Apr 20, 2011 5:10 PM
Colorado Springs, April 20--------The 12th Class selected for induction into the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame embraces the city's broad, unique and history-rich sports tradition and triumphs, and remembers a special team and others who were part of a painful tragedy fifty years ago.
The Class of 2011 also includes the first Paralympic athlete to gain induction, a two-time Olympic basketball gold medalist, a Sky Sox and national baseball legend, a great Air Force quarterback, one of the city's most accomplished prep basketball coaches, one of the Olympic family's most respected national governing body leaders, and a high school boys' basketball team that won a state title in the first-ever appearance by the school in the tourney.
Also honored with the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation's special awards are two men who have made major contributions to the sports culture of the city, as well as to youth and organizations which are vital to the fabric of the area's unique sports history.
The annual banquet and induction ceremony is set for the evening of Tuesday, October 25, at the Colorado Springs World Arena. It begins with a 6:00 p.m. reception and famed sports silent auction, with the program starting at 7:00. A sold-out crowd of 700 was on hand last year.
Reservations for tables or seats can be made by calling Aubrey Johnson at the Sports Corp (719) 634-7333, ext. 1000 or by e-mail at: Aubrey@thesportscorp.org
The Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2011
Armbruster, the first Paralympic athlete to gain induction, is no newcomer to the international sports scene, and the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing were her fifth for the United States. In Beijing, she was named as the Opening Ceremony flag bearer and team captain, then helped lead the USA to the gold medal in Goalball.
In 1989, the Colorado Springs athlete was supposed to head to college on a basketball scholarship but started losing her vision in the latter part of the year. It was then that she was introduced to the team sport of Goalball.
Armbruster graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 1997 with degrees in sociology and criminal justice. She received her master's degree from Sam Houston State in 2000. She has been inducted into the Colorado Sportswomen Hall of Fame and was named the state's Amateur Athlete of the Year in 1996. Her career in sports administration has taken her to Portland State (Ore.) University as the school's Coordinator of Adaptive Recreation and Community Outreach. She is currently training for a spot on the 2012 United States Paralympic Goalball Team for the Games in London after the team secured a spot by winning a silver medal at the 2010 World Championships.
Haldorson, a Colorado Springs resident for over forty years, left an amazing imprint in the University of Colorado basketball record book. The Austin, Minnesota, native still holds four school rebounding records some five decades after his CU playing days, including the most in a half (21), game (31) and season (346). As a senior in 1954-55, he led the Buffs to the Big Seven title by averaging 23.9 points per game, and was also named as a first-team All-American.
CU eventually went on to finish third in the nation, losing at the Final Four to eventual champion San Francisco and the legendary Bill Russell. Haldorson earned two gold medals in 1956 and 1960 as a member of the U.S. Olympic team, went on to have a brilliant career in the National Industrial Basketball League as a member of the Phillips 66ers, the team entry for Phillips 66, which hired him after his playing career. He moved to Colorado Springs to form his own gas and oil distribution business in the late 1960s. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last summer with the 1960 Olympic Team, and is a member of the CU Athletic Hall of Fame and the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
Many consider him the greatest quarterback in Air Force football history, directing the lethal Falcon wishbone triple option offense with tremendous skill. Dowis is the Air Force Academy's all-time career rushing leader with 3,612 yards, which was an NCAA record for a quarterback at the time. In his senior year (1989) he placed sixth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy (won by University of Houston quarterback Andre Ware). During the 1989 season, he became only the fifth player in NCAA history to run and pass for at least 1,000 yards in a single season.
He was the starter for the Falcons in 1987-88-89 as Air Force roared to 22 wins and two bowl games, and was named to the Air Force Athletic Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2009. He still holds a number of AFA records, among them touchdowns (six) in a game (San Diego State 1989), and most points scored in a career (252). He recorded four 200-yard rushing games, 6,482 yards in total offense, and ran for 41 touchdowns.
Dowis grew up in Royston, Georgia, also the home of baseball immortal Ty Cobb, and he now lives in Greenville, S.C., where he is a district manager for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.
This prep basketball coaching legend is still in the game at 70, having just completed his sixth season at the helm of the Doherty High boys' team in Colorado Springs, the latest chapter of a 42-year coaching and teaching career. He's compiled a mark of 610-366 as the head coach at Palmer, Rampart and Doherty high schools, captured two state titles, (1993, 2000 at Palmer), 18 conference championships, and took his teams to 16 state tourney appearances.
McKiernan was inducted this year into the Colorado High School Coaches Hall of Fame in recognition of his passion, commitment and success. He has been a major contributor to the community since he began coaching in the area in 1972, establishing the Pikes Peak Scholarship Fund in District 11, finding sponsors for underprivileged kids to attend summer sports camps and directing twenty area players who act as mentors for young hopefuls on the court.
The Colorado Springs native (St. Mary's High) was named the Colorado Coach of the Year in 1993 and 2000, and National Prep Coach of the year in 2000 with his 24-0 state championship team at Palmer.
The term "Hockey Guy" is applied lovingly to Dave Ogrean, he's earned the moniker during a notable career that has led him to the executive director's chair at USA Hockey, and an explosive period of historic growth and success for the national governing body and the sport.
The University of Connecticut graduate has served in top-level executive positions over nearly four decades with the Amateur Hockey Association of the United States (now USA Hockey), as its chief executive from 1993-1999, United States Olympic Committee, ESPN, The College Football Association and as the architect of the newly-minted USA Football when the NFL launched it in 2002. He also was the President and CEO of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation and helped the Sports Corp develop the Rocky Mountain State Games and create the Sports Hall of Fame he enters now.
He returned to Colorado Springs and USA Hockey in 2005 and has led the organization to a string of remarkable achievements, particularly the growth of the sport and a solid relationship with the National Hockey League. He is now a new member of the Board of Directors of the USOC.
Catcher Sam Hairston played during six seasons for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox of the old Western League between 1950 and 1956, and his legacy in the game is of historic proportions as a pioneer and part of an amazing baseball family. Hairston played for the Birmingham Black Barons and Indianapolis Clowns in the Negro League from 1944-50 before signing with the Chicago White Sox in 1950 and reporting to Class A Colorado Springs.
When he was called up from Colorado Springs in 1951, he became the first African-American player in the history of the White Sox, just four years after Jackie Robinson's historic debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Hairston was the Western league MVP in 1953, hitting .310 with eight home runs and 102 RBI, leading the Sky Sox to the regular season crown. In 1955, he won the league batting title at .350, with six HRs and 91 RBI and reaching the 500-hit plateau for the Sox.
He retired after the 1960 season, then spent the rest of his career as a scout and coach with the White Sox. He died in 1997, after induction into the Sky Sox Hall of Fame in 1993. Hairston comes from the biggest major league baseball family, as the father of major league players Jerry Hairston, Sr. and Johnny Hairston, and the grandfather of Jerry Hairston, Jr. and Scott Hairston.
The 1961 U.S. World Figure Skating Team & Edi Scholdan
Fifty years ago, the world was stunned by a tragedy near Brussels, Belgium, as the crash of Sabena Airlines Flight 548 took the lives of 73 persons. Among the dead were the 34 members of the U.S. Figure Skating Team - 18 athletes, six coaches, four judges and officials and six family members - on their way to the World Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Among those killed were famed coach Edi Scholdan and Broadmoor Skating Club athletes Bill and Laurie Hickox, Greg Kelley, and Steffi Westerfeld.
As President Kennedy said in reaction to the tragedy, "Our country has sustained a great loss of talent and grace which had brought pleasure to people all over the world." The best and brightest - a generation of this nation's top figure skaters - were lost in this terrible tragedy. It is a day that will never be forgotten in sport. But from this tragedy, a legacy was born. Within days of the crash, U.S. Figure Skating established a Memorial Fund to be a living memorial to the members of the 1961 U.S. World Figure Skating Team. The mission of the Memorial Fund is to provide qualified U.S. Figure Skating members in need of financial aid with monetary assistance through skating and academic scholarships to pursue their goals both inside and outside the competitive arena.
Scholdan coached more World Team members than any other coach of his era. Raised by an aunt in Vienna, he competed at the 1933 World Championships, taught skating and performed a juggling act on ice in Europe before coming to the United States in 1938. He taught in Boston, Providence, R.I., New York City and Chicago before permanently settling at the Broadmoor Skating Club in Colorado Springs, spending his first summer at the Broadmoor in 1941 and becoming head coach in 1948.
Scholdan was an innovative show producer, incorporating a variety of non-skating acts into the summer Broadmoor Ice Revue, including his own juggling act. As a coach, he was known for his positive mental attitude and his ability to get the most out of each student. His champions included 1950 World pairs champions Peter and Karol Kennedy, 1952 Olympic bronze medalist Jimmy Grogan, 1955 World silver medalist Ronnie Robertson, 1956 Olympic champion Hayes Alan Jenkins and 1960 Olympic champion David Jenkins. Scholdan had the most students on the 1961 World Team of any coach, including Westerfeld, Kelley, and Bill and Laurie Hickox. Scholdan married skater Roberta Jenks in 1946; his children are stepdaughter; Dixie Lee, daughter, Ruth; and son Jimmy, who accompanied his father to Prague on the doomed flight.
1978 Wasson High Boys State Basketball Championship Team
Wasson, coached by Bob Belt, won the state AAA crown over Centaurus on a shot with eight seconds left by Arthur Griffin, who took the ball the length of the court to hit a running jumper in the lane. The Thunderbirds survived a last-second shot by the Warriors to win the scintillating 62-61 showdown at McNichols Arena in Denver before a crowd of 10,226.
It was the first state tourney for Wasson, which finished with a 20-5 record, and the win snapped a 15-game Centaurus winning streak in the process. The game was tied twelve times and the lead changed seven times in the second half of the frenetic title match.
All-State guard Dave Hanson got 15 points, 6-4 forward Ken Page added 16 points, and 6-7 center Jeff Smith chipped in with 14 points in a balanced Wasson offense. The team was made up of Hanson, Griffin, Page, Smith, Darren Trapp, F.J. O'Leary, Kirby Vernon, Craig Gordon, Kevin Richardson, Cliff Fredericks, John Smalls, David Spanke and Melvin Stanback. Belt's assistant coaches were George Houston and Gregg Brandson.
Col. F. Don Miller Award - Samuel Dunlap
Sam Dunlap was born in Colorado Springs in 1933 and has spent his life in the city, dedicating his life to young people through education and community service. His special career spans decades of service with District 11 as a teacher, coach and contributor to kids and their futures. He also was a member of the legendary Brown Bombers baseball team, the city's black semi-pro nine that made history in the 1940s and 1950s and won the city title in 1949. Dunlap was a pioneer, the first African-American baseball coach in District 11, the co-founder of Black Adults For Youth, first Black Community School Director, and more. He was the first D-11 community liaison in 1967. The city honored him on March 31, 2005, with a city council recognition proclamation, "Sam Dunlap Day."
Thayer Tutt Sportsman Award - Jim Johnson
Jim Johnson represents the third generation of the Johnson family in the city's construction industry, but the President and CEO of the GE Johnson Construction Company has also been a huge contributor to the sports community with his philanthropic and community support for years. His father, Gil, started the company in 1967 with one pickup truck and a contract to build a new administration building for the Fountain Valley School. The Kansas State University grad has led GE Johnson's role as the general contractor for the United States Olympic Committee's marvelous new downtown headquarters, a showpiece of the city and its rich Olympic presence since 1977. GE Johnson was also at the helm of the superb new facilities and construction of the enhancements in 1997 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, including athlete housing, dining hall, field house, aquatics center, visitor center, and sports medicine center. Johnson has a passion for community service and customer satisfaction that are the cornerstones of his organization. "I was taught, by example, that Corporate Social Responsibility includes investing in the communities in which you work. You must give, not only take," he has said.