Special to the Grove Sun
TULSA-It was a Hall of Fame kind of day Sunday. In the early afternoon, Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, and Sunday evening Kansas’s Jon Hanna was inducted into the 45th class of the Oklahoma Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame. As a kickoff to the 2011 All-State Games, Hanna, along with 10 other Oklahoma coaching luminaries, was feted before a sold out banquet hall at the Tulsa Southern Hills Marriott.
The ceremony commenced with an invocation, followed by the the National Anthem sung by Erin Bird. Stillwater’s Jerry Haven’s then struck a reflective moment with the reading of a long list of OCA associates that had passed away in the past year. As a prelude to the HOF induction ceremonies, Apache’s Kayla Pahcoddy was presented the Female Athlete of the Year Award and Edmond Santa Fe’s Gunnar Nixon was named the recipient of the Male Athlete of the year. Nixon, who has signed to run track for the University of Arkansas, was unable to attend due to the fact that he was participating in the Pan-American Games,where he had already placed second in the decathlon event.
Following the evening’s events, the long-time Comet general was quick to share the accolades of his enshrinement by noting, “This is a huge honor for me personally, but I didn’t do it alone. I was fortunate to have some great help from some incredibly talented assistants. Add to that a pair of outstanding superintendents, Murphy Moore and Jim Burgess, and most of all the amazing Kansas kids that I had the privilege to coach over the years.”
As a testament to that, a large contingent of former Kansas players joined in Sunday night’s celebration. Hanna went on to add that, “The icing on the cake is that I’m going into the Hall of Fame with my high school coach at Fairland, Bob Collins. He was a huge influence on me. That on top of all these former players, friends and family that are here tonight, make this very special to me.”
Collins echoed his former charge’s sentiments, adding, “I’m so grateful for this honor, but I’m extremely proud of the fact that I’m joined by Jon.”