2018 Springfield Sports Hall of Fame class announced

The 2018 induction class into the Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame (SASHOF) includes five individuals whose competitive and energetic skills have set them apart.  Their accomplishments extend over several decades in Springfield and beyond.

The 2018 class was announced Tuesday in a luncheon at the O’Reilly Family Events Center at Drury University.  Inductees include local high school and college basketball coach Nyla Milleson, local high school legendary coaches Mike Keltner and Roy Green, famed Harlem Globetrotter and Central High School standout Manny Oliver, and LPGA Champion and professional golfer Cathy Reynolds.

The new inductees will be enshrined during the SASHOF annual banquet on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 at the Oasis Convention Center in Springfield.

The Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame was founded in 1985 by Bonus Frost to honor those individuals from the Springfield area, or have a connection to the Springfield area, whose accomplishments merit consideration for the shrine.  This is the 32nd SASHOF induction class and will bring the total membership of the hall to 130 people.

Selections are made by the SASHOF Board of Directors which meets monthly to plan the year’s activities.  SASHOF is a not-for-profit organization and the proceeds from annual induction banquets are made available to local youth groups for the purchase of sports equipment.  Since its establishment, SASHOF has provided over $310,000.00 to over two dozen youth groups and organizations.

Cathy Reynolds is no stranger to the golf scene here in Springfield.  The 1975 Glendale graduate became one of the top golfers on the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour. Growing up on the Hickory Hills Country Club golf course, she learned to play from golf pro, and her father, Sam, along with her mother Delores. At the young age of 13, Reynolds played in her first USGA Junior Girls event at Augusta Georgia Country Club, next door to Augusta National, home of the Masters. When she was 15, she qualified for the USGA Women’s Open. At age 16, she won the Missouri State Women’s Golf Championship and after playing two years at the University of Tulsa, she earned her pro card at 19 and started playing professional. Reynolds signed with the Mark McCormick Agency and was sent to play all over the country, plus overseas.  She also captured an LPGA victory at the Golden Lights Championship in 1981.  She has played rounds with legends Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, and grew up playing with Payne Stewart.  She also played a pro-am with Yankees great Joe Dimaggio.  Cathy Reynolds took her golf game to a high level and inspired many, including her son Derek to play the game. Cathy Reynolds is one of the best golf players ever from the Springfield Area.

Mike Keltner likely accomplished more, in less time, than most potential hall of famers.  While some spend decades building their hall of fame resumes, it took Keltner slightly more than twenty years to compile his hall of fame worthy scrapbook. A lifelong Ozark native and graduate of Hillcrest High School and then Southwest Missouri State University, there was never much doubt that Keltner would ultimately coach the game of basketball.  The family bloodline ran deep in the coaching ranks, as his father and uncles preceded him, in coaching more than a half dozen area high school teams over the years. His playing days as a member of the Southwest Missouri State Bears included being part of the 1974 NCAA Division II championship runner-up team.  Upon graduation, he returned to Hillcrest High School where he began his coaching tenure with the freshman and then junior varsity programs for 8 seasons.  In 1984, he made the move across Springfield to become the head coach of the Glendale High School program and for the next 15 seasons guided the Falcons to high levels of success, winning 293 and losing 127.  Included in those nearly 300 victories were 8 Ozark Conference Championships, 7 District titles, two trips to the Missouri High School Basketball Final Four and in 1994 Glendale was the first area program to capture the championship of the prestigious Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions event. His personal honors matched that of his teams, as he was 9 times selected as the Springfield Tipoff Club Coach of the Year, was nominated 6 times as the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year and in 2013 was inducted by the MBCA into its Hall of Fame. His coaching success however was not limited to the game of basketball.  In 1976 and again in 1979 he guided to the Hillcrest American Legion baseball program to a pair of Missouri State American Legion Championships and was twice named the State American Legion Coach of the Year. Despite stepping away from the coaching ranks nearly 20 years ago, Keltner has remained a fixture on the local basketball scene, serving as radio color commentator for many seasons on Missouri State University Bears games.

A noted basketball standout at Springfield Central High School in the early 1960s, Manny Oliver followed his prep playing success at CHS with a career with the famed Harlem Globetrotters to gain selection for a spot in the 2018 induction class of the Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame. Playing for Hall of Fame coach Jim Ball, Oliver was on the Central Bulldogs’ squad which claimed a district title in 1961 when Manny was a junior. The following year, CHS captured the imagination of the entire southwest Missouri area as the Bulldogs opened the season with 21 straight wins. With a regular alignment of Oliver, Carl Gardner, Danny Bolden, Mike Looney, Bevo Looney and Denny Whayne, the Bulldogs took a 28-1 record into the Class L (large schools) state semifinals before they dropped their final two games and settled for a fourth-place state finish at 28-3. Oliver then found fame by joining the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters for four years.  He was selected for one of three Globetrotter squads of touring basketball entertainment teams through a tryout camp in Chicago with Globetrotters’ founder Abe Saperstein. The Globetrotters spent most of the traditional winter basketball seasons in those years playing in the USA, and then went to foreign countries literally around the world during the summer months. Traveling the country and the globe and playing alongside the likes of Meadowlark Lemon, Curly Neal, Geese Ausbie, and Connie Hawkins brought notoriety to Oliver’s talents. His British trips included getting to visit with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and the Beatles. After his stint with the Globetrotters, Manny Oliver returned to Springfield, playing several years of independent basketball.

Roy Green became a household name in Springfield basketball circles through his college playing career followed by 38 seasons as a high school coach with a level of sustained success which has earned him a spot in the 2018 Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame induction class. A native of Camdenton, Mo., Green was an all-state player at Camdenton High School and won three varsity letters with the Missouri State University Bears between 1963 and 1966. After three seasons of high school coaching at Miller and Willow Springs, Green joined the United States Army and earned a Bronze Star Award in Vietnam with his 1969-71 Army service. With a master’s degree from University of Central Missouri in 1973, Green was an assistant coach from 1971 to 1983 at Springfield Glendale High. He started a 26-year run of success as head coach at Kickapoo High from 1983 to 2009. His 558-186 (.753) record with the Kickapoo Chiefs marked the most wins and highest winning percentage of any coach in Springfield public high school history. His teams won 14 Ozark Conference titles, 16 district championships and made it to the state semifinals five times with large-class school state titles in 2003 and 2006, a state runner-up finish in 1987 and state third place spots in 1992 and 2005. Green’s KHS teams were nationally-ranked six times and he was the Springfield Tipoff Club Coach of the Year 10 times and the MBCA Coach of the Year three times. He was inducted into the MBCA Hall of Fame in 2005, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2010 and received a Missouri State University Outstanding Alumni Award in 2005.

Nyla Milleson’s basketball coaching history has been highlighted by three successful stints in Springfield as she joins the 2018 Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame induction class. Prior to her current five-year stint at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Milleson spent 19 years at one high school and two college posts in Springfield, logging 20-win campaigns, league titles and postseason success at all three. A native of Goodland, Kan., Milleson came to Springfield as Glendale High coach in 1992. A 1985 magna cum laude graduate of Kansas State University, Milleson guided the Lady Falcons to six straight 20-win seasons and was 1996 MBCA and AP Missouri Coach of the Year as GHS was 27-3 and captured a Class 4A state title. Milleson crossed town to start the first women’s program at Drury University, taking Drury to phenomenal success from 2000 to 2007, winning 20 or more six times, capturing six conference titles, playing in five straight NCAA Division II tournaments, and finishing as 2004 Division II national runner-up. She was a four-time Heartland Conference Coach of the Year with a 185-36 Drury record (.837). Moving locally again, Milleson went to Missouri State in 2007 and her third club posted the nation’s seventh best winning turnaround at 22-11. It was the first of three straight 20-win MSU seasons as the Lady Bears earned a Missouri Valley Conference title and played in three straight WNIT events. In 2013, Milleson went to George Mason, and 2017-18 was her breakthrough year with a 24-10 record and WNIT trip. It was GMU’s first winning season in 14 years, set a school victory record, and produced GMU’s first postseason victory.

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