Athletes and coaches from the 2020 Oak Bay High Hall of Fame induction from top left, Heather Benson (field hockey), Oak Bay Barbarians rugby champions with Murray Allen (far right), the late Dylan Jones and Connor Braid (with ball), Tom Holmes (circa 1969), Kathleen Leahy and Maddie Secco. (Images from Oak Bay High)

Oak Bay High to add 20 inductees to its athlete Hall of Fame

Oak Bay High hosts induction ceremony Feb. 22

Oak Bay High will induct 20 more athletes into its Hall of Fame on Feb. 22.

It’s only the third wave of inductees, but it’s also the first induction since 2008.

Hence the addition of 20 more plaques to the display in the school’s foyer between the gyms.

“There are so many different athlete qualities that made each athlete and coach [or builder] worthy of this honour,” said Oak Bay High athletic director Rich Fast. “If you have to point to one thing that they all possess it’s their commitment to the teams, their sport and their school.”

Each inductee at the Feb. 22 event will get a plaque to keep. Their careers are presented on display boards and other memorabilia will be on hand.

This year’s inductees in the coach, builder and athlete categories are Murray Allen, Yeta DiLaila, Heather Benson, Keith Butler, Chris Trumpy, Tom Holmes, Josh Howatson, Nick Gilbert, James Kirkpatrick, Kathleen Leahy, Dave Thomson, Connor Braid, Mitch Gudgeon, Maddie Secco, Jack Showers, Sean White, Andreas Hestler, Adam Straith, Graham Taylor and Mike Sheffer.

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The evening, in the Oak Bay High main gym, starts at 6:30 p.m. with a slide show playing and an open social event of drinks and food until 8 p.m. There will be an induction ceremony followed by more celebration.

Fast said the induction committee began accepting nominations in September. The induction group is super-sized at 20.

“We would like to see the whole process happen about every five years,” Fast said. “The construction of the new school put us back, we were waiting until everything settled down. “

The graduation range of this year’s inductees dates from 1969 to 2012.

“For those going into our builder category, this is about what great teachers, teammates and coaches that they were,” Fast said. “Our coaches and teachers tried to do what’s best for the athletes, and were driven, committed and passionate about what they do.”

As for the athletes, though many went on to be successful at the national level in one area, he noted that during their time at Oak Bay most played different sports.

“They weren’t single-sport athletes, they were committed to the school and to competing in many areas and it benefited them later on,” Fast said. “Many have since given back as coaches and volunteers, and not just in the sport they’re best known for.”

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Former athletic directors Keith Butler and Mike Sheffer joined Fast on the induction committee with principal Randi Falls and two former inductees, Rob Parris and Shelley Andrews.

“It is challenging to pick,” Fast said. “We’ve got some new faces that have accomplished a lot and others who are deserving and who were passed over [previously].”

It’s a timely induction for Keith Butler, who led the school’s track and field team to countless B.C. championships, as Butler will retire this year.

Butler is actually going to host the mic until it’s his turn, when fellow inductee Sheffer will take over.

“We are hoping that the induction is something we can do sooner next time,” Fast said. “Maybe every five years, instead of 12 years. Five years gives us enough new nominees.”

Tickets are available at www.bit.ly/sportsOB

reporter@oakbaynews.com

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