SIOUX CITY | The Morningside Mustangs and Briar Cliff Chargers race up and down the court, thrilling nearly 6,000 spectators who've gathered at the Tyson Events Center for the NAIA Division II Women's National Basketball Tournament, Sioux City's proud and loud version of March Madness.
Just a few hundred yards from the lights, the din and the activity of mid-court, there are a few Morningside and Briar Cliff legends occupying their space in a quiet corridor that connects this facility to the Long Lines Family Rec Center.
It's the Greater Siouxland Athletic Association Hall of Fame, a collection of 64 athletes, coaches and contributors who made a lasting impact on a variety of chose pursuits.
Committee member Mike Cadwell, of Sioux City, notes the collection may one day make a move to a more traveled area, likely a spot within the Sioux City Public Museum.
Until then, the area represents a bit of a hidden gem, still worth the visit for a sprint -- or a jog, or a medley, as it were -- down memory lane.
Morningside College, for example, has representation from its most famous major leaguer in the late great Paul Splittorff, a 2006 inductee long noted for his affiliation with the Kansas City Royals, both as a 166-game winning pitcher and, later, an announcer who enjoyed 24 years behind the mic, offering insight to viewers of both baseball and basketball.
The southpaw from Arlington Heights, Ill., threw the very first pitch for the Royals, an expansion organization, when he toed the rubber with a Royals minor league franchise in Corning, N.Y., some 47 years ago.
Interestingly, it was another Greater Siouxland Hall of Fame member, Don Protextor, who led "Splitt" to Sioux City. Protextor, a highly successful coach of the Morningside College baseball team, was working as an umpire in the national American Legion tournament in 1966 when he noticed Splittorff.
Splittorff soon transferred from Quincy College and headed west to Morningside.
Cheryl (Dreckman) Carter, an inductee in 2008, joins the likes of coach Lila Frommelt (1997) and Ray Nacke (2000) as Briar Cliff Chargers who contributed mightily to their sports. The court at the Newman Flanagan Center in 2012 was named for Nacke, creator of the famed "Panama Pipeline" that forever linked Charger basketball -- and 22 straight winning seasons --prowess to the Central American country.
John Harty, a two-time Super Bowl champion who starred for the Heelan Crusaders as a prep, earned his spot in these annals, as did Dave "Beauty" Bancroft, a baseball inductee a half-century ago whose name lives on in the name of the current Sioux City Legion baseball team, one organized by Bob Protexter, Don's son.
Bancroft, who died in 1972, just one year following his induction into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, won two World Series titles, helping the New York Giants defeat Babe Ruth and his New York Yankees in 1921 and 1922 .
Beyond the photos, the names, the years and their pursuits, there are a few programs, newspaper pages, felt letters and photographs presented on these walls. Famous quotes break up the columns of honorees, inspiring passers-by who enjoy sportsmanship with their sports.
A sentence from the late Grantland Rice, this country's fabled sportswriter, likely says it best: "When the great scorer comes to write against your name, he writes not whether you won or lost, but how you played the game."
This particular game, this Hall of Fame, is played within six rules spelled out at the display runs its course. Those honored must have made their significant contributions from an area defined as the school districts from Sioux City, South Sioux City, Lawton-Bronson, Dakota Valley, Sergeant Bluff-Luton and Woodbury Central.
Nominees must have resided in those districts and must have been through with their chosen sport or profession for five years. And, in short, nominees should have achieved a measure of success that places them above and beyond the rest.
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