Speer Named to RHSSHOF

Thursday, August 23, 2018
Jim Speer
courtesy photo

Former Rector Blackcat standout athlete Jim Speer, RHS class of 1974, has been named to the Rector High School Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 2018. He will be inducted at the annual RHSSHOF luncheon on Sept 1. The other inductees this year include former Lady Cougar Hannah Parsley-Rudi, RHS class of 2008, and Cougar standout Jimmy Greenway, Clay County Central class of 1992.

Jim Speer started playing basketball in the pee wee league, and finished his basketball career playing for Harding College—now known as Harding University. During his senior year at RHS he was selected among the Top 10 Class A players in the state by the Arkansas Democrat.

Growing up in Greenway, Jim played for Tiger Coach Ted Box—who was inducted into the RHSSHOF as a coach in 2011. “Jim was just developing as a player his sophomore year and became a good player his junior year and would have been one of the best players in our district his senior year, but transferred to Rector that year,” he said of him. “He averaged 10.6 points per game his sophomore year. I know he was one of our leading scorers and rebounders his junior year. He averaged somewhere around 17 to 20 points per game. He was either the leading rebounder or second leading rebounder on our team that year. When I went to Greenway in 1971 the program was very weak. We made a lot of improvement by that second year and Jim was a big part of that.”

As a junior for the Greenway Tigers, Speer had a number of standout games, including a 42 points performance against Piggott. He also scored 33 against Brookland, 28 against Weiner, scored 27 against Caraway, had a 26 point game against Marmaduke, 23 against both Knobel and Oak Grove, 21 in the second games with Brookland and Piggott and 20 against Dell.

Between his junior and senior years, Jim moved to Rector where he continued his basketball career. The following represents a small part of his accomplishments on the court during his senior year at RHS—he was named to the Arkansas College All Tournament Team, NEA All-Tournament team and was All-District. He scored 528 points that season, averaging 14.3 points per game and a 54.7 percent field goal average. He also pulled down 387 rebounds, or about 10.5 per game, and handed out 66 assists. He was also a rock-solid 73 percent from the free-throw line.

During his senior campaign he had a 29 point game against Marmaduke, scored 26 against Nettleton and 24 points in games with both Manila and Highland. He also had 20 point games against Marked Tree, Corning and Nettleton and was in double digits in contests with Augusta, Trumann, Westside, Osceola, Walnut Ridge and Holly Grove.

Dan Foley, a writer for the Jonesboro Sun reported, “Speer, a dominating factor on both ends of the court with his rebounding, defense and scoring finished with 26 points.”

Taking his game, and education, to the next level he earned a letter at Harding in his first year of playing as a sophomore. Newspaper accounts of the time at Harding told the tale, such as “Jim Speer came off the bench and put in nine points in the last five minutes” or “Speer with 13 points, three for three field goals and seven of nine free shots”

Jess Bucy, who coached at Harding, said “Jim Speer was an outstanding high school player and I recruited him at Harding. Unfortunately for me, he dropped out of his college career to be a part of the family farm interest.”

Speer also earned accolades at Arkansas College (now Lyon College) basketball camp; was on the senior All Star team and was second in rebounding.

Later in life he also served as a long time member of the Rector School Board.

In addition to the luncheon and ceremony, the annul golf tournament will be held Friday, Aug. 31, at the Kennett Country Club. Details on the golf tournament may be obtained by contacting Michele Haley at 870 240-5064 or Michael Lindsey at 870 240-3257. Meanwhile, information concerning the induction ceremony may be obtained by contacting Owen B. Moseley at 870 935-4039.

The golf tournament, and induction luncheon, are held each year as fundraisers for RHSSHOF, with the monies generated directed toward assisting all of the programs associated with Rector High School.

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