Oct 5, 2010 4:08 PM by Bea Karnes
Olympic athletes, world champions, cherished coaches, even a team doctor--they'll all be inducted into The Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame. The 2010 class demonstrates the rich heritage and diversity of sports in Colorado Springs.
Teams and individuals will be enshrined on October 27 at the Colorado Springs World Arena. A crowd of more than 600 is expected. Tickets are still available. Contact Naama Kellman at the Sports Corp., 719-634-7333, ext. 1009.
This year's inductees:
1980 U.S. Olympic Women's Volleyball Team
This star-crossed team lived and trained in Colorado Springs at the Olympic Training Center in preparation for the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. In addition, this was the first "national team in residence" experiment in Olympic sport in the United States, with all team members, coaches and staff moving to Colorado Springs to live together and train on a full-time basis ahead of the 1978 World Championships, where it finished fifth. Its dream was shattered with the Moscow Olympic boycott forced on the United States Olympic Committee by the Carter Administration, but a handful of players remained to win a silver medal at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, losing to China in the gold medal game. Coached by Dr. Arie Selinger thirty years ago, the team of Janet Baier, Carolyn Becker, Rita Crockett, Patty Dowdell, Laurie Flachmeier, Debbie Green, Flo Hyman, Laurel Brassey, Debbie Landreth, Diane McCormick, Terry Place and Sue Woodstra and alternates Sharon Moore and Julie Vollertsen was considered a favorite to win the volleyball gold medal in Moscow. History can only say that we will never know, but the team changed the face of USA Volleyball forever.
Andy Gambucci, Colorado College Ice Hockey
Gambucci, who grew up in ice hockey hotbed Eveleth, Minnesota, is a sports legend at Colorado College. He was a player on the 1950 NCAA Ice Hockey Championship Team for the Tigers, and was a football and baseball star. He scored 16 touchdowns as a running back for the Tigers in 1952 to break the record set by All-American Dutch Clark, finishing fourth nationally in scoring and he also played centerfielder for the baseball team in the spring. The multi-sport star was named the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference's MVP in 1953. He was selected to the 1952 U.S. Olympic Team for the Games in Oslo and came home with a silver medal. Following his graduation at CC, he was offered a spot in the NHL by the Boston Bruins, but went to Italy to play and coach. He returned to Colorado Springs to become a WCHA referee and built a very successful insurance business before his retirement. Gambucci was inducted into the Colorado College Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004.
Sherrice King, Rampart High & CU Basketball
King was a prep basketball star at Rampart High in Colorado Springs, winning all-state honors in 1986 and 1987 and Parade All-America laurels as a senior. She enrolled at the University of Colorado after a long recruiting battle for her services and became a four-year letter winner for Ceal Berry's Buffs. She co-captained the 1992-93 Buffs team that finished 27-4 and went to the NCAA Elite Eight. King was a four-time Academic All-Big Eight selection, graduating in 1993 with a 3.5 GPA, the highest among all Buff student-Athletes, and with a double major in psychology and sociology. She was named Colorado's 1993 NCAA Woman of the Year following her graduation. At Rampart, King was an all-state volleyball selection and set school records in the high jump for the track team along with her hoops accomplishments. She worked at CU from 1994-2001 as a tutor and academic coordinator for student-athletes before accepting a post at Texas A&M as an academic supervisor in the athletic department in 2001. She was the Assistant Athletic Director for Academics (2003-2008), and is now the Associate Director for General Academic Programs at Texas A&M and is pursuing a graduate degree.
Ken Brown, Wasson High & Cornell University World Championship Rower
Wasson High grad Ken Brown enrolled at Cornell in 1970 and became a Rhodes Scholar and one of the best rowers in the school's history. He was a member of the USA Eight that won the World Championship in Lucerne, Switzerland, in 1974 and also rowed at Oxford. Rowing was not his sport when he entered Cornell. He was a standout football player at Wasson and was recruited to play the sport by Cornell. Brown declined to play football at the school, but took a shot at rowing after getting a letter from the crew coach to be part of 150 men trying out for a freshman team that was ranked just behind Navy nationally. Success came quickly for Brown, and he not only was a star at Cornell, but earned a spot on the 1973 and 1974 U.S. National Teams. He graduated first in his class from Cornell with a degree in mechanical engineering. In 1976, he helped Oxford triumph over Cambridge in one of rowing's iconic events. He is a partner with One Equity Partners in Miami, a private equity arm of JPMorgan Chase. His professional career includes top-level executive positions with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP, the General Electric Company in Latin America and Southeast Asia, and as a nuclear engineer.
Ken Hatfield, Air Force Football
Ken Hatfield, a native of Helena, Arkansas, rebuilt an Air Force program between 1979-1983 that set the stage for success at the Academy in years to follow. His last two Falcon teams went 8-5 and 10-2, and the 1983 team was nationally ranked at #13 in the Coaches poll after beating Ole Miss, 9-3, in the Independence Bowl behind quarterback Marty Louthan and crew. He moved on to Arkansas, his alma mater, after that season, turning the reins at AFA over to his offensive coordinator Fisher DeBerry. His Razorback teams went 55-17-1 from 1984-1989 and won SWC crowns in 1988 and 1989. Hatfield left Arkansas for Clemson in 1990, where he ran up a 32-13-1 record and an AAC title in 1991 for the Tigers. Hatfield concluded his college coaching career at Rice, where he led the Owls for a decade. He was a star defensive back for Arkansas as a collegian and a member of the 1964 NCAA National Championship team under coach Frank Broyles. His 1983 Air Force team was inducted into the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame in the Class of 2006.
Fred Whitacre, The Father of Baseball In Colorado Springs
While Chicago-born Whitacre is well-known for bringing baseball back to Colorado Springs in 1988 with the move of the Hawaii Islanders of the Pacific Coast League to the city, his career was a virtual cornucopia of sports riches which embraced stints with the original 1969 Montreal Expos, the 1984 NL Champion San Diego Padres, professional soccer, collegiate basketball coaching, and promotion, marketing and even ownership of one minor league baseball team, the West Palm Beach Expos. He was named the Florida State League's Executive of the Year three times, and once by the Pacific Coast League. In all, he served in the front office for an astounding five sports championship teams. Whitacre retired from full-time sports work in 1992 after serving as the President & CEO of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation following his departure from the Sky Sox as its founding President & General manager, and building the franchise from the ground up. He became a consultant to the Colorado College ice hockey program and engineered the successful effort that built the CC season ticket base to over 5,000 as the program moved into the World Arena. His personal friendships with the late Larry Doby and local hero Goose Gossage earned him invitations to Cooperstown as both were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Whitacre received the 2005 Thayer Tutt Sportsman Award from the Sports Corp.
David G. Elmore, Sky Sox Owner and Founder, Sports Entrepreneur
Dave Elmore is one of the best sports owners in America, and a tremendously successful executive in the industry. He is the owner and founder of the Elmore Sports Group, a sports and entertainment company he launched in 1969, comprised of baseball and ice hockey franchises, facility management companies, hospitality, special events and concession companies, and travel and incentive companies that specialize in events like the Olympic Games and the World Cup of Soccer. He was the owner of the Hawaii Islanders in 1987 when he decided that it was time to move the team to the mainland to operate more efficiently and financially, and he had friends in Colorado Springs from his Olympic-related business. He reviewed cities including Sacramento, Fresno and San Bernardino for the move, but his decision to relocate to Colorado Springs and bring baseball back to the Pikes Peak region after a 30-year absence is one of the biggest events in the city's sports history. Elmore has created a strong bond with the parent Colorado Rockies and returned his financial success to the club and the stadium to keep pace with demands and the requirements of the Major League club. He is a tireless supporter of the Colorado Springs community as well. Born in Anderson, Indiana, Elmore graduated from Indiana University in 1965 and added a Law degree before starting his professional business career in sports.
1981 Mitchell High State Football Champions
The Marauders may be the best prep football team in the city's history, and one of the best in Colorado annals. Coach Jim Hartman's team went 14-0 and beat Columbine, 14-7 in the Class AAAA championship game at Garry Berry Stadium. 5-9, 155-pound running back Jeff Legette ran for 162 yards and quarterback Joe Adams threw the game-winning TD pass to David Gabbin in the historic finale. Mitchell had only three players weighing over 200 pounds on its 65-man roster, with 46 of them weighing 165 pounds or less. Linebacker Steve Gaber was a season-long star on defense and Legette ran for over 2,000 yards as the team led the state in scoring. The Marauders got a 26-yard field goal by Jeff Carnahan in overtime to beat Air Academy, 32-29, in the semifinals and set the stage for the showdown with Columbine. It was one of three state titles won by the school under Hartman, a Colorado Springs home-grown boy who was inducted into the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame last year.
Col. F. Don Miller Award- Dick Westbay
Dick Westbay put together a record of high school coaching over more than four decades which stands as a marvelous testimony to his character and leadership. Westbay was a three-sport athlete at Colorado Springs High School and was the captain of the 1948 Colorado Springs High state championship football team that was unbeaten in eleven games. He enrolled at Denver University after graduation, becoming an outstanding player for the Pioneers over four seasons. He began his coaching career in Bakersfield, California, after graduating from DU before coming back to Colorado Springs as a teacher at North Junior High and coach at Colorado Springs High. In 1959, he became a teacher and assistant football, basketball and baseball coach at the new Wasson High, where his career brought him the position of head coach in basketball, football, and track, as well as serving as the school's athletic director. His 1971 Wasson Thunderbirds football team won the state championship with a 21-16 win over Denver George Washington. He mentored hundreds of athletes and students over his career of service and was known not only for his skills as a leader in sports, but for his unquestioned integrity and character. He was inducted to the Colorado High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1993 and his 1971 Wasson state championship team was inducted to the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.
Thayer Tutt Sportsman Award - Dr. Jamieson Kennedy
Dr. Kennedy has gained a cherished reputation over many years by providing critical medical assistance to young athletes in Colorado Springs. He has provided particularly helpful medical coverage during home high school football games for schools and coaching staffs which had limited medical service capabilities, and at the same time persuading many of his colleagues to join him in contributing their time and expertise in years before the role of certified medical trainers became a standard. In addition, Kennedy conducted complete team medical examinations, as well as personal exams for athletes unable to afford those needed services on their own. His selfless efforts led to the creation of the El Paso Medical Association Society, which provided medical coverage for area high school teams.