What’s the Right Size?

(March 14, 2012) How large should a Hall of Fame class be? It’s a question as long in duration as the Hall of Fame movement. I read numerous Hall of Fame stories each week extolling the virtues of the new inductees in multiple Halls of Fame. Thankfully the number of inductees is less than the number of Halls of Fame, but, while within a range, there is no unanimity about the size of a class.

Just in the last week I checked out an induction of two individuals, one with twelve, and a couple in between that included teams. It is a range and each Hall of Fame must examine the question for itself, but here are some practical thoughts to consider as a Hall of Fame creates its induction class:

  • First, how do we manage the induction ceremony? At what number does it become too long, too unwieldy, and too expensive to execute?
  • Second, how much time does each new inductee deserve to accept the honor? I have heard some absolutely wonderful acceptance speeches that accomplished Jim Valvano’s definition of a full day: I cried, I laughed, and I thought deeply. While some others did not fulfill those criteria, I, personally feel like inductees should be given that opportunity. For most, induction into a Hall of Fame is the thrill of a lifetime and the pinnacle of professional or avocational life and it should be recognized as such.
  • Third, how are the introductions done? Are they live by someone the Hall of Fame selects? Someone the inductee selects?  Video tape presentation? Many choices are possible.
  • What other events are held in coordination with the induction? Reception? Dinner? Event, concert or game?

Each of these practical questions needs to be answered in order to plan an induction and determine the time a Hall of Fame needs to complete the program. From that, the number of inductees will arise out of a simple function of time.

Most importantly, in thinking this through, remember the adage: “The mind can absorb only what the seat can endure!”

Jack Huckel, Founder & Principal of J.R. Huckel & Associates, offers election and induction consulting services to Halls of Fame. Jack served the National Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum as Director of Museum and Archives for 9-1/2 years after more than 10 years as a volunteer. More information is available at the firm’s web site. He can be reached at jack@jrhuckel.com or 518/852-3033.

Jack is a member of the International Sports Heritage Association and is also a member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Board of Directors’ Executive Committee. He will become president of the NSCAA in January of 2013.

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