A tenth member has been added to the Chadron State College Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2022. Longtime local broadcaster John Axtell was the Voice of the Eagles for 28 seasons from 1988-89 through 2014-15.
John says he was completely surprised by the honor because while he’d hoped to be picked someday, he’s a member of the Hall of Fame Selection Committee and its members are barred from being chosen.
He also was presented the college’s Distinguished Service Award in 1998.
John says he had no idea the others met remotely a couple weeks after the initial nine members of the Class of 2022 were selected and unanimously waived the rule and elected him.
When he came to Chadron in Jan 1987, he was news director at KCSR-AM and KQSK-FM, which were owned by the same company. He added the job of sports director in mid-1988, and went with KQSK to Eagle Communications when the stations were sold to different companies in July 1991.
He remained with Eagle until April 2015, when he returned to KCSR, now owned by Dennis and Kathi Brown, as news director. His current run of 7-½ years as news director is the longest in the station’s more than 60-year history. His initial run of 4-½ years is the second-longest.
In his 28 years broadcasting Chadron State sports, John called 293 football games, more than 700 men’s basketball games, more than 400 women’s basketball games, and a handful of volleyball matches and softball games.
John estimates he traveled more than 3,500 miles for CSC sports each year and a lot more some years with trips to places such as Bellingham, Wash., Huntsville, Texas, and Las Vegas, Nev.
He recalls racking up more than 3,500 miles of windshield time less than two weeks on basketball trips to Butte, Mont., Las Vegas, N.M. and Hays, Kan.
There was also the year the football game got back to Chadron from Sacramento, late on a Saturday night and he and head trainer Don Watt left the next morning with the men’s basketball team for a week-long trip to Brookings, S.D., and Duluth, Minn.
The other members of the Hall of Fame Class of 2022 are football players Mitch Berry, Casey Haldeman, Shawn Eisenreich, Bryce Flammang and Layne Sievers; track and field All-Americans Joel Duffield and Jacqueline Wells Hobbs; basketball standout Bec Kyba Ray; and breakaway roper Jennifer Nelson Gale.
All will be inducted at a banquet Saturday, Oct,, 15, at 6 p.m. in the CSC Student Center. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for those 18 years and younger. Dinner tickets may be purchased at www.chadroneagles.com/tickets.