Melton, Heim get Hall of Fame nods

A Cassville native and a Monett native will be two of six individuals inducted into the 2024 class of the Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame (SASHOF) in October.

The six-person class, plus one “Era of Excellence” team entry, represents a group of inductees whose competitive and energetic skills have set them apart. Their accomplishments extend over several decades in Springfield and beyond.

The 2024 class was announced May 14 at the Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame press luncheon at Drury University. Individual inductees include hockey legend Stan Melton, Missouri State football standout Dennis Heim, retiring Missouri State University softball coach Holly Hesse, champion golfer Christie Blasi, broadcasting legend Rob Evans, and former Missouri State Men’s Soccer Coach Jon Leamy. The Era of Excellence Award will be bestowed on the Hillcrest High School baseball program under Coach Dick Birmingham.

The new inductees will be enshrined during the SASHOF annual banquet and presented by The Cook Family Foundation on Oct. 1 at the Oasis Convention Center in Springfield.

The Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame was founded in 1986 by Bonus Frost to honor those individuals from the Springfield area, or have a connection to the Springfield area, whose accomplishments merit consideration for the shrine. This is the 38th SASHOF induction class and will bring the total membership of the hall to 166 people and the 4th Era of Excellence Award.

Selections are made by the SASHOF Board of Directors which meets monthly to plan the year’s activities. SASHOF is a not-for-profit organization and the proceeds from annual induction banquets are made available to local youth organizations for the purchase of sports equipment and opportunities. Since its establishment, SASHOF has provided over $4,640,000.00 to over two dozen youth groups and organizations.

Inductees include:

Stan Melton

Stan Melton is a founder of the Missouri State Hockey Club and founder of the Springfield Citizens Committee that advocated for the construction of a recreational ice facility before the Jordan Valley Ice Park opened in 2000 to serve the entire southwest Missouri area. Melton retired as Missouri State Hockey Club General Manager in 2015 after serving in that post the club’s first 15 seasons. He has continued to assist the club in an advisory/ consulting position while providing the club financial support. Melton is a native of Cassville, and a graduate of the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism and Mass Communications degree. He is retired from Mediacom of Springfield after 24 years as assistant general manager. Melton previously served as a radio news director in Springfield and as administrative assistant to Missouri Lt. Governor Bill Phelps. Melton has served on the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau Board, Jordan Valley Park Advisory Representative from the Carthage area. Melton is a lifelong fan of a wide variety of professional and collegiate sports and he is an avid hockey fan who attended 20 to 30 professional hockey games a year before devoting his time to the Missouri State program. Stan’s involvement as an athlete after his years in high school sports included 34 years playing in men’s league recreational softball in Springfield.

Dennis Heim

Dennis Heim was a Missouri State University football standout from 1974 through 1977, playing two seasons each for Bears’ head coaches Don Cross and Rich Johanningmeier. A native of Monett, Heim got into all 10 MSU games at defensive tackle his freshman season, then started every game his last three years. An MIAA all-conference second team selection as a sophomore, he led the MSU defense in tackles, solo tackles and sacks. Heim came into his own as a junior as he gained allMIAA first team and finished third on the team in tackles for losses. Heim was named MIAA Defensive Player of the Week for his part in the Bears’ win at Southeast Missouri State as he recovered two fumbles and a blocked punt which he carried into the end zone for a touchdown. As a senior, Heim was a Bears’ co-captain, leading MSU with 133 total tackles, including 45 solo stops. He repeated all-conference first team selection as he broke up four passes and recorded 13 tackles for 99 yards in losses. As a senior, Heim averaged 15 tackles a game in conference play. He finished his fouryear career with 338 total tackles with 141 unassisted stops. He recovered seven fumbles and had 41 sacks for 267 yards in losses. He still owns the MSU single season and career records for sacks and was inducted into the Missouri State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994. Heim was drafted by the National Football League New York Giants after his senior season, played most of 1978 and 1979 with the Canadian Football League Toronto Argonauts, and was with the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1980.

More on Blasi, Evans, Hesse, Leamy and the Hillcrest High School Baseball – Birmingham Era may be found at:

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