Every member of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame (CSHOF) either had or continue to have unique careers in sports both in Chautauqua County as well as state and nationwide.
That’s according to CSHOF President Randy Anderson, who recently sat down for an interview with the Jamestown Gazette in preparation for the 39th Annual Induction Dinner, which will take place Monday, Feb. 17 at the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club.
Anderson said he believes the Class of 2020 is particularly special because of the variety of sports that the inductees either were, or still are, involved in.
“I think what makes this one special is it involves so many different sports,” Anderson stated. “We’ve got basketball here, we’ve got volleyball in here, we’ve got baseball here…It’s a well-rounded class from a variety of sports.”
Anderson said the following people are members of Class of 2020: George Bataitis (sports administrator), Bob Bender (Baseball), Bob Goold (coaching & Special Olympics), Christine Carlson Jenkins (softball &basketball), Justin Johnson (basketball), Tim Nobles (basketball coach), Elly Norton (officiating &
baseball), Mark Orlando (football coach) and Mike Tramuta (basketball coach). Anderson added that the total number of members is 209 with the newest class.
Bataitis and Bender are both posthumous inductees.
The Jamestown Gazette also asked Anderson
to detail the process that the Hall of Fame Board of Directors undergoes to select a class. TAnderson said community input plays a critical role in the selection process.
“We receive nominations from the public,” Anderson said. “All of the nominations come from the public. We don’t go out and say, ‘Hey, this guy should be in. She should be in.’We receive nominations from the public.”
Members of the community are able to fill out a nomination form, according to Anderson. Once the form is filled, Anderson said that additional documentation is required to prove the person’s accomplishments. From there, he explained that the names would enter a database full of candidates, which he called the “hopper.”
Anderson said there are currently more than a hundred nominees in the hopper, which they view annually in determining who will be inducted.
Anderson explained that the Hall of Fame looks for exceptional people who’ve had a lifetime career in sports. The president, however, said that the Hall of Fame isn’t looking for a “very, very good high school athlete” whose career ceased after high school. Anderson said the organization looks to induct those who’ve made a longer career in sports, adding that a person doesn’t need to be an athlete to be inducted. Coaches, media members, and others have been inducted throughout the years.
More than 40 of Chautauqua County’s top high school, collegiate and community athletes, coaches and teams will be honored.
The Clymer/Sherman/Panama Wolfpack football team will be among those honored. The Wolfpack have won two consecutive New York State Class D Championships, both against the Moriah Vikings.
CSHOF Legacy Society Awards will also be presented, according to the February 2020 edition of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame monthly newsletter. More than a dozen awards are slated for the presentation. Anderson is also scheduled to present The President’s Legacy Award to a member of the CSHOF Board of Directors who has performed outstanding service to the organization.
The recipient will be announced at the banquet, according to the newsletter.
Anderson said that tickets to this year’s induction ceremony can be purchased at: Jamestown Cycle Shop, 10 Harrison St., Jamestown; Matt’s News, 93 E. 3rd St., Dunkirk, and the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, 15 W. 3rd St., Jamestown. Anderson added that tickets can be ordered by calling Chip Johnson, the Induction Dinner Chairman, at 716-485-6991.
Tickets are $50 each, with CSHOF members receiving a $5 discount.
Doors will open at 5:00 p.m. for a social time, with dinner scheduled to start around 6:15. The ceremony will begin around 7:00.
The Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame is open from noon until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free. To learn more, visit chautauquasportshalloffame.org .