Clyde Lear is the retired Chairman and CEO of Learfield Communications, Inc., a company he started in 1972 as an outgrowth of his master’s project at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Lear is among 15 individuals who will be inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
Learfield Sports is the preeminent leader in the collegiate sports marketing arena, boasting a rich history dating back to 1975. Today, Learfield is the exclusive provider of marketing services for athletic departments at 54 major institutions, including Mizzou, North Carolina, Stanford, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Miami and Clemson.
Learfield Communications is the parent company of Missourinet.
Other inductees include:
Jim Edmonds – Outfielder, St. Louis Cardinals
In eight seasons with the Cardinals, Jim Edmonds made three All-Star appearances and, in 2000, became the first Cardinals outfielder, ever, to hit 40 or more home runs in a season. In 2004, Jim earned a Silver Slugger Award, hitting .301 with 42 home runs and driving in 111 runs. At the end of his seventeen year career, Edmonds retired with a .988 fielding percentage and eight Gold Gloves, six of which came while playing for the Cardinals.
Emmitt Thomas – Cornerback, Kansas City Chiefs
Emmitt Thomas returned to his football roots in Kansas City in 2010, joining the Chiefs as the defensive backs coach. Thomas played cornerback for 13 seasons with Kansas City ( ’66-78) and finished his career with a franchise record 58 interceptions. 2011 marked Emmitt’s 31st season as an NFL assistant coach and his 44th overall NFL campaign. He was a member of both Kansas City’s Super Bowl squads, with the 1969-70 team winning Super Bowl IV. Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Chiefs Hall of Fame in 1986.
Jon Sunvold – Guard, University of Missouri
One of only two players in Big Eight Conference history to play on four consecutive league championship teams, Jon Sunvold played on Mizzou teams that had a cumulative record of 100-28. He twice won all-conference, all-district and all Big Eight Tournament honors, and was an All American in 1983. Jon is one of only four players to have his jersey (#20) retired. He played professionally for the Seattle Supersonics, San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat. Sunvold was a 1990 Missouri University Athletic Hall of Fame inductee.
Jamie Quirk – Catcher, Kansas City Royals
During his 18-year playing career, Quirk appeared in 984 Major League games, 525 of those as a catcher. He compiled a .240 career batting average with 43 home runs and 247 RBI’s and played for a total of eight different teams, including the 1980 AL Champion Royals and the 1990 AL Champion Oakland A’s. An American Leaguer at heart, Jamie spent only one year in the senior circuit, that being with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Mel Gray – Receiver, University of Missouri, St. Louis Football Cardinals
At the University of Missouri, Gray lettered in football and track from 1968-70. In football, Gray was all Big Eight in 1969 when he caught 25 passes for 705 yards and a school record nine touchdowns. He at one time held the MU career record for receiving touchdowns with 14. He was chosen to MU’s all-century team in 1990. Gray was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals and was an all-pro receiver during a career that lasted from 1971-82. Gray appeared in four straight Pro Bowls during the “Air Coryell” years.
Al Onofrio – Football Coach, University of Missouri
In 1971, after spending 12 years as an assistant football coach, Al Onofrio was named the head football coach at the University of Missouri, a post he held until 1977. While his record hovered at the .500 level, he was noted for having pulled upsets, mainly on the road. He coached four All-Americans and 30 NFL players. He let Mizzou to two bowl games: A loss to Arizona State in the 1972 Fiesta Bowl and a win over Auburn in the 1973 Sun Bowl. A 1993 inductee to the Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Hall of Fame, Coach Onofrio passed away on November 5, 2004.
Mickey Owen – Catcher, St. Louis Cardinals, Brooklyn Dodgers
A native of Nixa, MO, Arnold Malcolm “Mickey” Owen was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1935. He made his Major League debut in 1937, appearing in 80 games and spent the next three full seasons in St. Louis before being traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1941. After spending five seasons as the Dodgers backstop, Owen finished out his career with the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox. In 13 seasons, Mickey posted a .255 batting average with 14 home runs and 378 RBI’s in 1,209 games. Owen passed away on July 13, 2005.
Dr. Richard Lehman – Sports Medicine, St. Louis, MO
Dr. Lehman obtained his medical school degree from the University of Miami Medical School. He completed his orthopedic surgery residency at Washington University in St. Louis and was trained in orthopedic sports medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Rick has bee involved with ownership groups on the professional level with the Florida Panthers and has served as team physician for the St. Louis Blues and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ther personal physician of many professional athletes, he practices at the U.S. Center for Sports Medicine in St. Louis.
Rex Sinquefield – Chess, St. Louis, MO
The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame has taken the lead of the International Olympic Committee which recognizes chess as a sport. St. Louis’ Rex Sinquefield founded the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, a venue where newcomers can learn and seasoned veterans can compete in local, national and international tournaments. In 2011, the Sinquefields’ opoened the World Chess Hall of Fame. The historic 15,000 square foot building features displays of artifacts from the permanent collection, as well as exhibitions highlighting the great players, historic games and the rich cultural history of chess.
Lawrence Walls – Football Coach, Sumner High School – St. Louis, MO
From the 1960’s through the 1980’s, when the Public High League dominated St. Louis area football, Lawrence Walls presided over a dynasty at Sumner High School. His coaching career at Sumner begain in 1971 and continue until his retirement in 1998. When Larry totaled his record at the end of his reign, it tallied an impressive 248 wins compared to only 53 losses and 2 ties. Coach Walls who has coached his teams to four State Championships, was included into the Missouri Football Coaches Association in 1999.
Jim Pearson – Golf/Football Coach, Kickapoo High School – Springfield, MO
A graduate of Missouri Valley College, Jim played football for the Vickings under Coach Ashford from 1951 to 1955. After his graduation, Pearson hald positions as assistant football coach and head golf coach at high schools in Missouri and Illinois. In 1971, he was named the first head football coach at Springfield’s Kickapoo High School. Him retired after 20 years with a record of 135-66. He is a member of four Halls of Fame – the Missouri High School Football Coaches, the Springfield Area Sports, the Ozarks Golf and the Missouri Valley College Athletic Hall. Jim passed away on February 12, 2007.
Richard Hantak – NFL Official, St. Louis, MO
In addition to his many years officiating basketball in high school and college and high school football, Richard Hantak’s NFL career as an offical has spanned 25 years. In those years, he has worked as a Line Judge, Back Judge and Referee. His accolades in the NFL are numerous and include such assignments as the 1985 and 1997 NFC Championships, the 1989 AFC Championship and two Pro Bowls. But the biggest assignment in his career was being named as the Back Judge in 1982’s Super Bowl XVII and as a Referee in the 1992 Super Bowl XXVII.
Ellen Port – Amateur Golf, St. Louis, MO
The “First Lady of Missouri Golf”, Ellen Port hales from St. Louis. Ellen won her 7th Missouri Women’s Golf Association Amateur Championship in 2010, placing her in a tie for the most ever. She has qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur 17 times. Ellen has qualified for the U.S. Women’s Mid Amateur an amazing 22 years, winning four times. She has won the (St. Louis) Metropolitian Amateur Ladies Championship 12 times and in 1997, was named Amateur Athlete of the Year by the St. Louis Sports Commission. Port has competed in the U.S. Women’s Open three times.
Gene Ruble – Basketball, Southwest Missouri State University
Ruble was born in Plato, Missouri and began making a name for himself as a basketball standout in Camdenton. He helped guide that team to the Missouri Class B State Championship during his first year of high school in 1941. His junior year, Ruble moved to Lebanon and helped the Yellowjackets to a 28-1 campaign. He led the team back to the state finals and a second place finish in his senior season. In 1946, after serving in the Army and seeing action at The Battle of the Bulge, Ruble joined the Southwest Missouri State basketball team, where he was a four time first team all-conference selection, while leading the league in scoring each of his four years. He finished his SMS career with 1,406 points and was the school’s all-time scoring leader until 1967. Today, he is still among the top tem all-time scorers in Bears basketball history.
Columbia College – Volleyball, Columbia, MO
From 1998 to 2001, the Cougar Volleyball team amassed an overall record of 167 wins and only 2 losses. They participated in four straight NAIA National Volleyball Championship matches, winning three National Titles. During that time, they set an NAIA record by winning 102 consecutive matches dating from August 18, 1998 until September 22, 2000. The Cougars from those teams also boasted a 504-27 game record and a 27-1 NAIA National Tournament record. Additionally, Columbia College holds the record for consecutive home court wins, winning 126 straight matches from 1994 until 2003.
New Haven High School – Basketball, New Haven, MO
Since the school’s first game one hundred years ago, New Haven has established itself an unparalleled basketball tradition recognized througout the state. The Shamrock’s have ten Final Four appearances and eight State Championships. From 1956-1959, the teams won four consecutive Class S State Titles and boasted an overall record of 130-9. During that span, they were undefeated against all Class S opponents, posting 57 wins. They were the first team in Missouri to score 100 points in a state playoff game.
The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame ceremonies will take place on Sunday, January 29, 2012 at the University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center in Springfield, MO. The Enshrinement events will get started with an afternoon reception, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Hall of Fame. The Enshrinement Cermonies will get underway at 4:00 p.m. with a reception at the University Plaza Convention Center, with the banquet immediately afterwards. All fesitivities will conclude around 8:00 p.m.
Tickets for the Enshrinement are $150 each or $1,500 for a table of 10. Tickerts are on sale now and available by calling the Hall at (417)889-3100. Tickets are limited, so reserve your seat today. All proceeds will benefit the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.