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Basketball Hall of Fame to unveil next inductee class in March

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Plans to increase fundraising, educational efforts

By Marty Finley

The Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame plans to unveil its latest selection of 17 inductees March 5, who will be honored during an induction weekend in July at the Historic State Theater.

Stars of yesteryear will join the first group of 16 inductees honored last year.

The organization also is ramping up its educational and fundraising efforts and is in the process of selecting a committee to review sites in Elizabethtown for development of a permanent facility, State Coordinator Curtis Turley said.

The work will culminate with an inaugural class of 100 in 2018 to celebrate 100 years of high school basketball in the state.

Turley, a longtime high school basketball coach, took over as state coordinator in November to fill the void left by Rick Whobrey’s departure as executive director. Turley estimated he has traveled 6,000 miles since November as he seeks partners and financial support for the Hall of Fame from Paducah to Pikeville.

Elizabethtown city government provides office space and staff support at Pritchard Community Center. Turley said he tries to stop by the office at least once a week. It is essential for him to seek an audience with those who have a love and passion for the game and may have a desire to invest into the organization when approached, he said.

“Right now, for me to do my job, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I was sitting in that office,” he said.

Elizabethtown Mayor Tim Walker said the city is pleased with the progress the hall has made and is fully committed to the partnership entered with the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches, which created the Hall of Fame concept. Walker said the city can aid the hall by finding capable volunteers to help staff the Elizabethtown office in Turley’s absence.

For 2013, the organization is planning a Hall of Fame weekend July 19 and 20, starting with “A Night with Champions” at Pritchard Community Center. Turley said the hall will invite surviving state championship high school basketball and college championship coaches to the kickoff ceremony.

The Hall of Fame will host a celebrity golf outing this fall and is organizing the second annual Tip-Off Classic, which invites high school teams to compete in a showcase. Turley said the hall is approaching other communities regarding the expansion of Tip-Off Classic events.

Ken Trivette, executive director of the KABC and chairman of the Hall of Fame, said the hall has partnered with the Kentucky Historical Society to place markers around the state recognizing historical basketball facilities.

“Eventually, we’ll have a basketball trail through Kentucky,” Trivette said.

Trivette described the state as its own walking museum that must be represented in the hall. In its travels, Trivette said the hall will promote Elizabethtown as its permanent home.

Education is one of the hall’s foundations, built upon the belief that the game develops traits and characteristics in players and coaches that serve them throughout their lives. Trivette said the hall is promoting this type of character education through its “Essence of the Game” program in schools.

“We believe there is more to the game of basketball than just what goes on at the gymnasium,” he said.

Trivette has been criticized for his role in developing the hall. Sonora resident Charles Thurman, who was involved in the Hall of Fame’s early phases, directed a scathing letter toward Trivette, blaming him for the “mass exodus of key/critical Hall of Fame leaders” because of what Thurman described as the “dangerously poor structure of the organization.”

Thurman, who sent the letter to multiple people, claimed the Hall of Fame’s bylaws outline a board of directors that is only an advisory committee and extension of the KABC controlled by Trivette. Thurman also accused the KABC of controlling and funneling hall revenues into its own coffers.

Trivette labeled the letter’s accusations as “malarkey” and said he has not responded to Thurman. Some founding members are no longer associated with the hall because their vision for how it should be organized ran contrary to the constitution and bylaws, which the hall is governed by, Trivette said.

“That doesn’t mean they’re wrong and that doesn’t mean we’re right,” he said.

Trivette said the Hall of Fame started as an appendage of the KABC with intentions of it eventually becoming self-sustaining financially.

According to a 2012 financial report submitted to the city, the hall collected more than $95,000 in revenue last year through $25,000 contributions from both Elizabethtown and KABC, $27,850 in donations and another $17,218 in event receipts. Expenses were listed at more than $73,000 with $30,000 set aside for salary and another $13,000 for administrative costs. More than $17,000 was allocated for induction activities.

The hall estimates $80,000 in revenue for the year based on a projection of $45,000 in overall fundraising and $35,000 from event revenue. Expenses were projected at $70,000.

Turley said the Hall of Fame operates an independent bank account in Elizabethtown.

The Hall of Fame board remains anonymous so members’ decisions will not be encumbered by political influence and KABC acts as a partner with no direct power over the board’s decisions, Trivette said. Likewise, the bylaws outline Trivette as a non-voting chairman, he said.

The hall is “moving on,” Trivette said, but harbors no hard feeling from detractors because they played an important role in establishing the Hall of Fame.

Turley said Thurman’s letter was littered with inaccuracies and he has chosen to discard negativity.

“Had it not been for the KABC, there would be no Hall of Fame,” he said.

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.