Twently years ago, then Athletic Director Dave Price instituted the Rockford Athletic Hall of Fame. He believed Rockford should recognize some of the outstanding athletes, coaches and community members that make the athletic program the success it is. Now that elite membership includes 92 individuals, four of which joined the ranks on Wednesday, October 14, in a ceremony at Boulder Creek Golf Club.
Rockford Athletic Director Tim Erickson opened the evening by reminding the audience that nominations are always welcome, and the distinction is open to athletes, coaches and community members. Athletes must be students who graduated at least ten years before they can be nominated, coaches must have coached at least five years, and all candidates must have made a significant contribution to the Rockford athletic program.
First to be recognized was Fred Rowley, receiving the award posthumously. Presenter Terry Konkle said Rowley was one of the young men who graduated Rockford High School to join World War II. “He was a great athlete of his era,” stated Konkle. Konkle said he went through the old Rockford Registers and found Rowley’s name often from 1939 to 1941, when Rowley graduated. “I noticed in the ‘40s about every week there was mention of athletes who were going into war. Then I would see the write-ups about how they died,” Konkle said. Rowley’s obituary ran September 2, 1943 after he was killed in the south Pacific.
Konkle said Rowley was All Conference for football in the 1940 season, which was the first season at the “new” stadium on Lewis Street. He was also known to hit homeruns that went on the roof of the school on Main Street, now the administration building. Multiple people mentioned he did this about ten times a year in baseball, often going right over the school into the road.
Tammy (Staudacher) Daly was the next to be inducted. Daly was a three-sport athlete who graduated in 1993. Don Seifert said Daly was described by her teammates as a dedicated athlete. “The word dedicated came up over and over again,” Seifert said. She was four years in swim, track and volleyball while also participating in band and the honor society. She said at the time she wanted to pursue a career in the biomedical field, where she now works. “She set a plan, she strived to achieve her goals andshe met them,” Seifert said. “She is a complete package, not just as an athlete but as a well-rounded person.”
Daly praised her parents for her success and said she didn’t think there was ever an event in which she competed that they attend. When she made nationals, her father did a “planes, trains and automobiles”-type effort to get to the event.
Third in the inductions was a couple, Pam and Tim Beimers, presented by their son, Tim. Beimers said his parents have been tireless supporters of Rockford sports. “They are always moving, always busy, always doing things,” he said.
Pam Beimers said she loves being behind the scenes helping others but found it strange to be inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame. “When I was in high school I was on the debate team,” she said. She said the football program has had an incredible impact on her sons and offered this challenge to others. “If you jump in and volunteer, amazing things can happen.”
Tim Beimers senior said it is very humbling to be inducted. “From day one when Tim came into our lives, it was all about our kids,” he said. “It’s been a great ride and the coaching staff is like a family. It amazes me to have a school our size with so much community involvement. There are a lot of parents doing what we do. To receive this honor is truly amazing.”
The final inductee was Jason Schab, who was presented by Tim Saur. Saur joked about his years in school and athletics with Schab, who now is an employee and coach at Rockford. “Fred Rawley was the first to play at the old stadium, Jason and I were the last,” he said. Schab has coached the 78ers for seven years and his kids love the intensity, desire and leadership he brings to coaching. “He was the best linebacker Rockford every had, a great baseball player and he’s a great employee,” Saur stated.
Schab recalled his years in Rockford athletics. “I am honored to have been chosen. There are hundreds and hundreds of athletes who go through the athletic program,” he said. “We were a new team, we were the first team for this new coach named Munger.” Schab said the team was the first to win the OK Red, first to qualify for state playoffs. “It was a huge year of firsts. It’s amazing to look back and see how far we’ve come, how big the program has become.”