January 6, 2010


A legendary voice in Gibson County sports, Richard Lankford of Princeton’s WRAY Radio, will be honored Friday night as this year’s recipient of the IHSAA Distinguished Media Service Award for District III.

Lankford’s contributions will be honored during the Boonville-Princeton boys basketball game Friday in Princeton. IHSAA Commissioner Blake Ress, Boonville Principal Mike Whitten, a member of the IHSAA Board of Directors, and Sports Information Director Jason Wille will be on hand to make the presentation to Lankford.

This is the 25th year the IHSAA has recognized outstanding members of the Indiana news media from each of its three legislative districts for excellence in the coverage of high school sports. District III covers 42 counties across southern Indiana.

Lankford is the retired owner of WRAY Radio and has spent his entire 57-year broadcasting career with the station calling high school basketball, football and baseball games, Oakland City University basketball as well as NCCAA Tournament events. He began describing the action to listeners in 1953, broadcast his first high school state finals at the legendary 1954 finals at Hinkle Fieldhouse, and estimates he’s broadcast over 4,000 games covering Princeton High School, Gibson County teams and southern Indiana sports in general. In 2009, he broadcast Princeton’s run to the 3A boys basketball state championship and also covered Gibson Southern’s quest for a state softball title.

He has been decorated numerous times over the years not only for his work over the airwaves, but in service to his country and within various community organizations.

As a Korean War Veteran (1952-53), he was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Purple Heart for his service. He was named a Kentucky Colonel in 1986 and a Sagamore of the Wabash in 2003, both prestigious awards presented by each state’s respective governor.

In 2000, he was selected as Indiana Sports Broadcaster of the Year, was inducted into the Indiana Associated Press Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2003 and was honored in 2004 by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association with the Virgil Sweet Award.

Oakland City University named Lankford Sportsman of the Year in 1988, received its Special Alumni Award in 1997 and was inducted into its Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.

He received the Princeton Distinguished Service Award in 1965 and is a 53-year member of the Princeton Rotary Club having served as a past president. He’s also assisted as president of the Gibson County Sheriff’s Department Merit Board for 20 years and is a longtime member and officer with the national and his local Appaloosa Game Horse associations.

Lankford is a 1947 graduate of Mt. Carmel High School in Illinois where he played football, basketball and baseball. He continued playing basketball at Illinois State University and Oakland City University and was a teammate of the late IHSAA Commissioner C. Eugene Cato.

He and his wife of 58 years, Helen, have two children: Sherry (Engler) and Jeff. They have two grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

On behalf of the 411 member schools, the Indiana High School Athletic Association is proud to salute Richard Lankford for his years of dedicated service to high school athletics in the state of Indiana.

 IHSAA 09-10/18