2009 Inductees For USC Athletic Hall Of Fame Inductees Announced
Oct. 11, 2008
Twenty-two Trojan luminaries have been selected to the ninth class of USC's Athletic Hall of Fame and they will be honored at a gala black tie induction dinner on May 9, 2009, at USC's Galen Center.
Alphabetically, the 2009 inductees are: John Abdun-Nur, Rink Babka, Pete Beathard, Julie Bescos, Rex Cawley, Al Centofante, Al Cowlings, Bob Falkenburg, Sherman Finger, Tim Hovland, Lennox Miller, Bernice Orwig, Rodney Peete, John Robinson, Richard Saukko, Junior Seau, Mike Walden, Dave Wharton, Gus Williams, Wally Wolf, Stan Wood and Hank Workman.
Abdun-Nur, Centofante, Miller, Saukko, Wolf and Wood will be inducted posthumously. Abdun-Nur, Bescos and Centofante will receive a Spirit Award. Walden will be honored for his contributions as a sports broadcaster.
"This is an outstanding group of Trojan greats who have played an important role in USC's athletic history," said USC athletic director Mike Garrett, who was a member of the 1994 charter class. "They'll join our first eight classes of Hall of Famers to form a real Who's Who in USC sports. The first eight induction dinners were very memorable and I'm sure the 2009 dinner will be just as special." Tickets to the induction dinner are available by calling the USC Athletic Department at (213) 740-4155.
The Hall of Famers are selected by a 75-member panel consisting of media and USC alumni and athletic department supporters. To be eligible for election, athletes generally must have completed their last season of eligibility at USC 10 years ago.
BIOGRAPHIES OF 2009 USC ATHLETIC HALL OF FAMERS
ABDUN-NUR: Dr. John Abdun-Nur, a San Fernando Valley doctor for more than 40 years, was one of the USC athletic department's staunchest supporters with both his talent and resources. Not only was he a generous financial contributor to Trojan athletics (for instance, he endowed the USC Team Physician position), but his lifelong commitment to working with injured young athletes led him to become a USC team doctor in the 1970s and 1980s. He and his family-his wife of 58 years, Margaret, and his 5 children-were active and longtime participants in USC's Swim With Mike, a scholarship program that benefits physically challenged athletes. An avid sportsman, he was especially involved with Troy's golf program, serving on the USC Golf Coaches Council. He also was president of Salerni Collegium (a support organization for USC's School of Medicine) and of the USC Medical Alumni Association. He received the USC Alumni Service Award in 1993 for his outstanding volunteer efforts. A graduate of USC and then, after a stint in the Navy, its medical school, he became a general practitioner (it is estimated he delivered 4,500 babies). He served as the Chief of Staff at Encino Hospital, West Valley Hospital and Tarzana Hospital. He died on Jan. 31, 2008, at age 82.
BABKA: Rink Babka, one of the greatest discus throwers in USC history, was among the first throwers to break the 200-foot mark. The 3-year (1956-58) letterman co-captained USC's 1958 NCAA championship team and was the NCAA co-champ in the discus as a senior. His best Trojan throw of 198-10 still ranks fifth in USC history. A fine athlete, he planned to also play football and basketball at USC before suffering knee injuries. A world and American record holder in the discus throw with a career best of 217-4, he was ranked in the world's Top 10 for 12 consecutive years, including No. 1 in 1958. He won a silver medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics. He helped found the International Track Association (the sport's first pro group). After working in the electronics and computer fields, he became a business entrepreneur-including owning a successful beverage distributorship in Stockton, Calif., where he also raised quarter horses and cattle-and now is a management consultant. He also is active in community affairs.
BEATHARD: Pete Beathard quarterbacked USC to the 1962 national championship. The 3-year (1961-63) letterwinner was a part-time starter as a 1961 sophomore (he earned All-Conference honors), then started as a junior (again earning All-League notice) and senior (when he was team captain). He was named Co-MVP of the 1963 Rose Bowl, throwing 4 touchdown passes as USC outlasted Wisconsin, and was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 1996. USC's passing and total offense leader in both 1962 and 1963, he still ranks on the school's career Top 20 lists in those categories. After his senior season, he played in the East-West Shrine Game, Hula Bowl and College All-Star Game, then was a first round draft choice in 1964 by the NFL's Lions and AFL's Chiefs. He spent 11 years in the pros with the Chiefs (playing in Super Bowl I), Oilers, Cardinals and Rams, plus the WFL's Portland Storm. He then worked in private business, including real estate development in Houston, Tex.
BESCOS: Julius "Julie" Bescos was one of USC's earliest 3-sport stars, earning 8 letters in football (1932-34), basketball (1932-34) and baseball (1932 and 1934). An end in football, he was a member of the undefeated 1932 national championship team and captained the 1934 Trojans. As a basketball guard, he was the team's MVP in 1934 and twice (1932 and 1934) earned All-Pacific Coast Conference Southern Division honors (the Trojans won the Southern Division all 3 years he played). He played outfield on the baseball diamond (USC won its league in 1932). He was also a skilled javelin thrower and golfer, but didn't have time to compete in those sports at USC. After his playing career, he joined the USC coaching staff in 1935, working with the freshmen and junior varsity football, basketball and baseball squads. He assisted with the varsity footballers in 1940 and 1941. He even was the Trojan head men's basketball coach in 1942, going 12-8 and finishing second in the league. He then worked in sales with a local seafood canner and also ranked among the nation's top amateur golfers. He served as president of the California and Southern California Golf Association.
CAWLEY: Rex Cawley ranks not only as one of USC's premier intermediate hurdlers, but as one of its greatest tracksters ever. He was the NCAA 400-yard intermediate hurdles champ in 1963 (the school's first in the event) and his 49.6 time at that meet is still a USC record. The 3-year (1961-63) letterman and 1963 captain was a member of Troy's 1961 and 1963 NCAA championship teams (USC won the conference title in all 3 of his seasons). He then went on to win a gold medal in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics after setting a world record at the U.S. Olympic Trials that year (49.1). He also was the AAU champion in his specialty in 1963 and 1965. For 7 consecutive years (1959-65), he was ranked in the world's Top 10 in his event, including No. 1 in 1963 and 1964. He was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2006. After his running days, he was involved in the pharmaceutical, medical equipment and electronics industries, then became a travel agent.
CENTOFANTE: Businessman Al Centofante never said `No' when asked to provide support for his beloved USC or its athletic program. The 1952 graduate of USC's business school founded Astrophysics Corp., the world's most successful maker of X-ray security equipment. That allowed him to be generous in his philanthropy to the most important things in his life, which-beyond his family-were education, USC, athletics and Los Angeles. At USC, he endowed the outside linebacker position, provided a yearly challenge grant to Swim With Mike (a scholarship program that benefits physically challenged athletes) and was a life member of the Scholarship Club and Cardinal and Gold (along with his wife of 50 years, Mary). He also was a presidential member of USC Associates and served on its board. Upon his death in 2000, his 5 children-all USC graduates-each donated $1 million in his name toward the construction of the Galen Center (at the time, it was the largest gift ever received by the USC athletic department). He also was a major donor to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles' education foundation and its new downtown Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
COWLINGS: Al Cowlings, a tackle on USC's famous "Wild Bunch" 1969 defensive line, earned All-American and All-Conference first team honors as a senior in 1969. The 2-year (1968-69) letterman-a transfer from City College of San Francisco-helped USC win 2 Pac-8 championships and earn a pair of Rose Bowl berths while posting a 19-1-2 record. Opponents averaged just 2.3 yards per carry against the 1969 Trojan defense. A first-round NFL draft pick in 1970, he played 9 years with the Bills, Oilers, Rams, Seahawks and 49ers. After his playing career, he became a businessman and actor.
FALKENBURG: Bob Falkenburg, noted for his powerful serve, won the 1946 NCAA singles and doubles tennis titles. He teamed with his brother, Tom, to capture that NCAA doubles final. He also claimed the 1947 doubles (with Jack Kramer) and 1948 singles championships at Wimbledon, as well as the 1944 U.S. Open doubles crown. He then became a Brazilian citizen (playing some Davis Cup matches for that country), where he started a successful food and restaurant business. He now is an importer/exporter in California. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1974 and the College Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985.
FINGER: Sherman Finger was USC's first-ever 3-time All-American first team golfer when he was so honored from 1964 to 1966. During that time, he also was the first golfer to capture 3 consecutive conference individual titles as he helped the Trojans win the league crown each year. He then became a teaching pro locally at Westlake Village Golf Club for 4 years (1969-72) and played briefly on the PGA Tour. He next headed home to Illinois, where he first was an assistant pro at North Shore Country Club in 1973, then was the head pro at two of Chicago's most prestigious golf addresses: Shoreacres Golf Course (1974-79) and Knollwood Country Club (1979-2005). He served the Illinois PGA Section throughout his career, culminating as its president in 1987-88. He now teaches at Lake Bluff Golf Course.
HOVLAND: Tim Hovland was one of the finest volleyball players not only in Trojan history, but on the beach. A 3-time (1979-80) All-American first teamer and 4-year (1978-81) letterman, he led USC to the 1980 NCAA crown and runner-up finishes in 1979 and 1981 (earning NCAA All-Tournament honors each year). In 2000, he was named to Volleyball magazine's All-Century first team. After USC, he played with the U.S. National team, then became one of beach volleyball's winningest players, as well as one of the most popular and recognizable figures in the sport's history. "The Hov"-known for his fiery, vocal play-won 60 beach tourneys and $1 million before retiring in 2000. He now sells real estate in the South Bay and has done television commentary.
MILLER: Lennox Miller was one of the speediest Trojans ever. The 3-year (1967-69) letterman was a member of USC NCAA championship tack and field teams in 1967 and 1968, and accounted for 47 points in his 3 NCAA meets, the third highest total ever by a Trojan. He won the NCAA 100-meter dash in 1968 (10.1) and was the NCAA runner-up in the 100-yard version of the event in 1967 and 1969. The 1969 USC captain also scored in the 200 at the NCAAs, placing second twice and fourth once. He ran the anchor leg on the still-standing world record-setting 1967 NCAA champion 440-yard relay team (38.6), and he also was part of the 1968 winning NCAA quartet and 1969 runner-up. His 9.2 time in the 100-yard dash in 1967 is still a USC co-record, while his 10.04 in the 100 meters in 1968 set a school mark (and is still the second fastest time in school history). His best of 20.3 for 200 yards in 1969 was a school standard (and is just .1 off the existing USC record). He won a pair of Olympic medals in the 100 while competing for Jamaica, getting a silver in 1968 and a bronze in 1972. He set the world record in the indoor 100-yard dash in 1969. He was ranked in the world's Top 10 in the 100 for 7 years and in the 200 meters twice. His daughter, Inger, was a star sprinter at USC before winning a gold medal in the 400-meter relay at the 1996 Olympics (the first father and daughter to win Olympic track medals). The USC Dental School graduate was a Pasadena dentist for 30 years. He died in 2004 at age 58.
ORWIG: Bernice Orwig, who led the USC women's water polo team to its first-ever national championship in 1999, is the greatest goalie in Women of Troy history. She also was the program's first winner of the Peter J. Cutino Award (the Heisman Trophy of water polo), winning it in 1999 when she was also honored as National Player of the Year. A 3-time (1997-99) USC MVP and 2-time (1997 and 1999) Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Year, she was named the MVP at the 1999 national collegiate tournament. After USC, she was a member of the 2000 USA Olympic team that won a silver medal in Sydney. She then became an assistant coach, serving at USC, California, Michigan, Golden West College and with the USA women's Olympic team that won silver in Beijing in 2008.
PEETE: Rodney Peete was the most elusive quarterback in USC annals, able to hurt opponents with his arm and his legs. As a senior team captain in 1988, he was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy and won both the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (as the nation's top senior quarterback) and the Pop Warner Award (as the most valuable senior on the West Coast) while earning All-American first team honors. He also was the 1988 Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year while completing 62.1% of his passes for 2,812 yards and 18 TDs. The 4-year (1985-88) letterman and 2-time (1987-88) team MVP-a starter since late in his redshirt freshman campaign-set 17 USC career, season and game records in passing and total offense. He ended his career third on the Pac-10 career passing (8,225) and total offense (8,640) yardage charts, and currently ranks fourth on USC's all-time passing chart (and third in total offense). He threw 54 touchdowns in his career, and rushed for 415 yards and 12 scores. He also started in the infield on the USC baseball team for 3 years (1985, 1987-88), posting a .297 career batting average with 18 home runs and 84 RBI. He made the All-Pac-10 first team in 1988 as a third baseman. After USC, he played 16 years in the NFL with the Lions, Cowboys, Eagles, Redskins, Raiders and Panthers. He then became a TV sports talk show host.
ROBINSON: One of USC's most popular and successful football coaches, John Robinson guided the Trojans to the 1978 national championship and into 8 bowl games. He won 74.1% of his games while compiling a 104-35-4 record during 2 coaching stints spread over 12 years at Troy (1976-82 and 1993-97), recording more victories than any USC gridiron coach except John McKay and Howard Jones. He produced 24 All-American first teamers, 22 NFL first rounders, 2 Heisman Trophy winners and a Lombardi Award winner at USC. He was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 2004, based on his 5-0 record in the Pasadena classic. He twice was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year (1976 and 1978). After spending 12 years (1960-71) as an assistant at Oregon, his alma mater, he became a Trojan assistant for 3 seasons (1972-74) as Troy won a pair of national crowns. He also served as the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams (1983-91), twice advancing to the NFC title game, and at UNLV (1999-2004), and was an assistant with the Oakland Raiders in 1975. He currently does analysis on college football national radio broadcasts.
SAUKKO: Richard Saukko earned distinction as the Trojan warrior riding USC mascot Traveler at Trojan football games in the Coliseum for 28 years (1961-88). Whenever USC scored, the band would play "Conquest" and Saukko would gallop Traveler around the stadium. He owned and trained the famous white horse and crafted the Trojan outfit he wore, which was modeled after the garb worn by Charlton Heston in the movie "Ben-Hur." He was discovered by USC in 1961 when he was riding a horse in the Rose Parade, an event in which he often participated. When not astride Traveler, he was a paint company executive. He died in 1992 at the age of 72.
SEAU : Junior Seau was one of the most exciting and dominant linebackers in USC-and pro football-history. The 2-year (1988-89) letterman earned All-American first team and Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year laurels in 1989. USC went 19-4-1 in his career and appeared in 2 Rose Bowls. He made 107 tackles as a Trojan, including 33 for a loss (with 27 of those coming in 1989). He helped popularize the No. 55 jersey now worn often by USC's top linebacker. Bypassing his senior season at USC, he was the fifth pick of the 1990 NFL draft and played 18 years with the Chargers, Dolphins and Patriots before retiring after the 2007 season. He played in 12 Pro Bowls and appeared in Super Bowls XXIX and XLII. He now is a restaurant owner.
WALDEN: Mike Walden was the voice of the Trojans from 1966 to 1972, handling USC football and basketball play-by-play duties in his distinctive style (and his even-more-distinctive wardrobe!). During that time, the Trojan footballers appeared in 5 Rose Bowls and won a pair of national championships (1967 and 1972), while the 1971 hoopsters posted a 24-2 record. A member of the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame, he began his broadcasting career in his hometown of Springfield, Ill., then after 2 years of service in the Air Force he did the play-by-play of his alma mater, Illinois. Next, he moved to Milwaukee to call Wisconsin, Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Braves games before coming to the West Coast to announce Trojan athletics. After his USC stint, Walden moved across town and called UCLA sports for 18 years (1973-90), becoming the first person in history to serve as the broadcast voice of both universities. The winner of numerous Golden Mike Awards, he also did daily local sports reports on KNX and KFI radio and KTLA-TV, as well as handling play-by-play in cable television's infancy for ON-TV and Prime Ticket (where he again called many USC events). And he earned a cult following with his on-camera appearances on the quirky "Super Dave" TV shows.
WHARTON: Dave Wharton was one of USC's most decorated swimmers. He won 7 NCAA individual titles (in the 200-yard and 400-yard individual medleys in 1988-89-90, plus the 400 IM in 1991), the third most by a Trojan. He was the 1988 and 1989 NCAA Swimmer of the Year and Swimming World's American Swimmer of the Year in 1987, plus he was a 4-year All-American and the first 4-time Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year. He won the Pac-10 400 IM title 3 straight years (1988-90). His still-standing USC short course record of 1:44.70 in the 200-yard IM set in 1989 is the oldest short court mark on the Trojan books. Internationally, he competed in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics, capturing a silver in the 400-meter IM in the 1988 Seoul Games. He also won 4 golds, 3 silvers and a bronze at the Pan Pacific Games in 1987-89-91 and 2 golds and a bronze at the 1990 Goodwill Games. He set world record in both the 200- and 400-meter IM and owned the world's No. 1 ranking in the 200 IM in 1990 and 1991. And he did all this despite being hearing impaired. He also starred in the classroom, winning an NCAA Top Six Award and NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship in 1991. He now is a high school swim coach in Ohio.
WILLIAMS: Gus Williams, a high-scoring and electrifying guard, was USC basketball's own version of the "Wizard." The 3-year letterman (1973-75) earned All-American first team, All-Pac-8 first team and USC MVP honors in 1975 when he led the Pac-8 in scoring (21.2). He finished his career with 1,308 points (then the most ever by a Trojan guard) while averaging 16.1 points per game. He also set since-broken records for career (362) and season (141 in 1974) assists. He still ranks in the USC all-time Top 5 in assists and Top 15 in scoring. In 1974, he averaged a team-best 15.5 points and led Troy to a 24-5 record. All 3 of his Trojan teams finished second or third in the Pac-8 standings. He then played in the NBA for 11 years, averaging 17.1 points with the Warriors, SuperSonics (where he won an NBA championship in 1979 after being runner-up the previous season), Bullets and Hawks and twice earning All-Star honors. He now is involved with organizations combating domestic and substance abuse and youth violence.
WOLF : Wally Wolf, a true aqua-man, participated in 4 Olympics in 2 different aquatic sports. He was a member of the USA 800-meter freestyle relay teams at the 1948 London Games, helping the squad win a gold medal in world record time, and the 1952 Helsinki Games (competing only in the prelim heats). He then switched sports and played for the U.S. water polo team at the 1956 Melbourne Games (finishing fifth) and the 1960 Rome Games (placing seventh). He also helped the U.S. water poloists to a silver medal at the 1955 Pan-American Games. At USC, he was a 4-year All-American swimmer (1948-51) and captured 8 Pacific Coast Conference titles, plus he was an All-Conference performer on Trojan water polo teams that shared the PCC title in both 1948 and 1951. He was inducted into the International Water Polo Hall of Fame in 1976. After earning his undergraduate and law degrees from USC, he became an entertainment attorney and producer. He died in 1997 at age 66.
WOOD : Legendary Stan Wood was the longest-serving and most successful men's golf coach in USC history. After playing the sport at USC in the 1940s, he took over as Troy's coach for 25 years (1955-79). His teams qualified for 22 NCAA tournaments, placed ninth or better at 16 of those tourneys (including third 6 times), won 14 conference championships and posted a 462-37 dual record (.926). He coached 57 All-Americans. Five of his golfers-Al Geiberger, Dave Stockton, Craig Stadler, Scott Simpson and Bob Risch-won pro, amateur or NCAA national championships. He was the NCAA District VIII Coach of the Year 12 times. He twice served as president of the Golf Coaches Association of America, an organization he helped create, and he is recognized as one of the "Founding Fathers of Modern Collegiate Golf." He also owned a golf public relations firm and ran golf tournaments. He died in 1999 at age 79.
WORKMAN: Hank Workman, regarded as one of the top players on the early Rod Dedeaux-coached Trojan baseball teams, was an All-American first team outfielder on USC's first national championship team in 1948. The 3-year (1946-48) letterman led USC to a conference crown each year and he twice won All-Conference first team notice (in 1946 and 1948). He followed in the footsteps of his father, Tom, a 1912 USC baseball letterwinner. After a 6-year minor league career, he played briefly in the majors in 1950 with the Yankees. He then became a lawyer.
PREVIOUS USC ATHLETIC HALL OF FAME CLASSES
1994 (inaugural): Jon Arnett, Clarence "Buster" Crabbe, Rod Dedeaux, Braven Dyer, Mike Garrett, Al Geiberger, Frank Gifford, Marv Goux, Howard Jones, Fred Lynn, John McKay, Parry O'Brien, Bill Sharman, O.J. Simpson, Stan Smith and Norman Topping
1995 : Marcus Allen, Dean Cromwell, Morley Drury, John Ferraro, Mal Florence, Jess Hill, Julie Kohl, Ronnie Lott, Marlin McKeever, Mike McKeever, Cheryl Miller, Orv Mohler, Charles Paddock, Mel Patton, Giles Pellerin, Erny Pinckert, Dennis Ralston, Roy Saari, Tom Seaver, Gus Shaver, Dave Stockton, Brice Taylor, Irvine "Cotton" Warburton, and Charles White
1997 : Johnny Baker, Ricky Bell, Raymond "Tay" Brown, Peter Daland, Charlie Dumas, Arnold Eddy, Ron Fairly, Mort Kaer, Allan Malamud, Ron Mix, Jess Mortensen, John Naber, Alex Olmedo, Nick Pappas, Aaron Rosenberg, Ambrose Schindler, Bob Seagren, Scott Simpson, Ernie Smith, Paul Westphal, and Ron Yary
1999 : Garrett Arbelbide, Jerry Buss, Bob Chandler, Cynthia Cooper, Anthony Davis, Homer Griffith, Jim Hardy, Jesse Hibbs, Gene Mako, Mark McGwire, Anthony Munoz, Russ Saunders, Harry Smith, Craig Stadler, Francis Tappaan, Harley Tinkham, Jack Ward, Vern Wolfe, Cynthia Woodhead-Kantzer, Frank Wykoff and Louis Zamperini
2001 : Hal Bedsole, Bob Boyd, Brad Budde, Don Buford, Sam Cunningham, Jack Davis, Craig Fertig, Bruce Furniss, Ray George, Jimmy Gunn, Lee Guttero, Alex Hannum, Tom Kelly, Lenny Krayzelburg, Rick Leach, Earle Meadows, John Rudometkin, Makoto Sakamoto, Bill Sefton, Bill Thom, Steve Timmons and Ralph Vaughn
2003 : Nate Barragar, Ken Carpenter, Paul Cleary, Lillian Copeland, Howard Drew, Marshall Duffield, Debbie Green, Pat Haden, John Hall, Clarence "Bud" Houser, Fred Kelly, Steve Kemp, Grenville "Grenny" Lansdell, Dallas Long, Dick Leach, Mike Nyeholt, Carson Palmer, Murray Rose, Jim Sears, George Toley, Stan Williamson, Gwynn Wilson, Don Winston, Tex Winter and Richard Wood
2005 : Dick Attlesey, Jack Beckner, John Berardino, Chuck Bittick, Jim Brideweser, Willie Brown, Jeff Cravath, Rich Dauer, Ken Flower, Bud Furillo, Lou Galen, Joe Gonzales, Elmer "Gloomy Gus" Henderson, Wally Hood, Willis O. Hunter, Sim Iness, Payton Jordan, Bruce Konopka, Mike Larrabee, Lisa Leslie, Katherine B. Loker, Bob Lutz, Bruce and Clay Matthews, Sam Randolph, Bill Seinsoth, Lynn Swann, Hal Urner and Paula Weishoff.
2007 : Charley Ane, Sam Barry, Joe Bottom, Bud Bradley, Pat Cannamela, Mark Carrier, Dusty Dvorak, Ed Hookstratten, Jack Hupp, Manuel Laraneta, Matt Leinart, Earl McCullouch, Pam and Paula McGee, Rafael Osuna, Paula Jean Myers Pope, C.R. Roberts, Gene Rock, Loel Schrader, Ron Severa, Roy Smalley, John Werhas, Angela Williams and Charles Young