Ripley County Basketball Hall of Fame inductees for 2008 announced

This year’s roster for the Ripley County Basketball Hall of Fame includes 10 inductees and one Meritorious Service winner, all of whom will be presented between games at the Ripley County Tourney on Saturday night, January 5.

Leroy E. Clemenz, a 1943 graduate of Sunman High School, played three years of varsity basketball as a guard for the always tough Sunman Tigers. He was considered to be an outstanding offensive player, a stellar defensive player, and a very good ball handler. Playing in the days of slowed-down basketball, Clemenz many times during his varsity career led his team in scoring and was selected to several all-county and all-tourney teams.

After his graduation from Sunman High School, Clemenz joined the Merchant Marines, serving from 1943-1946. He then went on to college at Indiana Tech, where he played varsity basketball for Coach Charles Chuck Bobilya. He graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Now residing in Dayton, Ohio, with his wife Peggy, Clemenz has worked as a safety engineer for 40 years. He is the father of three children - Gary, Dan, and Jill.

Bennie Decker, coach of the Osgood Cowboys from 1945 to 1955, was a graduate of Central Normal Teachers College in Danville, Indiana, where he lettered in basketball, baseball, football, and track. Highlighting his college career in 1936, Decker was a member of the Central Normal Olympic Trials Basketball Team.

During his coaching career at Osgood, Decker’s teams won two Ripley County Tourneys, were runners-up one time, and runners-up in the Sectional Tournament two times.

He was known as an outstanding defensive coach, and his teams always played very good heads-up, alert games. As mentor of the Cowboys, Decker attained a .636 regular season winning percentage with a total of 119 wins, 68 losses.

After a 39-year career in education, including a number of years at both Lapel High School and Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, Decker retired in 1977. His family included his wife Virginia and three daughters - Andrea Westerfeld, Jenene Hoyer, and Marcia Pledger. Decker passed away at his home in Middletown, Ohio, on January 12, 2003.

David Hamilton, a 1961 graduate of New Marion High School, played basketball for Coach Dale McNeeley. Becoming a starter during the last half of his sophomore year, Dave averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds a game during his senior year.

The New Marion Panthers had an outstanding season during Hamilton’s senior year, winning the Ripley County Tourney, the sectional, and the first game of the regional with a 66-59 loss to Connersville in the championship game. The team was ranked in 1961 seventh in the State of Indiana.

During his outstanding senior year, Hamilton was named to numerous all-county, all-sectional, and all-regional teams. He was also the Tri-County free throw champion and earned a spot on the 40&8 All Star Team.

Along with his wife Donna and daughters Cindy and Kelly, Hamilton has spent his life as a farmer in Rexville.

Lavita Huffmeyer, a 1976 graduate of Jac-Cen-Del High School, was one of the most tenacious rebounders and fierce competitors of the Lady Eagles. Although she only averages six points a game, she became one of the top rebounders in the state and was largely responsible for the Eagles’ victory in the Lawrenceburg Invitational Tournament.

In 1975, Huffmeyer helped her team complete an undefeated 9-0 season, and in 1976 the Lady Eagles won the first-ever Ripley County Invitational tournament for girls, the ORVC title, and finished another undefeated season at 12-0.

Huffmeyer was also outstanding in volleyball and track. As a pioneer for girls basketball in Ripley County and Southeastern Indiana, she finished her basketball career with her team accomplishing 27 wins and having only one loss.

James W. Lemon, a graduate of Cross Plains High School in 1944, played on the 1942 team that won the only Sectional tournament in the history of the school. He played varsity basketball in his sophomore, junior and senior years.

In 1944, Lemon entered the United States Army and after basic training was sent to the South Pacific theater of operations. When V.J. day arrived and the war with Japan was over, Lemon’s outfit was sent to Japan to serve as occupational forces.

He also played basketball for the 21st Infantry Regiment All-Star Team, which won 24th Division tourney and was invited to play in the 11th Air Borne Tourney in Japan.

After his discharge from the Army, Lemon returned to the area to play basketball with the outstanding Versailles American Legion team, serving as a floor guard for the team from 1946 through 1953.

In 1946-47, the Versailles Legion team won the state tournament and played in the National Tournament in Brazil, Indiana, losing to Michigan 45-42. The team won state titles again in 1950 and 1951 and was the only team that did not have any ex-college players. Lemon believes the Versailles team was the undefeated champions of Indiana.

Lemon has had an outstanding career in banking at Friendship State Bank as an employee and president. He resides in Friendship with his wife Patricia. They are parents of three children.

James (Pete) Schorr is a 1950 graduate of Batesville High School and a 1954 graduate of Purdue University. His education also includes an MBA from Indiana University and a PMD from Harvard Business School. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor’s Degree in Engineering from Purdue University in 1987.

His athletic career at Batesville High School included four letters in varsity basketball, four in varsity baseball, two in golf and one each in tennis and track.

As a member of the Bulldogs varsity basketball team, Schorr was chosen for the All-County team, All-Sectional and the All-Regional teams. His average of 15 points per game earned him high scoring honors during his senior year.

At Purdue, Schorr earned two letters in basketball and was a starter for the Boilermakers in his junior year. He also lettered in varsity baseball and was the 12th recipient of the Distinguished Service Award for Purdue Athletics. The first recipient was John Wooden.

Residing in Naples, Florida, Schorr is executive manager in a chemical/plastics industry. He and his wife Jane Ann are parents of four children.

Alan F. Smith, Jr. graduated from Versailles High School in 1963, where he played three years of varsity basketball for Coach Gus Moorhead. During his high school career, Smith scored a total of 904 points in 56 games for a 16.1 average per game. In his senior year he had a high game of 41 points, which is an all-time, one-game record for Versailles High School. In his senior year, he scored a total of 507 points for a scoring average of 25.1 points per game - an all-time record for per-game average for Versailles High School.

Also considered to be an outstanding rebounder, Smith had a high game of 24 rebounds during his senior year. He also was a contributing member of the baseball and track teams during his high school career.

Having been highly recruited by many colleges and universities Smith accepted a nomination to the Academy at West Point to play basketball for Coach Tates Locke. After two years at West Point, Smith transferred to Fairfield University in Connecticut, where he majored in pre-medicine. He completed his medical degree with a major in Pathology at Indiana University Medical School and now serves as a pathologist in the Bloomington area.

Serving in the United States Army as a captain, Smith was stationed at Fort Knox and in Seoul, Korea from 1974-1976.

Smith resides with his family in Bloomington, where his wife Carolyn is also a doctor. They have two daughters. Smith is the son of Alan and Kathryn Smith, and his deceased father is a former board member and winner of the meritorious service award for the Ripley County Basketball Hall of Fame.

Willard (Bill) Snyder has had an outstanding career as a girls’ basketball coach. His teams have played in 13 final games of the Ripley County Tourney with 10 championships and three consecutive championships.

At South Dearborn High School, where he coached from 1984-1995, his record was 182 wins, 62 losses for 75%. During these years, his teams had 11 consecutive winning seasons, five conference championships, and eight Sectional championships.

His coaching career at South Ripley High School from 1999-2005 resulted in seven consecutive winning seasons with 115 wins, 43 losses for 73%. His Raider girls won three conference championships, one Sectional championship, one Regional championship, and advanced to the Final Four.

Snyder is presently high school principal at Lawrenceburg High School. He resides with his wife Michele in Dearborn County, where she is a nurse. He has two children - Derrick and Courtney, both graduates of South Ripley High School.

Ray E. Tucker was a graduate of Holton High School in 1949 and played basketball for Coach John Stork. During his senior year, Tucker averaged 17.2 points per game with a game high of 28 points. He scored over 29% of his team’s points in his last year as a member of the Holton Warhorses.

He was named to the All County and All Sectional teams both his junior and senior years as a guard/forward. Also during his junior and senior years, Tucker was selected to the Cincinnati Post’s All-Star teams. He was often referred to as Holton’s Sparkplug in the county newspapers.

Another quote following the Holton-Milan county tournament game came from Double Dribbles: “If there had been a sportsmanship award for the tourney, we would have selected Ray Tucker of the Warhorses. We think he is a fine floor man and of great value to any team.”

Tucker resides in Holton with his wife Marian. He calls himself a semi-retired farmer and is the father of six children. His son Terry Tucker is a member of the Ripley County Basketball Hall of Fame as a Jac-Cen-Del Eagle.

Anthony G. Veldhaus graduated from Milan High School in 1973 and played three years of varsity basketball for the Milan Indians. Known for his scoring and rebounding abilities, Veldhaus earned MVP for his team both his junior and senior years.

During his junior year he scored over 20 points per game and was the leading rebounder with an average of 12 per game. As a senior he was both the leading scorer and the leading rebounder. He scored 19.3 points per game with 14 plus rebounds.

He was named to the all-county, all-sectional, and all-regional teams during the 1972-73 season and was all-conference during both his junior and senior years. Veldhaus won the Milan All-Sports trophy in 1973 and was Star of Stars for the 40&8 All Star game.

Playing four years of basketball for the Hanover College Panthers under Coach John Collier, Veldhaus was named MVP after his junior year and was nominated for the Hanover College Athletic Hall of Fame. He helped Hanover finish eighth in the nation in the NAIA in 1974 with a season record of 29-4.

Veldhaus resides in Milan with his wife Teresa and has five stepchildren.

Stanley E. Foster, this year’s Meritorious Service Award winner, was born and reared in Napoleon, where he has been a pioneer for girls’ basketball.

When the IHSAA sanctioned girls basketball in 1974-75, Foster did all he could to promote girls basketball in the Jac-Cen-Del community. He thought that by putting his business behind the Lady Eagles program, he could encourage the community to be supportive.

According to a family member, Foster supported the girls program because he loved sports and a challenge; he could envision the start of something big for girls basketball; he loved working with the youth; and he had a daughter who was an outstanding player.

As a native of Napoleon, he has served as president of the town board and has been responsible for getting the senior citizens apartment complex built in 1984-85. He continues to give back to the community and its youth. Even though he has 11 children of his own, the Foster home was always open to young people in the area.

In his nomination, one of Foster’s daughters has this to say: “I feel my dad Stanley E. Foster is an excellent candidate for the Meritorious Service Award as he gave so much of himself to the youth, the community, and to Ripley County.”

Stanley Foster joins his daughter Rita Foster as a member of the Ripley County Basketball Hall of Fame.