History

The Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame (MCSHOF) had its beginning September 1988. The Hall's mission, in brief, is to develop a sports hall of fame for Morgan County as a means to promote and preserve its rich history of sports. Morgan County boasts an amazing sports history, dating to the early 1900's. However, the story of sports in Morgan County has not been recorded for public display. It is a collage of people, places, legends, and lore. Included are true icons from H.L. "Shorty" Ogle to Joe Jones, Earl Morris, Mike Smith, J.P. Cain, Don Whitmire, Gary Redus, Cecil Turney, Ricky Hardin, Debra Harvel, Kathy Farrer, Tom Calvin, Bill Evans, Tina Chairs, Bob Harpe, Lloyd Nix, Wally Sanders, and many more sports heroes. Until the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame was established in 1988, there has been no central organization to preserve and promote this outstanding legacy. Established as a nonprofit organization the Hall's mission extends far beyond the county's sports history. Using the common bond of sports, the Hall in concert with the Boys and Girls Club in Morgan County support youth programs in numerous ways. These programs directly influence the lives of the county's young people. At this grass roots level, local youth are exposed to and educated about the tremendous history of sports in Morgan County. With the fervor of the county's fan base, this broad-based, mass appeal is the prime mover behind all the Hall's programs and initiatives. From the youngest fan to the oldest grandparent reliving their fondest memories at an induction ceremony presentation the Hall with its multi-generational appeal is unlike any organization. The MCSHOF recognizes the Morgan County fan as its core audience. This robust fan base combined with key support/sponsor organizations, institutions, and individuals, forms the essence of the Hall's existence. These articles chronicle the successful story of the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame.

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County HOF is needed

David Elwell
Sports Editor Decatur Daily
June 5, 1988

Milton Berle is supposed to be famous for stealing jokes from other comedians.

Berle probably has stolen a joke or two along the way, but we bet there isn't a comedian alive who has not swiped a joke from someone.

It's the same in the newspaper business, particular sports. If one paper gets a good idea you can bet that at least a few other newspapers will copy that idea.

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Maybe hall idea will take root

David Elwell
Sports Editor Decatur Daily
August 28, 1988

Plant a seed and watch it grow.

Maybe that has happened.

Several weeks ago we wrote a column suggesting that one thing Morgan County needs is a way to recognize some of the people who have contributed to this community through their athletic achievements.

Our reasoning was that as the years go by the deeds of these people go from becoming larger than life to fleeting memories.

A perfect example is the late Decatur football coach H.L. "Shorty" Ogle. In 50 years the Ogle name will be nothing more than the name of a football stadium to most of the people in the area. There will be few people around who will understand who Ogle was and what he meant to this community.

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HOF Planning meeting outline

The following is the outline of the presentation given to the newly formed hall of fame committee by John Lee, Executive director of the Boys' Club of Knoxville, Tennessee.

Determine Interest Level

1. Select Test Group

2. Send Letter asking for response

3. Set initial meeting to discuss merit

4. Based on feedback make adjustment

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Garrison's vision and drive helped make Hall a reality

By Mark Edwards
DAILY Sports Editor

During the period 1989 - 2015 the MCSHOF, in concert with the Boys and Girls Club of Morgan County, has inducted 190 Morgan County sports heroes into the MCSHOF and raised more than $380,000.00.

One of the pioneers of the formation of the MCSOF program is Phil Garrison. The following story presents some of the highlights of his 25 years of dedication to the program.


When Decatur resident Phil Garrison picked up his Sunday morning paper June 5, 1988, he never imagined that reading that day's edition would spark an idea that has raised about a quarter of a million dollars for charity.

 

That day, Garrison read a DECATUR DAILY sports column by then-sports editor David Elwell about how Morgan County should find a way to recognize its top athletes and coaches from the past.