Purdy Hall of Fame to grow Friday
School to honor newest inductees at Homecoming
Friday night, the Purdy school district will celebrate its annual basketball homecoming with the theme, "Under the Big Top."
The Eagles are slated to battle McAuley Catholic on the floor beginning at 6 p.m., and the district, in conjunction with the festivities, will also host its second annual Purdy High School Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
The ceremony will take place immediately following the junior varsity game. This year's inductees are Coach Mike Payne and Megan Leonard.
Leonard graduated from Purdy High School in 2005. She helped lead the Lady Eagles softball team to the state tournament in back-to-back seasons during her junior and senior years.
Her high school accolades include being named a two-time Ozark 7 Conference Player of the Year and four-time First Team All-State selection.
Leonard pitched collegiately for Crowder College in Neosho and the University of Central Missouri, in Warrensburg, and was inducted into the UCM Hall of Fame in 2015.
"From the moment Megan picked up a ball to pitch, she dedicated every part of her life to becoming the best," said Chelsea Swadley Powers, Leonard's lifelong friend and former Purdy teammate. "Her parents were her biggest fans. They supported her goals and helped her become a success."
Payne began his career with the Eagles in 1978, teaching junior high social studies and coaching seventh- and eighth-grade basketball. Payne currently serves as the assistant coach for the Lady Eagles basketball team.
Throughout his 28-year tenure, according to the district, Payne has coached basketball, track, softball and cross-country and has instilled the values of hard work, determination, confidence and school spirit in countless players of all ages. He also left his mark on generations of Purdy Eagles as a social studies teacher, mentor, hero and friend.
"In his 30 years of coaching, Dad has undoubtedly taught many players the fundamentals of basketball," said Jessie Payne Clawson, Mike's daughter. "But more importantly he taught, through his example, the fundamentals of life -- to serve others, to have a positive attitude, to be an encourager, to show kindness, to practice patience, to work hard and to do what you love."
Homecoming attendees will have the opportunity to view photos and memorabilia celebrating Payne's and Leonard's careers. The displays will be set up in the cafeteria/commons area for the duration of the evening's events.
Immediately following the induction ceremony, Purdy will host the 2016 Mr. Tip-Off and Homecoming Queen coronation.