Columbian Athletic Hall of Fame making a comeback

When he was interviewing for the Columbian athletic director’s job, Dan Hartsel said he was told one of the duties would be to do something about the school’s athletic hall of fame.

What he found when he got the job earlier this year drove the point home.

The object was a three-ring binder filled with clippings and pictures chronicling a TC athlete’s accomplishments from the 1960s.

“Somebody put this together. It was put in a box and we hadn’t even opened the box,” Hartsel said. “Somebody had taken the time to do all of this, all their ribbons, … pictures, articles, just different things.”

The binder had been submitted in 2009, one year after the school last enshrined a hall of fame class. There hasn’t been another since.

That will change.

Hartsel said the hall of fame will enshrine another class sometime next spring, looking to honor not only TC athletes, but those involved with athletics at the school in a variety of ways.

“We’re calling it ‘The Road To Reactivation,'” Hartsel said.

“There’s too many not only good athletes that have come out of Columbian … forever,” he said. “But also there’s people that have given their blood, sweat and tears to make sure that those athletes would be clothed, their facilities ready to go and to get us on par with a lot of other schools in the area.”

Picking the next class is the job of a 13-member committee headed up by Hartsel, who said the committee members come from a variety of backgrounds — alumni, politicians, media, community leaders, etc.

“I think we’ve got a very good mix of everybody that can add different parts and go from there,” Hartsel said.

“We’ve come up with a saying: ‘We want to honor the past to forge the future.’ And I think that is one of the things that the committee is all in on,” he said.

Hartsel said nomination forms will be available online soon. Those making the applications can submit articles, pictures, memorabilia, etc.

“We’ll gladly take it here at the high school and display it once we get our hall of fame wing completed,” Hartsel said.

“It’s going to be a complete overhaul. We’re going away from your traditional ‘here’s the plaque, read it.’ We’re going all interactive,” he said.

The hall of fame enshrined its first class in 1992 and added more every two to four years until 2008.

Those honored have a plaque with their picture and accomplishments displayed in the hallway near the concession stand outside the gym.

Starting with the next class, the hall of fame will be located across from the gym entrance near the current display area for trophies and memorabilia.

It will have a touchscreen interface to allow for a variety of searches — name, sport, enshrinement year, etc. — about inductees, along with displays of trophies and other memorabilia.

Hartsel said donors have already stepped up for some of the costs of the new hall of fame wing, and he said he hopes to find a way to display trophies he found in storage dating back to the ’30s and ’40s

“We’ve got a nice thing started here. We want to add to it,” he said.