Vibrant Hiland Wall-of-Fame greets fans at Reese Center

Vibrant Hiland Wall-of-Fame greets fans at Reese Center

Image Credit: Submitted

Basketball fans attending games in the Perry Reese, Jr. Community Center this winter will be greeted by a new look in the lobby, where the Hiland All-Ohio Wall-of-Fame got a major make-over.

When new Hiland athletic director Seger Bonifant took over the position this past summer, one of the things he wanted to explore was how to recreate the Wall-of-Fame so it provided a new appeal that caught people’s eye and made them stop and study the athletes honored as All-Ohioans.

What he came up with helped bring the former rows of photos to life.

“I knew we were running out of room on the wall the way it was set up, so we felt we needed to explore other options,” said Bonifant, who himself is on the wall, having been part of two state titles in basketball and going legendary by making the regional finals shot at the buzzer that propelled the Hawks to a state title in 2012. “I had seen a lot of different ideas going to arenas in college and when I played overseas and had an idea of what I wanted to see here.”

He met with several people discussing different options, eventually settling on the set-up they instituted.

Bonifant removed all the old player photos that adorned the wall and scanned them. Those photos will now rotate digitally from 1969 through the most recent All-Ohio honorees on a pair of 85-inch TVs attached to the north wall of the lobby.

The north wall then got a major makeover, thanks to Lee Beachy of Heritage Signs in Berlin. Beachy and his staff took dozens of photographs from All-Ohioans from the past and built a series of wall hangings that come together to make a menagerie of former Hiland greats from every sport.

Bonifant said he and Beachy looked at tons of photos, and through trial and error, they whittled them down to where each group flowed properly around the TVs.

The panel photos of each All-Ohio individual are featured in color while several state championship teams adorn the background, adding depth to the wall.

“The goal was to create something that really popped,” Beachy said of the wall. “This is basically flexing, so if we are going to flex, let’s flex. This is honoring the athletes who have worked hard to make themselves into something special. It’s almost like we are creating a museum to honor our athletes.”

The new wall should draw the attention of anyone who enters, whether they are from East Holmes or from visiting towns.

“It’s legit,” Bonifant said. “It should definitely be an interesting conversation piece for people visiting the Reese Center. It kind of jumps right out at you when you enter the lobby.”

Trying to narrow down which photos to use also was a chore. Both Bonifant and Beachy knew they weren’t going to get every single All-Ohioan on the mural, so the decision was made to create 4-by-8-foot slats that will be interchangeable. Thus, Heritage Signs can make a new series of photos featuring new athletes, and the wall can rotate through the athletes as time goes by.

“If we ever want to change the panels, it is going to be easy because of the way it’s set up,” Beachy said.