MSHOF Honors Gridiron Greatness

Sports

Gridiron greatness was on display Monday afternoon at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame luncheon. Three individuals and two teams were inducted into the Hall of Fame. 

Two Springfield state championship teams earned hall of fame honors. The 1981 Greenwood Bluejays were the first to win a state football title. They were joined by the 1997 Springfield Catholic state champions.

Former Waynesville High School coach Rick Vernon entered the Hall for his more than three decades with the Tigers.

Joining Vernon was Jesse Branch, who coached Southwest Missouri State for nine seasons, leading the Bears to their only FCS playoff appearances in 1989 and 1990.

Monday’s headliner was former Mizzou quarterback Brad Smith. Former head coach Gary Pinkel introduced Smith, who laid the foundation for Mizzou’s success under Pinkel.

Smith led the Tigers to two bowl games and the program’s first win over Big 12 rival Nebraska since 1978. 

“Once I was notified of this tremendous honor, [I learned] just about what these people have contributed to the game of football,” Smith said. “I’m just glad to be a part of it.”

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