New administrators have big plans for DGHoF
October 9, 2020 by Bennett Wineka in Interview, News with comments
When the Disc Golf Hall of Fame Class of 2020 is inducted on Saturday afternoon, it’ll be the culmination of a transitional year at the DGHoF, and the start of ambitious plans for the organization.
After 20 years on the job, Al “Speedy” Guerrero left his role as DGHoF Administrator at the end of 2019 and turned the reins over to Andi Young. Young, a 2018 DGHoF inductee, recruited fellow 2018 inductee George Sappenfield as Assistant Administrator to help shoulder the load. Combined, the two new administrators can count almost 90 years of experience in disc sports, and they’ll be using that background to usher in a new era at the DGHoF, starting by formerly establishing the DGHoF as a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity, and bringing more visibility to the DGHoF, including full disclosure around the process to nominate a potential inductee.
“We put forward an agenda that was very aggressive for our first year,” said Young.
“By obtaining the nonprofit status it allows people and companies to donate directly to help grow the Disc Golf Hall of Fame. That’s a major part right there, and it just legitimizes things and allows us to do more,” said Sappenfield. “That’s our goal. And we want to be very transparent about what goes on with the Disc Golf Hall of Fame.”
Two of the Hall’s new undertakings will be on display this weekend as it launched its website, thediscgolfhalloffame.org, this morning, and will host the YouTube livestream of this year’s induction ceremony on the new site in between the conclusion of the Women’s National Championship and the before the lead card of the USDGC tees off Saturday.
The website is intended to greater showcase the history and notable figures in the sport, as well as act as a place to purchase DGHoF collectibles such as the annual inductee discs. The site will continue to build out its archive in the following months and years.
Right now, however, the team is focused on this weekend’s induction ceremony. After the Hall of Fame Classic PDGA National Tour event went on hiatus, the Hall was in need of a new location for the ceremony. Originally festivities were supposed to take place at the 2020 Pro Masters Worlds in Johnson City, Tennessee, but once the event was cancelled due to Covid-19, Young started asking around.
“I came up with this idea of USDGC. I mean, you can always ask right,” said Young. “We asked [USDGC Tournament Director] Jonathan Poole, what would you think about this, and kind of fully expecting him to say no. But he didn’t. It’s amazing what’s happened since then.”
Young and Sappenfield have been working with Fulcrum Media to produce the induction ceremony livestream on Saturday, and are on site at Winthrop themselves. The two will be presenting from the booth used by the WNC and USDGC live commentary teams, with the virtual help of Dan “Stork” Roddick acting as digital emcee. Inductees have prerecorded acceptance speeches that will be played during the hour-long ceremony.
While conditions are not ideal, the Hall says its lucky to be able to potentially reach a larger audience with its mission this year via the livestream over one of disc golf’s biggest weekends.
“We obviously didn’t think this would happen this year. And it’s happened in a marvelous way,” said Sappenfield about sharing time with the USDGC and launching a website at the same time.
Looking ahead, the DGHoF is ready to introduce itself to more players, and better define what the organization is.
“Most people, most players, think that the Disc Golf Hall of Fame is the PDGA Disc Golf Hall of Fame. That’s not true. The Hall of Fame is an independent entity,” said Young. “The PDGA has been a partner with the Hall of Fame all these years but it has grown to the point where it’s time for it to stand on its own two feet. It’s time to come out from underneath the shadow.”
Part of the confusion around the PDGA’s involvement includes the physical location of the Hall residing at the PDGA’s International Disc Golf Center in Appling, Georgia. The DGHoF is exploring the possibility of its own location in the future as it currently has historical assets stored in several locations across the United States, including the IDGC.
“We are very appreciative to the PDGA to house what we do have right now,” said Sappenfield. “As we grow that will obviously change.”
In the meantime, the Hall will stay at the IDGC and Young and Sappenfield will look toward next year if and when major events return and they can bring the Disc Golf Hall of Fame directly to more people.
“Our campaigns are going to center around educating the general public and the players, especially a lot of the new players about the history of the sport,” said Young. “That’s what we feel is our main mission — it is an educational component.”