BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The 2018 Fort Madison High School Bloodhound Hall of Fame was a mixed bag of those who made significant contributions to the school’s athletic department.
The school elected Jay Skinner, a track standout from 1970-72: Jim Allen, a multi-sport athlete excelling in tennis, basketball and cross country; Daily Democrat Sports Editor Chris Faulkner, and FMHS coach Dick Burch, who coached a variety of sports and took the 2000 Bloodhound baseball team to a state title. Allen was unable to attend the ceremony.
Skinner ran track for the Bloodhounds from 1970-72 and was on the first FMHS boys cross country team where he was the state champion on the Class 3A mile team race and took 13th place at the two-mile state meet.
“I’m quite honored. I was totally surprised when I got the call saying I was going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. I’m really excited about it,” Skinner said.
Skinner was also named to the 880-yard run All-State squad and made the Iowa High School Athletic Association honor roll with the fifth fastest time for the 1970 track team in the 880-yard run. His time of 1:57.4 at the state meet broke the Fort Madison High School record. He was also the team captain as a senior on the Bloodhound basketball team.
Skinner went on to run at Northeast Missour University and Simpson College, where in 1976 he ran a 4:22 mile, breaking that school’s record.
He is currently in Des Moines serving as a caretaker, and a handyman and painter.
Faulkner said getting the induction was really a dream of his and one he thought he wouldn’t qualify for.
” It’s just a dream. People want to be in the sports Hall of Fame, or All-Americans or whatever. I never thought I would be a Pulitzer Prize winner or anything and I would just work for a smalltown paper. But this actually means more to me to be able to cover these kids.”– Chris Faulkner, Daily Democrat Sports Editor
Faulkner said he didn’t think he would be nominated because he thought he had to be a coach or player, and he isn’t originally from here.
“I just think it’s a cool thing that God gave me the gift of writing and then he showed me that you could actually get paid to watch high school kids play high school sports,” Faulkner said with a laugh.
Faulkner is already in the Iowa High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame for basketball media coverage. He’s also in the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association for his work as a reporter.
Dick Burch was inducted after spending 26 years in the district coaching baseball, basketball, tennis, football and golf. He graduated from Fort Madison High School in 1970.
“Basically this means a lot to me, because I’m a firm believer that the kids are what we’re here for. The 26 years I spent on baseball and other sports… it was to influence the kids in positive ways so they could build character.”
Burch earned back-to-back conference titles in baseball in 1977 and 1978 and then won them again in 1981 and 1983. His teams won district championships from 1988-90, 1992 and 2000. During those years 17 players were named First-Team All-State.
“I don’t ever get tired of telling this story, but in 2000 when we won the state baseball championships we started with seven wins and six losses and we decided we better have a talk with the kids because we could play 40 games and end up 20 and 20 and nothing happens. So we named names and told the kids they needed to play together as a team and not worry about their individual stats. And if they bought into that, they could have a pretty good season. So from a 7-6 start we finished that year 33-9 and state champs.”Dick Burch, Former FMHS coach and 2019 Hall of Fame Inductee
Allen was a four-time conference tennis champion at No. 1 singles. Three times he qualified for the state tennis tournament, while also earning thrid place in doubles in 1982. In 1983 he captured the state Class 2A singles state championship.
He was a multi-sport athlete who was also a two-year starter in basketball and was a member of the student council and National Honor Society. After high school, he enrolled at Gustavus Adolphus College where he was a four-year letter winner, a three-time all-conference selection, a three-time NCAA National Tournament qualifier and was a 1986 and 1987 NCAA Division III All- American. In 1987, he was named the NCAA Division III Player of the Year.
Following graduation he served as a tennis professional at the Flagship Athletic Club in Minneapolis and he also did a stint as the Men’s Assistant Tennis Coach at the University of Southern California from 1990-92.
Pen City Current congratulates these men on their inductions and their contributions to the community of Fort Madison and FMHS athletics