Hello Howard County, the Sports Journal is back after a one-month vacation!

First, I would like to thank all of our friends and followers who asked where the Sports Journal has been and if everything was okay. I can assure you I am fine and nothing has happened heath-wise. It is good to know we have loyal readers and social media followers who miss us when we are gone.

As most of you know, the Sports Journal is a small operation with most of the work done by myself. I write or collect the stories, captions and briefs and rely on contributors to supply the Sports Journal with pictures (with the exception of the national award-winning photo editor William Gibson, who is out and about with a camera most weeks).

That said, most of you also know I had a partnership with the Kokomo Herald for several years, and when they merged with another paper, my position was eliminated. It is a shame that the Herald has evolved into an entertainment paper and not the good news publication it once was.

Since then, I took a position with the Kokomo School Corporation as the Assistant Transportation Supervisor, Community Relations and Communications. While the new position is not in sports, it does fit with my military logistics and communications background. I spent nearly 10 years on active duty driving a 6,000-gallon fuel truck and controlling all movements of our refueling fleets as a dispatcher in Air Force Fuel Control Centers around the globe. I also spent five years as an Army civilian, many of which was spent in our headquarters operations in media relations and communications. So, this is a perfect fit.

That said, it has been a shock to the system – my day now starts at 5 a.m. (a return to my military days) as the school buses are revving engines in the KSC Bus Yard at the Transportation Department. And that is one of the reasons I took a month off – I needed to adjust my schedule as I was starting this new segment in life.

Now that my body is used to getting up before the rooster’s crow, I am ready to relaunch the Sports Journal after a month off. But don’t worry, you really didn’t miss that much as the month of August is a fairly quiet sports month.

We missed the end of a lackluster Kokomo Jackrabbits season that saw the squad miss the playoffs and finish with its worst record in its three-year history (27-33, 10 games out of first place in the East Division). One bright note is the Rabbits set a Kokomo Municipal Stadium attendance record with 49,191 fans (1,638 per game) – nearly 1,000 fans more per game than Lafayette (747). Meanwhile, the Jackrabbits sister team in Lafayette won the league title in just its second year of competition.

High school sports started in the latter half of August, and we missed giving a shout out to the Taylor Titans as they ended an 11-game losing streak in football. In week one, the Titans buried North White 51-6 on the road. So congrats to coach Dennis Bentzler and his squad.

But now, we are back to running at full speed. The Sports Journal will drop into your inboxes each Tuesday morning and our Twitter page will post scores and results as usual – and don’t miss our coverage of high school football on Friday nights and other sporting events as they come up. Thanks for being patient, and good luck to all area teams.

Until next time, remember to keep the man and ship in sports – and I’ll see you at the game.

Dean Hockney is the publisher of the Sports Journal of Central Indiana, Hit Country WWKI sports contributor and the public address voice of the Kokomo Jackrabbits and other local events. You can follow him on Twitter (@Sports_Journal) for the latest in local sports news and in-game reports.

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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.”

Matt Bell

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.

John Bingaman

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.

Mike Blackburn

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.

Dan Dunn

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.

Tom Hilligoss

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.

Jenna Tarkington-Mumaw

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

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INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Pacers announced Monday their 2017-18 National Basketball Association schedule with Opening Night, presented by Kroger, Wednesday, Oct. 18, against the Brooklyn Nets. Game time at Bankers Life Fieldhouse will be 7:00 p.m.

After the opener, the Pacers host Portland Oct. 20 before making their first road trip of the season, a three-game trip to Miami, Minnesota and Oklahoma City.

The Pacers will have a six-game homestand in December that features defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Dec. 8, and Oklahoma City Dec. 13, a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN. Other home games of note include San Antonio (Oct. 29); Houston (Nov. 12); Toronto in the annual night after Thanksgiving game (Nov. 24), Boston (Nov. 25, Dec. 18); Minnesota (Dec. 31); Cleveland (Jan. 12); the Los Angeles Lakers (Mar. 19); the Los Angeles Clippers (Mar. 23) and defending NBA champion Golden State (Apr. 5). The Pacers close the regular season Apr. 10 at home against Charlotte.

On the road, the Pacers have one five-game trip, two four-game trips and two three-game trips. They will make their latest west coast swing since 2013 when they visit Golden State, Sacramento, the Clippers and Denver from Mar. 27 to Apr. 3. The Pacers will play 14 back-to-backs this season, down from 17 in the 2016-17 season.

The Pacers will also have two other national TV games on NBATV, Nov. 20 at Orlando and Jan. 8 at home against Milwaukee. The Pacers local television and radio broadcast schedule will be announced at a later date.

Single-game tickets for all 2017-18 Pacers home games will be available for purchase on Thursday, Sept. 28 at 10:00 a.m. Ticket plans, group tickets and nightly suite rentals are available now. To learn more, fans should visit or call (317) 917-2827.

Courtesy of the Indiana Pacers

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