- Special Sections
- Public Notices
TELL CITY - A former NFL draftee, an Olympic hopeful, and a starter for a Big Ten Conference championship basketball team have been elected to Tell City High School's Athletic Hall of Fame.
Craig Blackford, Beth Carlson and Bill Nuetzel will be inducted into the school's hall of fame at a banquet before a home basketball game later this season, though the date has not been selected yet.
Blackford, a 1967 Tell City graduate, became a starter at quarterback for the Marksmen in the fifth game of his sophomore season. He also played basketball and was a baseball pitcher for the Marksmen.
He went on to star at quarterback for the University of Evansville and was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 13th round of the 1971 NFL draft (the draft was 17 rounds long then). He is still the only Tell City player ever chosen in the NFL draft.
Blackford missed part of one season at Tell City with a knee injury that required surgery and he also had knee surgery again while at UE.
Knee surgery was not as advanced then as it is now, and his brother, Charles Blackford, said NFL scouts told Craig questions about the health of his knee kept him from being drafted higher than he was.
He did not make the Broncos but played semipro football for teams in Indianapolis and Michigan.
Most football teams did not play wide open passing games then, but at UE Blackford set records for most touchdown passes in a game with five and most passes completed (39) and attempted (65) in a game.
He led Tell City to an 8-2 football record his sophomore year and a 7-2 mark as a senior. There was no IHSAA playoff tourney in those days.
He threw six touchdown passes as a senior and was 5 for 7 passing for a then school-record 126 yards as the Marksmen upset Henderson County 14-9 that season. Henderson County entered that game with a 6-0 record.
He completed 12 of 15 passes in a game against Huntingburg as a junior and completed a then school-record 16 of 30 passes in a game against Owensboro that year.
He made All-SIAC that season and was chosen to play in Indiana's first North-South all-star game in 1967, after his senior year.
Carlson, a 1991 Tell City graduate, was a star swimmer and middle-distance track runner.
She won two individual events and a relay (all the events one could enter then) in the IHSAA girls swim sectional four years in a row.
She placed sixth in the state meet in the 100-yard butterfly and ninth in the 50 freestyle as a senior and swam the butterfly leg on the Marksmen's fifth-place 200 medley relay team in the state meet her sophomore year.
She was eighth in the state in the 50 free as a freshman. She helped the Marksmen win their sectional her freshman and sophomore seasons.
She still holds Tell City school records in the 50 free, 100 fly and 100 free.
In track she was a two-time sectional champion in the 800-meter run and still holds Tell City's second fastest time in that race and the school record in the 1600 relay.
She was on the Marksmen's roster when they won the 19-team Jasper sectional in 1988, their only girls track sectional championship, but she was unable to run in the sectional due to an injury.
After high school she swam three years for Ball State University.
She became a professional triathlete in 2003 with a goal of eventually making it to the Olympic trials. She placed third in a triathlon in Malibu, Calif., in September 2003.
Nuetzel, 89, will be the oldest living member of the hall of fame.
A 1938 Tell City graduate, the 6-foot-4 basketball star and baseball first baseman went on to play basketball for Purdue University.
Playing forward and sometimes center, he was a three-year starter for the Boilermakers and helped them win the Big Ten title in 1940.
The game he remembers most at Purdue was "we beat Indiana to clinch the Big Ten title," he said Monday.
He led Tell City's basketball team to a sectional championship as a junior in 1937.
The next year the Marksmen were 13-6 in the regular season and repeated as sectional champs, but Nuetzel turned 19 before the sectional so he was not allowed to compete in it.
He scored a team-high nine points in the 1937 regional as the Marksmen lost 21-17 to Dale.
World War II broke out after his junior year at Purdue and he left school to join the navy.
He later served 27 years as professor of health and physical science at the University of Florida, where he was the faculty golf champion for two years. He was also the Meadowbrook Club champion two years.