The Medford Sports Hall of Fame is ready to welcome some fresh faces.
For the first time in five years, the Hall is soliciting nominations for an induction ceremony this fall, said Dick Entinger, a member of the Hall committee.
The deadline to turn in nominations is July 14. The 2012 class will be announced Aug. 12, and the ceremony will be Oct. 20 at Rogue Valley Country Club.
Nomination forms are available at several area businesses: the Mail Tribune, both Jackson Creek Pizza restaurants, Cascade Athletic, Baci's Pizza and Pasta and Superior Athletic Club I and II.
Anne Brewer and family are the lead sponsors of this year's induction banquet. Her late husband, Fitz, is one of the 130 members in the Hall, which is on permanent display at Jackson Creek Pizza, 317 E. Main St.
The Hall was created in 1985 by the City of Medford as part of its centennial celebration. One hundred members were ushered in then, 20 more in 1990 and another 10 in 2007.
Entinger, who has lived in the Rogue Valley since 1976 and was part of the 2007 class as a special contributor, said the Hall is vital to keeping alive the legacies of local sports heroes.
"I think as most sports enthusiasts learn," said Entinger, "whether they grow up here or move into the valley and spend any length of time, you find out rather early that student-athletes are very important to this community and its vibrancy. It's an important factor in how this community stays cohesive and grows."
While metropolitan areas have professional and NCAA teams, Medford predominantly embraces high school and community athletics, and the Hall celebrates them.
"It comes down to local athletes and how they perform in their high school careers and when they go beyond that," said Entinger. "It seems to me like the athletic part of a person's life doesn't end abruptly. They do give back in many ways. The Hall of Fame committee feels it's something to be continued and nurtured."
The 2007 inductees were athletes Bob McIntyre (track and field), Whitney Grant (basketball), Angie Jacobs (softball), Kevin Towers (baseball) and Bob Wolcott (baseball); coaches Dennis Murphy (basketball) and Larry Binney (softball) and special contributors Entinger, B.G. Gould and Steve Wisely.
Athletes and coaches up for nomination must be at least 25 years old and have excelled at state, regional, national or international levels.
Special contributors can be those who worked in areas such as officiating, reporting, organizing, promoting or supporting.
Those who submit nominations are encouraged to be as thorough as possible, said Entinger. There's no such thing as too much information, he said.
"Those making nominations need to do an in-depth analysis of their contributions, performance and accolades so it's all included in the package and the individual can be evaluated properly," said Entinger. "That's the biggest issue, the biggest challenge we have. We want the entire body of work of the individual."
Jackson Creek Pizza was chosen as the permanent home for the Hall last July.
There also is a mobile version that can be put up at various events or businesses for short periods.
The Hall's original home for 21 years was JJ North's Grand Buffet, which closed in June 2006.
Anyone with questions regarding the nomination process or who are interested in sponsoring tables at the banquet should contact Don Pinkham at 541-773-9400.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email firstname.lastname@example.org