HALL OF FAME HONOREES
CLASS OF 2019
Graduates of Skyline High School, brothers Richard and David Barnes became the first Utahns to swim the English Channel, doing so in consecutive years.
After their family moved from California, with a nine year stop in Kansas City to Salt Lake City, the brothers swam for Skyline and then David (who is four years older) played water polo while attending the University of Utah and Richard became a swim team captain at Brigham Young University. In their 30s, the brothers trained together for their long-planned English Channel attempts. As the story is told, David’s ambition took hold when he was 10 years old. In a Deseret News account of their dual achievement, Richard said, “I was immediately taken with the idea. It would be our Everest.”
The variable weather conditions make the comparison valid, between climbing the world’s highest peak and swimming the 21 miles between England and France.
Note: “21 miles” is the standard distance. Because of strong currents that altered his course, Richard actually covered 36 miles, taking nearly 17 hours to complete the journey in 2005. The Channel Swimming Association named him the “Endurance Athlete of the Year.”
David’s concurrent attempt ended after six hours, due to hypothermia. Richard didn’t know that. His crew, led by their younger brother John, assured him that David was swimming well…trying to encourage him.
In any case, Richard’s successful swim created a somewhat bittersweet feeling…so he helped his brother, David, train for another year, including trips to San Francisco for ocean swimming. He even swam two one-hour intervals during David’s second attempt, as the rules allow. Otherwise, the rules are quite restrictive. Swimmers are not permitted to touch the escort boat at any time; can wear only a small Speedo swimming suit, goggles and a swim cap; and can protect themselves from the 60-degree water temperatures and chafing only with Channel grease, a mixture of Vaseline and lanolin.
In 2006, David responded in his second attempt by covering the distance in 14 hours, 1 minute, the fastest time for an American swimmer. Finally, the brothers’ shared goal was fulfilled.
Since then, four Utahns are known to have completed the achievement, but the Barnes brothers will always be the first to do so.
David, who attended the University of Utah Medical School, is an emergency room physician at Intermountain Medical Center. He and his wife, Heather, are parents of three children and live in Salt Lake City.
Richard, who attended the BYU Law School, is an attorney. He and his wife, Darcee, are parents of nine children and live in Sandy.
A native of New Jersey and a graduate of Rutgers University, where he captained the basketball team, Chris Hill has become entrenched as a Utahn for nearly 50 years. He is distinguished as the athletic director who positioned the University of Utah for the school’s historic invitation to the Pac-12 Conference.
Chris initially moved to Utah to become a graduate assistant on the basketball staff at the University of Utah. He left briefly for a position at Duke, but returned to Utah and married the former Kathy Cronin. After four years as a successful math teacher and basketball coach at Granger High School, and following a missed opportunity to move to Olympus, he decided to alter his career plans.
He returned to the U as a graduate assistant and restricted-earnings coach, while earning a Ph.D. in education administration. Chris then became executive director of United Cerebral Palsy and taught in Utah’s special education program. In 1985, he assumed a position in the U’s athletic sector as director of the Crimson Club and, two years later, was named the Utes’ athletic director.
All of this happened because Chris started driving west on I-80 without a job for the sake of romance. He loved living in Utah so much that he never left the state again.
Chris’ remarkable 31-year tenure as Utah’s AD ended with his retirement in 2018. He’ll always believe he was an unlikely choice for the job, but yet he thrived in it for three decades.
Chris labeled the AD’s job description “crying in the tough times and celebrating in the good times.” In 30 years, he experienced plenty of moments at each extreme. His lasting legacy? Hill is proud to have created “a culture that we care about each other,” and, he added, “we’re not afraid of lofty goals.” Spence Eccles, a major donor to the school, stated: “He left a great launching pad for the next AD.”
Chris’s career featured Utah’s joining the Pac-12, with a case to be made for that invitation as the biggest athletic accomplishment for any school in the state’s history. He was definitely a force in making that happen. The same is true of all of the Utes’ biggest moments in athletics of the past 30 years. His hiring of Rick Majerus in basketball and Ron McBride, Urban Meyer and Kyle Whittingham in football helped position those high profile sports for success in a Power Five league, as well as for national respect.
“Who would have ever believed we’d become part of the Pac-12,” former Ute gymnastics coach Greg Marsden said, “and be so quickly competitive?” Chris’s impact in college athletics extended far beyond Utah, with his national involvement including a term on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee.
Chris and his wife, Kathy, are parents of a daughter and a son and live in Salt Lake City.
A graduate of Logan High School and Utah State University, Jim Laub has been instrumental in changing USU’s athletic landscape with his funding of facilities on the campus.
Jim has turned his lifelong love of the Aggies into support for major developments that include an indoor football practice venue, a center for basketball practice and volleyball competition and the end-zone complex of Maverik Stadium.
Prior to his induction into the Utah State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013, Jim told The Herald Journal of Logan, “I don’t have a lot of stats or records.” That’s true, only because the total amount of his financial contributions to the USU never has been published. Whatever that number is (and it keeps growing), it’s a record that likely never will be broken.
It all stems from a childhood in Logan as a son of Jack and Dorothy Laub, immersed in Aggie sports, while becoming a football and baseball player for Logan High School. “My earliest memories are of being a big Aggie fan,” Jim said. “Cornell Green and Tommy Larscheid are my first great sports memories. When I was nine or 10 years old, if I wasn’t cheering for the (New York) Yankees, I was cheering for the Aggies or visa versa.”
So he was thrilled to be honored in a class with USU athletes Jim Turner, Roy Shivers and Jimmy Moore, and now he’s joining some Aggie legends in the Utah Sports Hall of Fame.
To put Jim’s decades of devotion to the Aggies into perspective, consider that as the late Wayne Estes watched USU’s freshman basketball team play earlier on the night of what became his last game in 1965, Jim, then 14, got his autograph. Estes was also known to stop and chat as he walked across the playground of the on-campus Edith Bowen Laboratory School, where Jim attended.
Those memories partly explain how the Wayne Estes Center came to be built, nearly 50 years later. Jim also honored former USU athletic director Chuck Bell with the naming of the Aggies’ soccer field for Bell and his wife, Gloria. Those are examples of Jim’s loyalty to longtime friends and people he admires.
Jim is president and CEO of Cache Valley Electric. He chaired the National Advisory Board for Aggie Athletics during its first three years. Jim received USU’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2004, USU’s Spirit of Old Main Award in 2006 and an honorary doctorate degree in business and entrepreneurship from USU in 2007. He also received the Contribution to Amateur Football Award from the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame Utah Chapter in 2013.
Jim and his wife, Carol, are parents of two sons and live in Logan.
A graduate of Mountain View High School and Brigham Young University, Shauna Rohbock competed in two sports in college and went on to become a professional soccer player and Olympic silver medalist in bobsledding.
Shauna grew up in Orem as a middle child with six siblings and was a two-time All-American at BYU in soccer and track and field, scoring 95 goals in 90 career games, and competing in the heptathlon. After college she played pro soccer for the San Diego Spirit before the Women’s United Soccer Association folded. It was then that she moved into full-time bobsled training and competition, stemming from a bobsled tryout during her senior year of college.
Shauna later became a bobsled driver and won a silver medal in the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, with brakewoman Valerie Fleming.
The back story of Shauna’s silver-medal showing is that she was passed over for a brakewoman spot in the 2002 Olympics in Utah, so she chose to control her own destiny by becoming a driver. “For Shauna to do this is unbelievable,” U.S. women’s bobsled coach Bill Tavares told The Salt Lake Tribune after her performance in Italy. “Four years is not a long time to be driving and to win a medal. A lot of people don’t really realize what she just accomplished.”
Jean Racine Prahm, the driver of the No. 2 U.S. sled, said, “We knew Shauna was going to be a good driver from the day we saw her get into the front of a sled. She’s just a natural athlete in all respects. I’ve never seen anyone pick up this ability as quickly as Shauna has.”
Supported by the U.S. Army as a member of the World Class Athlete Program, Shauna finished the 2006-07 season with seven World Cup medals, including two gold and four silver medals. She remained one of the World Cup circuit’s most consistent performers throughout that decade and finished sixth in the 2010 Olympics at Vancouver with teammate Michelle Rzepka. Rohbock and Fleming have won the most all-time medals for a U.S. pair, male or female.
Shauna coached the U.S. men’s and women’s bobsledders in the 2018 Olympics, while also working with the Brazil men’s team.
Shauna is a member of the Utah Army National Guard. In 2018, she was appointed to serve on the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition. She is married to Valerie Fleming. They are parents of a son and daughter and live in Park City.
A native of Connecticut, Jim Shea Jr. became a third-generation Olympian and the second member of his family to win a gold medal, becoming a legendary figure in Utah’s Winter Games in his adopted home state.
Jim’s father, Jim Sr., competed in Nordic combined and cross country skiing in the 1964 Games in Innsbruck, Austria. His grandfather, Jack who had won two gold medals in speedskating in the 1932 Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, tragically died in an auto accident involving a drunk driver just two weeks before his grandson’s 2002 Olympics. He was 91 years old. That’s the background for how Jim produced one of the most poignant, memorable moments of Utah’s 2002 Olympics, winning his gold medal in the first men’s skeleton race staged since 1948. Afterward, Jim displayed a photo of his grandfather that he had carried in his helmet during the race. “I felt him today and at the Opening Ceremony,” Jim said, by The Salt Lake Tribune’s account. “I think he had some unfinished business before he went up to heaven, and I think now he can go.”
Jim Jr. then used his Olympic forum to endorse the Olympic spirit and share his story of overcoming dyslexia. “My grandfather always talks about the Olympics being the angel of peace and basically it’s bringing everybody together in a peaceful competition. So it’s really, really important these days,” he told KSL-TV.
He believed that sports provided a way to develop good self-esteem, health, respect and a sense of fair play. Skeleton competition “has influenced my life in such a great way that I can overcome a lot of problems with my disability, and will continue to do so,” he said.
In Salt Lake City, Jim was chosen to recite the Athlete’s Oath during the Opening Ceremony. Also, he and his father passed the Olympic Torch to Cammi Granato and Picabo Street, who then relayed it to the 1980 U.S. men’s hockey team and those players lighted the Olympic Cauldron.
Prior to the 2002 Olympics, Jim was a star in the sliding event on the World Cup circuit. He became the first American to win a World Cup race and a world championship in skeleton, retiring in 2005 with more victories than any other U.S. competitor. In the World Championships, he collected a gold medal in 1999, a silver in 1997 and a bronze in 2002. Twice, he finished third in the season standings. Jim was extremely instrumental in skeleton becoming an Olympic medal sport again.
In June, Jim was inducted into the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Hall of Fame. Jim is a father of three children and lives in Park City.
CLASS OF 2018
Growing up in the Marmalade District overlooking Salt Lake City, Gail learned the importance of hard work, sacrifice and compassionate service from her loving mother. A graduate of West High School, Gail Miller attended the University of Utah for one semester before choosing to leave to help support her family. That snapshot captures her life of service, always doing what needs to be done. Gail loves everything Utah, the people, communities, colleges and sports teams!
Her love of family, community, education and certainly “sport” have shaped her life and the decisions she has made in civic, business, and educational endeavors. As the owner of the Utah Jazz, Salt Lake City Stars, and the Salt Lake Bees her contributions are immeasurable and lasting, as demonstrated in January 2017, when Gail Miller made an unprecedented move to transfer the Utah Jazz and the downtown arena into a legacy trust to ensure the NBA franchise stays in the family and in SLC for generations to come. Recognizing the huge impact Gail’s leadership, vision, generosity and compassionate service have had, the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce extended her their highest award, “A Giant in Our City,” a befitting title when you learn all that she has contributed of her time, resources and talents, but you won’t hear it from her.
Gail and her late husband Larry H. Miller shared a love for sport, but also a love for the people of Utah; together they focused their time, energies and resources to help others. From their single Toyota dealership purchased in 1979, the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies has expanded to include 80 separate businesses and more than 10,000 employees, as well as Larry H. Miller Charities and the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation which support a wide range of charitable, educational and humanitarian causes.
Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey described her as “a jewel for the community.” And her son Steve added this insight: “There’s no pretense about her. That’s what makes her special. She’s not one thing here and then another there. She’s Gail Miller in every setting, easy to be around, genuine. It’s like people are in the presence of their grandmother. There’s a big difference between that and being a pushover. She’s smart, perceptive and can connect the dots. She almost has a sixth sense about things.”
Gail is a sought-after leader and advocate for many causes, colleges and community programs including Special Olympics, Co-Chair of the SLC Mayor’s Commission of the Homeless, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Intermountain Healthcare, Zions Bank Advisory Board, National Advisory Council at the University of Utah, President’s Leadership Council at Brigham Young University, and past chair of the Board of Trustees of Salt Lake Community College. SLCC president Deneece Huftalin said Gail recognizes the importance of community colleges and “the number of students she has influenced, assisted and inspired at SLCC is immeasurable.”
Gail is a mother of four sons and one daughter. In 2012, Gail married Kim Wilson, a senior attorney with one of Salt Lake City’s major law firms. They make their home in Salt Lake City.
A graduate of Bingham High School and Westminster College, Denise Parker became a three-time Olympic archer and the CEO of USA Archery.
At 13, Denise was the youngest archer ever to win a gold medal in the Pan American Games and at 14 she was the youngest member of the entire 1988 U.S. Olympic team in Seoul, where she earned a bronze medal in the team event. She also competed in the 1992 Games in Barcelona and the 2000 Games in Sydney.
Denise won an individual bronze medal in the 1989 World Championships and was a seven-time national indoor champion and five-time national outdoor champion. She has since directed her efforts into serving the sport of archery and now works with all 50 of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s National Governing Bodies as the vice president of NGB services for the USOC.
Her exploits in archery are chronicled in the book “Denise Parker: A Teenage Archer’s Quest for Olympic Glory.” It is quite a story about a girl who already was an Olympic veteran when she enjoyed one of her favorite days – getting her driver’s license and having her braces removed the same day.
A Deseret News profile once explained how it all began: Her father, “Earl Parker, an avid bow hunter, noticed that other families hunted together and decided the Parkers should do the same. They began practicing archery, and one thing led to another. A few months later they wound up at an archery tournament in Ogden merely for the practice of shooting at targets. Denise, 10 years old, finished second in the junior division. She lost to a boy. None of this was acceptable. … That was all it took. She was hooked and a star was born.”
Even as an Olympic individual athlete, Denise always liked being part of a team. She played basketball and softball for Bingham High, becoming one of five female finalists for the Dial Award, presented to the top senior athletes in the country. She also played basketball for Southern Utah University. In various sports at all levels, she learned to perform under pressure. “In archery, you kind of play mind games with yourself,” she once said. “You have to pretend it’s any other shoot, any other competition.”
Denise spent nine years as CEO of USA Archery, increasing revenue from $1 million to $4 million and membership from 3,000 to 20,000, before moving to the USOC in August 2017.
Denise, a Salt Lake City native, earned an MBA from the University of Utah after attending SUU and graduating from Westminster. A mother of four children, Denise is married to Samantha Parker and lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
A graduate of Tooele High School and the University of Utah, Ron Rydalch played six seasons for the Chicago Bears as a defensive lineman in an era when reaching the NFL was a major achievement for a Utah native. Ron was a three-year starter for the Utes, earning second-team All-Western Athletic Conference honors as a sophomore, when he was agile enough to return an interception 44 yards. He may or may not have been caught just short of the goal line; you can ask him, if you like.
An ankle injury reduced his impact as a junior, although he was praised for continuing to take the field as the “coaches figured playing a one-legged Rydalch was better than no Rydalch at all,” according to the school’s media guide. And when healthy as a senior, Ron returned to top form. He was named the WAC Lineman of the Year for a team that finished 7-5 with a victory over powerful Arizona State in Utah’s final season under coach Bill Meek.
In that senior year, he lived up to all of his billing in the preseason media guide, which is saying a lot: “Ron has everything that could be wished for in a defensive lineman. He has size, both weight-wise (250) and height-wise (6’4”), super strength, outstanding speed which enables him to get outside, good quickness to do battle inside, and excellent football sense. Add to those assets the desire to play football plus two years experience and you have the complete defensive lineman.”
That about covers it, right? Tucked within those compliments is the key word, “desire.” Ron loved the game enough to pursue a pro career in the less-than-glamorous setting of Shreveport, Louisiana. Drafted in the eighth round by the New York Jets in 1974, Ron joined the Houston Texans and the Shreveport Steamer of the World Football League. He later would be listed among the WFL’s “Diamonds in the Rough,” with players such as Gary Danielson and Pat Haden who used that league as a springboard to the NFL.
In his six years with the Bears, No. 76 proved to be very durable and productive. He started all 14 games in 1977, the year he led Chicago with 9.5 sacks. And in what may be a record for a defensive lineman, he was presented with a game ball four times during his six-year career, from 1975-80.
Ron and his wife, Susan, a longtime high school coach and a member of the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Foundation board of directors, live in Grantsville.
A graduate of Mountain View High School and Brigham Young University, Mike Schlappi was a four-time Paralympic medalist in basketball. “Shot Happens” is his autobiography, telling the story of how he accidentally was shot in the chest and paralyzed at age 15, while growing up in Orem as a promising athlete. Mike channeled his athletic efforts into becoming a star in wheelchair basketball and tennis, winning U.S. Open tennis titles in both singles and doubles.
In basketball, Mike earned gold medals in the 1988 Paralympics in Seoul, the 1992 Games in Barcelona, and then added bronze medals in 1996 in Atlanta and 2000 in Sydney. He was inducted into the National Wheelchair Basketball Association Hall of Fame in 2008 and was honored as one of the top 50 players of all time. Mike competed in three final fours in the NWBA National Championships and received the Captain James R. Ure Sportsmanship Award.
Having lived out an inspirational story, Mike became a professional speaker and author after earning a MBA from Arizona State. His mantra: “If you can’t stand up, stand out.” It has been said of him, “If ever a man was defined by what he can do instead of what he can’t do, it is Mike Schlappi.”
When Mike was attending Mountain View, he was in such demand as a youth/motivational speaker that his mother, Pat said, “It got kind of out of hand.” Mike’s usual message: “I’m just a normal guy” seemed difficult to remember when he was injured. “At the time, it was the most traumatic thing . . . it all depends how you look at things,” said his mother. “It’s been an example to us.”
Mike’s wheelchair athletic career started to take shape when he was still in the hospital. Mike Johnson, himself a world-class wheelchair athlete, heard about the promising junior high athlete being paralyzed and wanted to make sure Mike knew that sports were still open to him. Ten years later, having switched his focus from tennis to basketball, Mike won his first Paralympic gold medal.
The Salt Lake Tribune later said of him, “He’s the point guard and captain of the U.S. basketball team, wears No. 12 and owns two gold medals. Mike Schlappi even looks like John Stockton.” Honored as one of the State of Utah’s Top 100 Athletes of the past century, Mike was a member of the Board of Trustees for the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. As the founder of the Wheelin’ Jazz basketball team, Mike created another lasting legacy. Jeff Griffin met Mike and was inspired to become the team’s coach, fundraiser, recruiter, organizer and star player for nearly 20 years.
Mike and his wife, Tami, are parents of five children and live in Draper.
An alumnus of Roy High School and Weber State University, Bill Schuffenhauer was a record-setting decathlete in college and became a three-time Olympian. Bill earned a silver medal in the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City in the four-man bobsled event. He also won two silver medals and a bronze medal in the World Championships, in addition to competing in the 2006 and 2010 Olympics.
In his track and field career, Bill set the Big Sky Conference record in the decathlon and earned All-American honors three times for Weber State. He competed in the World University Games and won gold and silver medals in the Junior Nationals. Injuries ended his track and field career as he was training for the 2000 Olympics. He missed that opportunity, but found success in his new sport of bobsledding.
As a professional speaker, Bill has a very good story to tell. He lives through all of it. Born and raised in Utah, he grew up in foster care homes around the state. He’s the subject of a new documentary commissioned by the International Olympic Committee. Part of a series called “Against All Odds,” the videos feature athletes who had to overcome great obstacles to get to the Olympic Games.
“I feel 100 percent confident saying that sports saved my life,” he told The Standard-Examiner of Ogden. In advance of his third appearance in the Olympics, he reflected in a CNN profile that as he grew up, “I knew that there was something better. And although there were a lot of horrible things that happened, it’s made me a stronger person.” Just around the time he was entering junior high, Schuffenhauer’s maternal grandmother, Sadie Muniz, took him into her home in Roy. “She reminded me to never give up and always push on,” Bill said.
Even as an Olympic medalist, Bill remains grounded. Store manager Bob Bushell recounted how Schuffenhauer showed up at The Home Depot in Ogden shortly after winning a silver medal as a pusher on the four-man bobsled driven by Todd Hays. That’s where Bill had worked as part of a job program created for athletes by the U.S. Olympic Committee. “As we waited for him, we went through quite a bit of anticipation. When he brought in his medal, his uniform and pictures, he got a standing ovation,” Bushell told The Salt Lake Tribune. “He’s pretty charismatic, as it is. It was fun to see him captivate our associates. They knew they had an actual medalist who would be stocking lumber and cleaning floors and mixing paint and helping customers.”
As a father of two children, Bill lives in Ogden.
CLASS OF 2017
Spencer F. Eccles
Skiing & Contributor
The Utah Ski Archives newsletter once quoted Spencer F. Eccles as saying: “I’m an Ogden boy. I’m committed to sports and skiing in this state.” His credentials clearly show that. Skiing for Spence began in 1943 when he learned the sport at Snowbasin. He was a four-year letter winner for the University of Utah ski team, becoming an All-American in 1957. Eccles was instrumental in Salt Lake City securing the 2002 Winter Olympics and was named “Mayor” of the Olympic Village. He was accorded the Pierre de Coubertin Medaille, the IOC’s highest honor for Olympic service. He ranks among the all-time leaders in Utah’s philanthropic community.
Tom Holmoe came to Brigham Young University from California and became an All-WAC defensive back and a fourth-round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers. Holmoe played seven seasons for the 49ers and earned three Super Bowl rings. He then worked as a graduate assistant to BYU coach LaVell Edwards. Another football legend, Bill Walsh, named him Stanford’s secondary coach. He later rejoined the 49ers as a defensive backfield coach, leading to his fourth Super Bowl ring. Holmoe was the University of California head football coach from 1997-2001 and then moved into athletic administration. He was named BYU’s athletic director in 2005.
CLASS OF 2016
Annette Cottle, a graduate of Cottonwood High School and Utah State University, was a national Player of the Year in collegiate volleyball and remained a high-level player for many years afterward. Cottle initially played for BYU, helping the Cougars reach the AIAW Final Four, then transferred to USU, leading the Aggies to the 1978 AIAW National Championship. She would later go on to coach at both USU and University of Nevada, Reno. Cottle received the Broderick Award as the most outstanding player in the country for the ’78 USU team that finished 48-4-2, after winning its first 26 matches of the season.
Devin Durrant, a graduate of Provo High School and Brigham Young University, completed his college basketball career in 1984 with 2,285 points. He led Provo to the 1978 Class 3A state championship and was named a McDonald’s All-American. Durrant started every game of his BYU career, helping the Cougars earn three NCAA Tournament berths and win three Western Athletic Conference championships. The forward, who was born in Brigham City, was known for his remarkable scoring consistency. He was drafted by the Indiana Pacers with the No. 25 NBA overall pick. Durrant also played for the Phoenix Suns before launching a European career.
Elaine Elliott, a Boise State graduate, coached the University of Utah women’s basketball team for 27 years, compiling a 582-234 record. In 20 of those seasons, her teams won 20-plus games. The Utes made 15 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including an Elite Eight run in 2005. Elliott’s team came within an overtime loss of reaching the Final Four, falling to Maryland. Elliott found success by signing and developing under-recruited players, establishing a Canadian pipeline that continues to provide a foundation for Utah’s program. After retiring from Utah, she assisted Westminster College’s team and enjoyed success in the NAIA national tournament.
Farley Gerber, a graduate of Bingham High School and Weber State University, became an NCAA champion and world-class runner in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Gerber maximized the coaching of steeplechase expert Chick Hislop of Weber State, developing into one of the best athletes not only in Wildcat history, but in the Big Sky Conference and the NCAA. For the conference’s 50-year observance in 2013, the Big Sky ranked Gerber No. 21 among the “50 Greatest Male Athletes.” In that NCAA meet in the track and field shrine of Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, Gerber outdueled the favored Julius Korir of Washington State.
Jon M. Huntsman, Sr., a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, was recognized in the USHOFF’s newly created contributor category. He is a longtime benefactor of the University of Utah athletic program, as recognized by renaming of the basketball arena as the Jon M. Huntsman Center and the recent construction of the Jon M. and Karen Huntsman Basketball Facility. He also pioneered the annual Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George (1987) that annually draws over 11,000 competitors. Huntsman is recognized as one of the world’s biggest philanthropists, having founded the Huntsman Cancer Institute, among many other charitable pursuits.
CLASS OF 2015
Kelly Downs, a Viewmont High School graduate, pitched in the Major Leagues for eight years with San Francisco and Oakland. He appeared in the 1989 World Series with the Giants and was pictured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, carrying his nephew off the Candlestick Park field after the earthquake that hit San Francisco prior to Game 3. Downs’ best season came in 1988, when he posted a 13-9 record and 3.32 earned run average as a starting pitcher for the Giants. His career record was 57-53 in eight seasons in the Major Leagues. Downs was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 26th round out of Viewmont and advanced to the Triple-A level in his third professional season.
Wayne Estes, who died during his senior year of basketball at Utah State University in 1965, was posthumously named to All-American teams. He was averaging 33.7 points for the Aggies and had topped the 2,000-point mark in his three-year varsity career. Estes was the NCAA’s No. 2 scorer behind Rick Barry as a senior and the Los Angeles Lakers intended to draft him in the first round, in an era of NBA regional ties to college prospects. Utah State honored him in 2013 with the groundbreaking for the Wayne Estes Center, a facility designed for basketball practice and volleyball competition. An interactive tribute to Estes is featured in the entrance to the building.
Ed Eyestone, a Bonneville High School and Brigham Young University alumnus, won NCAA championships in cross country and in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters in track and field. He also competed in Olympic marathons in 1988 and ’92 and ran professionally for 15 years before moving into coaching and becoming BYU’s head coach. Eyestone is among only a few runners who have won 5K, 10K and cross country championships at the NCAA level. He was a two-time winner in the 10K race in ’84 and ’85. Eyestone was an Academic All-American and a recipient of the NCAA Top Six Award for athletic and academic success.
Scott Mitchell, from Springville High School and the University of Utah, played in 97 NFL games as a quarterback for Miami, Detroit, Baltimore and Cincinnati and making two playoff appearances with the Lions. He threw 69 touchdown passes in his time at Utah and is remembered for the Utes’ 57-28 win over BYU in 1988. Mitchell played three sports in high school and excelled as a pitcher and first baseman for Springville’s baseball team, but his talented left arm would lead him away from the diamond, to football’s highest level. His best year in the NFL was 1995, when he passed for 4,338 yards and 32 touchdowns for Detroit, leading the Lions into the playoffs.
Cael Sanderson from Wasatch High School, went 159-0 in four years as an Iowa State wrestler in what is considered one of the greatest achievements in college sports history. He also won a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, becoming one of a few Utah natives to become champions in the Summer Games. As Penn State’s coach, Sanderson won four consecutive NCAA wrestling titles from 2011-14, having joined the Nittany Lions after a highly successful three-year tenure at Iowa State. Sanderson was a four-time state champion at Wasatch, where his family helped the sport become a major part of the culture of the Heber Valley.
CLASS OF 2014
Luther Elliss was instrumental in the growth of the University of Utah’s football program as a defensive lineman for Coach Ron McBride’s teams from 1991-94. In the 1995 NFL draft, he became Utah’s first player in 24 years to be selected in the first round. Elliss played in 129 games over eight seasons for the Detroit Lions, recording 27 sacks and being selected to two Pro Bowl rosters. He finished his career with the Denver Broncos in his home state and later served as the team’s chaplain during a Super Bowl season before becoming a college football coach. Elliss also helped Judge Memorial Catholic High School win a state championship.
Noelle Pikus Pace became one of the biggest stories of the 2014 Olympics in Russia, earning a silver medal in an emotional performance in the women’s skeleton competition. The former track and field athlete at Mountain View High School and Utah Valley University finished fourth in the 2010 Olympics and initially retired, then made a comeback in what became a family adventure with her husband and two children. That background made her medalist achievement all the more meaningful, as she climbed into the stands to celebrate the moment with her family. In the 2014, Best of U.S. Awards, she was honored for the most memorable “Moment of the Games.”
Bruce Summerhays, a graduate of Highland High School and the University of Utah, overcame tremendous odds to make senior golf’s Champions Tour in 1995 as a former club professional and enjoyed a long, consistent career. He earned more than $9 million and won three tournament titles, while becoming one of the tour’s oldest winners in 2004 when he took the Kroger Classic championship at age 60. Summerhays is among few golfers who qualified for the senior circuit and thrived for more than a decade without previously having an extended career on the PGA Tour. He also won Utah’s Champions Challenge with his son Joseph.
Logan Tom, from Highland High School, is a four-time Olympic volleyball player as an outside hitter, with her first appearance coming in 2000 during her Stanford University career. In 2002, she repeated as the national Player of the Year and became only the third volleyball athlete in NCAA history to earn four All-American awards. Her U.S. Olympic teams earned silver medals in 2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London. At Highland, Tom was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year in 1999, becoming the first winner from Utah in any sport. She became the face of the USA women’s volleyball program as a determined competitor and loyal teammate.
CLASS OF 2013
Billy Casper, a longtime Utah resident, recorded 51 victories on the PGA Tour. He won the U.S. Open in 1959, and added another title in 1966 with a back-nine rally and a playoff defeat of Arnold Palmer. Casper also won the Masters in 1970. He also won nine events on the Champions Tour, including two major titles. Somewhat overshadowed during his career by the “Big Three” of Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Palmer, Casper is recognized as one of the game’s all-time best putters and most gracious people. Casper won at least one tournament in every year from 1956-71. Nicklaus said Casper was “a fantastic player, and I don’t think he gets enough credit.”
Marv Fleming was an 11th-round draft choice from the University of Utah in 1963. He became the first NFL player to appear in five Super Bowls and won four world championships, two each with the Green Bay Packers and Miami Dolphins as a tight end, and also was part of an NFL title team in Green Bay prior to the Super Bowl era. Fleming played for the 1972 Dolphins who went 17-0. Playing in an era of pro football when tight ends were used primarily as blockers, he caught 157 passes in 162 games. He played for legendary coaches Vince Lombardi and Don Shula and was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.
Michele Fellows Lewis played a big part in the greatest period in Brigham Young University volleyball history. In her final three seasons, the Cougars posted an 84-12 record with two Western Athletic Conference championships and the school’s first NCAA Final Four appearance. BYU reached the Final Four in 1993, when she was named a first-team All-American. Lewis was known for her leadership, making sure her teammates practiced and played consistently. She is part of the only husband-wife duo to be inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame, following football player Chad Lewis’ honor, and he considers her the family’s best athlete.
Ron McBride coached the University of Utah to a 10-2 record and a top-10 final ranking in 1994. He compiled an 88-64 record in 13 seasons with the Utes, while reviving the program and restoring balance to the rivalry with Brigham Young University. McBride is credited with establishing the foundation for a Ute program that went 12-0 in 2004 under Coach Urban Meyer and 13-0 in 2008 under Kyle Whittingham, formerly a longtime assistant to McBride. He also was instrumental in the development of Polynesian athletes as major contributors to Utah collegiate programs and became a mentor to many college and high school coaches.
Jim McMahon played multiple sports for Roy High School and then became a BYU quarterback from 1977-81, including a redshirt season in the middle of his career. He quarterbacked the Cougars to the Holiday Bowl’s “Miracle Bowl” victory over SMU in 1980, and earned first-team All-America honors as a senior. McMahon was drafted No. 5 overall by Chicago and led the 1985 Bears to a Super Bowl victory over New England, becoming one of the team’s iconic figures with his brash personality and competitive nature. McMahon earned another Super Bowl ring as a backup to Brett Favre with the Green Bay Packers during his 15-year pro career.
CLASS OF 2012
Richard George, an alumnus of Millard High School, BYU and the Harvard Graduate School of Business, set a world record for the javelin throw in his age group at 15 and is considered among the best all-around athletes in Utah high school history. He went on to win a national AAU competition during his college years and competed in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. George played football as a BYU freshman and also considered competing in college basketball before choosing to focus on track and field. George won a bronze medal at the World Games in Helsinki on a European tour following his sophomore year, then went on to place second at the NCAA finals and first at the AAU meet in his junior year.
Chad Lewis played at Orem High School and BYU, becoming an All-America tight end in 1996 when the Cougars posted a 14-1 record. As an undrafted free agent, Lewis signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and helped the team reach the Super Bowl in the 2004 season, while becoming a three-time Pro Bowl selection. The husband of 2013 inductee Michele Fellows Lewis, he came to BYU initially as a walk-on and became one of the top tight ends in college football. Lewis was instrumental in BYU’s 14-1 season in 1996, including a Cotton Bowl victory over Kansas State, and used his high-jumping ability from track and field to block five kicks in his Cougar career.
Malone played 18 seasons for the Utah Jazz and joined fellow 2012 inductee John Stockton in leading the team to two NBA Finals appearances. After one season with the Los Angeles Lakers, Malone retired in 2004 as the No. 2 scorer in NBA history, behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He was a two-time NBA MVP, and an 11-time selection to the All-NBA first team. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame annually presents the Karl Malone Award to the top power forward in college basketball, honoring the Louisiana Tech product. Malone finished his NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers, appearing in the 2004 NBA Finals vs. Detroit. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
Padilla excelled as a BYU distance runner and continued his career beyond college, as a 12-time U.S. national champion and holder of seven American records, notably in the indoor two-mile and 5,000-meter races. Padilla was a two-time Olympian and later became the director of operations for the BYU track and field program. He won the 1981 NCAA indoor two-mile crown when he out-kicked 1980 Olympic silver medalist Suleiman Nyambui to become the first American since 1972 to win an NCAA indoor distance race. From 1983-87, Padilla won five consecutive national indoor championships, four national outdoor championships, and two U.S. Olympic trials.
John Stockton played 19 seasons for the Utah Jazz and joined fellow 2012 inductee Karl Malone in leading the team to two NBA Finals appearances. Stockton retired in 2003 as the NBA’s all-time leader in assists and steals. Stockton was a 10-time NBA All-Star. Like Malone, he was inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. Stockton joined Malone as a co-MVP of the 1993 NBA All-Star Game in Salt Lake City and his buzzer-beating shot in Game 6 at Houston in the 1997 Western Conference finals sent the Jazz to the NBA Finals for the first time. The Gonzaga graduate was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.
CLASS OF 2011
Annette Ausseresses, a Brighton High School graduate, was an All-American at the University of Utah in the 1980s. Her initial breakthrough was being named Brighton’s Athlete of the Year in 1981, an award that previously always had gone to a boy. She competed for gold medal-winning teams in the Pan American Games and in the U.S. Olympic Festival as a first baseman, before softball became an Olympic sport. As a Ute senior in 1985, Ausseresses played a major role in a seventh-place finish in the Women’s College World Series. At the time of her Hall of Fame selection, she followed Wilma Abrams Swenson and Fern Gardner as the third women’s softball player to be honored.
Phil Johnson, a former Utah State basketball player, coached Weber State to a 68-16 record, and was a three-time Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year before moving into the NBA. Johnson was a starter for two Utah State teams that played in the NCAA Tournament, while also excelling in track and field. He joined Dick Motta, his high school coach in Grace, Idaho, as a Weber State assistant to launch his coaching career. Johnson worked in the NBA for more than 40 years and was the Coach of the Year in 1975 with Kansas City. He spent 23 seasons as Jerry Sloan’s lead assistant with the Utah Jazz and was instrumental in building one of the league’s top teams in the 1990s.
When he left the Utah Jazz in 2011 after 23 seasons as the team’s head coach, Jerry Sloan ranked third in the NBA with 1,221 coaching victories, including 94 with Chicago. He coached the Jazz to two NBA Finals appearances, and four other times reached the Western Conference finals. He was a member of the Jazz staff for parts of 27 seasons and later became a consultant. In his self-effacing manner, Sloan often said, “I never thought I’d last a week,” but he was in charge of the Jazz for 1,153 weeks before walking away in February, 2011. He’s revered in the Midwest as an Illinois native, but settled in Utah after 33 years of coaching as a Beehive State legend.
Toole, who attended North Summit High School and Utah State, worked in the NFL for 19 seasons as a side judge. He officiated in two Super Bowls, five conference championship games and 11 other playoff games, plus a Pro Bowl. He has been inducted into the National High School Sports Hall of Fame. Toole started his career by officiating junior high and intramural football games for $3 as a USU student. He worked college and pro games for 35 years in the Big Sky Conference and the Western Athletic Conference and then the NFL. His personal philosophy was based on the belief that “I had the courage to make the right call,” he said.
Natalie Williams, a Taylorsville High School graduate, was an All-American selection in two sports for UCLA in the 1990s, and was named the Pac-10’s Athlete of the Decade. She became a four-time WNBA All-Star and a member of the 2000 U.S. Olympic basketball team that won the gold medal. Williams was named to the All-WNBA first team in 1999, 2000 and 2001 as a member of the Utah Starzz and in 2003 with the Indiana Fever. In volleyball, she was a four-time All-American for UCLA, winning NCAA championships in 1990 and ’91. Her Taylorsville teams won state titles in basketball and volleyball and she also won the long jump in the state track and field meet.
CLASS OF 2010
Tom Chambers starred for the 1981 University of Utah team that reached the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16, and was a first-round draft choice of the San Diego Clippers, picked No. 8 overall. He scored more than 20,000 points in his NBA career and was the 1987 All-Star Game MVP as a Seattle forward, among his four All-Star appearances. Chambers played for six NBA teams, including two seasons with the Utah Jazz. He once was among only 20 NBA players to have scored 60 points in a game and was inducted into the Phoenix Suns’ Ring of Honor, while being credited with helping to revive the franchise in the late 1980s.
Mark Eaton was a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and an All-Star in 1989, becoming an intimidating presence in the league as a 7-foot-4 center for the Utah Jazz teams that were perennial playoff qualifiers. Eaton became an inspirational figure as a former auto mechanic who was discovered by a junior college basketball coach in southern California and later earned a scholarship to UCLA. He played sparingly as a Bruin, but the Utah Jazz drafted him in 1982 and he became a shot-blocking force. The Jazz retired his No. 53 jersey in 1996 and he has continued to live in Utah, pursuing business interests including restaurant ownership and corporate speaking.
Tiffany Lott Hogan competed for Pine View High School and Brigham Young, winning the NCAA indoor 55-meter hurdles and the outdoor heptathlon after becoming a multi-event star. Hogan narrowly missed qualifying for the U.S. team in the heptathlon in the 2000 Olympics, but then she made it in ’04 after becoming a mother. She was named the Female Athlete of the Year by Track and Field Magazine and later became a high school track coach. With her all-around skills, Hogan is considered one of the top female athletes the state has produced.
Dave Kragthorpe was an All-Conference football and baseball player for Utah State, and was drafted by the NFL’s New York Giants in 1955. After coaching Brigham Young’s offensive line from 1970-79, and helping develop the Cougars’ passing game as a member of coach LaVell Edwards’ staff, he became Idaho State’s coach. The Bengals won the 1981 NCAA Division I-AA championship in his second season after he inherited a program with a 17-game losing streak. He later coached Oregon State’s team from 1985-90, going unbeaten against California in his tenure with the Beavers and earning the 1989 Pac-10 Coach of the Year award when OSU beat Cal, Stanford and UCLA.
After competing for Davis High School and Weber State, Lance Robinson became a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Rookie of the Year in 1982 as a steer wrestler and then launched a successful career as a thoroughbred horse breeder, taking him to the Kentucky Derby. Robinson was a national all-around rodeo champion for Weber State, while also winning titles in calf roping and steer wrestling. He earned a gold medal in 1988 when rodeo events were contested on an exhibition basis in the Calgary Olympics. Robinson was a five-time qualifier for the National Finals Rodeo and a five-time All-Around champion on the Wilderness Circuit.