2023 Hall of Fame Banquet
Monday, September 18, 2023
Reception: 6:15 p.m.
Banquet: 7 p.m.
Little America Hotel
500 South Main Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
2023 Hall of Fame Inductees
Official titles that have been ascribed to the late Stein Eriksen include Knight First Class in Norway, Olympic Ambassador in Utah and the “Patriarch of Elegant Skiing” at Deer Valley Resort. Yet those labels only begin to describe a man who was known for his grace on the ski slopes and his graciousness everywhere he went. If one word could capture Stein, it would be “charisma.” He’s one of those people who just had a distinguishable aura, a charm that he exuded with everyone he met. No wonder Deer Valley loved having him as its director of skiing for 35 years- a Norwegian who became synonymous with Utah’s unique snow.
Stein was initially involved in the development and layout of Park City Mountain Resort after moving to Utah in the late 1960s. So it is fitting that he joins Ted Ligety, who grew from a PCMR toddler into an Olympic champion himself, in the Utah Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023.
Utah was blessed to have Stein become an adopted son, after his legendary ski racing exploits on behalf of Norway. He was the gold medalist in the giant slalom in Norway’s 1952 Winter Games in Oslo, then became the first Alpine skier to win three gold medals in the World Championships in 1954 (an achievement Ligety would match in 2013). Stein’s legacy goes even further. By doing flips on the slopes, he essentially created the sport of aerials, now a major component of the Winter Olympics and the focus of World Cup competition at Deer Valley almost annually.
When Stein passed away in 2015 at age 88, Deer Valley President/General Manager Bob Wheaton labeled him “an integral part of the Deer Valley family since the resort’s inception,” crediting him with “infinite” influence in the ski industry. Stein helped Deer Valley founder Edgar Stern fulfill a vision of creating one of the most luxurious ski resorts in the country, and the mid-mountain Stein Eriksen Lodge was named in his honor. His job description was basically “being Stein Eriksen,” and he performed it well. Skiers hoping to spot Stein on the Deer Valley slopes merely needed to check the ski suit on the mannequin of the Bjorn Stova shop run by his wife, Francoise, to see what he was wearing that day. Or, they could approach him at his regular lunch table inside the Glitretind Restaurant.
Stein and Francoise are parents of five children.
While many Olympic athletes have lived and trained in Park City, Ted Ligety is a genuine Utahn.
He’s a native son who learned to ski at Park City Mountain Resort, starting in a day program that involved activities such as coloring as much as time spent on the slopes. Ted started competing at age 10 and eventually became a two-time Olympic gold medalist and one of the top three giant slalom skiers in history, thanks to a steady climb through the ranks of ski racing in Utah. As one of his Park City coaches, Aaron Atkins, once said, “I use him as an example of somebody who persevered through the tougher times. He wasn’t one of the prodigies.” Ted has remained loyal to his friends, family and home state. Even after his 2006 breakthrough with an Olympic gold medal in the combined (downhill/slalom) event in Italy at age 21, his closest friends remained those who grew up with him on the Park City Ski Team. One friend described as “the same old Ted,” complimenting his humble persona. “I wouldn’t have ever expected to be where I am now,” Ted said at the time.
Ted went on to build some of ski racing’s most impressive credentials, with his 2014 Olympic gold medal in the giant slalom in Russia adding to the context of his career. A lot had happened in those eight years, dramatically raising the expectations for his third Winter Games. After his son convincingly won another gold medal, Bill Ligety said, “I was definitely more nervous than I’ve ever been for a ski race.” “Relief” was Ted’s overriding emotion that day, after he fulfilled the demanding forecasts for his performance. He came through in Russia a year after having become the first male skier in 45 years to win three gold medals in the World Championships. A five-time World Champion in the giant slalom, Ted posted 25 victories in World Cup competition.
Ted’s legacy includes being an entrepreneur and promoter of the sport. He once taped “Mom + Dad” on his ski helmet to thank them as sponsors. By the time he won his second Olympic medal, his helmet proclaimed the “Shred” nickname that symbolized his own line of skiing products.
Always known for his love of skiing, not just racing, Ted retired from competitive skiing in 2021. He and his wife, Mia, are parents of three children and live in Park City.
Dave Rose graduated from high school and college in Texas. Yet a detour to St. George for junior college altered his life’s path almost permanently, making him a Utahn for the last four decades.
What are the odds of this? The two winningest basketball coaches in BYU history each worked his way into that job by coaching at Millard High School and the former Dixie College. Dave followed Stan Watts’s road by coming to Fillmore, Utah, the summer after the University of Houston team he co-captained lost to North Carolina State in an epic NCAA championship game.
BYU credits Dave with a 348-135 (.720) record in 14 seasons, topped only by Watts’ 371 wins. That includes a 43-11 mark vs. instate schools. Dave earned four Mountain West Conference regular-season championships and three Coach of the Year awards. His eight trips to the NCAA Tournament, including six years in a row, are both BYU highs for any coach, and so is his achievement of 13 consecutive appearances in either the NCAA Tournament or the NIT.
Dave’s 2011 team, led by national consensus Player of the Year Jimmer Fredette, became the first BYU squad in 30 years to reach the NCAA’s Sweet 16. He coached four other conference players of the year: Keena Young, Lee Cummard, Tyler Haws and Kyle Collinsworth.
Once an aspiring oil executive, Dave abruptly altered his course after enduring the drudgery of a summer internship in a high-rise office building in downtown Houston. Three years of teaching and coaching three sports in Fillmore shaped him in multiple ways, toughening him to absorb suggestions from mostly well-meaning basketball fans and exposing him to the rivalry with Delta, “which is more pressure than anyone should have to go through,” he once told The Salt Lake Tribune in a series about the first jobs of notable coaches. “Because it was so intense in a small town, I think it prepared me for all this.” Wanting to live someplace bigger, Dave took an assistant’s job at Pine View High School in the St. George area, near the hometown (Santa Clara) of his wife, Cheryl. He then became an assistant coach at the school then called Dixie State College, where he had played basketball and baseball. Dave spent seven years as the junior college’s head basketball coach, compiling a 167-57 record. He then joined Steve Cleveland’s BYU staff in 1997 and took over the program in 2005.
Dave and Cheryl, who have been major advocates of cancer research and families affected by cancer, are parents of three children.
Julie Thompson Seal
Julie Thompson Seal planned to play softball for BYU, but her sporting path in Provo changed when she was cut from the team. Her next activity might have become clogging, but the classes were filled.
That’s the back story, via a BYU Magazine interview, of how she became one of the top fencers in the country.
Two dozen sports now are represented in the Utah Sports Hall of Fame. It took more than 50 years for fencing to be included, and Julie’s long, steady climb in the sport made it worth the wait. Through the fencing club she operates in Pleasant Grove and her research related to autism and fencing, Julie has become highly influential in the sport, beyond even her own significant achievements. Julie has claimed 14 national championships, while winning two medals for the United States in the Pan Am Games. She became a senior world champion in the women’s saber event’s Vet-50 category in Croatia in 2022. Julie won four gold medals in the 2019 Can/Am Veterans Cup vs. Canada.
In 2020, in advance of the North American Cup in Salt Lake City, she told USAFencing.org, “It’s an unbelievable gift to me that I will have the opportunity to compete right alongside my children. For us, it’s truly the family business. All five of my kids, my husband and my son-in-law fence.” Grace, a daughter of Julie and Richard, has fenced for Ohio State and Penn State as one of many competitors from the Valkyrie Fencing Club who has gone on to college programs. In national events, Julie’s students have earned 26 gold, 21 silver and 43 bronze medals among the three weapons and have collected three international bronze medals.
Julie is a highly ranked fencing referee, helps run an organization that supports and advocates for women in the sport and has done research into what she describes as the “unexpected mutual benefit” between the sport of fencing and people with autism. She’s one of few women to have earn a Fencing Master degree.
In her three decades of fencing, Julie has developed remarkable perspective of competition, and hopes to convey that philosophy. “The world of competition is often abusive,” she wrote. “It’s the law of the jungle. Sport has become the survival of winners. But maybe we have forgotten that sport is not war. It’s the opposite. Sport is friendship and sacrifice and the pursuit of excellence in all things, including respect for one another.”
One of the many books by Tom Wharton is titled, “It Happened in Utah.” Those four words serve as a summary of Tom’s journalism career, because if it happened or continues to exist in Utah, he knows about it. No wonder Tom himself has been described as “a Utah institution.” While he’s known for having covered every corner of Utah and everything in the middle, whether in high school sports or the outdoors, his influence extends far beyond the state’s borders. He made a lasting impact as president of the Outdoor Writers Association of America, an important group in the sports and tourism industry, and helped host three of the OWAA’s annual conferences in Utah. In 2016, Tom received the OWAA’s J. Hammond Brown Memorial Award for his longtime service to the organization.
A graduate of Granite High School and the University of Utah, Tom got his start with The Salt Lake Tribune by reporting about the state high school basketball tournament as part of a Tribune writing seminar. That experience began a run that likely never will be matched, as Tom covered 50-plus years of high school tournaments. He’ll happily tell you about covering the 1979 NCAA championship game featuring Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, yet he’ll speak just as eagerly about high school title contests such as the 1989 duel between Richfield’s Ryan Cuff and Emery’s Shawn Bradley.
Tom retired from full-time work with The Salt Lake Tribune in 2016 after 45 years on the job, while remaining a contributor to the newspaper. His hallmark is consistency, treating every story with the same degree of interest, while also producing some especially notable work such as a 1991 series about the Great Salt Lake that was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
Tom is a storyteller in the greatest sense of that word. He always believed that whatever game or subject he was writing about was very important, and he had a knack for presenting it well. It all goes back to storytelling, and the journalism practice that what you write should reflect what you would tell someone about what happened.
In addition to dozens of OWAA awards, he has been recognized by the National Football Foundation’s Utah Chapter, the University of Utah Communications Department and the Utah Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association. Most recently, in March, 2023, Tom was inducted into the Utah High School Activities Association Circle of Fame- a distinguished honor held for those having greatly contributed their time and talents to promote the values and principles of that organization.
Wharton spent 21 years in the Utah National Guard, during his newspaper career. He owes his love of the outdoors largely to his late wife, Gayen, a co-author of several books with him. Tom and his wife, Nancy, have a blended family of six children.