Arizonan Bill Shover will receive the 2019 Legacy Recognition Award during the 2019 National Quarterback Club Awards Dinner and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Jan. 17. The event will be held at The Scottsdale Resort McCormick Ranch, beginning with a reception at 5 p.m., which will be followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. In addition, the ceremony will include honors for the National Quarterback of the Year in high school, college and professional ranks, and the inductions of Drew Bledsoe and Rich Gannon into the National Quarterback Hall of Fame.
Shover’s career at The Arizona Republic and The Phoenix Gazette spanned more than 40 years and has rendered him a legend among history makers in Arizona. Born into an Irish Catholic family in a small township outside of Indianapolis, he was the first in his family to be born in a hospital. When he was 8, he began his first job carting and selling newspapers for a nickel outside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He joined the U.S. Army at 18, and in 1946, by circumstances still a mystery to him, he was rerouted en route to Korea and landed in plush Ft. Ord in Monterey, Calif. He reported for duty and spent most of his Army career pitching for the Fort’s inter-service baseball team.
Near the end of his military service, he realized GI benefits could lead him to a career in journalism through Butler University, which offered the platform and support he felt he could use to help people. His first writing job was at The Indianapolis Star. There, he served publisher Eugene C. Pulliam, in the first phase of a mentorship and friendship that eventually changed the course of his life.
In 1962, Pulliam asked Shover to move to Phoenix with a mandate to use the newspaper in any manner necessary to better the community as it began to grow and define itself. Shover quickly became known around town as the man to get things done.
In 1970, he helped create the Phoenix 40, consisting of 40 business leaders and politicians, to curb the risk of crime, fraud and corruption in the growing city. The group evolved into Greater Phoenix Leadership. Another winner for the community was his service toward creating the 100 Club to aid the families of public servants killed in the line of duty.
During the ensuing decades, Shover chaired the 1976 celebrations of the Phoenix American Bicentennial Commission and led the national campaign to have the anchor retrieved from the USS Arizona and placed in the State Capital Grounds as a point of pride. He was a key figure in the effort to win two public referendum ballot initiatives to make Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday an official holiday in Arizona. He was the founder of the auction to raise money for the Combined Metropolitan Phoenix Arts and Sciences (COMPAS), which served for decades as the central funding source for many of the Valley’s cultural organizations. And just last year, he and his wife Kay chaired the 125th anniversary celebration of The Salvation Army’s service to the Valley and across the state.
Shover’s service to improving the lives of those in need and developing young talent into future leaders is paramount with Valley Leadership, Theodore Roosevelt Boy Scout Council, Arizona Project ChalleNGe, The Salvation Army, The American Red Cross, United Blood Services of Arizona, Junior Achievement, The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU, Volunteer Center of Maricopa County, Arizona Educational Foundation, Anti-Defamation League, to name a few organizations that have benefited from his involvement.
In 1987, he coordinated the historic visit of Pope John Paul II to Arizona and a multifaceted celebration bringing representatives of all religions together as one body.
The personalities of Phoenix and Arizona would not be the same without professional and collegiate sports. In 1968, Shover helped launch the Phoenix Suns and was one of nine founders of the Fiesta Bowl. He worked on the early efforts to recruit NFL football to Arizona in 1988, and brought the first Super Bowl to the Valley, chairing the Super Bowl XXX Committee in 1996.
“If you ask Bill Shover what he accomplished in his lifetime, he talks of his love of family and passing along his spirit of giving back,” says Lisa Henry Holmes, board member of National Quarterback Club Charities and lifelong Shover family friend. “Some of the greatest family times are tied to coaching his sons Kev and T.A.’s baseball teams, from little league to Legion A Baseball over 16 years, touching the lives of more than 600 boys who grew into young men,” says Henry Holmes. “While the boys might have been on the field, it was truly a family affair with daughters Sandra and Lisa managing the teams alongside Bill.”
Within the six decades of accomplishment and contributions made within the State of Arizona, one of Shover’s most prideful moments is his 1966 team winning the Arizona Little League State Championship. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of this historic win, his “Boys of Summer” came together with The Salvation Army in 2016 to dedicate the Bill Shover Field of Dreams serving youth baseball, football and soccer teams at the Army’s Kroc Center.
“There is a quote attributed to Bill that is widely applied across the State of Arizona,” says Don Kile, president of the National Quarterback Club.“‘There is no limit to the good a man can do if he doesn’t care who gets the credit.’”
“At a time in our history when there is much consternation and a general lack of grace in our world, it will be a pleasure to honor one of Arizona’s truest gentlemen and one of the most dynamic and influential people responsible for forging and chiseling many of the quality of life assets all Arizonans have come to enjoy in their daily lives,” Kile says.
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