Hightower, Statham elected to St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame

News-DemocratMay 2, 2014 

Longtime NCAA basketball official and Edwardsville School District 7 Superintendent Ed Hightower and 48-year McKendree University men's basketball coach Harry Statham are among those who will be inducted into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame.

The induction dinner and ceremony will be Sept. 24 at the Grand Renaissance Hotel in downtown St. Louis.

"Ed Hightower easily won the voting from our 100 voters as the representative from the officiating profession," St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame President Greg Marecek said Friday. "His reputation as one of college and international basketball's top referees for 36 years speaks for itself."

Hightower refereed 12 NCAA Division I Final Fours, the 1990 World Championship of Basketball in South America, the Goodwill Games (twice), and many games for the Big Ten and Big East conferences.

Voted the 1995 National Association of Sports Officials' Gold Whistle Award, the Naismith Division I Men's College Basketball Official of the Year in 1992 and inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1998.

Hightower has announced he will leave his role as superinendent of District 7 at the end of the 2015-16 school year.

Statham is the all-time wins leader in men's college basketball history with 1,077 --all of them at McKendree, located in Lebanon.

Statham guided the Bearcats to 12 American Midwest Conference championships and 15 appearances in the NAIA Division I Tournament.

Statham was the NAIA Coach of the Year in 2002. He is a member of the NAIA Hall of Fame and the IBCA-NAIA Hall of Fame.

Others who will be inducted are:

* Chris Carpenter, Orlando Cepeda (St. Louis Cardinals).

* Aeneas Williams (St. Louis Rams/Arizona Cardinals)

* Gus Otto (Missouri Tigers/Oakland Raiders).

* Bob Plager and Brian Sutter (St. Louis Blues).

* Dan Kelly (St. Louis Blues broadcaster).

* Al Ferrari (St. Louis Hawks).

* Taylor Twellman (Olympics/pro soccer).

* Gene Gieselmann (St. Louis Cardinals trainer).

* Kristin Folkl-Kabarakis (basketball/volleyball).

* John Schael (Washington University athletic director).

* Connie Price Smith (Olympics/SIU Carbondale).

* Todd Joerling (men's softball).

A sellout crowd of more than 1,000 is anticipated for the induction ceremony, with tickets on sale now at $150 per person or at the discounted price of $1,250 for a table of 10.

Tickets are available at www.stlshof.com, by calling Tim Moore at (314) 226-1190, or by check to STL Sports HOF, 1400 S. 3rd St., St. Louis, Mo., 63104.

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