BOULDER — The 10th class that will be inducted into the University of Colorado Athletic Hall of Fame this October 30 will feature nine Golden Buffalo legends who left their indelible marks on the school with an impressive list of accomplishments.
The nine, one of whom will be honored posthumously, have a definite coaching flavor among them: five list the profession on their resumes; three were student-athletes at Colorado, and two returned to as head coaches for the sports for which they were groomed.
Also included, one could say, are a leaper, a “rassler,” a harasser, a jumper, a picker and a grabber. Translation: a hurdler, wrestler, quarterback sacker, pole vaulter, interceptor and rebounder.
The 2014 class will tie for the third-largest inducted into the Hall since it was conceived in 1998, as seven former Buffalo athletes, including two who went on to coach for the school, plus one legendary head coach will join 59 individuals and the entire 1959 ski team which have been enshrined to date (seven have been honored previously after their deaths). Every decade between the 1930s and 1990s is touched upon in the class.
Athletic director Rick George announced that moving forward with this group, CU will now induct classes annually instead of every two years, which has been the case since the third class was inducted in 2000.
Those to be inducted are (click on each name for extended bios):
Bob Beattie, Ski Coach (1957-65)
He was CU’s head ski coach for nine years, leading the Buffaloes to their first national championship in any sport when his 1959 team claimed the NCAA title; that team was inducted as whole in the 2006 class. The team repeated as champions in 1960 and also won four Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association titles. Beattie coached some of the greatest skiers in school history, including Buddy Werner, Jimmie Heuga and Bill Marolt.
Forrest B. “Frosty” Cox, Basketball Coach (1935-50)
The winningest men’s basketball coach in CU history in terms of percentage until recently (Tad Boyle), Cox coached the Buffaloes to a 147-89 record (.623) in 13 seasons. He led Colorado to three NCAA tournament appearances and to a pair of NIT berths, the latter considered the more significant postseason tourney at the time; CU was crowned the 1940 NIT champion and was generally considered one of the premier programs in the west in for a good period of time in his tenure. And as an assistant football coach in 1937, he coached the backs, which included CU’s first All-American, Byron “Whizzer” White. He is the only member of the class who is no longer living, as he passed away in 1962 at the age of 54.
Jim Davis, Basketball (1961-64)
A three-year letterman under the legendary Sox Walseth, he earned first-team All-Big 8 honors his junior and senior seasons; CU was 53-24 in his career, winning two Big 8 titles and earning two trips to the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 14.4 points and 11.2 rebounds per game over his career, one of the few players in school history to average a double-double (scoring and rebounding) for a career and in two separate seasons. At the time of his graduation, he was CU’s all-time leading rebounder and third all-time scorer. He was a fourth round selection by Detroit in the 1964 NBA Draft, but the 27th player overall in a 9-team league at the time; he played eight seasons in the league.
Deon Figures, Football (1988-92)
A consensus first-team All-American as a senior in 1992, when he was All-Big Eight and the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year. He won the Jim Thorpe Award that season, presented to the nation’s top defensive back, as he allowed only six completions while intercepting six and deflecting 12. He was the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame’s co-College Athlete of the Year in the state for 1992. He was second-team All-Big Eight as a junior in 1991, and an honorable mention choice as a true freshman in ’88, when he was the league’s Defensive Newcomer of the Year. He was a first-round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1993 NFL draft (23rd player overall), he played five seasons in the league.
Bob Jeangerard, Basketball (1952-55)
A member of CU’s last Final Four team, generally considered the “2” in the Buffs’ 1-2 punch with Burdie Haldorson (inducted in the second class in 1999) of the school’s dominant early 50s teams under coach H.B. Lee. He was a two-time All-Big 7 Conference first-team selection, averaging 12.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game during his collegiate career. As a senior, he averaged 16 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, ranking second on the team in both categories in helping CU win a then-record 19 games in reaching the national semifinals, falling to eventual champion San Francisco. He was the NCAA Tournament Regional Most Outstanding Player.
Linn Long, Wrestling (1952-55; 1961-68)
He lettered four times in wrestling (1952-55) and would return as head coach of the team for eight seasons (1961-68). As an athlete, he placed second in the 130 lbs. weight class in the 1953, 1954 and 1955 Big 7 Conference Wrestling Championships, and as a senior, he was third in the NCAA Championships, garnering All-America honors in the process. His pinnacle moment as CU’s coach came in 1964, when he led the Buffaloes to their best finish ever in the NCAA Championships, a tie for fourth place; four of his teams posted top 20 NCAA finishes. He coached arguably the other top two wrestlers in CU history, Dean Lahr (who is being inducted this weekend into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame) and Bob Justice. A two-sport performer, he also lettered four times in baseball for the Buffaloes.
Don Meyers, Track & Field (1959-62; 1968-75)
A three-year letterman in track under legendary CU coach Frank Potts, he would replace his mentor as coach of CU cross country and track teams in 1968 when Potts retired after 41 seasons. As an athlete, Meyers was a two-time NCAA outdoor champion, winning the long jump as a junior in 1961 and the pole vault as a senior in 1962. He was a four-time Big 8 Conference champion in the long jump, winning the indoor and outdoor versions in both 1960 and 1961. On Dec. 20, 1962, he became just the fifth person to clear 16 feet in the pole vault, as his 16-1¼ effort was the “unofficial” world indoor record (at the time, indoor marks weren’t tracked). Meyers coached the Buffaloes for seven seasons, 1968-75, and under his direction CU started on the road to becoming the cross country power it is today.
Herb Orvis, Football (1969-71)
A member of CU’s All-Century football team selected in 1989, he was a near consensus All-American as a senior in 1971 and a two-time first-team All-Big Eight Conference performer. The Big Eight Conference Newcomer of the Year as a sophomore in 1969, he was also selected to the All-Big Eight Decade team for the 1970s. He played as significant a role as anyone in CU’s 1971 season that saw the Buffaloes finish No. 3 in the nation, behind Nebraska and Oklahoma. A first round pick by Detroit in the 1972 NFL Draft (16th overall, the highest at the time that a CU defender had been selected), he went on to enjoy a 10-year pro career.
Yvonne Scott, Track (1992-96)
The most decorated women’s hurdler in CU track history, she stills owns several school records and garnered All-American honors in both indoor and outdoor competition. Scott won three straight Big 8 Outdoor titles in the 100-hurdles from 1994-96, helping CU to the conference title as a senior, the last Big 8 Outdoor meet prior to the Big 12 being formed. She was also a two-time Olympian, competing for Japan in the 100-meter hurdles in 1996 and 2000 (she reached the semifinals in Sydney in ’00). She is currently the head track coach at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
All inductees were nominated by their peers in the Alumni C-Club or by members of the selection committee; over 50 names were originally submitted and were pared to 29 finalists for an eight-member committee to vote upon, eventually producing another deep and talented class in CU Athletic HOF history.
The group will be inducted in the Hall of Fame Thursday night, October 30, in a festive gala in the Boedecker Gym at the Coors Events Center, be featured in the Pearl Street Stampede parade the next night and will be introduced at halftime of the CU-Washington football game on Saturday, Nov. 1, to complete the weekend.