UW Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2011

Feb 23, 2011


HOF Induction Videos: Mike English | Wesley Maiyo | Robert Mason | Shauna Smith | Scott Usher
Jim Walden | 1986-87 MBB Team

Two national champion track stars, an Olympic swimmer, a highly-respected coach, an All-America wrestler, a champion quarterback, and a wildly popular basketball team comprise the latest class of the University of Wyoming Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame, Selection Committee Chairman Mike Schutte announced Wednesday.

The dinner and induction ceremony for the Hall of Fame's 19th class will be held Sept. 2, 2011, at the University of Wyoming Conference Center & Hilton Inn Ballroom in Laramie.

This year's inductees include: Mike English (Women's Volleyball Coach, 1986-90 and 1992-93), Wesley Maiyo (Track, 1974-75), Robert L. Mason (Wrestling, 1949-51), Shauna Smith (Track, 2003-05), Scott Usher (Swimming, 2002-05), Jim Walden (Football, 1958-59), and the 1986-87 "Sweet 16" Men's Basketball Team.

A total of 117 individuals and 11 teams have been inducted into the Hall of Fame since its inception in 1993. Its plaque display is located in the concourse of the Arena-Auditorium.

The Hall of Fame Committee met earlier this month to make its final selections for this year's class. The inductees must fit into one of five categories: student-athlete, coach, team, athletics staff members or special achievement. The special achievement category includes individuals who have contributed to the ideal of sports at the University. Each nominee must receive at least 75 percent of the committee's vote to be eligible for induction.

Members of the committee are: Mike Schutte (Chairman), Tom Burman, Ken Cook, Stig Hallingbye, Steve Harshman, Dave Madia, Margie McDonald, Kevin McKinney, Molly Moore, Brian Morgen, Jared Newland, Bruce Pivic, and Dave Walsh.

Following is the 2011 Class:

Mike English
Hometown: Chicago, Ill.
Sport: Volleyball
Years: 1986-90, 1992-93

Mike English was hired as head volleyball coach at the University of Wyoming on Jan. 10, 1986, and had an immediate and long-lasting impact on the Cowgirl volleyball program. He guided the team to Wyoming's first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in his first season (1986) and went on to lead the Cowgirls to two more NCAA appearances in 1989 and `90. In the 1989 NCAA Tournament, Wyoming emerged as the "Cinderella" of the championships, defeating heavily-favored Stanford and earning its way to the Elite Eight before falling to UCLA on the Bruins' home court in the West Regional Final. During his seven-year career, English won more matches (124) and posted a higher winning percentage (59.0 percent) than any coach in UW volleyball history. English earned High Country Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors in 1987 and 1989 and was named West Region Co-Coach of the Year in `89. He ended his career with a 124-86 record at Wyoming and a 253-161 (.611) career record, including six years (1980-85) at the University of Missouri. On Dec. 12, 1993, the University of Wyoming, the Laramie community and the college volleyball world were stunned when English was seriously injured in an auto accident between Laramie and Fort Collins, Colo. He suffered a traumatic injury in the crash, which left him unable to return to coaching. On Aug. 16, 1995, Nancy English and the University of Wyoming Athletics Department announced the establishment of the Mike English Women's Volleyball Scholarship at the University of Wyoming, which is presented annually to a deserving volleyball student-athlete. English died on Nov. 20, 2000.

Wesley Maiyo
Hometown: Kapsabet, Kenya
Sport: Track
Years: 1974-75

Wesley Maiyo claimed the first NCAA track title in University of Wyoming history as he ran the 1,000 yard dash in a time of 2:08.01 in the 1974 national championships. The freshman from Kapsabet, Kenya, was the lone participant for the Cowboys in the Championships and made Wyoming proud by edging out Keith Francis of Boston College by three-tenths of a second in the finals. Not only did Maiyo win the title, he broke the school record, which he had set just a week before at the WAC Championships, by over a second and a half. The next season Maiyo continued to improve upon his performances in the 880 and 1,000 yard dash by setting Cowboy records in both events. Maiyo recorded a time of 1:50.3 in the 880 and a first place finish at the United States Track and Field Federation Championships on Feb. 15, earning him an All-American certificate for indoor track and field. Maiyo also claimed WAC titles in both events in 1975, tying the WAC mark in the 880 yard dash with a time of 1:52 and setting a new WAC and Wyoming record in the 1,000 yard dash with a time of 2:07.54. At the NCAA Championships, Maiyo finished second in the 1000 yard dash and 6th in the 880. Maiyo's performances helped earn the Cowboys a 20th-place team finish at the NCAA Championships. Maiyo continued his greatness on the track in the outdoor season setting records in the 800 meter and 1,500 meter dash over his two year career. Maiyo still holds the school record in the 800 meter dash for outdoor track with a time of 1:46.44 and will forever hold the record of the 1,000 yard run for indoor track with his time of 2:07.54 in the discontinued event.

Dr. Robert L. Mason
Hometown: Burns, Wyo.
Sport: Wrestling
Years: 1949-51

A high school football and basketball star, Bob Mason had never seen a wrestling match before he came to the University of Wyoming. After watching the sport and talking to wrestling coach Everett Lantz, he decided to join Wyoming's wrestling team. A native of Burns, Wyo., he won the conference championship in his first year of competition. Wyoming's first wrestling All America, Mason placed fourth in the nation at 155 pounds in 1950. He repeated that feat in 1951 to gain his second All America honor. In the Mountain States Conference, Mason won championships at 165 pounds in both 1949 and 1950 and, as team captain both years, led his team to conference titles in 1950 and 1951. The Cowboy wrestling team finished 12th nationally in 1950 and 13th nationally in 1951. Mason was a three-time letterwinner for the `Pokes and earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Wyoming. He went on to a distinguished career as a high school and college wrestling coach and official and earned a doctorate in Education from the University of Washington. He was inducted into the National Junior College Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 1980 and inducted posthumously into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2008. Mason died on March 18, 2000, at the age of 70.

Shauna Smith
Hometown: Sheridan, Wyo.
Sport: Track
Years: 2003-05

On June 11, 2005, Shauna Smith became the first woman in the history of the University of Wyoming to win an NCAA National Track and Field Championship as she won the 400-meter hurdles in a time of 54.32. The time set new Mountain West Conference and Wyoming outdoor records, which still stand today. Named the 2005 NCAA Women's Athlete of the Year for the Midwest Region by the United States Track Coaches Association, she also earned a spot on the 2005 US National Team and competed in the 2005 World Track and Field Championships. She was ranked as high as 5th in the world in the 400m hurdles in 2005. Competing in the 400m dash and as part of the 4 x 100 relay team as well as the 400m hurdles, she was a five-time All-American, a six-time MWC champion, and earned all-MWC honors fourteen times. She still holds the MWC and Wyoming records in the Indoor 400m dash, the Indoor 4 x 100 relay, and the Outdoor 400m hurdles. Individually or as part of a relay team, she holds six Wyoming records. At the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials, she placed sixth in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 54.42. Smith was also selected as the All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year by the National Strength and Conditioning Association in 2004. With her eighth-place finish at the USA Track and Field Championships in 2003, she became the first Cowgirl hurdler in UW history to earn All-American honors. A native of Sheridan, Wyo., she was named the 2002 MWC Freshman of the Year for both the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons. Following her college career, Smith competed internationally for a few years.

Scott Usher
Hometown: Grand Island, Neb.
Sport: Swimming
Years: 2002-05

The first Wyoming swimmer ever to compete in the Olympic games (2004), Scott Usher earned five All America honors (four first-team) over the course of his college career. He earned a trip to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens after placing second in the 200-meter breaststroke (2:10.90) at the US Olympic Team Trials on July 11, 2004, finishing second to a World Record swim by Texas' Brendan Hansen (2:09.04). He placed seventh in the finals of the 200-meter breaststroke at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. He swam a finals time of 2:11.95, the fifth fastest semi-final time of 2:12.00 and the ninth best preliminary time of 2:13.59. Usher still holds the Mountain West Conference record, the Wyoming record, the MWC Championships record and the Corbett Pool record in both the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke events. A six-time conference champion, Usher won 35 of the 36 dual meet breaststroke events he raced while at Wyoming and placed second once. In his freshman year, he won the 200 breaststroke and placed fifth in the 100 breaststroke at the 2002 MWC Championships. As a sophomore, he won both breaststroke events at the conference championships and placed sixth in the 200-yard breaststroke at the 2003 NCAA Championships with a time of 1:57.05. He was selected as an All-American for his finish. He also placed 15th in the 100-yard breaststroke in a time of 54.75, earning honorable mention All-American honors. In 2004, he was named MWC Swimmer of the Year after again winning both breaststroke events at the conference meet and was again a two-time All-American after placing third in the 100-meter breaststroke (59.01) and second in the 200-meter breaststroke (2:07.66) at the NCAA Championships. As a senior, he won the fourth 200-yard breaststroke title of his career at the 2005 MWC Championships, swimming to a time of 1:57.51. He placed second in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 54.33. He was awarded the MWC's Senior Recognition Award following the championships.Usher then earned the fourth first-team All-American and fifth overall honor of his career by placing fourth in the 200-yard breaststroke (1:55.33) at the 2005 NCAA Championships. Usher earned a spot on the 2005 U.S. World Championship team by placing second in the 200-meter breaststroke at the World Championship Trials, April 1-5, 2005 in Indianapolis, Ind., and participated in several national and international events. A four-time letterwinner at Wyoming, he also earned Mountain West Conference Swimmer of the Week honors three times during his career. He is one of two sons of Tom and Pam Usher, and graduated from high school in Grand Island, Neb.

Jim Walden
Hometown: Aberdeen, Miss.
Sport: Football
Years: 1958-59

Quarterback Jim Walden transferred to Wyoming from Itawamba (Miss.) Junior College prior to the 1958 season and immediately became a crowd favorite. Nicknamed the "Mississippi Gambler", Walden led the Cowboys to back-to-back Skyline Conference championships. Known for his "passing, running, punting and sparkling leadership", according to the 1960 Wyoming media guide, Walden was a dynamic player who could turn nothing into something. In 1958, Wyoming was 8-3 and won the Sun Bowl over Hardin-Simmons. Walden was second team all-conference and made several all-opponent teams. He led the Cowboys in passing with 491 yards and five touchdowns, and in punting with 20 punts for 801 yards (40.1 yard average). In 1959, the Cowboys finished with a 9-1 record. Walden earned Honorable Mention All America honors and was voted the player of the year in the Skyline Conference. He set a conference career record for average gain per play (6.57). He ranked 13th nationally and 1st in the conference in total offense with 1211 yards. He again led the Cowboys in passing with 882 yards and 11 touchdowns and in punting with 35 punts for 1291 yards (37.0 yard average). He also was second on the team in rushing with 329 yards and led the team in punt returns with ten returns for 86 yards. He ranked 2nd in the conference in passing and 5th in punting. He set Wyoming records for most touchdown passes (11) and average gain per play (7.0) in 1959. He was chosen to play in the Shrine East-West all-star game after the season, where he split quarterback duties with SMU's Don Meredith. Walden was drafted by the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League and by the Denver Broncos of the American Football League, but he elected to play for Vancouver of the Canadian Football League. He played three years in the CFL before starting his coaching career at the high school level in his native Mississippi. Former Wyoming coach Bob Devaney gave him his start in college coaching, hiring him as an assistant at Nebraska. He was then an assistant coach at Washington State before being named the head coach of the Cougars in 1978. He spent 9 years at Washington State and then 8 years as the head coach at Iowa State. He retired from Iowa State in 1994 and became a radio color commentator.

1986-87 Sweet 16 Men's Basketball Team

The 1986-87 Cowboy Basketball team captured the hearts of the Wyoming fans. Riding high from their NIT finals appearance the year before, the 1986-87 Cowboys were 24-10 overall, 11-5 in the conference. They had a chance to win a share of the regular season Western Athletic Conference title, but lost a heartbreaker at UTEP, 74-72, in the last game of the season and ended up tied for third place. The `Pokes then went on a magical run in the WAC tournament at the Pit in Albuquerque, winning three consecutive two-point thrillers. The Cowboys defeated Utah in the first round, 56-54, on a short jumper by junior guard Reggie Fox with three seconds left. Facing league champion UTEP in the semi-finals, the Cowboys needed a three-pointer from Fox with ten seconds left to win, 77-74. In the final round, the Cowboys were up against New Mexico on its home floor. This time, the Cowboys won 64-62 on two free throws from senior guard Sean Dent with 11 seconds left to capture the WAC Tournament championship and the NCAA automatic bid. Junior center Eric Leckner was named the MVP of the WAC Tournament (for the second year in a row) after scoring 67 points in the three games. The Cowboys were seeded 12th in the NCAA Tournament West Regional at Salt Lake City, and Wyoming fans flocked to neighboring Utah to cheer on their team. The Cowboys surprised 5th-seeded Virginia of the Atlantic Coast Conference, 64-60, behind Leckner's 22 points and junior swingman Fennis Dembo's 16 points and nine rebounds. In the next round, the Cowboys became everyone's "Cinderella" team by defeating UCLA and its star Reggie Miller, 78-68. Dembo became a household name by scoring 41 points, including a tournament record 16-16 from the free throw line. Advancing to the "Sweet 16" in Seattle, Wyoming faced eventual national runner-up UNLV and played well before losing, 92-78. For his efforts, Dembo was named first team all-conference, first team all-district VII, and the WAC player of the year. Leckner was also named first team all-conference and first team all-district VII. Dent set the Wyoming single-season assist record with 183 assists, while Dembo set the single-season record for three-point field goals with 78. With all five starters returning On the heels of the "Sweet 16" appearance, and with all five starters and ten lettermen returning, the Cowboys were ranked #10 in the 1987-88 pre-season polls and Dembo was featured on the cover of the Sports Illustrated college basketball preview issue.

Previous inductees by class:

Class of 1993:
Dick Ballinger, (wrestling, 1958-60); Fennis Dembo (men's basketball, 1985-88); Mike Dirks (football, 1965-67); Jerry Hill (football, 1958-60); Glenn J. "Red" Jacoby (athletic director, 1946-73); Jay Novacek (football and track, 1982-84); Kenny Sailors (men's basketball, 1941-46); Everett Shelton (men's basketball coach, 1939-59); Johnny Winterholler (football, baseball, and basketball, 1936-39); 1943 National Champion Basketball Team.

Class of 1994:
Paul Carlin (track, 1951-53); George "Duke" Humphrey (president, 1945-64); Everett Lantz (wrestling coach, 1937-65); Flynn Robinson (men's basketball, 1963-65); Mary Shea (volleyball, 1980-83); Bill Strannigan (men's basketball, 1941-42); Ken Sturman (football, 1937-39); Eddie Talboom (football, 1948-50) Bowden Wyatt (football coach, 1947-52); 1950 Gator Bowl football team.

Class of 1995:
Jack Aggers (trainer, 1958-84)); Jim Crawford (football, 1954-56); John Corbett (administration, 1915-39); Bob Devaney (football coach, 1957-61); John Kosich (football, baseball, 1946-49); Dewey McConnell (football, 1949-51); Pat Miller-Davis (track and field, 1980-82).

Class of 1996:
Larry Birleffi (broadcaster, 1947-86); Charles W. "Tub" Bradley (basketball, 1979-81); Glenn R. "Bud" Daniel (baseball coach, 1951-61, 1963-71); Michele Hoppes Daum (basketball, 1984-87); Jim Kiick (football, 1965-67); Mark Miller (swimming, 1985-88); Milward L. Simpson (football, basketball and baseball, 1917-21)

Class of 1997:
Joe Alexander (rodeo, 1968-69); Keith Bloom (basketball, football, baseball, 1947-50); Stig Hallingbye (skiing, 1974-77); Ronda K. Munger (volleyball, 1984-87); Joseph Nzau (track and field, 1977-82); 1967 Sugar Bowl Football Team.

Class of 1998:
Curt Gowdy (broadcaster, basketball, tennis, 1940-42); Eric Leckner (basketball, 1985-88); Bob Jingling (baseball, 1952-55); Kathleen Van Heule Romsa (track and field, 1983-85); Joe Mastrogiovanni (football, baseball, 1953-55)

Class of 1999:
Darcy Cudaback-White (volleyball, 1986-89); Paul Roach (football coach, 1987-90); Paul Toscano (football, 1965-67); John Pilch (basketball, 1947-49); Galand Thaxton (football, 1984-87); Tony Windis (basketball, 1957-59).

Class 2000:
Jim Brandenburg (basketball coach, 1978-87); Amy Burnett (basketball, 1992-95); Bill Ewing (baseball, 1974-76); Lee Kizzire (football, 1934-36); Larry Nels (football, 1967-69); Curtis and Marian Rochelle (special achievement).

Class of 2001:
Nick Bebout (football, 1970-72); Joe Capua (basketball, 1954-56); Ken Cook (special achievement); Mickey Dunn (track and field, 1949-51); Bill Garnett (basketball, 1979-82); Jean Jackson (administration), 1956 Football Team.

Class of 2002:
Greg Brock (baseball, 1976-79); Mitch Donahue (football, 1987-90); Christine Fairless (basketball, 1986-89); Margie McDonald (basketball coach, 1975-83); George "Moe" Radovich (basketball, 1950-52); Reginald Slater (basketball, 1989-92).

Class of 2003:
Ken Fantetti (football, 1975-78); Norma Hughes Scifres (swimming, 1990-92, 1994); Willard A. "Dutch" Witte (basketball and football coach, 1930-39); John Wodny (cross country/track, 1986-90); Ryan Yarborough (football, 1990-93); Bill Young (Sports Information Director, Assistant Athletics Director, 1960-81); 1959-60 Wrestling Team.

Class of 2004:
Reese Andy (wrestling, 1994-96); Leon Clark (basketball, 1963-66); Marcus Harris (football, 1993-96); Bill Levine (football, 1961, 1963-64); Jimmi Jo Martin Ripsam (rodeo, 1988-90); Pat Rabold (football, 1984, 1986-88).

Class of 2005:
Ryan Butler (track and field, 1995-96); Phil Dickens (football coach, 1953-56); Joe Dowler (wrestling coach, administrator, 1973-87); Ann Melander (skiing, 1984-85); Theo Ratliff (basketball, 1992-95); Vic Washington (football, 1965-67); 1989 Cowgirl Volleyball Team.

Class of 2006:
Ryan Christopherson (football, 1991-94); Jerry DePoyster (football, 1965-67); Stan Dodds (basketball, 1968-70); Robert S. "Bob" Hammond (sportswriter); Milo Komenich (basketball, 1940-43); Stacey Ward Straley (skiing, 1979-84); 1956 Cowboy Baseball Team.

Class of 2007:
Brenda Graham Gray (track & field, 1980-84); Elsie Jo Bonger (football secretary, 1962-78); Jerry Jester (football, 1953-55); Dave McCleave (golf, 1989-92); Dick Sherman (basketball, 1963-66); Randy Welniak (football, 1985-88); 1968 National Champion Ski Team.

Class of 2008:
Thomas "Rupe" Garrison (track, 1987-91); Walker "Sonny" Jones, Jr. (football, 1948-49); Geir I. Kvernmo (skiing and track, 1977-80); Brian J. Lee (football, 1994-97); Dave Myers (wrestling, 1989-92); Steve Scifres (football, 1994-97); 1978-79 Women's Basketball team.

Class of 2009:
Jesseca Cross (basketball and track, 1994-97); Sean Fleming (football, 1988-92); Quincy Hayden Howe (track, 1999-2002); Gene Huey (football, 1966-68); Mike Jackson (basketball, 1980-83); Al and Pete Simpson (special achievement); 1961 Rodeo Team.

Class of 2010:
Staale Engen (track & field, skiing 1971-74); Jerry Frude (wrestling, 1959-60, 62); Steinar Hybertsen (skiing, 1973-75); Bob Jacobs (football, 1968-70); Chuck Lamson (football, 1960-62); Karen Sanford Gall (track & field, 1979-82); 1966 Football Team.