Division II Tournament. She led the team with a 41.9 percent 3-point shooting.
Kelsey Williams – Eminence High School/Moberly Area Juco/Lincoln University/University of Central Missouri
Williams was a four-time First Team All-State selection at Eminence, and led the team to the Class 1 state championship in 2012. Upon graduation, she had scored a program-best 1,925 points, averaging 20.7 points as well as 7.9 rebounds and 6.0 assists a game. At Moberly Area Juco, she earned NJCAA All-Region 16 honors and was named team MVP. At Lincoln University, she was All-MIAA in averaging a team-best 12.3 points a game. At the University of Central Missouri, she played in 64 games, making 44 starts, including 27 in 2018 as she helped the Jennies win the NCAA Division II national championship. Williams finished with 204 assists, with her 89 as a junior falling only four assists shy of qualifying for the D-II leaderboard – otherwise she would have led the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.7-1). Williams works for Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff.
FILBERT FIVE – MEN’S TEAM
Brent Blevins – Forsyth High School/College of the Ozarks
Blevins scored more than 2,400 points in his prep career, ranking him among the top 10 all-time in Missouri high school boys basketball history. He played his freshman season at Mountain Grove High School and then his final three at Forsyth High School. In fact, he is one of the few who can say they led their school to the Final Four as both a player and coach. Blevins did it in 1991 for Forsyth and later as the head coach in 2000, part of his seven seasons guiding the Panthers. Overall, he was a three-time All-State selection, including First Team All-State as a junior and senior. Blevins played his senior season at College of the Ozarks, earning NAIA All-American honors on the 1995 team that reached the Elite Eight of the NAIA Division II Tournament and finished 29-5. Blevins, who later was Forsyth’s superintendent for seven years, is now Managing Director of Stifel Nicolaus & Company.
Avery Dingman – Branson High School/Creighton University
Dingman earned First Team All-State honors in 2010 and 2011, scoring a combined 1,302 points his junior and senior seasons. His 705 points as a senior broke his own school record, with 38 coming in a Class 5 District 11 championship victory against Kickapoo. He then scored 23 of Branson’s 50 points in the sectional as part of a 21-
win season. A year earlier, he scored a school-record 46 points in one game in Branson’s 24-win season. At Creighton, he played in 134 games, scored 462 points and had 267 rebounds. Dingman helped the Blue Jays win two Missouri Valley Conference titles and reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons.
Chris Ijames – Republic High School/Drury University
Ijames was a three-year starter for Republic, earning All-State his senior year when he averaged 16.2 points and 7.11 rebounds. He received All-Central Ozark Conference his final two seasons, and All-District and All-Ozarks his senior year. At Drury from 2006 to 2009, Ijames emerged as one of coach Steve Hesser’s most respected players. He scored 1,317 points (ranks No. 22 all-time at Drury), grabbed 467 rebounds and made 202 assists in 115 games, which included 94 starts. His 26 points – including six 3-pointers – lifted Drury to the 2008 Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament Championship and foreshadowed a monster season, in which he scored 428 points and had 143 rebounds. Ijames, who made 229 of 320 career free throws and earned All-GLVC as a senior, works at Wonders of Wildlife in Springfield.
Stan Jinks – Parkview High School/Missouri State University
Jinks was honored on Parkview’s All-Decades team in 2017 as the top player of the 1966-1976 era. He scored 814 points in 61 career games (13.3 ppg) covering his sophomore through senior seasons. In 1975, Jinks earned All-State, All-Ozarks by the News-Leader and Class 4 All-District by the Joplin Globe as he averaged 16.8 points and steered the Bob Brown-coached Vikings to the Class 4 state sectionals. The team finished 21-5, including 9-3 as the runner-up in the Ozark Conference. In December 1974, Jinks was the top scorer of the Blue & Gold Tournament, registering 66 points in only three games. That included a 30-point effort in the finals, including 28 in the second half as Jinks didn’t miss a shot – including the buzzer-beater which sent the game to overtime. He went on to letter three years at Missouri State, including on its 1978, 21-7 team that won the MIAA and advanced to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight. Jinks was a longtime banker in Springfield with Boatmen’s Bank and has been a financial advisor with Edward Jones Investments since 2001.
Rob Yanders – Milwaukee’s Vincent High School/MSU-West Plains/Missouri State University/European leagues
Yanders led Missouri State-West Plains juco to 27-6 and 27-5 seasons in 1999 and 2000 and was twice an NJCAA All-American. The 1999 team won the NJCAA Region 16 championship and the 2000 team attained a No. 2 national ranking. He finished his Grizzly career fourth in points (918), fifth in career scoring average (14.1) and tops in several other career, single game and single-season statistics. At Missouri State, Yanders helped the Bears to 13-16 and 17-15 records his junior and senior years. He earned All-Missouri Valley Conference preseason honors as a senior, and then led the team in 3-point shooting percentage (.443). That was after leading the team in free-throw percentage (.844) and assists (105). After a tryout with the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, he played professionally overseas, winning four European championships with the Sheffield Sharks of Great Britain, and was on Great Britain’s 2012 Olympic team. In Springfield, Yanders now owns The Basketball Movement, which uses basketball to develop life skills for youths. All this came after he led Milwaukee’s Vincent High School to three state titles.