Hollister Coach Crosses the Lake to Return “Home”

There has never been Hollister football without Jacob Hamon.   He has been there from the beginning.   After graduating from Evangel in 2008, he was hired as part of Kevin Roepke’s original staff.  He has served as the Tigers head coach since 2014.

Long before he roamed the sidelines wearing Hollister, blue and white,  he was an all-state player for Steve Hancock and Ron Martin at Branson.  By almost any accounts he is still one of the best defenders to ever put on a Pirates uniform.

Next season, he will once again put on the red and black of the Branson Pirates.  This time it will be a coaches shirt.

He has resigned his post leading the Tiger football program and has accepted an assistant coaching position on Anthony Hays’ staff.  It is thought he will be working with the defensive line.  He will also be teaching at the Jr High.

The Branson school board approved the hiring at its meeting on Thursday Night and on Friday morning, Coach Hamon had the conversation with his Hollister team and let them know that he is leaving.

Hollister was 2-8 this past season but they are only a year removed from going 5-5 with what was probably the best team in the programs history.

Hamon during a practice

Hamon speaking at a player signing

Lady Cats Continue to Stockpile Talent

The success of Coach Becky Vest’s quest to find talent around the Ozarks continues.  The leader of the College of the Ozarks Lady Cat program has done an incredible job of finding players that can compete on the national level, right here in the Ozarks.

That success has seemingly continued with her latest signing.  A year ago she secured the most prolific three point shooter in Missouri prep history (Abby Oliver) and now she has locked down the top long distance shooter in the state of Arkansas.  Hannah Pfeifer of Mountain Home, Ark. signed her letter of intent on Thursday to continue her basketball career with the Lady Bobcats.   Pfeifer is a 5’7 shooting guard, averaging 16 points per game and shooting over 40% from the three-point line.

Pfeifer joins a recruiting class that already includes Michelle Gabani, from Bolivar,  and  Gainesville’s Annie Noah.

This year’s Lady Cats are 20-1 and are ranked #3 in the country.

photo courtesy of CofO

All-Time Scoring Leaders Headed to CofO Hall of Fame

By: Dori Rapinchuk. CofO SID

Two NAIA All-Americans make up the College of the Ozarks Sports Hall of Fame inductees for 2018. The honorees will be inducted during the 2018 Sports Hall of Fame Luncheon on Saturday, Feb. 10.

The first 2018 inductee is Morgan Smith, who came to the Lady Cats following a stellar high school career. She played three seasons at Marshfield High School and was a key contributor for the Nixa Lady Eagles Class 5 State Championship during her senior year, earning All-State honors. Smith played for the Lady Cats from 2010-2013. In her four-year career, Smith lead the Lady Cats to 120 wins, including a National Tournament Runner Up finish in 2012. Smith was a two-time NAIA First Team All-American and three-time MCAC Player of the Year.  In 2013, Smith was named to the WBCA All-American team. In 2012, she was selected to the NAIA First Team All-Tournament team.  Smith set a single-season scoring record (845) and a single-season field goals made record (312). Smith holds school records for most career field goals made (1,024), most free throws made (595), and is the Lady Cats all-time leading scorer with 2,646 points.  On Nov. 1, 2013, the College recognized Smith’s contributions by officially retiring and displaying her #45 jersey in the Keeter Gymnasium. Smith graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Studio Art: Graphic Design and Ceramics.

The second inductee is Mike Wiebe, who hails from Branson High School where he recorded an All-State career.  Wiebe played for the Bobcats from the 2010 season through 2013.  In his four-year career, Wiebe helped lead the Bobcats to 81 wins, a Final Four berth in the 2011 NAIA Men’s National Championship, and an Elite 8 finish in 2013. Wiebe earned NAIA Second Team All-American honors three consecutive years, was named the 2009-10 Conference Freshman of the Year, and the 2012 Midlands Conference Player of the Year. In addition, Wiebe set school records for single-season scoring (797 points), most career free throws made (501), and is the Bobcats’ all-time scoring leader with 2,468 points.  On Nov. 2, 2013, the College recognized Wiebe’s contributions by officially retiring and displaying his #12 jersey in the Keeter Gymnasium. Wiebe graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration: Marketing.

After receiving nominations from alumni, former or present coaches, faculty, staff, administrators, fans, boosters, parents, friends, classmates, etc., a faculty athletic committee selects inductees based on their accomplishments within the sports arena at College of the Ozarks.

For those interested in attending the Sports Hall of Fame luncheon, tickets are $20 and must be purchased in advance by contacting Dori Rapinchuk in the College’s Sports Information Office at 417-690-2565.  Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

photo courtesy of CofO
photo courtesy of CofO

Another Hollister Coach Gets “THE CALL” From a Hall of Fame…

Back in October, Hollister Football Coach, Jacob Hammon was honored as one of the Elite Eleven for this years induction class to the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.  In a couple of weeks he was have company as a Hall of Famer on the Coaching Staff at Hollister High School

The Missouri Baseball Coaches Association has announced that they will include Hollister Baseball Coach and Athletic Director, John Burgi, in this years induction class.

Burgi has been the baseball coach at Hollister since the 2012-2013 school year.   He came to Hollister after a highly successful stint at Jonesboro Valley View High School in Arkansas.   In ten seasons leading the Blazers, Burgi was 229-83. He won two state titles, guided another edition to the semifinals.  He won five regionals and sent seven of the 10 teams to the state tournament.

Burgi also spent nine years leading the baseball program at Carthage High School and another nine as the head man at Hutchison Community College in Kansas.

Induction will take place during the MHSBCA clinic, January 20th in Jefferson City.

Photo Courtesy of Hollister High School

Top Local Sports Story of 2017

For the past ten days I have counted down, my top ten sports stories of 2017.  We have seen triumph on the basketball court as well as the football field.  We have seen new faces in leadership positions.  We have seen outstanding individual performances.  These all led up to number one.  While most stories on the list are positive and feel good.  This years top story is not quite a feel good on all aspects…

The #1 sports story of 2017 is:  The NAIA Championships leaving College of the Ozarks.

The NFL players that have been taking a knee during the national anthem has drawn national attention.  It has people all over the nation taking sides on the issue.

True to its patriotic mission the school came out on the side of showing the proper respect for the flag and our veterans.  In fact they took it a step further.  They requested all teams that play against Bobcat and Lady Cat teams to sign a pledge that all team members would stand for the pledge.

That naturally led to questions about the National Championships.   The school would like to have seen the NAIA adopt its “no pledge-no play” policy.  However, the organization decided it would not take a stance on the issue. “The NAIA respects the rights of all our members to determine the best course of action for their teams in regards to the national anthem,” NAIA President Jim Carr said in a release.

The College was hoping that they and the NAIA could come together, but that was not to be.  So, the school, citing its core patriotic mission and not wanting to be hypocritical of its values, asked the organization to move its Championships elsewhere.

As I stated at the time.  I will miss the Championships being here. I will miss working that week and calling games for teams from all over the nation.  I will miss getting to see all that talent assembled at the Howell Keeter Athletic Complex.  But, at the end of the day.  I am proud of my school and stand behind Dr Davis and his decision.