On Jan. 14, 2023, Oswego High School hosted its 2022 Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The athletic hall of fame committee, which consists of current OHS faculty members, awarded two Hall of Fame awards, along with five different Ken Pickerill Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Shaun Neitzel, the emcee for the ceremony, has received a Hall of Fame award himself in 2017. He has been “the “Voice of Panther Football” for over a decade,” according to his Touch Pros bio.
“The Ken Pickerill Lifetime Achievement Award honors the memory of a man that showed us all what it means to not only be an amazing person but also an outstanding community member,” Shaun Neitzel says.
Ken Pickerill Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients:
Ron Haynes was a groundskeeper for OHS from 2007 to his retirement in 2022.
“Ron poured his heart and soul into the athletic field and grounds of OHS, learning about the pride and tradition of panther athletics from coach Ken Pickerill himself,” Shaun Neitzel said.
Haynes loved working on Ken Pickerill field and shared his favorite memory working at OHS.
“I think my biggest highlight was when Darren Howard bought us the ride-on field painter! I told him this many times,” Haynes said, according to his Touch Pros bio.
Haynes worked behind the scenes at OHS, and his work often went unnoticed.
“If it were not for that work, everyone would certainly notice a lack of preparedness that would be very necessary and evident for athletic events,” Shaun Neitzel said.
Haynes shared about how thankful he is for his time at OHS and winning his award.
“There are so many people I could thank and tell stories about, but that would take forever, but they know who they are,” Haynes said. “I cannot believe I got this nomination by being a groundskeeper, but I could not be more proud and I hope Ken is smiling down on me now!”
Sarah Miller worked at OHS as the Athletic Secretary from 2008-2020.
According to her biography on Touch Pros, Miller had a great passion for her job and went beyond in her role.
“Sarah touched the heart of so many that she worked with as well as all those that she helped along the way as a member of both the athletic office and the Panther Community,” Miller’s bio states.
Miller worked hard in transforming the OHS athletic department including technology, policies, and procedures.
“She was instrumental in updating this very hall of fame in both the design and the nomination process. The design of the awards and announcements, and the actual ceremony and presentation,” Shaun Neitzel said.
Miller also worked on transforming the athletic offices and programs, she even offered support in times of need.
“Sarah even stepped up as a parent to take on the role as President of the All Sports Booster Club in her final years and helped to reinvigorate that group and move many of their processes to be more modern and sound,” Miller’s bio states.
Miller was a very important assistant and leader at OHS.
“Sarah touched the hearts of so many that she worked with as well as all those she helped along the way as members of both the athletic office and the panther community,” Shaun Neitzel said.
Chris Neitzel has been with OHS for most of his life. He is an alumni, a history teacher, and a coach for OHS.
Chris Neitzel coached football and baseball under hall of fame coaches Karl Hoinkes and Ken Pickerill.
According to his biography on Touch Pros, the teams he coached have one many different awards.
Some of his team wins were Baseball Regional finals in 2005, 2006, 2009, and 2010. The 2002 football team were in the final four, and the 2003 football team were State Champions under his assistant coaching.
“The 2009 team won the sectional championship and played in the state quarter finals, which is the farthest any baseball team here at Oswego High School in the IHSA playoffs,” Shaun Neitzel, who is Chris Neitzel’s brother, said.
Chris Neitzel has been very involved in famous OHS athletics, dating back to his highschool years.
“As a student athlete, Chris was an integral part of two teams already in the athletics hall of fame, and after tonight four teams elected into the hall of fame as a coach,” Shaun Neitzel said.
Chris Neitzel is a big importance to not only the winning of teams, but is always there for his players.
“Chris is a true panther and shares his enthusiasm for our panthers, panther community with all those he comes in contact with,” Shaun Neitzel said.
Glenn Young is a 1964 graduate from OHS. He also worked for many years on the Hall of Fame Committee.
“During my time on the hall of fame committee I’ve nominated a number of coaches and individuals that met the criteria. I am so humbled to receive this honor as I didn’t feel that I fit into the category,” Young said, according to Neitzel’s speech at the ceremony.
Young has been attending and celebrating Oswego sporting events for the past 70 years.
“I think I’ve seen a sporting event in every year since, except 1967-68, when I was in Vietnam.
I’m still a basketball & football fan, but I’ve become a big soccer fan as well,” Young says in his Touch Pros bio.
Young has seen just about every sport Oswego has to offer and enjoys coming out and being a proud alumnus.
“I’m just a guy who comes to sporting events and love watching the kids play, they do all the work I just keep a bleacher seat warm and enjoy!” Young said.
1999 Varsity Football Team
1999 was the year of football for OHS. The team led the season by outscoring their opponents 350-179, and achieving a record of 10-0.
“During their run, Oswego often had the biggest and loudest fan section in attendance and carried the panther pride throughout the state,” Shaun Netizel said.
These Panthers only allowed 16 or fewer points in 11 of 13 games played. They also beat No. 1 seed McHenry Community High School in the second round of the 5A playoffs.
“This group of student athletes won the hearts of our schools and community,” Shaun Neitzel said.
Hall of Fame Inductees:
Amy Annala was a 2014 graduate from OHS. During her years here she played soccer, basketball, and tennis. She was also a great student with honors classes and was a three time academic-all math team selection.
“She accumulated 328 saves, the second most in school history and ended her career a four year letter winner and a two time team captain,” Shaun Neitzel said during the induction speech.
Annala committed to Northern Illinois University on a soccer scholarship to continue her journey.
In 2014, Annala was on the Mid-American Conference (MAC) freshman team, MAC tournament team, and was defensive player of the year and MVP. Later in 2016, she was a two-time MAC defensive player of the week, and a three-time academic all scholar. She later went on to win the 2018 outstanding woman student award at NIU.
“Amy was selected for the female presidential award for academic excellence at NIU athletics,” Shaun Neitzel said.
Bryce Holm was a 2014 graduate of OHS. He played baseball and football all four years, and also played basketball for two.
“He helped lead the 13-14 football team to the state quarter finals,” Shaun Neitzel said.
Not only was Holm a good athlete, but he was also a great student.
“Bryce was also a stand out athlete and a four year honor up student at OHS as well as an 8A all-academic selection,” Shaun Neitzel said.
Bryce continued his education and football career on a full-ride scholarship to Illinois State University. Throughout his college years, he was a four-year honors student and won MVFC all-academic selection.
Holm led his team to being the 2014 FCS National Champion Runner-up team. He was also elected into the Team Leadership Council.
Hi, I'm Rhiannon Reynolds! This is my first year on staff, and I am a sophomore in highschool. I am involed in many things including bowling, and girl scouts. I really enjoy reading, photography, sports, and spending time with friends and family. I am really excited for this year of journalism!