I had Joey in class his senior year. While Joey may not have always been "into the classroom" in high school, he was a good student in my classroom. Joey was someone I enjoyed having in class, and someone who was always respectful to me in the classroom and in the hallway.
Joey's son, JJ is the same age as my son Allen. They have played on youth basketball teams together since 4th grade, and were on the freshmen team together this year. I have both JJ and Allen in my advocacy class this year. I have had many opportunities to watch Joey as a father. I wondered how Joey would be as a "basketball parent." The answer is he is a great "basketball parent." For all the times we have stood together during a game, interacted before or after a game-- I have never heard Joey say anything negative about other players, the coaches, or his son.
This winter after a game in which JJ played only about 8 minutes, when JJ came over to where Joey was standing, Joey gave JJ a hug and the first words out of Joey's mouth were, "Way to play hard on defense." It has been clear Joey is just a supportive dad.
When I read the article in the Register-Mail describing Joey's selection into the Hall of Fame, Joey's comments seemed so in character of Joey as a husband and father. I hope you will read this article, and as you read it-- pay close attention to the quotes where Joey talks about his wife and his daughter. In the article it is very clear Joey is personally very, very appreciative about his selection. But what is clear, his real joy was seeing how happy it made his wife. And he is as much focused on the day being his daughter's special day- her birthday.
Today when we hear negatives about athletes, this is a positive story to read.
The following is an article by Matthew Wheaton of the Galesburg Register-Mail.
Nixon and Falk go in as members of the pre-1960s era class, while Range goes in as a member of the post-1960s era.
Induction ceremonies are planned for Nov. 3 in Champaign.
“I was completely overwhelmed,” said Range, a 1998 GHS graduate, who learned of the honor Wednesday. “With the rich history of basketball in Illinois, it is an awesome honor just to be recognized.
“It was already a great day with my daughter’s birthday and that put the cherry on top for me,” he added.
Range, a two-time all-stater who averaged 21.2 points his senior season, 1997-98, led the Silver Streaks to a No. 3 state ranking, a 30-3 record and a second-place finish at state.
The 1997-98 team was elected into the Galesburg High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.
Range sits atop the GHS record book in a number of categories. He holds the school record for career points with 2,390, most field goals in a career (961), most free throws in a career (443), most points in a game (55), most field goals in a game (20), and most free throws in a game (23). He also had over 1,500 career rebounds.
Range received numerous phone calls, Facebook messages and text messages after the news broke, so many in fact that he lost count.
One of the calls was from his former head coach, Mike Miller.
“He was just super excited for me,” Range said. “We have always had a great relationship and to still have contact with your coach who isn’t in the community speaks for itself.”
When Range’s wife, Sharla, got out of one of her classes at Carl Sandburg College, she found out the news. “She was super excited,” Joey said. “She was there back in those days seeing all the hard work I did. It was great hearing her so happy about it.”
Fourteen-year-old J.J. Range found out from his parents and his sister about his dad’s achievement after he got out of freshman baseball practice and as a family, the Range’s celebrated 11-year-old Daija Range’s birthday at Sully’s, as well as Joey’s induction, and went shopping around town.
“It was my daughter’s day, but it was a great family day,” Joey said. “Nothing can replace the birthday of my daughter.”
Range and Nixon are regarded as two of the best players in GHS history.
“First and foremost, its a major accomplishment for the Galesburg community,” said Range of he and Nixon being inducted. “The community should be honored to have two people from Galesburg inducted at the same time.
“Growing up, you always heard about Dale Kelley, Byron Thierry and Bumpy Nixon,” he added. “If you go along the lines of those guys then you did something great.”
Galesburg advanced to the state tournament in 1959 and 1960, which happen to be the only two seasons Nixon, a transfer from Quincy who was among the most talked-about high school players in the state at the time, played.
Falk was one of the most prolific scorers in state history. A guard at Galva, he averaged 29.8 points per game as a senior. He ranks second in state history for scoring more than 50 points in five games with a high of 57.
The other members of the pre-1960s era Hall of Fame class are: Red Kerr, Lynch Conway, Joe Ruklick, Rod Fletcher, Jake Fendlay, Homer Thurman, Bob Owens and Tom Cole.
Joining Range in the post-1960s class are: Jack Sikma, Lloyd Batts, Darius Miles, Michael Payne, Steve Kuberski, Russell Cross, Quentin Richardson, Sergio McClain and Greg Starrick.
Five females will also be inducted. They are: Cappie Pondexter, Marie Christian, Diana Vines, Natasha Pointer and Alicia Ratay.