American Bass Anglers recently bestowed its highest honor on the first five inductees to the American Bass Anglers Hall of Fame. They were inducted by ABA President Morris "Mo" Sheehan at the awards banquet at the National Championship in Decatur, AL on October 11th, 2002. 

The inductees were Joe McDaniels, Jim Hollaway, Tommy Hibdon, Paul Tyler, and Jim Foster.

What makes these members so special? Many things. All are lifetime members with years of loyal service to American Bass Anglers and Military Bass Anglers. Mo proudly says of the group: "They eat and breathe ABA. They believe in the organization. Being selected to the ABA Hall of Fame is a lifetime achievement award, based on many years of service, many events, and lots of dedication. Not only have they served ABA, but their communities and their country."

The idea for beginning the Hall of Fame originated with long time member Lee Marshall. Lee was inducted into the Armed Forces Skeet Shooting Hall of Fame and thought of the similarities of that organization to ABA. He called Mo and suggested ABA start a Hall of Fame. Mo thought it was an excellent idea and asked Lee to spearhead the selection process.

Lee organized a selection committee and criteria for being nominated were developed. Letters were sent to all ABA directors asking for nominations. Twenty-six members were nominated and then ranked by the committee. The results were sent to Mo who made the final selections. The following information will give you an idea as to why they were selected as the first inductees:

JOE MCDANIELS: Joe was the founder of MBAA. While stationed at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, he developed the idea of a bass tournament organization to give servicemen an extra recreational activity. Joe met with 3 or 4 of his friends at the NCO Club at the base to discuss his idea and what would eventually become MBAA was born. The first insignia, which resembles today's, was drawn on a cocktail napkin. As members of the original group were transferred across the country, the idea grew to a national trail. Joe borrowed $3,000 from his dad to start MBAA. 

JIM HOLLOWAY: Jim joined MBAA in 1979 and served as director for 13 years before retiring this year. He has attended over 20 nationals. He says about being selected: "This was the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. When Mo called my name and I stared walking up to that stage, I almost had tears in my eyes. It's a great honor for me to know that they think that much of me. ABA is getting bigger and better each year.”One of Jim's favorite memories as a director of District 60 was hosting a kid's tournament. He had 35 boats and 125 kids showed up, so 3 or 4 kids fished out of each boat.

TOMMY HIBDON: Tommy was "surprised and honored" to be in the first group of inductees. He has been with ABA-MBAA so long he's not exactly sure when he became a member but knows it was 1979 or earlier. He has been a very successful director for 14 years. Tommy prides himself on conducting tournaments in the manner they should be and serves as weighmaster for numerous local tournaments. He states: "I am very pleased with the direction ABA is taking today and the size of this year's national shows 
many others are too.”

PAUL TYLER: Paul joined in 1977and has the incredible record of having attended all the nationals except one. In 1995 he had bypass surgery two weeks before the national. He served on the Board of Directors for Joe McDaniels, then as area director for Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio, and then as Indiana State Director for several years. About being selected for the Hall of Fame, Paul says: "I was surprised, for sure. I was never looking for any recognition, but just did the job I was supposed to do the best I could.

Paul organized the "Kid's Fishing Tournament" for many years in Indianapolis. His district identified kids from single parent families that didn't have a dad at home. They provided rods and reels for the kids and every kid received a prize and hot dogs after the tournament. One year his district went to the Veteran's Hospital and took disabled veterans to a pond to fish.

JIM FOSTER: Jim believes he may hold the record for the most years as a director. At the awards banquet as Mo was calling out the names of the inductees, Jim was thinking: "I've been around as long as these guys. I was overwhelmed when my name was called out. I had tears in my eyes." Jim is super happy with the ABA staff and the growth of the trail. He says the present staff understands fishing and fisherman.

Congratulations to the first inductees to the American Bass Anglers Hall Of Fame. They are a very deserving group and will always have the distinction of being first among many more to come. It would be mind boggling to add up their years of service to ABA-MBAA. Their dedication and loyalty can't be measured, but should serve as an inspiration to other members that some day may join their ranks in the ABA Hall of Fame.

American Bass Anglers, Inc - Hall of Fame

2002 - Joe McDaniels, Jim Holloway, Tommy Hibdon, Paul Tyler, Jim Foster 

2003 - Bob Medeiros, Pat McDaniels

2004 - George Miserendino, Gary Conner 

2005 - Lee Marshall, William Jasper, Jim Garner 

2006 - Bill Peeler, Toby Hicks, William Peele, Joe VanHooser

2007 - Dale Hart

2008 - Joe Angelone, Becky Minor

2009 - Barry Davis, Pat Vance

2010 - Deacon Collins, John Beckstrom, Craig Maxwell

2011 - Michael Tamburello, Dave Fox, Tom Storm

2012 - Bob Ogle, Bill Hall

2013 - Rick Tilson

2014 - Jerry Jeranka, Jack Leffingwell

2015 - Michael Garlen