QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – As the largest school district in Warren County, Queensbury Union Free School District has its share of sports legacy. This year, the district is putting something together in order to honor the students, coaches, teachers and community members who have fueled its last century of school sports.
Queensbury has put out the call for former athletes, coaches and others connected to its school sports to submit their information for the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame. In creating the inaugural class lineup for the hall of fame, the district is seeking graduates who finished their time at Queensbury no later than the year 2000.
“We’ve been talking about this for a couple years,” said Richard Keys, Queensbury’s director of health, PE and athletics. “This district has something like 60 or 70 years of sports accomplishments that could use to be better recognized – we even have coaches and administrators who have shown up in other halls of fame.”
Queensbury UFSD maintains over 70 sports teams, across different sports, age ranges, and ability levels. Between the majority at the high school, and those that run at the middle school, the district sees between 12 and 15 sports teams play in a given season. Superintendent Kyle Gannon estimates over 300 student-athletes take part in the school’s sports world in a given year – and each one’s career impacts many more.
That’s why it isn’t just student-athletes being sought for the hall of fame’s inaugural class. Queensbury wants to hear from former staff and coaches, community members, and even representatives from full former teams. The district is collecting nominations online through April 1, and plans to notify the first-ever group of honorees in June.
Gannon and Keys don’t want to completely spoil the names and successes they’ve seen come in so far. Make no mistake, though – with a district as large as Queensbury, there have been success stories aplenty.
“We have Olympic alternates, pro athletes, high-level college athletes, state-caliber and section-caliber athletes all being considered. We want to showcase what our programs have produced over the years,” said Gannon.
The hall of fame will be displayed digitally at the high school athletics arena, near the existing trophy cases. Keeping the display screen-bound will allow the district to show as many pictures, recognize as many names, and tell as many stories as possible, without worrying about physical space constraints.
In the meantime, the district’s decades of underappreciated sports history are getting a thorough once-over. Queensbury has hired Tim Jones as its sports information analyst – a job which has consisted of digging through statistics and data from over the decades. All of that information will eventually be showcased on the district website, to immortalize stories of sports excellence in places where anyone can dig through them.
“Researching the history of Queensbury athletics revealed so many wonderful stories in addition to the outstanding numbers and statistics,” Jones said in a release on the district website. “There are a lot of people that, through no fault of anybody, seem to be unaware of this rich, deep history that could motivate today’s and the future student-athletes to reach higher for their goals.”
How to submit
To submit, candidates for the hall of fame must fall into one of five categories, and meet a set of criteria that go along with them. Criteria include:
• Student-athlete candidates must have graduated from Queensbury at least 10 years prior (exempt from the initial class of 2000 graduates); and achieved one or more of the following: Receiving an all-section, all-league or all-state award; been recognized as a winner for league, section, state or semi-professional status; or receiving collegiate, national, Olympic or professional status
• Coach candidates must have coached within the district for more than 10 years, with distinction in a sports program or achievement at league, section, regional, state or national level; or graduated from Queensbury with distinction in a sports program
• Team of distinction candidates must have received a team award 10 or more years earlier, or have been recognized for achievement at a league, sectional, regional, state or national level
• Administrator and staff candidates must have been a staff member for at least 15 years, and/or served with distinction in Queensbury athletic programs
• Community contributor candidates must have worked exceptionally hard to serve Queensbury student-athletes
Submissions will be considered by a committee assembled over a long period of work by Keys and others within the district. The people involved in the decision include members of the district board of education, former coaches and athletes, and a representative from the school guidance department – as well as Keys and Gannon themselves.
“We’re really proud to bring this forward,” said Keys. “It was an undertaking that, in our line of work, we get really excited about. I’ve been here for 27 years, and I’ve known a lot of names. Induction night will be a very special night for me – to see former athletes I saw come through the district, and see who they’ve grown into.”