By Etta Walsh
CHICOPEE – An effort to establish a Hall of Fame, to honor outstanding former public-school athletes, is under way with a June golf tournament to raise funds and a November ceremony set to induct the first members.
The effort is spearheaded by James Blain, director of athletics for Chicopee public schools, who is serving as president of the group. Treasurer is James Raschilla and secretary is Jean McGuire.
“I decided, in my first year, that I wanted to create a Hall of Fame,” said Blain, who became the School Department athletic director in July. “Many, many former athletes have brought pride, honor and distinction to Chicopee.”
Blain said all former star athletes from Chicopee High and Chicopee Comprehensive High schools are eligible for the Hall of Fame. Two plaques, with star athletes’ names engraved, will be mounted outside the gymnasiums of both schools, he said.
And the effort will also recognize the contributions made by coaches and those who have contributed to school sports, “those who have been advocates for kids,” he said.
Athletes must have graduated from CHS or Comp at least 10 years ago, to be included in the Hall of Fame, he said.
Coaches must have had “substantial impact” on their student athletes, both on and off the playing fields, and contributors must have shown “significant support” for interscholastic programs, he said.
More than 100 nominees have been suggested for the Hall of Fame and volunteers are combing through the paperwork now, with between 45 and 60 expected to be chosen as the first inductees, Blain said.
A Nov. 13 induction ceremony will be held at the Castle of Knights, 1599 Memorial Dr., he said.
A golf tournament, the sole source of fundraising for the effort to establish the Hall of Fame, will be held June 20 at Chicopee Country Club, Blain said.
His committee estimates it will need $10,000 to create the Hall of Fame, purchase plaques for each inductee, and mount the wall plaques at each high school, he said.
Foursomes cost $100 per golfer, including carts, T-shirts and lunch. Space is limited to 36 foursomes.
Sponsorships are also available, for $700, $600 and $500, which includes foursomes, carts, greens fees, lunch on the course, an after-tournament banquet, T-shirts and recognition for sponsoring organizations at specific tees.
Tee box sponsorships are available for $100.
Check-in deadline for the tournament is at noon, with a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start, he said.
Cost to attend the after-tournament banquet only, at American Legion Post 452, 43 Exchange St., is $20.
Tournament applications are due June 1. For information and applications, call Blain at Chicopee High, 594-3574, or email him at email@example.com.
Efforts underway to establish athletic Hall of Fame
By Etta Walsh