Town & Team: An Inseparable Bond

This exhibit tells the story of the strong bond between the Packers and the community they represent. Starting in the late 1920s and well into the 1960s, most players lived downtown or nearby and were everywhere to be seen by fans who might have idolized them but also gave them their space. More recently, the connection between town and team can be seen through the charitable work of both the players and the organization. This exhibit features Packers’ hang-outs and the communities’ commitment to support the team.

Admit One: The History of the Packers Tickets

This exhibit tells the story of how the Packers have always been the hot ticket in Green Bay, dating all the way back to a packed house in their first professional league game and continuing today at legendary Lambeau Field. It explores the history of Packers tickets being sold at various locations including the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Legion Park, and the downtown Packers office building. This exhibit also features memorable tickets at Lambeau Field such as Vince Lombardi’s first win, the Ice Bowl, the Instant Replay game, and the Monday Night Miracle.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., will host the International Sports Heritage Association’s 50th annual conference from Oct. 21-23, 2020. This will be the fourth time ISHA has been to Newport for a conference – the most of any location. It also hosted in 1976, 1989 and 2012. The International Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame, located in Kingston, R.I. also hosted, making this ISHA’s fifth visit to America’s smallest state.

Mark your calendars and click here to see what makes Newport such an attractive conference location.

The International Sports Heritage Association (ISHA) announced today that it will present 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.

Koch will receive the award at An Evening of Champions, the conference awards banquet held Thursday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

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.

The International Sports Heritage Association (ISHA) has launched a new education section on its website (www.sportsheritage.org) that features museum-related assets and forms contributed by fellow members as well as a section for members to contribute educational articles.

The new section, titled ISHA University, has a members-only password protected area that features assets and forms categorized by the following (www.sportsheritage.org/members-area/assets/):

  • Collection
  • Curatorial/Exhibits
  • Marketing/Programming (events)
  • Museum Education/School groups/Other groups
  • Staffing
  • Retail
  • Emergencies
  • Development/Fundraising
  • Other

Additionally, there is an ISHA University information page (www.sportsheritage.org/members-area/isha-university-information/), which will be the home to educational articles contributed by members but in a public section of the website.

“The ISHA board wanted to provide a tidy package of educational offerings to its members,” ISHA president Bryan Morry said. “Nobody can help answer institutional questions better than peers in the field. So we have many documents and forms categorized so members can easily access them. We also want our members to contribute articles that could be helpful to colleagues. There are currently nearly 50 forms and documents accessible and we hope to continually add to this.

“One of the best things about ISHA is that members are so willing to share information with one another. We hope this program continues to grow and serves the sports heritage industry for years to come,” Morry added.

The ISHA board encourages members to share any documents or forms that might be helpful to peers while also reviewing the available selection. To contribute and asset or an article, one can email newsletter@sportsheritage.org with the subject ISHA U CONTRIBUTION.

 Registration for 2019 Conference now open!

The International Sports Heritage Association will follow in Dorothy’s footsteps as conference attendees walk the “Yellow Brick Road to Success.”

The conference will be hosted by the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in Wichita, Kan., Oct. 23-24. Unlike previous years where the conference was held over three days, this year it will be a two-day conference capped by An Evening of Champions Banquet.

“ISHA is compressing the conference from two half days and one full day event to two full days to maximize our time together and to respond to our member surveys,” ISHA President Bryan Morry said. “We recognize that not everyone can spend 3-4 days away from their institution and we hope this change makes travel easier. It is something we wanted to try and then see how our members respond to the change. We will re-evaluate following the conference. It’s important to note that the number of sessions remains the same. We have just tightened things up.”

Click here for the Conference Brochure with all the details on this year’s conference schedule, sessions, speakers, and how to register.

To our incredible ISHA members,

As we move on from an incredibly educational and entertaining conference in Santa Clara and look forward to 2019, I first want to thank all of you for your commitment to ISHA. I can assure you that the board of directors is constantly striving to provide you with great value for that commitment.

The annual conference provides outstanding educational and networking opportunities – two things our member surveys show to be of the most value. The organization also gives back through its grant program to help members with special projects and to attend the conference.

Those grants would not be possible without the Founders Fund. I want to thank Lance Van Auken, Jan Ogurcak and the World of Little League Museum for committing to donate half of its visitor donations (up to $1,500) to the Founders Fund for this year. Lance challenged other member institutions to also step up. The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame immediately followed suit and met the donation challenge, and Leila Dunbar Appraisals and Consulting followed with a generous donation. Also, our annual campaign letter was recently sent to all members. Any contribution you can make to help fellow members is appreciated.

Moving forward, 2019 conference planning is officially underway. Mark your calendar and plan to be in Wichita, Kan., in October. Jordan Poland and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame are excited to be this year’s host. Looking ahead to 2020, ISHA will be heading to scenic Newport, R.I., for its 50th conference.
We are excited for 2019 as we strive to provide support for sports heritage and the institutions that promote it. We also have many vendor members that are a part of our organization, and I encourage you to think of those members when planning your next project.

We need your input and contributions to make the organization thrive to its fullest potential, and we will be encouraging more of that as we head into 2019. We will look to improve educational offerings, continue with our popular hot topic calls, keep you updated on the state of the industry and so much more.

Happy new year to everyone. We, as an organization, cannot succeed without all of you. So thank you again.

Bryan Morry
ISHA president

 

The 2018 ISHY Award winners.

The International Sports Heritage Association (ISHA) is pleased to announce its 2018 ISHY Award winners. The nine winners were presented their ISHY trophy on Sept. 27 during the Evening of Champions dinner at the group’s annual conference hosted by the 49ers Museum in Santa Clara, California.

The Patriots Hall of Fame’s winning exhibit titled Super Bowl LI: Anatomy of a Comeback was also voted by conference attendees as the “Best in Show” overall winner.

The ISHY Awards program was established to provide recognition for excellence in publications 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 communications professionals.

The 2018 ISHY winners are:

  • The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis – Sport Through the Artists’ Eye
  • The Sport Australia Hall of Fame – Spirit of Sport Magazine
  • World of Little League Museum – “It All Started Here” Promo video
  • USGA – Character of a Champion: Women Winning Freedom on the Fairways
  • Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame – Banquet Program – Class of 2017
  • The Sport Australia Hall of Fame – 2017 SAHOF Induction & Awards Gala Dinner Program
  • Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum – Goodwill Through Baseball, Cardinals Across the Pacific
  • Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum – Reds Threads Exhibit
  • The Patriots Hall of Fame – Super Bowl LI: Anatomy of a Comeback

 

As legacies go, Lou Spadia’s is indelible.

Lou Spadia

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.

Former 49ers President Lou Spadia poses with Jane and Josephine Morabito.

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.