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Bass Fishing Hall of Fame Adds 8 to Board of Directors

Eight new members have stepped in to assist with the efforts of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame Board of Directors, volunteering their time and talent to help celebrate, promote and preserve the sport of bass fishing.

“This group includes individuals who rank among the best professional bass anglers of all times, as well as those who know the ins-and-outs of the bass fishing industry and tournament operations, and their talents will only strengthen the Board,” said Todd Hammill of, who as chair of the Board’s nomination committee is charged with the all-important ‘road to induction’ process, and identifying both new Board and induction Selection Committee members

The new Board members include the following folks:

  • Mark Copley, media relations/pro staff management for Rather Outdoors
  • Joe Opager, director of communications for Major League Fishing (MLF)
  • Brandon Palaniuk , Bassmaster Elite Series pro angler and champion
  • Neil Paul, Executive Director of Visit Anderson (South Carolina)
  • Dan Quinn, Rapala Director of Field Promotions and Research & Development
  • Mike Valster, Outdoor Brand Team owner
  • Kevin VanDam, Hall of Fame angler, Bass Pro Tour champion, 4-time Bassmaster Classic champion
  • Jay Yelas, Bassmaster Classic Champion, C.A.S.T. For Kids Foundation.

“The new Board members, and their respective talents, are much needed as we move forward in fulfilling the mission of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame,” notes Board president John Mazurkiewicz. “Since establishing our partnership, and most importantly a permanent location for the Hall, within Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife Museum & Aquarium, our efforts in honoring the greats of our sport have gained added recognition in the bass fishing world, as has the Board’s work is providing financial assistance to worthy organizations for conservation and participation awareness projects.”

The new Board members replace in part previous members Curt Arakawa with Daiwa, noted pro angler Guy Eaker, and T-H Marine founder Bill Huntley, all of whom served multiple terms on the Board. “We can’t thank Curt, Guy and Bill enough for not only being involved while the Bass Fishing HOF worked to discover its identity, but also for assisting us as it has become a key entity in the bass fishing world,” Mazurkiewicz added.

Other Board members for the Hall include Vice Presidents Daren Cole with Blue Heron Communications and Tim Carini with B.A.S.S., Treasurer (and past Board president) Donald Howell with Southern Sky Aviation, Steve Bowman with JM Associates/B.A.S.S., Todd Ceisner with In-Fisherman/OSG, Kathy Fennel with MLF, Gene Gilliland with B.A.S.S., Hammill, pro angler and Bass Talk Live host Matt Pangrac, Tim Price with Johnson Outdoors (Minn Kota/Humminbird), fishing/travel journalist Pete Robbins, restaurant executive Clifton Rutledge, Casey Shedd with AFTCO, and Bruce Stanton with PRADCO. Barbara Bowman serves as the organization’s executive director.

Additional information on all the Bass Fishing HOF Board members can be found on the organization’s website at