Distinguished Service Honorees
You might say flying is in Chris Santacroce’s blood. He started as a full-time paragliding professional in 1992 and traveled the world as an elite Red Bull athlete. He flies everything from airplanes to powered and unpowered hang gliders, paragliders, and para-motors. He has done hundreds of skydives and BASE jumps.
His world changed dramatically in 2009 when he suffered a paragliding accident. He injured his spinal cord, which resulted in him spending almost a year in a wheelchair. After making a full recovery, he had a different view of life. He said he went from a wholehearted “Look at me and what I can do” sort of mentality to a world where the only question was “What can I do for you?”
He decided to devote the rest of his life to taking everyone flying, with no exceptions and no cost. Thus his Project Airtime was born. Santacroce now spends almost every day at the Point of the Mountain in Draper, as well as around the country getting the physically challenged into the air.
The 50-year-old owner of Superfly Paragliding Instruction has won numerous community awards for his service. He was honored by Real Salt Lake in 2015, was featured in a segment of HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, was inducted into the Paraglinging and Hang Gliding Hall of Fame, and honored with the “Above and Beyond Award” at the 41st Annual Dinner of Champions at the University of Utah.
Santacroce is a Colorado native who came to Salt Lake City to get his undergraduate degree from the University of Utah. He and his wife Susie are parents of Zane and Cloe.
Ernie Schneiter, Jr.
Ogden native Ernie Schneiter Jr. has been an integral part of the northern Utah golf community for nearly 90 years.
Two-time State Amateur champion Arlen Peacock once said of Ernie, “He is just such a remarkably friendly person that it is a joy for all of us golfers to be able to spend a few minutes with him. That really is his trademark.”
Earning recognition such as a Distinguished Service Award from the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Foundation requiring more than merely a good personality, but that’s certainly the starting point for Ernie. Born into Utah golf’s legendary Schneiter family, he has personified the gracious nature of the game ever since turning professional in 1950 at age 20, and has been described as “a pillar of the Ogden community.”
His father, Ernie Schneiter Sr., is a charter member of the Utah Golf Hall of Fame. Ernie Jr. joined him in that group in 2004, having distinguished himself in recent decades as an owner and operator of Schneiter’s Riverside Golf Course in Riverdale (where the city renamed a street Ernie Schneiter Drive) and Schneiter’s Bluff in West Point. They are known as welcoming, playable courses that serve their communities and help grow the game.
Ernie won the 1964 Idaho Open and the 1966 Utah Open. As a golf professional, he has spent nearly his entire career in Utah, except for a stint at Blue Lakes Country Club in Twin Falls, Idaho. He was the head pro at Oquirrh Hills GC in Tooele and Ben Lomond GC in Ogden, as well as an assistant pro at Ogden Golf & Country Club.
He took over Schneiter’s Riverside in 1968 when his father died. In 1985, he purchased an additional 39 acres, then redesigned some holes and added nine more to create an 18-hole layout. He then built Schneiter’s Bluff in Davis County in 1999, further establishing an imprint in the area.
In addition to his Utah Golf Hall of Fame induction, Ernie has been recognized by the Utah Section PGA and the Utah Golf Association. The PGA named him the Professional of the Year in 1997 and gave him the Gentleman Jeff Award in 2000. That year, the UGA presented him with the Gold Club Award, given annually to someone whose service to the game has “earned him the love and respect of his fellow golfers.”
A father of four, Ernie and his wife, Arnell, live in Ogden.
A graduate of Roy High School and Southern Utah University, former softball star Lori Rupp became one of Utah’s foremost experts in drill team and cheer performance and competition.
She was instrumental in drill team becoming a sanctioned sport by the Utah High School Activities Association and in cheer becoming a club sport. She’s a leading authority in the safety aspects of those activities, writing and producing training material for coaches that highlight the prevention of injuries and provide guidelines for athletic directors who oversee those groups.
Lori was a founder of the Utah Drill Team Coaches Association and the Utah Cheer Team Coaches Association. Many of Utah’s high school coaches have performed in her Crimson Line at the University of Utah or in her professional dance company. Her background is in secondary education, as an award-winning teacher during a 29-year tenure at Cyprus High School. The Cyprus Dance and Drill Company performed in the 1993 inaugural parade in Washington, D.C.
She and her husband, Oregon State assistant basketball coach Kerry Rupp, are parents of two daughters and Lori is a coach at heart. Describing her philosophy, she said, “As a coach, you can prepare the path, show them the path and even show them the best way to travel the path, but they have to take the first step.”
Prior to her receiving this Distinguished Service Award tonight, Lori has been widely recognized. She was inducted into the UHSAA Circle of Fame and earned a Distinguished Community Service Award from the Utah State Legislature. Her community involvement included extensive work as an organizer of celebrations connected to the 2002 Olympics, as well as volunteer coordination for the NCAA gymnastics championship.
She also provided service as the executive director of the Karl Malone Foundation For Kids. In that role, she said, “I was able to give my college and high school athletes an opportunity to volunteer at many fund-raising events and teach them that service off the court can feel as good as success on the court.”
Lori herself was immersed in the charitable effort of Malone, the former Utah Jazz star who is a member of the Utah Sports Hall of Fame. As detailed in the Deseret News, Malone annually made a major gift to a family on Christmas Eve, often involving Lori’s efforts to validate the need.
Lori is now a consultant with Utah Risk Management as a spirit safety specialist.
—2020-21 – No inductions to due COVID-19—
A graduate of Bonneville High School and Brigham Young University, Brad Hawkins became legendary in the Layton High School community as a 36-year teacher, coach and athletic administrator. Brad was a three-sport athlete at Bonneville and played football and baseball at Weber State. After the school dropped baseball, Brad transferred to BYU and played his senior year for coach Glen Tuckett.
As Brad once told the Deseret News, “What a great experience for me. I mean, that man, he changed a lot of things in me. Probably the one year I spent with Glen Tuckett was as big a life-changing thing for me ever. I never met a guy that was just so passionate about the game and passionate about the kids.”
Brad played three years in the Boston Red Sox organization and scouted for the Red Sox and St, Louis Cardinals. He began his teaching career at Bountiful High School and moved after two years to Layton, where he was the head baseball coach for 16 years and assisted with the football and basketball teams. He also spent three seasons helping his longtime friend, Steve Gardner, coach baseball at Utah Valley State College, then a junior college program.
As he reflected on his coaching and administrative tenure, Brad said, “The best thing is the relationships you have with the kids and the coaches and the good times that you have together. It’s just like coach Tuckett said many times to us: ‘Guys, I don’t have a job. I go to school every day and play with the kids.’ And that’s really how it is.”
He did acknowledge there were times when coaching those teenagers made him want to pull out his hair. In any case, he’s proud to have spent 36 years at LHS. “You think of that right now and that’s crazy, because people don’t do that anymore,” he said.
Brad spent 29 years as a Layton athletic administrator, developing close relationships with longtime coaches including Robert Ferneau and Jim Batchelor, who also played for him at LHS. He was involved in many facilities projects and committees for Layton and Davis School District, including the committee for ninth-grade participation in high school athletics. He has received numerous awards of appreciation, plus a Distinguished Service Award from the Utah High School Activities Association.
He’s a professional fly fishing guide and an avid participant in triathlons and other recreational activities. Brad and his wife, Laurie, are parents of three children and live in Ogden.
A graduate of Skyline High School and the University of Utah, Becky Anderson excelled as a three-sport coach at Murray High School and became a mainstay of the Utah High School Activities Association as the first female assistant director. Becky grew up with six brothers and loved sports, leading her to play softball for Utah and make a career of coaching. In turn, she chose to give back by becoming an activities administrator. As she said upon being hired in 2008, “Sports have dramatically changed since my competitive days as a female athlete; the shorts have gotten longer, the basketball has gotten smaller, the softball glows in the dark and the net is an effective weapon in volleyball. However, one constant is the indispensable role the Utah High School Activities Association plays in governing inter-school activities to the benefit of thousands of Utah student athletes. I am thrilled at the opportunity to assist in that mission.”
As a coach, Becky will be remembered for Murray’s state softball championship in 1990, the first season when the sport was sanctioned by the UHSAA, earning an inaugural “Coach of the Year” award. She coached volleyball, basketball and softball at Murray, while working as a counselor.
Becky joined the UHSAA in 2008 and made a considerable impact for six years. When she retired in 2014, UHSAA Executive Director Rob Cuff said, “On many occasions, she has taken difficult assignments and made them successful with her enthusiasm and electric energy. Becky’s passion for high school activities will be missed not only by our staff, but across the state.” He also admired Becky’s ability to “keep calm in stressful situations and always directed recognition to students.”
Becky was instrumental in elevating girls high school sports in Utah, particularly in volleyball, softball and drill team. She also was at the forefront in the “Raise the Bar” program and established the annual “Dare2Lead Student Leadership Conference.” Working with Bart Thompson, Becky helped establish the Unified Sports programs in soccer and track and field, a cooperative effort between the UHSAA and Special Olympics Utah.
Becky has received many awards along the way, notably earning one of the 2018 National Federation of State High School Associations (NFSHS) Citations, considered among the most highly regarded achievements in high school athletics and the performing arts. In retirement, Becky is a valued member of the USHOFF’s Board of Directors and lives in Salt Lake City.
A native of Idaho and a graduate of Weber State University, Dave Hoch became a successful baseball coach at three northern Utah high schools and administered a strong program as Northridge’s longtime athletic director. Dave also is known for his community service, having directed the Japanese American Citizen League Basket-ball Tournament for 20 years, worked as volunteer softball coach in the Weber School District and coached competitive youth teams for 10 years. During his tenure as Northridge’s athletic director, the Knights won six state championships and 38 region titles in various sports.
Dave’s hallmark is a personality that drives him to serve selflessly, not seeking fanfare or awards. One colleague wrote, “His dedication to his students, athletes and school community are second to none. He exemplifies what the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Foundation stands for: service to others.”
Dave became one of Northridge’s original faculty members when the school opened in Layton in 1992. He was the baseball coach for nine years, while also assisting in football, and added the athletic director’s duties in 1997. While he is being honored for his service and not necessarily his athletic achievements, Dave deserves credit for being an outstanding baseball player in his own right. As a youngster, he once broke a Babe Ruth World Series record for chances and assists in an inning and a game. He was an all-conference selection for both Gonzaga and Weber State and was signed by the Seattle Mariners, playing for Salem in the Northwest League in 1978. Dave later became a mainstay of the Smithfield Blue Sox, a semi-pro team that was a major part of the summer culture of Cache Valley in the early 1980s.
As the baseball coach of Bonneville, Clearfield and Northridge, he was known for fielding fundamentally sound teams that “did more with less,” according to one observer. He then focused on coaching his daughters’ teams in softball and produced several college athletes, including two of his daughters. Tracee played at SLCC and BYU and is now coaching at Snow Canyon High. Haylee played at Utah and SUU and later became Roy High School’s softball coach. In a Standard-Examiner story about Northridge’s softball coach, Dave displayed his insight into the coaching profession. Jasey Fatongia, he said, “has been around softball players her whole life and she knows what it takes to be a good player both mentally and physically, and a lot of times, emotionally. She can understand how all the girls are feeling … [and] say the right thing to the right people at the right time.” Dave and his wife, Janice, are parents of three children and live in Roy.
A graduate of Ben Lomond High School and Utah State University, Jerry Bovee has accomplished a lot in seven years as Weber State University’s Athletic Director. The attitude and work ethic that has earned him a Distinguished Service Award from the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Foundation became evident long ago, when he worked in sales, marketing and promotions for USU. Whenever anyone asked who was responsible for a particular aspect of the Aggies’ game operations or other athletic department functions, the answer invariably was “Oh, Bovee does that.”
He may be delegating more tasks these days as the Wildcats’ athletic director, but Jerry is still getting things done. And he’s thriving on a campus where he grew up attending Weber State events and developing a love of sports in Utah. After earning a degree from USU and working for three years in the Aggie athletic department, Jerry moved to the Utah High School Activities Association. In his 12 years as an assistant director with the UHSAA, he served as vice-chair of the football rules committee for the National Federation of State High Schools Association. He organized and managed state tournaments and was involved in coaches and officials education programs. Jerry took direct responsibility for football, boys basketball, softball, tennis and wrestling during his UHSAA tenure.
When he moved to Weber State, Jerry initially worked in a campus administrative position, not necessarily intending to become the athletic director. Yet he willingly took on an interim assignment when the job became open in September 2009 and was given the permanent position eight weeks later. Known for what one WSU administrator described as his “boundless energy,” Jerry has earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from WSU and applied his skills to restructuring of the Wildcats’ marketing and promotional efforts with a new branding program and has improved several key facilities to benefit each of WSU’s 16 sports.
Jerry has overseen the Wildcats’ Big Sky Conference championships in basketball, track and field, cross country, soccer and softball during his tenure. He has succeeded in retaining coach Randy Rahe and the WSU football program has made tremendous strides after his hiring of coach Jay Hill. In addition, he has supervised the initiative to improve the Academic Progress Rating in each sport and has been involved in national efforts to raise graduation rates.
Jerry and his wife, Julie, are parents of four children.
Paul C. Smith
“Mr. Mac” Christensen
A. Lex Baer
Robert L. Rice
Nolan “Red” Burnett
Marvin E. Casteel
Lyn “Swede” Larson
James “Jim” Lundberg
Jack B. Parson
V. Loraine Cox
Richard V. Hansen
H.L. “Pete” Haun
Geneva Hillman Fife
Kimberly Ann Norman
Douglas A. Muir
Jon M. Huntsman, Sr.
Jim D. Laub
Dr. Robert F. Bitner
J. Elliott Cameron
Dr. Marlowe Goble
Dr. Gerald Sherratt
William “Bill” Larson
Delmar “Swede” Larson
* Denotes Having Coached a National Championship