Sportswriters, Sportscasters Get Hall of Fame Nods

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The Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association has named its 2017 Hall of Fame class. Inductees include longtime Indianapolis columnist and Inside INdiana Business contributor Bill Benner (pictured), who currently serves as a senior vice president for Pacers Sports & Entertainment. The Hall of Fame is in its 22nd year.

Honorees include a mix of newspaper, radio, sports information and television professionals. The inductees will join a hall of fame that currently includes 105 members.

The Class of 2017 includes 10 honorees:

• Bill Benner - formerly of the Indianapolis Star & Indianapolis News. Spent 30+ years with the papers.

• Reggie Hayes - 32-year sports journalist for the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel

• Jim Brunner - 46-year career broadcasting Grant County sports with WBAT/WMRI in Marion

• Dan Egierski - 30 years as a southwest Indiana sportscaster, currently daily host at WEOA in Evansville and a play-by-play voice of area high school sports

• Arv Koontz - 37-year career covering sports in Jackson County, most of which with the Seymour Tribune

• Bob Simmers (deceased) - Longtime broadcaster and radio professional in Dubois and Sullivan counties, much of his career was spent with WITZ in Jasper. Simmers died in 2006.

Marv Bates Sportscaster of the Year - Chuck Freeby, television and radio sportscaster and play-by-play commentator with various outlets including WHME and WNDU in South Bend

Corky Lamm Sportswriter of the Year - James Peters has covered high school sports in the Calumet Region since the mid-1980s and has been with The Times of Northwest Indiana since 1998

• Ron Lemasters Lifetime Achievement Award - Rex Kirts, 40-year veteran covering sports in Bloomington for the Bloomington Courier-Tribune and Bloomington Herald-Times and a four-time Indiana Sportswriter of the Year honoree.

Bob Williams Helping Hand Award - Terry Downham, longtime sports information director and public address voice for Kokomo High School and has spent years on stat crews for various teams and events like the Indianapolis Colts, Purdue University and the IHSAA Football State Finals.

The membership-based organization was founded in 1946. A ceremony and banquet to honor the Class of 2017 is set for April 9th at Valle Vista Golf Club in Greenwood.

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