SAYING THANKS ... Numerous current and former members of the Bellmont High School rifle team surround Charlie Abel (left) as he receives a plaque denoting his 50 years of dedication to the program. The presentation was made at halftime of the boys basketball game Tuesday night by current coach Andrew Werling (right). (Photo by Deb Shannon)
Charlie Abel, coach of the Bellmont High School rifle team throughout its 50 years of existence, was honored at halftime of Tuesday's boys baskeball game with the presentation of a plaque.
An open house was held at the range following the game.
An estimated 40 to 50 current and former members of the rifle team were on hand for the presentation of the plaque which noted Abel's 50 years of dedication to the sport and the school.
The plaque was presented by the second rifle team coach in Bellmont history, Andrew Werling. Abel stepped down as head coach three years ago, although he still serves as an assistant to Werling.
"Charlie has been a role model for so many young shooters over the years," it was said at the presentation. "We guarantee that no past, present or future shooter will ever forge the memories they all share under the guidanceof charlie Abel who, though retired, continues to guide and direct the team he started 50 years ago."
Abel was one of two men (another teacher, John Butler, was the other) who were asked to start the rifle team at Decatur High School in 1961. The original Mies bowling alley and a couple of other buildings housed the team's range until Bellmont opened its doors in 1970.
Although there were several rifle teams in the area when the program began, there are only four in the area today, it was noted Tuesday night, and Bellmont is the only public school in Indiana with a rifle team.
From 1979 to 2007, Bellmont won nine state championships.