Eight individuals and one high school team were honored at the Sports Corp’s annual Hall of Fame dinner on Tuesday, October 30th. Mayor Steve Bach, speaking to a crowd of over 700 guests, welcomed everyone to dinner and praised the great sports events in the City like the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and the Olympic Watch Party. Please join the Mayor and his wife Suzi in congratulating everyone honored this year.
The Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2012
One of the best high school wrestlers in Colorado history, he won two state championships at Cheyenne Mountain High in 1979 and 1981, compiling an 85-2 record over three varsity seasons. He joined the powerful NCAA program at the University of Iowa in 1982 and won four straight Big Ten titles, recorded three NCAA second-place finishes, and won the 1986 NCAA championship at 190 pounds for the Hawkeyes, who also won four NCAA team crowns with legendary head coach Dan Gable. His senior campaign included a 36-0 record, and his combined prep and collegiate record was 217-12. He has been the head coach at Indiana for twenty seasons, taking his Hoosier teams to the NCAA Championships 19 times. His IU wrestlers have won three NCAA individual titles, earned 25 All-American honors, and recorded significant academic achievement. He’s been inducted into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame and the University of Iowa Athletic Hall of Fame.
Born in Colorado Springs, Helton went to Simla High School, played 8-man football, and became one of college and pro football’s greatest punters. At the University of Colorado, he averaged 44.9 yards per punt over four varsity seasons, and was a consensus All-American for the Buffs in 1985 and 1986. He was named to the Big Eight’s All-Decade team for the years 1980-1989. His seven punts for a 45.0 average helped the Buffs to a signature 20-10 win over Nebraska in Boulder in 1986 that helped launch one of the great periods of CU football under coach Bill McCartney. Helton was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth round of the 1988 NFL draft, and went on to win Super Bowl rings with the team in wins over Cincinnati and Denver in 1988 and 1989. He finished his NFL career with the Los Angeles Rams, and is now a successful Colorado Springs auto dealer. He was inducted into the Colorado High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996.
The international sports leader moved the National Junior College Athletic Association offices to Colorado Springs in 1986 to become part of the city’s sports family. Killian has been the President of FIBA, the international governing body of basketball, from 1990-1998, a member of the United States Olympic Committee’s Board of Directors from 1967-2004, and a Member of the International Olympic Committee, 1996-1998. The former basketball coach and administrator is one of the most well known and respected figures in sport, earning the IOC’s Olympic Order (1996) and the USOC’s Olympic Torch Award in 2010. Killian served as the President of the International University Sports Federation for more than a decade, and was a key figure in the dramatic growth and popularity of the World University Games around the world. He was the first executive director of the NJCAA in 1969 through his retirement in 2004 and served as the organization’s President, 1967-1969.
The legendary Oklahoma native has lived in Colorado Springs for more than four decades, and is one of the nation’s most respected figures in collegiate and international wrestling. He was a three-time All-American and NCAA Champion at the University of Oklahoma. He was also a member of three U.S. Olympic teams and is the only individual to win national championships in all four styles of wrestling, collegiate, freestyle, Greco-Roman and Sombo. Baughman was the head coach for the 1976 U.S. Olympic Team at the Games in Montreal, and assistant and head coach at the U.S. Air Force Academy for 27 years as well as an Associate Professor. He was a charter member of the USOC’s Athletes Advisory Council, and a member of the USOC Board of Directors from 1976-1980, through the controversial United States boycott of the Moscow Games. He found time aside from wrestling and administration to become a world-class mountain climber, ultra-marathoner and triathlete. He has been inducted into the Helms Wrestling Hall of Fame and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
She grew up in Colorado Springs, attended Cheyenne Mountain High and graduated with honors from The Colorado College in 1970. Krall, trained at the prestigious Broadmoor Skating Club, was an Olympic figure skater in 1964 for the United States in Innsbruck, finishing seventh in the Ladies event, and has been a successful skating coach and administrator for years. She was a team leader for the USA skating delegation at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, a coach for Team Canada in Vancouver in 2010, and a coach representing the world famous Broadmoor Skating Club for more than a quarter century. She has coached top skaters including world champion Patrick Chan, and several younger skaters with tremendous promise for the future at the Colorado Springs World Arena. She served U.S. Figure Skating as its Senior Director of Athlete programs from 1996-2002, and was a 2008 and 2011 U.S. Professional Skater’s Association Sports Science Award winner.
Cheyenne Mountain High School Girls Tennis Teams
The Girls tennis teams at Cheyenne Mountain High have established a true dynasty that is among the most significant in state history. The teams have won 16 state prep championships since 1986, and looks for another this month after winning the last three 4A crowns. The 1986 team ended Cherry Creek’s long string of titles, led by singles star Joanne Varnum, who went on to play at the University of Arkansas. Her sister, Becky, became the first state tennis player to win four straight singles titles (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997) in the #1 spot and never lost a match, finishing at 68-0 for the team. She went on to play at Notre Dame, where she chalked up a 92-66 mark in singles play and 105-52 in doubles, becoming an All-American. She was inducted into the Colorado Tennis Hall of Fame in 2009. The coaches who have sustained the incredible string of success are Dave Adams, Martha Bartz, Jackie Jones, and Bob Scott.
Special Award Winners
Frank Aires – Col. F. Don Miller Award
The retired, decorated and beloved Air Force officer served in World War II, Korea, and Viet Nam, but he spent two decades as a dedicated staffer and volunteer with the United States Olympic Committee, the Air Force Academy, and USA Basketball. At the USOC, he dedicated himself to American athletes and their preparations for Olympic and Pan American Games and many more events. He was a logistics specialist and operations genius, coordinating everything from shipments of equipment to the amazing system of outfitting USA athletes with clothing, luggage and amenities for the Games, from Los Angeles in 1984 through Athens in 2004. He served on Press Row for hundreds of Air Force football and basketball games, and he was always the most familiar figure to the scores of media covering Falcon games. He loved USA Basketball and his association as a volunteer with its Olympic Teams, Pan Am Teams, and others like most of the U.S. Olympic Festivals. The award is fitting, because he was first hired at the USOC by the man for whom the tribute is named.
Phil Johnson – Col. F. Don Miller Award
Johnson has been a coaching legend in Colorado Springs and teacher for more than three decades. He guided the Doherty High School girls team to consecutive 23-2 records and a pair of appearances in the state championship game in 2001 and 2002, losing to Highlands Ranch on both occasions. He coached successful boys and girls middle school teams in the Colorado Springs area and mentored young players for years. He now conducts as many as 500 lessons a year for girls and boys with hoop dreams. Johnson spent eight years coaching competitive traveling club teams and was an assistant women’s coach at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. While he was learning his craft, he attended coaching clinics conducted by such legends as John Wooden, Bobby Knight, Al McGuire, Dean Smith, George Raveling, Hubie Brown and Larry Brown. While Johnson’s coaching experience is centered on basketball, he grew up as a baseball player. He won the state championship game as a pitcher for Palmer High School in 1965. That success led to a college career at Mesa Junior College and Colorado State. He signed with the San Francisco Giants organization and played two seasons of minor league baseball in Great Falls and Fresno. Johnson and his wife Debra have three children and two grandchildren. Both of their daughters, Val and Jacque, played on state championship teams at Doherty. Jacque went on to play at Colorado State, while Val played at the University of Colorado.
Tom James – Thayer Tutt Sportsman Award
The respected and successful Colorado Springs attorney has been one of the city’s unsung heroes in the family of amateur sports for over two decades. He served the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation as its President and as a Board Member, and was a dedicated supporter of Sports Corp activities and its mission. In addition, he served as counsel to a number of the USOC’s National Governing Bodies, in the critical areas of organizational formation, sponsorship and television contracts, protection and licensing of intellectual property and grievances and complaints filed under NGB bylaws. His advice and counsel has been invaluable to the Olympic family that calls Colorado Springs home. Tom has devoted countless hours and his time to a multitude of a variety of state, regional and Colorado Springs nonprofit organizations that serve education, sports, business, health and human services as a board member.