Virgil Sweet Service Awards
Each year the IBCA Board of Directors selects individuals from each of the three IBCA Districts to receive the Virgil Sweet Distinguished Service Award. The award, named in honor of the longtime former Executive Director of the IBCA, is given to individuals who have provided meritorious service in the promotion of basketball in the state of Indiana. The winners for 2019 are Bill Walker of Huntington, Charlie Hall of Kokomo and Larry Goffinet of Tell City.
Bill Walker, born in Sullivan, moved out of state until his ninth-grade year when his family moved back to Indiana and landed in New Castle. Walker is a 1970 graduate of New Castle’s Chrysler High School, where he was a four-year student-manager for the Trojans and coach Cecil Tague.
Walker attended Indiana University, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1974, and later earned a master’s degree from Ball State in 1977.
Walker taught radio and television at Huntington North from 1974 through 2007, where he was the director of WVSH-FM 91.9, the student-run radio station. WVSH broadcast both home and away HNHS football and boys’ basketball games for the 33 years that Walker was in charge of the radio station.
He did public-address announcing for Vikings’ football and baseball games for 30-plus seasons and has kept statistics for Huntington North boys’ basketball for the past six years. For many years, he has sent a Vikings’ information packet in advance of contests to opponent media outlets for football and boys’ basketball. He also currently does public-address announcing for Huntington University men’s basketball and baseball.
Walker is a 2009 inductee in the Huntington North Athletic Hall of Fame.
In 2010, former Huntington North principal Bob Straight encouraged Walker to become an associate director of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. Walker later became a member of the HOF Board of Directors and currently is a member of the HOF Executive Committee, serving on the men’s banquet, necrology and marketing committees.
Walker has been married to Cheryl, a former Huntington North language arts teacher, for 32 years.
Charlie Hall was a standout player, a fabulous coach and a terrific administrator of the Indiana All-Stars, this award primarily being bestowed for his tenure in the last position.
Hall is a 1974 graduate of Kokomo High School, where he scored 1,163 career points, twice was the North Central Conference season scoring leader and averaged 23.7 points per game in two varsity seasons as a boys’ basketball player. He went on to Columbus College in Georgia, where he set a single-game scoring record of 43 points and was among the program leaders in points and assists.
He completed his education at Ball State, then became a teacher and coach back in Kokomo where he served as a boys’ basketball assistant and JV coach from 1980 through 1997 under Carl McNulty and Basil Mawbey – directing the 1992 Wildkats to sectional and regional titles as interim head coach when Mawbey was sidelined for medical reasons.
Hall shifted to the Kokomo girls’ basketball varsity program in 1997, leading the Lady Kats to a 172-22 record over eight seasons. His tenure included eight NCC championships, five sectional crowns, four regional titles, one semi-state trophy and the 2003 Class 4A state championship with a 26-0 record. He was a seven-time NCC Coach of the Year and he was the 2003 girls Indiana All-Star coach.
Hall was a women’s basketball assistant at Ball State for the 2007-2008 season before being hired as the games director for the Indiana All-Stars. He served in that role for 10 years, overseeing the Indiana teams that posted a 31-9 mark in the annual series with Kentucky (boys 18-2, girls 13-7). More importantly, he helped the All-Stars to attendance increases in nearly every year of his leadership, including a decade-best crowd of 8,266 in June 2018 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Hall was inducted into the Howard County Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017. He also received the Distinguished Hoosier Award from Gov. Eric Holcomb in July 2018.
He and his wife, Penny, reside in Kokomo.
Larry Goffinet has provided many memories to readers of the Perry County News, documenting the accomplishments of athletes from Cannelton, Tell City and Perry Central high schools as well as others in the southern Indiana communities while serving as sports editor for the Tell City-based publication for more than 40 years.
Over the years, Goffinet has been cited with numerous awards that include several from the Hoosier State Press Association – including the first-place award for best non-daily sports section at least once in three different decades – and Landmark Community Newspapers, the parent company of the Perry County News.
His first HSPA award came in 1979, his first full year at The News. The same year, Goffinet also won a first-place award from the National Newspaper Association for Best Sports Pages for newspapers with circulation of 5,000 to 24,999. Other HSPA and Landmark awards included accolades for best sports column, best sports reporting, and best sports photography.
In 1992, Goffinet was presented the IHSAA Distinguished Media Service Award for District 5.
Goffinet is a 1974 graduate of Tell City High School and a 1978 magna cum laude graduate of the University of Evansville. He said that he was not a good enough athlete to play any varsity sports in high school or college, but he noted that he did “play intramural basketball at UE for the Hale Hall team.”
While a student at Evansville, Goffinet covered the Aces’ home basketball games for The Crescent, UE’s student newspaper. He served as the sports editor for The Crescent in the spring quarter of his freshman year and continued writing for the paper in his other years as a student. As a senior in college, Goffinet wrote sports, news and feature stories for the Evansville Courier as part of an internship program.
While at The Courier, he assisted with the newspaper’s coverage of the UE basketball players who were killed in a plane crash on Dec. 13, 1977. He noted that he had lived on the same residence hall floor with several of those players and had known Bryan Taylor, a 1975 Tell City graduate who was a starting forward for the Aces, since high school.
Just two weeks after he graduated from Evansville, Goffinet was hired as the Perry County News sports editor and began work there on June 1, 1978. He remained in that position until retiring on Aug. 3, 2018, and he has continued with some part-time sports coverage for the newspaper since departing as its sports editor-emeritus.
While working for The News, Goffinet also was a contributor to Hoosier Basketball Magazine for many years, wrote some features on the Global Basketball Association for Basketball Weekly in 1991-92 and wrote a feature in 1996 on South Spencer graduate Josh Garrett that was published in Diehard Magazine, a national publication for Boston Red Sox fans. Garrett had been a first-round draft choice by the Red Sox that year.
Upon retirement, Goffinet received an award of appreciation from Cannelton, Perry Central and Tell City high schools for his “40 years of service” to the schools and the county at the Tell City-Perry Central football game in August 2018. He also received many nice cards and e-mails, including one from Tecumseh boys basketball coach Kevin Oxley that praised Goffinet for having “covered Perry County sports with pride and dignity.”
About Oxley’s note, Goffinet said: “I think that is about as good a compliment as a sportswriter can get.”
Goffinet has been a Perry County resident his entire life, and he has lived in the same house in Tell City for the past 32 years. The home is only nine blocks from the Perry County News office, so Goffinet noted that he would ride his bicycle to work when the weather allowed.
Since retirement, Goffinet was elected to the Tell City-Troy Township School Corp. school board last November. He also is coaching the Tell City Junior High club softball team, teaches seventh-grade religion at St. Paul Catholic Church in Tell City and has taken up bowling in a Wednesday daytime league for retirees. “I had never bowled before joining this league, but I am in first place in it thanks to having a high handicap,” he said with a laugh.
In other free time, Goffinet enjoys watching basketball and the Boston Red Sox, playing euchre, reading, working crossword puzzles, swimming and bicycling.