Feb. 25, 2006
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Seven new members of the University of Wyoming Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame have been announced, including a pair of football standouts, two basketball greats, a skier, a baseball team and one of the state's greatest sportswriters, Selection Committee Chairman Ken Cook announced Saturday.
Dinner and the induction ceremonies for the Hall of Fame's 14th class are scheduled for a Friday evening in September. The date will be announced as soon as the Cowboys' 2006 football schedule has been finalized.
The inductees include Wyoming's most prolific running back of all time, Ryan Christopherson; the school's most decorated place kicker, Jerry DePoyster; one of the finest shooting forwards in Cowboy history, Stan Dodds; its first star big man and member of the 1943 National Championship team, Milo Komenich; NCAA ski champion Stacey Ward Straley; sportswriter Bob Hammond, who has covered Wyoming athletics for nearly 40 years, and the 1956 baseball team which earned its way to the College World Series.
A total of 92 individuals and six teams have been inducted into the Hall of Fame since its inception in 1993. The Hall is located in the Rochelle Athletics Center.
The Hall of Fame Committee met in January to make its final selections for this year's class. Its selections must fit in five categories: student-athlete, coach, team, athletics staff members, and special achievement. A student-athlete must have lettered at least two years, and have been out of school for at least five years. An athletic team is considered a single inductee. Special achievement includes individuals who have contributed to the ideal of sports. Each nominee must receive at least 75 percent of the committee's vote to be eligible for induction.
The committee is comprised of the following members: Dave Bonner; Barbara Burke, Ken Cook (chairman), Dave Madia, Kevin McKinney, Mike Schutte, Lisa Skiles Parady, Jack Speight and Dave Walsh.
Following is the 2006 Class:
Ryan Christopherson excelled on and off the football field. An Academic All-American, he became the most prolific running back in Wyoming history. Christopherson finished his illustrious Wyoming career as the school's all-time rushing leader with 2,906 yards. He also is the single-season rushing leader with 1,455 yards, which he gained as a senior in 1994. His 244 yards gained against UTEP in 1994 is the second best single-game effort in history. He owns the career record for total carries, 585, and for carries in a game, 37 vs. Northeast Louisiana in 1994. He is only the second running back in Cowboy history to gain over 1,000 yards twice during his career. Christopherson was an All-Western Athletic Conference first-team selection as a senior. He was a four-time WAC Scholar Athlete as well as a four-time Academic All-WAC first-team selection. He was a first-team Academic All-American as a senior, and a second-teamer as a junior. He was a team captain as a senior. He played in the NFL for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos.
Hometown: Bellevue, Nebraska
Jerry DePoyster became the most decorated kicker in Wyoming football history during a golden age of Cowboy football. During his great career, he did both the punting and place kicking for the Cowboys when they won two Western Athletic Conference championships and earned two bowl bids including their greatest bowl of all time, the 1968 Sugar Bowl. While he was an outstanding punter for the Pokes, DePoyster's claim to fame was his ability as a place kicker. He was an Associated Press and Sporting News All-American in 1967, his senior season. He held at least six NCAA records including most field goal attempts in a career (93), average field goal attempts per game during a career (3.10), most field goal attempts of 50 yards or more in a single season (17 in 1966) and most in a single game (3 vs. Utah, Oct. 8, 1966). He led the team in scoring all three years of his career, and led the WAC in scoring in 1966 and 1967. During his junior season of 1966, he led the nation in kick scoring with 71 points. In Wyoming's 1966 game against Utah, he made field goals of 54, 52, and 21. In that game, his 54 yarder was the first made field goal of 50 yards or more in school history. His 55-yarder against CSU was a school and Western Athletic Conference record at the time. During the Sugar Bowl season of 1967, he accounted for three victories with his leg. He kicked two field goals in the Sugar Bowl. DePoyster also was an outstanding punter for the Cowboys. He punted 62 times in his career for a 41.7 average. He was 12th in the nation in punting during his senior season of 1967. He was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the second round of the 1968 NFL draft. He played professionally for Detroit and the Oakland Raiders.
Hometown: Green River, Wyoming
One of the finest pure-shooting wings in Cowboy basketball history, Stan Dodds led the Western Athletic Conference in field goal percentage for two straight seasons. He was an All-WAC first-team selection in 1970, his senior season, while leading the Pokes in scoring at 20.7 points per game. In his three seasons, he shot .558, .569 and .560 respectively from the field. A tremendously consistent player, his senior field goal percentage was ninth best in the country. His favorite spot was in the deep corners of the War Memorial Fieldhouse floor. For his career, he averaged 16.7 points per game, ranking him eighth on Wyoming's career list. One can only imagine his total had there been a three-point line. He posted his career-best game against Arizona State on Feb. 28, 1970. when he scored 45 points in the Cowboys 112-94 victory. He made 19 field goals in that game, the second-best total in school history. His 45 points is fifth on the all-time list. In Wyoming's National Invitational Tournament (NIT) game against Army in 1969, Dodds led the team in scoring and rebounding with 12 and 10 respectively. He was co-winner of the team MVP award for the 1969-70 season with Carl Ashley. He earned the Admiral Land Award as UW's top student-athlete following his senior year.
Hometown: Laramie, Wyoming
Sport: Sportswriter, Laramie Boomerang
A 14-time Wyoming Sportswriter of the Year, Bob Hammond is one of the most well-known and longest-running sportswriters in Wyoming newspaper history. He began working at the Laramie Boomerang in March of 1964. Excluding four years at the Tucson (Ariz.) Citizen, he has been at the Boomerang for 38 years. A 1974 graduate of the University of Wyoming, Hammond has won 31 individual Pacemaker Awards from the Wyoming Press Association for column writing, feature sports writing and news sports writing. While working for the Boomerang, he has personally covered almost 400 Wyoming football games, over 900 Cowboy basketball games, and countless UW women's basketball games, volleyball matches, baseball games and wrestling matches. He has written for the Boomerang during seven UW athletics directors, eight basketball coaches and 11 football coaches. He has covered six Cowboy bowl games, and five Wyoming appearances in the NCAA basketball tournament. He has been Wyoming's state representative to the Heisman Trophy for 21 years. He has been a member of the Football Writers Association, and a four-time member of the group's prestigious All-American Committee. He was awarded the first-ever Wyoming High School Coaches Association "Contribution to High School Athletics" award. He is the only sportswriter to have a rodeo bull named after him (Boomer Bob) by the Burns Rodeo Company of Laramie. He was inducted into the Wyoming Sports Hall of Fame in the summer of 2006, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award. He was an original member of the University of Wyoming Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame Committee.
Hometown: Gary, Indiana
He was Wyoming's first-ever "big man" in the sport of basketball, and a classy All-American. At six-feet, seven-inches, Milo Komenich was one of the tallest basketball players of his era. With his beautiful pivot shots and strong tip-ins, he and fellow Hall of Famer Kenny Sailors formed an unstoppable inside-outside combination, in leading Wyoming to the 1943 NCAA Championship and mythical "World Champions". He led the Cowboys in scoring in that world title game against National Invitational Tournament Champion St. John's. Komenich was named a first-team All-American following that '43 championship season. He also came up big for the Pokes in the regional championship game against Texas with 17 points. That win sent the Cowboys to the championship against Georgetown in New York's Madison Square Garden. Wyoming's "towering center" scored 548 points during his senior season. That total was the most ever scored by a basketball player in the Rocky Mountain region at that time. Along with teammates Kenny Sailors and Jim Weir, Komenich was selected to the all conference team following the 1943 season.
Stacey Ward Straley
Hometown: Torrington, Wyoming
Learning to ski on the slopes of the Happy Jack and Medicine Bow ski areas above the town of Laramie where she was raised, Stacey Ward Straley became a two-time All-American in alpine skiing for the Cowgirl ski team. She came to the University after being named to the United States Olympic Development Team in 1978. Not only did she receive the Glenn "Red" Jacoby Athletic Scholarship, but was selected as an Admiral Land Award winner as UW's most outstanding student-athlete. An outstanding leader, Ward Straley earned her first All-American honors as a sophomore. As a freshman she earned Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association All-Conference honors. She won the Elbert Trophy Series Championship in 1979. Outstanding in the giant slalom, she became one of the top point scorers for the Cowgirl team in the alpine events. In 1981 she finished third in the giant slalom in the AIAW National Ski Championships as the Cowgirls won the national alpine title As a junior, she finished sixth in the giant slalom at the 1982 national championships. She earned her degree from Wyoming in accounting with a minor in international studies.
1956 Cowboy Baseball Team
The College World Series in 1956 was the culmination of the rise to national prominence by the Wyoming baseball program. Much of this group had won three straight Skyline Conference Championships, and had participated in the NCAA Regional finals in 1954 and 1955. At the time, the World Series was a much more exclusive championship with only eight teams qualifying at the end of each collegiate season. This Wyoming team went to Omaha with just 16 players in uniform, unique in that the other seven teams traveled 25-man rosters. But this group represented the brown and gold in tremendous fashion. After losing to eventual national champion Minnesota, 4-2, in the opening game, the Cowboys rebounded to defeat New York University. The Pokes then lost to Bradley in their final game. The team boasted of an All-American, outfielder Don Napierkowski, and five All-Regional selections, Napierkowski, first baseman Fritz Heiss, shortstop Gerry Nagle, outfielder Bob Sullivan and pitcher Ralph Vaughn. The success of this team led to the development and completion in 1963 of the baseball complex and Cowboy Field, Wyoming's baseball home for over 30 years. It is fitting that this team was inducted into the Hall of Fame on the 50th anniversary of its trip to the College World Series.