June 23, 2011
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming will be well represented when the Wyoming Sports Hall of Fame inducts its 2011 class on Saturday, June 25 in Casper, Wyo. The Wyoming Sports Hall of Fame was begun in 2000 when it inducted its first class. It is separate from the University of Wyoming Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame, which began in 1993.
The Wyoming Sports Hall of Fame, (WSHOF) honors athletes, coaches, fans and members of the sports media who have made an impact on their sport in Wyoming. These individuals are not required to have attended the University of Wyoming, nor must they be from the Cowboy State originally.
The Wyoming Sports Hall of Fame is run entirely by volunteers and relies upon sponsorships and donations to continue the wonderful tradition of celebrating the best of the best in sport. Plaques for each inductee are currently displayed at the Casper Events Center.
Among this year's inductees will be former UW football player Chris Prosinski, who is being honored as Athlete of the Year. The lifetime achievement award is being presented to current UW Senior Associate Athletics Director Kevin McKinney. Former UW athletes and siblings Megan McGuffey (women's basketball) and Ryan McGuffey (football) are being inducted along with their brother Corte McGuffey (football at Riverton High School and at the University of Northern Colorado).
Being inducted posthumously are the eight UW cross country athletes who died in a tragic car accident on Sept. 16, 2001. The eight -- Cody Brown, Kyle Johnson, Joshua Jones, Justin Lambert-Belanger, Morgan McLeland, Kevin Salverson, Nick Schabron and Shane Shatto -- will be inducted along with their former UW cross country coach Jim Sanchez and the members of the UW cross country and track team who finished that 2001 season.
The other inductees into the 2011 Wyoming Sports Hall of Fame class will include: UW graduate and Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss and longtime girls softball coach Ray Sanchez.
This year's enshrinement ceremony will take place at the Parkway Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Casper. The night's events will begin at 5 p.m. with a social hour, including a silent auction. Dinner and the evening's program will begin at 6:30 p.m.
In the early morning hours of Sept. 16, 2001, eight male members of the University of Wyoming cross country team were killed in a head-on collision on U.S. Highway 287, about 17 miles south of Laramie.
Those killed were: Nicholas J. Schabron of Laramie, Justin Lambert-Belanger of Timmons, Ontario, Canada, Kyle N. Johnson of Riverton, Kevin L. Salverson of Cheyenne, Shane E. Shatto of Douglas, Joshua D. Jones of Laramie, Morgan McLeland of Gillette and Cody B. Brown of Hudson, Colo.
A month after the tragedy, the team, coached by Jim Sanchez, returned to action with the remaining runners from the cross country team and volunteers from the track team.
A memorial to the eight is located on the south side of War Memorial Fieldhouse and the UW track is named the Louis S. Madrid Sports Complex and Memorial 8 Track.
Athlete of the Year: Chris Prosinski
The Buffalo High graduate was a four-year letterman for the University of Wyoming football team, and ended his career in 2010 ranked No. 4 in school history in career tackles with 373.
Prosinski was a Second Team All-Mountain West Conference pick as a junior and senior, and as a senior ranked No. 3 in the conference and No. 37 nationally in tackles, averaging 9.0 per game. He finished the season with a team-best 108 tackles, which marked the second straight season he recorded 100 or more tackles.
Prosinski was a team captain his senior year, and was honored with the Coach Paul Roach Team MVP Award after the season. He also was a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation's William V. Campbell Trophy, also known as the "Academic Heisman." To qualify for nomination, a student-athlete must be in their final year of eligibility and have a 3.2 cumulative grade point average or higher on a 4.0 scale. Along with their football abilities, nominees also must have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.
In the 2011 NFL Draft, Prosinski was selected in the fourth round by the Jacksonville Jaguars, making him the 121st overall selection in the draft.
Lifetime Achievement: Kevin McKinney
A Cheyenne native and graduate of Cheyenne East, McKinney earned a degree in journalism from the University of Wyoming in 1971. In 1972 McKinney was hired by the university as an assistant sports information director, and earned the head job in 1975. McKinney held that title until 2007 when he was promoted to Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs, a title he still holds today.
McKinney has also been the color commentator for Wyoming football and men's basketball radio broadcasts for the last 34 years.
Among the honors McKinney has received in his career include the Sigma Delta Chi Excellence in Journalism Award, the Frank Norris Jr., Distinguished Service to Journalism Awards, several press box excellence awards from the College Sports Information Directors of America and three press box citations of excellence from the Football Writers Association of America.
There may never be a better trio of siblings to have displayed their skills in the Cowboy State.
All three played college athletics, including Ryan (football) and Megan (basketball) at the University of Wyoming.
Ryan graduated from Riverton High where he was a three-sport star. He lettered four years as a receiver for Wyoming and finished with 231 catches for 2,679 yards and 13 touchdowns. He ranks fourth in school history in career receptions, fifth in yards and eighth in touchdowns.
Ryan was a two-time team captain, and the first sophomore in school history to be voted a captain. In 2001 he was a First Team All-Mountain West Conference selection, and a Second Team Freshman All-American by The Sporting News.
The McGuffeys moved to Cheyenne and Megan graduated from Cheyenne East where she helped the Lady Thunderbirds win back-to-back state volleyball championships, and consecutive state runner-up finishes in basketball. She won letters all four years in both sports.
Megan earned a basketball scholarship at Wyoming, and finished her career ranked in the top 20 in 10 different statistical categories.
She was the Mountain West Conference Newcomer of the Year in 2005-06, a four-year letter winner and a member of two WNIT squads, including playing on Wyoming's 2007 WNIT National Championship team. The following season, she was part of Wyoming's first-ever NCAA Tournament team. Megan scored 1,030 career points and played in 125 games.
Corte was the oldest and after graduating from Riverton High, where he won 12 varsity letters in football, basketball and track, he played quarterback at then NCAA Division II Northern Colorado. Corte was 35-5 as a starter and led the Bears to the 1997 Division II National Championship as they defeated New Haven 51-0 in the title game.
Corte was a two-time Division II All-American and the 1999 Harlon Hill Trophy winner, which is the Division II equivalent to the Heisman Trophy. Corte played professionally for two years, and his jersey, #12, was the first to be retired at Northern Colorado.
The Kemmerer High graduate went from a small-town to the big-time as one of the most successful owners of one of the most well-known professional sports franchises in the world.
Buss bought the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers in 1979 and since then have won 10 NBA championships, including the last two. Some of the NBA's greatest players have been a part of Buss-owned teams, such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Shaquille O'Neill and Kobe Bryant.
Buss graduated from the University of Wyoming in 2½ years, and later earned a M.S. and PhD in chemistry from the University of Southern California.
He started as a chemist for what is now known as the Mine Safety and Heath Administration), and also briefly worked in the aerospace industry and in USC's chemistry department. Buss then got into real estate, and soon began to purchase sports teams. At one time he owned tennis, volleyball and soccer teams.
Under his leadership, the Lakers have won 66 percent of their games, and have made 15 NBA Finals appearances. Buss purchased the Lakers for $67 million, and it is estimated to be worth approximately $600 million today.
Buss was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
Buss also is an accomplished poker player, and finished second in the 2003 World Poker Tour Freeroll Invitational, and third in the 1991 World Series of Poker.
Arguably the most accomplished women's softball coach in state history. Sanchez began coaching in the early 1950s, and his first team was the Worland Squaws. In the early 1960s he coached the Worland Monarchs, and he did so for the next 40 years. Known as "Sanch" by most who knew him, Sanchez won more than 900 games and won 15 state championships. From 1968-77 the Monarchs were 245-59, and the 1972 team went 39-0.
Sanchez, who was born in Casper, retired from coaching in 2002, but still offered his guidance and knowledge to anyone who asked or would listen. It is estimated Sanchez coaches hundreds of young women over his career, and can still be seen at games in the summer time.
Much of this information was provided courtesy of the Wyoming Sports Hall of Fame.