McNeil inducted into Purdy High School Hall of Fame

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Former PHS Lady Eagles Basketball Coach Bill Reece calls “his girls” into a huddle to celebrate Brenda Keeling McNeil’s Hall of Fame induction. From left: DeAnna (England) Crossland; Janice (Saville) Courdin; Becky (Fly) Woods; Coach Bill Reece; Brenda (Keeling) McNeill; Mary (Mareth) Rummel and Sherri (Veith) Brooks. Contributed photo

1980s basketball star thanks teammates, community for honor

Homecoming at Purdy High School on Friday featured the third annual Purdy High School Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Athletic Director Alan Spencer welcomed new member Brenda (Keeling) McNeil to the Hall. McNeil’s parents, Allen and Leona Keeling, members of the Purdy High School Class of 1960, joined her on the floor as she received her plaque, as did husband Dwayne and daughter Callie.

Also joining in the induction were McNeil’s former PHS teammates Becky (Fly) Woods, Mary (Mareth) Rummel, Sherri (Veith) Brooks, Janice (Saville) Courdin and DeAnna (England) Crossland, along with their coach Bill Reece. Welcoming McNeil to the Hall of Fame were existing members Becky (Fly) Woods, Mike Payne, Dorothy Gibbons (representing her late husband Norman “Gabby” Gibbons), Curtis Schallert (representing his late friend Earl Miller) and Vicki Leonard (representing her daughter Megan Leonard).

Spencer hosted a reception for members and their honored guests, and all attendees enjoyed browsing various memorabilia displays.

McNeil, who graduated in 1981, made the trip to the State Basketball tournament with her Lady Eagles teammates in 1980 and 1981, bringing home the State Championship title in 1981, her senior year. She became the first female athlete from Purdy High School to receive first team All State honors in 1980 and was named to the 1981 All State first team by unanimous selection.

McNeil was also a four-year member of the All Conference team, a three-year member of the All District team and a two-year member of the All Ozark team. She was named All Conference Most Valuable Player in 1980. Upon receiving her Hall of Fame membership

“I would like to thank everyone for this incredible honor, and thank each and every one of my family, teammates, coaches, fans, teachers and community members for all of the wonderful memories and unbelievable support, both past & present,” McNeil said. “Every young athlete that picks up a ball has a dream of someday winning a state championship – it just doesn’t happen every day. Purdy High School has a special place in my heart – the girls basketball program has an even bigger one – it is truly special and has encouraged and allowed so many young dreams to be fulfilled. Here’s to thee dear Purdy High School.”

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