KOKOMO, Ind. – The Howard County Sports Hall of Fame, with plaques located at the Kokomo Event and Conference Center, is pleased to announce its 2017 class of inductees (alphabetical order, short summaries are below): Matt Bell, John Bingaman, Mike Blackburn, Dan Dunn, Tom Hilligoss, Dick Sanburn Jr. and Jenna Tarkington-Mumaw.
“We are thrilled with this class,” said Hall of Fame President Dean Hockney. “Since founding the Howard County Sports Hall of Fame in 2003, our board of directors is in continual awe of the accomplishments of each succeeding class of inductees. This year we have state champs, scoring leaders, record-breakers, and a community icon. Howard County has been blessed with outstanding sports personalities, and we are proud to tell their stories.”
This will be the 15th class inducted into the Howard County Sports Hall of Fame, with the annual Induction Banquet scheduled for October 28, 2017, at the Creative Financial Centre, home of the cfd Companies (2704 South Goyer Road, Kokomo). Ticket information for the banquet will be announced later this month.
“Any of this year’s seven inductees have a strong enough resume to have gone in previously, but that just shows how deep Howard County athletic history is,” said Hockney. “I am excited to hear them speak at our induction banquet in October – it is always a great evening for the sports community.”
Basketball and tennis: Matt Bell was a standout basketball and tennis player at Kokomo High School and basketball player at the United States Military Academy at West Point (commonly called Army) from 2003-2007. At Kokomo, he had 988 points, 309 assists, 246 rebounds and 111 steals. At Army, he finished with 1,353 career points and was a three-time team MVP and captain. In tennis at Kokomo, Bell had a 58-13 career record, which was third best in school history despite a broken ankle his senior season.
Boys golf coach: John Bingaman spent 23 years as a coach, teacher and athletic director. He coached five sports – golf, football, basketball, swimming and wrestling. He started in the Kokomo school system in 1965 and served as the Haworth High School assistant in golf before taking over the program in 1970. He amassed a 228-83-3 high school record and won state championships with Kokomo High School in 1985 and 1986. His Haworth and Kokomo squads combined for 13 state finals appearances.
Administrator: Dr. Mike Blackburn served as the Northwestern athletic director from 1978-2005 where he is credited with organizing the schools current structure of hosting all 20 IHSAA sanctioned sports and was a lead proponent for class athletics in Indiana. After leaving Northwestern, he was named the executive director of the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association. He was previously named the state and national athletic director of the year.
Horseshoes: Dan Dunn is arguably the most successful horseshoe pitcher to ever come out of Kokomo. A 1958 Kokomo High School graduate, Dunn has won several state and national championships while earning world titles at the 2014 National Horseshoe Pitchers Association Team World Tournament (Class A) and the 2017 NHPA World Horseshoe Tournament (Elder A1 Division). He is a three-time Senior Olympic state champion and a member of the Indiana State Horseshoe Pitchers Association Hall of Fame.
Football and track: Tom Hilligoss was a standout student-athlete for Kokomo High School. His most recognizable achievement was winning the IHSAA shot put state championship with a throw of 56-11.75 during his junior year of 1964. On the football field, he was a starting offensive and defensive end for the Wildkats, earning several All-State first team accolades his senior season. He played one season at Indiana University on a football scholarship.
Dick Sanburn Jr.
Contributor: Longtime owner of Dick Sanburn Sporting Goods in Kokomo, he retired in 2013 after 54 years. He once estimated he sold more than 10,000 pairs of tennis shoes and was elected to the National Sporting Goods Association board of directors. He supported youth baseball and other athletic teams through donations and sponsorships, including the Kokomo Post 6 baseball squad. Sanburn also spent 17 seasons as the catcher on the powerful Punchy’s Radiator fast-pitch softball team.
Gymnastics: Northwestern High School’s Jenna Tarkington won the IHSAA gymnastics state championship in the floor exercise in 2002 with a score of 9.575. In 2003, she was the IHSAA state runner-up in the all-around and beam, while finishing fourth in the floor, sixth on the vault and seventh on the bars. She won 17 Mid-Indiana Conference, 16 sectional and nine regional championships. At Ball State University, she was a two-time Mid-America Conference champion on the vault.
Courtesy of the Howard County Sports Hall of Fame