The Seymour High School Sports Hall of Fame began in 2017, when 15 of the most prestigious athletes and coaches from the area were honored at the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium.
And since last Saturday, Rio Rancho resident Phil Schroer is considered one of the “most prestigious athletes” in Seymour, Ind., also the hometown of a prestigious rock-and-roller, John Cougar Mellencamp.
“We know each other; he’s 4 or 5 years younger than me,” Schroer said, back in Rio Rancho after a whirlwind trip to Seymour.
It’s not Schroer’s first hall of fame induction, nor will it be his last: In 2008, Schroer was inducted into the New Mexico Highlands University Athletic Hall of Fame; in 2018, he was inducted into the Cibola High School Athletic Hall of Fame — he coached boys basketball there before becoming the school’s athletic director. In 2022, that NMHU baseball team will be inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame, although that was originally scheduled to happen in 2021, but was postponed due to the pandemic.
Schroer, a member of the school’s Class of 1964, was a standout two-sport athlete there: He averaged double-figures in scoring as a junior and senior for the Owls, and, as a two-year starter on the diamond, had a 12-8 record as a pitcher in his senior season.
Following his illustrious days at SHS, Schroer headed west, accepting a scholarship to play baseball at New Mexico Highlands University, where he was a part of the Cowboys team that won the NAIA national championship in 1967.
Then, it was on to coaching prep basketball, first at Robertson High School in Las Vegas, N.M., and then at Cibola High.
After retiring from CHS, Schroer spent seven years as athletic coordinator at Eagle Ridge Middle School, before another retirement a few years ago.
Bruce Carver, who hired Schroer to oversee athletics at ERMS, says he was lucky to find out his buddy was going into his high school’s hall of fame.
“Phil is such a humble guy; it was just a coincidence that I found out he was going into his high school Hall of Fame in Seymour,” Carver said. “I called him (recently) and he was there for the ceremony.
“We were lucky to hire him at Eagle Ridge as our athletic coordinator for seven years,” Carver added. “He loves athletics and has so much knowledge and passion for sports in general. Most important, he cares about kids and making a difference. … Phil is a good friend and a great lunch and coffee buddy. He does not talk a lot about himself and his former playing days. That is just how Phil is. He would rather discuss the current events in the sports world. Our primary topic: high school sports. What else?”
Although Schroer said he was pretty good in both of his chosen sports, growing up in the Hoosier State, a basketball-crazy state, naturally warrants more attention for those on the hardwood.
His sports heroes, he said, were “anybody that played for the (Indiana University) Hoosiers; Tom and Dick Van Arsdale, Walt Bellamy, Isaiah Thomas and a guy who played for the Owls, John Judd, who later played at the Air Force Academy.
“I loved baseball,” he said, and in the 14 years he and his wife Veronica later resided in Indiana, he coached the sport.
The SHS Hall of Fame ceremony occurred between the junior varsity and varsity games on Dec. 18.
“As soon as the JV game was over, the seven recipients were marched out together and we sat on chairs in a circle on the gym floor. The PA guy read the bios alphabetically, and the principal gave us our awards. It probably took less than 15 minutes, but was well-organized. The Owls won; they’re 5-0 Class 4A Owls haven’t been .500 or better since the 2009-10 season.)
“I played in the old gym; it was packed every game,” he recalled. “I saw some friends and classmates. It was a nice occasion; we really enjoyed it.”