Wednesday, October 17

Twelve athletes to be inducted into UCLA’s Hall of Fame


Friday, October 2, 1998

Twelve athletes to be inducted into UCLA’s

Hall of Fame

LEGACY: Annual honor

to publicly acknowledge the chosen at Rose Bowl

By Steve Kim

Daily Bruin Senior Staff

Step inside the UCLA Hall of Fame at the Morgan Collegiate
Athletics Center. Superficially, the gallery is quite modest. It’s
certainly not the Getty, per se, nor is it trying to be.

The first things to catch your eye are dozens of shiny trophies,
newspaper headlines and color magazine photos.

Then you notice names such as Jackie Robinson, Kareem Abdul
Jabaar, Jackie Joyner Kersee and John Wooden – all former Bruins
who were inducted to the Hall of Fame – hanging on the walls
quietly. Mere words, these names are, yet they fill the hall with
volumes of legacy.

This year, 12 more names will be added to the existing 121 in
the Hall of Fame. The inductees will be publicly honored in front
of the Rose Bowl crowd tomorrow.

The honorees include NBA star Reggie Miller, Dodgers first
baseman Eric Karros, former tennis coach Glenn Bassett, softball
gold medalist Sheila Cornell, swimming gold medalist Tom Jager,
football All-Americans Randy Cross, Gaston Green, Ken Norton Jr.
and Tom Ramsey, former baseball coach Art Reichle, 1956 Olympic
javelin champion Cy Young and the late track and field star
Florence Griffith Joyner.

The UCLA Hall of Fame, established in 1984, recognizes athletic
achievements made by former Bruins during and after their college
years. To be inducted, one must have last competed for UCLA 10 or
more years ago or have coached a UCLA sports team.

Qualified nominees are then reviewed, and inductees are chosen
by about 20 alumni volunteers and athletic directors.

"It’s hard to get in with all the great athletes UCLA has had
over the years," said Rick Purdy, associate director of athletics
in charge of development and public affairs, including the Hall of
Fame ceremony. "Former football coach Terry Donahue is on the
alumni committee, and after his first year of voting, he said he
didn’t realize how truly difficult it was."

Having participated as a Bruin 40 or more years ago, Reichle and
Young will be inducted as pioneer. Art Reichle was not only a Bruin
baseball coach for 29 years, he also participated as a student
athlete on the UCLA football, rugby and baseball teams. On his road
to winning the 1952 Olympic gold medal in the javelin, he broke the
sport’s long dominance by Finland and set an Olympic record.

"The committee decided to have the pioneer category because many
people only remember athletes from recent times," Purdy said. "So
we wanted to make sure that the ones who played at UCLA in the
’50s, ’40s and ’30s weren’t completely forgotten."

Starting this year, 12 members will be inducted annually instead
of the previous groups of eight. This year’s inductees and guests
are invited to a brunch where they can be presented to family and
friends and get a chance to say a few words.

Then it’s off to the Rose Bowl where they will be publicly
presented during the halftime of the UCLA vs. Washington State
football game.

Eight of the 12 inductees are able to attend tomorrow’s
ceremony. Norton, a linebacker for the 49ers, has a game against
Buffalo on Sunday while Ramsey has a Fox Sports 2 broadcasting
assignment in Seattle. Basset has out-of-state family engagements
to attend.

The sudden death of Griffith Joyner on Sept. 21 has left many
surprised and saddened. Despite her unfortunate absence, her
husband Al will be there to represent her.

"Along with her world-class athletic abilities, Florence was a
loving and caring daughter, sister, wife and mother," said Griffith
Joyner’s family in a statement. "We want to thank everyone from
around the world for their outpouring of love and affection during
our time of grief."

With still-standing world records in the 100- and 200-meter
sprint, Griffith Joyner was undeniably the fastest woman in the
world. Her athletic talent, combined with her glamorous looks, got
her and her sport much media coverage, especially in the 1988 Seoul
Olympics.

"What Florence brought to track was a flash and flair that we
didn’t have, which was probably good for the sport and got
attention for us," Olympic gold medalist and UCLA Hall of Famer
Evelyn Ashford said.

Griffith Joyner’s coach at UCLA and brother-in-law, Bob Kersee,
not only saw her as a caring, giving team player, but also as a
ground breaker in more ways than one.

"In 1988, people weren’t ready for female athletics," Kersee
said. "The media never took female athletics seriously 10 years
ago.

"They can be glamorous, they can be mothers, they can be
entrepreneurs, they can be teachers, doctors as well as
athletes."

In memory of Griffith Joyner, there will be a moment of silence
during the halftime ceremony.

For the eight former Bruins who will be at the ceremony
tomorrow, it promises to be a memorable day. Ann Meyers-Drysdale
recalls the ceremony in 1988, when she became the first woman to be
inducted in to the Hall.

"It was a lot different from today," Meyers-Drysdale said. "We
had ours at the Alumni Center, and there were fewer people
inducted. But all the athletes knew each other so it was really a
special evening with family and friends."

Meyers-Drysdale, who can be seen as a NBC/ESPN broadcaster, was
highly qualified as a Hall of Famer. She excelled in various sports
and took part as a Bruin high jumper and volleyball player. But her
forte as a four-time All-American (1975-78) basketball player led
her to play in the 1976 Olympics and be the only woman to try out
in the NBA.

Now 43 and a mother of three, Meyers-Drysdale considers it an
incredible honor to be included in the company of basketball greats
like Coach Wooden, her brother David Meyers and Marques Johnson,
who took her under their wings and guided her as a Bruin
athlete.

Although she believes there are about half a dozen female
athletes who also deserve such recognition, she is grateful for
hers.

"UCLA was a very big part of my life and career, so it meant a
lot to me," she said. "I think it’s important for young athletes to
see what colleges do for their alumni and what the alumni do for
them. It’s an important tradition UCLA needs to keep up because it
has unbelievable names of athletes who’s been here."

Comments, feedback, problems?

© 1998 ASUCLA Communications Board

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