Steinhoff delivers a "Tradition of Excellence" acceptance speech

Pictured: Coach Ray Steinhoff receives Hall of Fame Award from Gerald Andrews, President and CEO for the MSHOF.

“New Haven High School is a great school. It’s a school that is blessed with a supportive community, it is a school that strives for excellence in all rounds, most importantly in academics and yes, basketball.”

Coach Ray Steinhoff delivered the acceptance speech on behalf of New Haven’s Basketball Program in front of 1,500 people that were in attendance at the enshrinement ceremony for the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

Coach Steinhoff was seated at the head table with this year’s inductees.  Steinhoff said, “I felt honored because you are sitting amongst legends.  A couple seats down was Emmitt Thomas, who I can remember watching play for the Chiefs.  It was just cool.  It was such a neat experience.”

Steinhoff could not have expressed how much this honor meant to the school, every player who has ever “dawned the green and white New Haven uniform”, or to the entire New Haven Community.

We asked Steinhoff how it felt when Gerald Andrews, President and CEO of MSHOF, presented him with a plaque recognizing New Haven's Basketball Program's enshrinement.

Steinhoff said, “I realized this is ours to keep.  It was a special moment.  I really hope that all those who made the trip down, Mr. [Tim] Strobel and Gordon [Sulintrup], and the community, all felt a part of this.”

Steinhoff said, “When he [Andrews] handed me the plaque, it was an unbelievable honor, it was like we were part of the club here.”

Some of New Haven’s past Shamrock legends who were able to attend included, John Kingsbury, Bill Wilson, Gordon Sullentrup, Tim Scheer, and many others who were speechless when trying to describe what the enshrinement meant to them, their teammates, and community.

Gordon Sullentrup said, “It was quite an honor for me to be apart of the induction of New Haven’s Basketball Program.  It was great to see some of the players and fans.  Being there brought back so many memories  of games we played and the fans from the New Haven community.  Coach Tim Strobel and Coach Ray Steinhoff did an excellent job of representing the school in this memorable occasion.” 

Bill Wilson said, “I have had some strong feelings since that day and they jump from one to another.  It was not until the ceremony when I realized how big of a celebration this was, I felt very humbled.  The moment I realized the magnitude of this, was when I entered the ballroom and saw how many people were there and just the way the head table was set up, that was when it really sunk in.  Realizing how much we had achieved.”

Steinhoff’s speech, the atmosphere, and overall experience will forever be engraved into the history books of New Haven.  The induction into the hall of fame not only represented New Haven’s Basketball Program, it represented New Haven’s community, businesses, and fans who have supported the school district.

One hundred years from now, Sun., Jan. 29, 2012 will be looked back upon as being one of the most historical days ever for New Haven’s Basketball Program.