(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A special night for sports in St. Joseph because Sunday night.
The first-ever St Joseph area sports hall of fame class was inducted by the St. Joseph sports commission.
A huge reason why the landscape of St. Joseph's sports is empty is what it was Sunday.
10 influential and decorated sports figures, a championship team and a Special Olympic world class athlete made up the inaugural St. Joseph area Sports Hall of Fame class.
The 2021 class features a Southsider, Mike Rucker, turned NFL standout. “Pick any teammate and they can tell you where I’m from, because I’m proud of that,” Rucker said.
Hall of Fame college football coach, Bill Snyder, “I have such a great appreciation for each and every one of those people in my life coming from St. Joseph, Missouri,” Snyder said.
A 10 year Major League Baseball veteran Byron Browne “We have to continue with these young kids and get some more kids out of here and in to the Major Leagues,” Browne said.
Two world class Olympians Wes Barnett, “Support those programs inspire youth that support opportunities for kids to play sport and do something,” Barnett said.
And Taryn Humphrey, “it's amazing how many amazing athletes are connected to St. Joe,” Humphrey said.
A softball pioneer Sherry Kempf “for me, there would have been no decent middle, without the perfect beginning,” Kempf said.
The godfather of Missouri Western athletics Charlie Burri, the father of boys baseball in St. Joseph Julius Hochman and two basketball icons, helping the game literally on the court like Newt Hilliard.
And Henry Iba, a longtime basketball coach, led the US men's team to gold.
The class though wouldn't be complete without a team, the Meyerhoffer/St Joe Frontier Casino fastpitch softball team head and shoulders above the rest in the late 90s and early 2000s.
And of course, a 35 year veteran of the Special Olympics who won gold in 1999.
World Games, Mike Grossman.
Sunday night's 2021 class featuring some of the very best to come from and call St. Joseph home.
‘When they handed me the first class and I saw it for the first time I said ‘spot on this is exactly what we were after,’” Senior Associate Athletic Director at MWSU Brett Esely said.