ISHA recognizes outstanding achievement of its members with two special award programs: the ISHY Awards and the Schroeder Award.
The ISHYs program was established to provide recognition for excellence in publications and exhibits by all member sports museums, halls of fame or sports heritage organizations, regardless of size or budget, based upon a competition evaluated by ISHA members and other professionals.
The award categories will include honoring the best in publications, education programming and exhibits and be divided by institutions’ budgets (non-exhibit categories for less the $250,000 and $250,000 or more) They include:
A. Books – hard or soft cover
B. Publications – programs, reports, newsletters, magazines, yearbooks etc. (printed or digital)
C. Marketing materials – the sub-categories include a) ads/graphics, b) video/audio, c) social media campaign
D. Educational programming
E. Hall of Fame inductions and/or annual events – the sub-categories include a) support materials (programs, publications, invitations etc.), b) video highlights or summary (less than 20 minutes)
F. The award for best new exhibit (onsite or traveling) will fall into three budgetary categories (Less than US $50,000; US $50,000-$250,000; and US $250,000 and above).
G. New video/digital exhibit or content will fall into two budgetary categories (Under US $7,500 and over US $7,500).
The W.R. “Bill” Schroeder Award is presented periodically and is the highest honor presented by ISHA. It is awarded for meritorious service to ISHA or to the sports museum industry. To be considered, individuals must have made a significant contribution of a lasting nature to the field of sports heritage.
The W.R. “Bill” Schroeder Award was first awarded in 1985 in recognition of his pioneering contributions in the development of sports museums and halls of fame and as a founding father, past president and past secretary of the Association of Sports Museums and Halls of Fame (ISHA).
- To be considered, individuals must have made a significant contribution of a lasting nature to the field of sports heritage.
- Nominees may be still actively involved or retired.
The Schroeder Award Committee, which consists of a Board Member and several past Schroeder Award Recipients, reviews potential candidates on a yearly basis and may present a nomination for approval by the Board of Directors.
Click here for the 2020 application.
Any nominations for the Schroeder Award should be addressed to the attention of Chair of the Schroeder Award Committee at [email protected].
Past Recipients of the Schroeder Award for Distinguished Service:
Michael GibbonsYear: 2021Babe Ruth Birthplace
Mike is a native Baltimorean and worked on a project to revitalize the Babe Ruth Birthplace, and in 1983 became its Executive Director.
Under Mike’s guidance, the Birthplace expanded its theme to include the Baltimore Orioles, Colts and Ravens, the Maryland Terrapins, and the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame. To house the expanding collection, the museum opened Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards, a virtual state sports museum, in 2005. Mike stepped down as executive director in 2017, but continues to work with the museum on exhibits, programming, media relations and the collection.
During his 38-year tenure at the museum, Mike has enjoyed a wide range of speaking appearances on Babe Ruth and Maryland sports including the Today Show, MLB Network, ESPN, Comcast, the National Baseball HOF, and local SABR chapters in Baltimore, Washington and NY.
“Those who inspire to be a leader can look at Mike’s career and dedication in raising and profiling sport within Maryland. His love and passion for sport and Babe is evident in every talk he gives. I want to congratulate Mike for this well-deserved award!”
Dana Hart, ISHA President
Sheila KellyYear: 2017Saskactchewan Sports Hall of Fame
Doug StarkYear: 2016International Tennis Hall of Fame
Dr. Randon JerrisYear: 2015United States Golf Association
Dr. Randon Jerris: Dr. Jerris holds a B.A. in Geology (1991) and an M.A. in Art History and Museum Studies (1994) from Williams College, and an M.A. in Art and Archaeology (1996) and a Ph.D. in Art and Archaeology (1999) from Princeton University. He has authored three books: Golf’s Golden Age: Robert T. Jones Jr. and the Legendary Players of the ‘10s, ‘20s, and ‘30s; The Game of Golf and the Printed Word: 1566-2005, with co-author Richard E. Donovan; and The Historical Dictionary of Golf, with co-author Bill Mallon. For his work with Donovan, Jerris was awarded the Murdoch Medal by the British Golf Collectors Society in recognition of outstanding contributions to the game’s history. Dr. Jerris joined the USGA’s staff in a part-time capacity from 1988 through 1996, became the Association’s librarian and historian in 1999 and was named director of the Museum in 2002. He led the efforts for the design and new construction of the 33,000 square foot Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History and oversaw the renovation of the original Museum structure. Today as the United States Golf Association’s senior managing director for public services, Rand Jerris oversees a variety of functions, including facilities management, Green Section, philanthropy and grants, strategic and operational planning, and the USGA Museum. He remains active in researching and promoting the history of the game, focused on golf course architecture, golf art and the history of golf in the Alps.
Ted SpencerYear: 2013The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
Peter ClarkYear: 2013National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
Karen HewsonYear: 2011Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum
Diane ImrieYear: 2010Northwest Ontario Sports Hall of Fame
Phil PritchardYear: 2009Hockey Hall of Fame
Mark DuenkelYear: 2008International Swimming Hall of Fame
Mark StenningYear: 2007International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum
Raymond LevertonYear: 2005US National Ski Hall of Fame
Karen GoddyYear: 2003Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles
Gerald W. Baltz, Ph.D.Year: 2001International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame
F. Tucker MulrooneyYear: 2000Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame
Marjorie SmithYear: 1999Trapshooting Hall of Fame and Museum
Ian “Scotty” MorrisonYear: 1998Hockey Hall of Fame
Ed ScheeleYear: 1997Greyhound Hall of Fame
Braven DyerYear: 1996Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles
Charlie and Emmadale McLearyYear: 1995Texas Sports Hall of Fame
Vaughan L. Baird, Q.C.Year: 1994Aquatic Hall of Fame and Museum of Canada
John BankertYear: 1993Pro Football Hall of Fame
Phillip A. PinesYear: 1992Hall of Fame of the Trotter (now the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame)
James McDowell, Jr.Year: 1991College Football Hall of Fame
Robert B. and Fanny KutzYear: 1990Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame
J. Thomas WestYear: 1989Olympic (Canada)
M.H. “Lefty” ReidYear: 1988Hockey Hall of Fame
Peter WebsterYear: 1987British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum
Bruce PluckhahnYear: 1986International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame
Lee WilliamsYear: 1985Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
William “Buck” DawsonYear: 1985International Swimming Hall of Fame
The Legacy Award was established in 2018 to recognize an individual or organization located in the geographical area of the annual conference in order to provide an opportunity for the host to honor a local sports heritage contributor.
Past Recipients of the Legacy Award:
Cliff ChristlYear: 2022Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame
The International Sports Heritage Association (ISHA) presented Green Bay, WI. native Cliff Christl with its Legacy Award during its annual conference hosted by the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame September 27-29, 2022.
Cliff Christl has spent the bulk of his professional life writing about and researching the Packers. He has served as Packers team historian since 2014, having spent 36 years as a sportswriter covering the team for four different Wisconsin newspapers.
A native of Green Bay, he worked for 14 months at the Manitowoc Herald-Times before spending close to 16 years at the Green Bay Press-Gazette and 20 years at The Milwaukee Journal and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Christl served on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee from 2002 to 2014 and has been a member of the Packers Hall of Fame selection committee since 2007. He has authored or co-authored seven other books, mostly about the Packers and pro football. He also spearheaded the effort to create the Packers Heritage Trail with its 25 historical sites and impressive downtown plaza, which recounts the story of the Packers’ rich history from Lambeau to Lombardi. He recently published The Greatest Story in Sports, a four-volume definitive history of the Green Bay Packers.
“The Packers are proud to see Cliff honored with the Legacy Award from the International Sports Heritage Association,” said Aaron Popkey, director of public affairs for the Packers. “Cliff’s work as a historian has been incredibly valuable to the organization. His hard work and dedication to capturing our history thoroughly and accurately are unmatched. We’re pleased to celebrate his contributions to sports heritage as a whole.”
Richard A. JohnsonYear: 2021International Tennis Hall of Fame
Richard A. Johnson, native of Worcester, MA, receives ISHA’s Legacy Award during its annual conference hosted virtually by the International Tennis Hall of Fame on October 27 and 28, 2021.
ISHA created the Legacy Award in 2018 to recognize an individual or organization located in the geographical area of the annual conference to provide an opportunity for the host to honor a local sports heritage contributor.
Johnson graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, ME where he was a member of the varsity cross country and indoor track teams. Johnson’s degree in Art History and passion for sports launched him into a successful and celebrated career. Since 1982, Johnson has served as Curator of the Sports Museum at TD Garden in Boston, MA when he joined as the museum’s first employee.
During his time at the Sports Museum, Johnson has curated exhibits on diverse topics including “Women in Sports, Insights from Her Past”, “Rocky Marciano, The Rock of His Times”, “Stylianos Kyriakides, The Human Race”, “Boston’s Braves 1876-1952”, “Fenway Park, From Duffy’s Cliff to the Green Monster”, “The World Cup” (in collaboration with The British Council), “The Sports Photographs of Leslie Jones”, among others.
In addition to his successful career at the Sports Museum, Johnson has authored or co-authored twenty-three books and served as a consultant on projects featuring The Boston Celtics, New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Cambridge Seven Associates, WGBH (local radio station in Boston), ESPN, HBO, and The Boston Museum of Science.
“For more than 40 years, Richard Johnson has served as the gatekeeper for the rich legacy of New England sports. His encyclopedic knowledge, finely crafted books, and generosity of spirit has enabled generations of New Englanders to embrace the sports legacy of New England. The Legacy Award is yet another well deserved recognition for Richard in an accomplished career serving as the steward for New England’s unparalleled sports tradition”.
Douglas Stark, Museum Director, International Tennis Hall of Fame.
William I. “Bill” KochYear: 2019Kansas Sports Hall of Fame
The International Sports Heritage Association (ISHA) presented Wichita, Kan., native William I. “Bill” Koch with its Legacy Award during its annual conference hosted by the Kansas Sports Hall Fame on Oct. 23 and 24, 2019.
Koch is the second recipient of the award, which ISHA created in 2018 to recognize an individual or organization located in the geographical area of the annual conference in order to provide an opportunity for the host to honor a local sports heritage contributor.
“The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame is thrilled to host Mr. Koch back in his hometown to receive the Legacy Award from the International Sports Heritage Association. Mr. Koch’s connection to our organization runs deep and this honor recognizes not only his commitment and contributions to our organization, but his lasting legacy on the landscape of sports heritage,” sad Jordan Poland, President and CEO of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.
One of the nation’s greatest business minds and well-known philanthropists, Koch was the winning skipper of the 1992 America’s Cup – the oldest trophy in sports. He also was the winning skipper in the 1990 and 1991 Maxi Yacht World Championships, and the 1994 and 2009 12 Meter World Championships. In 1995, Koch assembled the world’s first all-women’s team to compete for the America’s Cup. His commitment to the women’s team represented a milestone in the recognition and opportunities now provided female athletes in many sports around the world.
The founder and owner of one of the largest privately-owned companies in the world – The Oxbow Group – Koch attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he earned three degrees and earned four academic honors. He also has three Honorary Doctorate degrees, including from Washburn University and Haskell University in Kansas. At MIT, Koch also played varsity basketball and participated in track and field, and rugby.
As the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Oxbow Carbon LLC, Koch’s business acumen set the stage for the company’s unprecedented growth, making it the world’s largest marketing company of fuel grade and calcined petroleum coke. With annual sales of $4 billion, and offices across the globe, Oxbow Carbon is the world’s largest producer of calcined coke, a key ingredient in the manufacturing of aluminum, and a key supplier of sulphur, sulphuric acid and fertilizers. Oxbow also started and built an alternative energy business domestically and internationally.
Ranked as one of the 25 most generous individuals in the United States by The Journal of Philanthropy in 2011, Koch may be best remembered for his mission to help less fortunate children receive a high-level education. Over the years, Koch has contributed money, time, and energy to help individuals, teachers, and classrooms get the support they have needed. Additionally, Koch started an advanced high school in Florida.
Koch has received numerous state nd national awards for his commitment to charities in his home state and around the country. He founded the Koch Crime Commission for the state of Kansas. He received the Medal of Outstanding Citizenship from the City of Wichita, the Karl Menninger Award, and the Governor of Kansas Appreciation Award. His generosity also included funding the Wichita Boathouse – headquarters for the Wichita River Kids Club, which taught sailing, kayaking and canoeing. The Wichita Boathouse is now home to the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame and Koch has been an instrumental supporter of the organization since his induction in 2004.
He was inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame in 1993, was awarded the New York Yacht Club Medal of Honor in 1993, and named Kansan of the Year in 1993 and 1994. In addition to being Kansas Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Mr. Koch has been inducted into the Culver Academy Athletic Hall of Fame (1994), the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame (2016), and the National Sailing Hall of Fame (2018). Mr. Koch is an Honorary Admiral in four Navies, including the state of Kansas.
Lou SpadiaYear: 2018San Francisco 49ers Museum
As legacies go, Lou Spadia’s is indelible.
From his childhood growing up in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco and starring on the baseball diamond at Mission High School, to his Navy service in World War II, to his 31 years helping to run the San Francisco 49ers, to his fundraising efforts through the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame, Spadia left a permanent mark on his region.
But to define his legacy only by those accomplishments would be like leaving a painting unfinished. And Spadia’s completed work of art might just be worthy of Rome’s Galleria Borghese. The son of Italian immigrants, Spadia grew up modestly, but lived a rich life filled with family, faith and the 49ers.
His picture is only complete; however, when one factors in traits not included on a resume.
“He was such an amazing, interesting human being,” his daughter Louisa Spadia-Beckham – more affectionately known as Lulu – said. “Integrity was his best quality and humility was his middle name.”
So it is fitting that Lou Spadia is the inaugural recipient of the International Sports Heritage Association’s (ISHA) Legacy Award – one created to honor a person in the city hosting the organization’s annual conference. The 2018 conference is being hosted by the 49ers Museum in Santa Clara, Calif., from Sept. 26-28.
“We are honored that Lou Spadia was chosen for this very prestigious award,” said 49ers Museum director Jesse Lovejoy. “His contributions to both the Bay Area sports landscape and the history and trajectory of the San Francisco 49ers were wonderful and impactful, and he makes the perfect recipient for ISHA’s first Legacy Award”
Spadia died in 2013 at 92 years old, but his impact on the Bay Area not only lives, but also thrives. Lulu wept when receiving Lovejoy’s call to inform her of the honor. She also knows how her father would have reacted to receiving the same call.
“He would try to talk you out of it,” she said. “Not that he would be ungrateful, but he would want to defer the honor to [original 49ers owners] Tony and Vic Morabito.”
Fighting back tears, she added, “He would say that he was so incredibly proud and honored to have been part of the 49ers, but he was equally proud of his with work with the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame (BASHOF). It feels like an honor that he so deserves.”
Lulu would know. The youngest of four Spadia children, she was always around the 49ers during her father’s tenure with the team that spanned 31 years from 1946 to 1977. She traveled with the club and spent summers at training camp at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
“I remember when I was 16 years old at training camp one summer,” Lulu began. “My parents would go out to eat and I would eat with the team. One night I’m out by the pool around 10 p.m. and out walks someone with a bag of money and a list of food orders. This is when Dick Nolan was the head coach. So they give me the keys to [defensive end] Cedric Hardman’s red Cadillac Eldorado with the license plate ‘Nasty,’ and Mike Nolan and I head out to pick up this loot.
“We’re at a stop light and we see my parents. I slumped down in the seat, but my dad honked his horn and started shaking his finger at me. I was told, ‘This is your last summer at training camp.’ But I think I went two more times.”
She laughed as she shared that memory, and it is one of many she has of her dad, who started with the 49ers upon their founding by Tony and Vic Morabito in 1946.
After finishing his Navy service following World War II, Spadia was struggling to make ends meet when he read in the newspaper that his former commanding officer, John Blackinger, had been named the 49ers general manager. So he hit him up for a job.
Blackinger apparently figured that because Spadia had learned shorthand and could type, he would be useful in the office. He convinced the Morabitos to hire Spadia, who accepted the position for a reported $275 per month. Once in the door, Spadia handled some office duties, but helped with team travel, equipment, bed checks, contracts and whatever else was needed.
“You name it, he did it,” Lulu said.
He did it for three decades, eventually buying five percent of the team (with his wife, Maggie, buying five percent as well). He became chief executive officer and general manager in 1964 and team president in 1967.
In 1968, he hired Dick Nolan as the 49ers head coach. Two years later, the team started a string of three straight NFC West titles. Spadia never took credit for such accomplishments. He gave it to the Morabitos and anyone else he could.
“It was always understood that dad would downplay his decisions,” Lulu said. “That humility was instilled in my siblings and me (Lou Jr., Kate, Dorothy and Lulu). Our dad went to Mass every day and we were taught to respect what we had. We were blessed and lucky but our parents were adamant about staying out of the limelight.”
Spadia’s will and spirit were tested throughout the 1970s. Maggie Spadia was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1970 and fought for six years before succumbing to the disease in 1976. In the meantime, Lou lost his father in 1973 and his mother in 1974. The 49ers were then sold to the DeBartolo family in 1977 and Spadia retired when Joe Thomas was hired to run the team.
“It was a really tough time,” Lulu stressed.
But in so-called retirement, Spadia dedicated himself to helping underprivileged youth participate in sports. He started the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame as a way to raise money to give back to kids in need of an opportunity.
There was no brick-and-mortar structure because a building was expensive and needed to be maintained. Spadia wanted all of the money raised to go to the kids.
“He grew up without much money and he was that that kid,” Lulu said. “He wanted to give those kids a chance. It was about providing an opportunity for kids more than honoring athletes so that those kids could become those athletes.”
Since its inception in 1979, BASHOF has distributed millions of dollars to hundreds of local youth groups, fulfilling Spadia’s goal and then some.
That legacy, the one for which he is being honored at the year’s ISHA Conference, never waned.
“He was riding in an elevator at the Fairmont Hotel when a little boy and his dad get on,” Lulu said. “The dad is whispering to the boy about who it was in the elevator. The boy looks up and says, ‘Didn’t you used to be Lou Spadia? So my dad reached into his pocket, grabbed his wallet, showed the boy his license and said, ‘It says here I still am.’”
And who he was is why he is being honored by ISHA as much as for what he did. But then again, what he did was because of who he was.