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Some of the best quotes from the inductees from Friday night’s Arizona Sports Hall of Fame ceremony at McKale Center:
Running back (1996-99)
“I want to thank my family. This is what it’s all about for me. … The thing that stuck out with me about (coach Dick Tomey) is that he talked about family. That was important to me. It’s easy to say that, but to go out and do it, is what proved it to me. That got my mother as well. That was the main reason why I came here. … This is not really about me. I am one of five children my mother raised. … It’s a Hall of Fame moment for my mother for making me the man that I am.”
Softball player and coach, athletic administrator (1979-2013)
“I arrived at this campus just as women’s intercollegiate athletics was being born. Isn’t that amazing? In the 1970s, I became, because of that timing, part of the first generation of American women to experience competing for a university. Along with that came athletic scholarships and then I was handed the first ever varsity ‘A’ jacket for women. It’s some times hard to believe that was part of my lifetime actually because it doesn’t seem all that long ago.”
Track and field, high jump (1978-82)
“I would be remissed if I didn’t tell you what I consider to be the three pillars of my success. … The first pillar is simply this, to understand that all talent — all talent — comes from God. I stand here before you not because my work ethic and all of my ability, I’m here because of the gift of God. I start with that premise. The second point I will make about that is when you’re given a gift, and I feel that I was given one, it’s your responsibility to develop that gift. I’ll let my results speak for themselves. The last and most important point is the fact that with every gift to fully develop your potential, it takes a team and I consider the University of Arizona to be absolutely critical in my success not only athletically but also corporeally and academically.”
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The 2014 Arizona Wildcats Hall of Fame Class
— Dick Tomey (football coach)
— Trung Canidate (football player)
— Kathleen “Rocky” LaRose (softball/administration)
— Jim Ward (baseball)
— Alan Zinter (baseball)
— James Frazier (men’s track and field)
— 2006 200 freestyle relay team (Courtney Cashion, Jenna Gresdal, Lacey Nymeyer, Anna Turner)
— 2007 200 freestyle relay team (Lara Jackson, Lindsey Kelly, Lacey Nymeyer, Anna Turner)
— 2008 200 freestyle relay team (Taylor Baughman, Lara Jackson, Lacey Nymeyer, Anna Turner)
— 2009 200 freestyle relay team (Taylor Baughman, Lara Jackson, Lindsey Kelly, Justine Schluntz)
Congratulations to Dick Tomey, Trung Canidate & Rocky LaRose on getting inducted into the AZ Athletics Hall of Fame! All special people.
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Football coach (1987-2000)
“This is amazing. I started out as a junior high coach in Indianapolis, Indiana. I had no idea what was in store. I had no absolute goals in mind. I just wanted to coach a bunch of great young people in seventh and eighth grade and be in charge of the lunch room and safety patrol and all of that stuff and I loved doing it. I’m in college coaching only because a parent of one of my players walked across the street and said to me, ‘Have you ever thought of college coaching?’ ‘Uh, no I haven’t.’ From there, I went on to be a graduate assistant.
“Bo Schembechler was my football mentor. He was the guy that meant the most to me as a young coach. He combined toughness and humanity. He was the first coach that I really encountered that could do that and he did it in spades. He was one of the great ones of all time. He said, ‘The team, the team, the team.’ I still hear that in my head: ‘The team, the team, the team.’
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There is nothing more appropriate than that phrase for this occasion for a football coach … my being inducted into the hall of fame really is a reflection of so many people that are here and so many people that are not here starting with the guy who hired me in Ced Dempsey … ‘The team, the team, the team’, to me that means it takes us all. What the University of Arizona taught me is it’s not just about football coaches, football players … it’s about all the coaches in the athletic department, all of the people that worked in the athletic department. It was such a team thing. We were all together. It is a total group effort at the University of Arizona when I say, ‘The team, the team, the team’, I mean all of the coaches, all of the players, all of the coaches in this room, all the outstanding people that worked in our football department, all the (office specialists) Pat Evanses, Lisa Bravos, all the people who worked with us. I appreciate every single one. We were all a part of one family and I appreciated every single day of it.”
Baseball pitcher (1657-1960)
“I could have never done anything that I did in my pitching career if it wasn’t for my teammates. … We earned the honor of going to the College World Series in Omaha. We almost won a national championship in 1959, coming a couple runs short. It was a tough defeat. I remember sitting in the bus. Back in those days, both teams were put in the same bus. After the game was over, they just won a national championship — that was Oklahoma State — and they were kissing their girlfriends and loving their mothers and the whole bit. I was sitting there pretty much in gloom sitting next to our first baseman Bob Wilson, who we lost here recently. God bless him. I made a vow to myself if I could ever get back at those guys somehow. As luck would have it, we won the district championship again in 1960. Frank Sancet selected me to pitch the opening night game and guess who it was? Oklahoma State. There was a lot of revenge that came out of my guts. Luckily, it proved effective.”
LACEY NYMEYER JOHN,
Commenting about being part of the Hall of Fame 200-meter relay teams of 2006, 2007 and 2008
“We looked at each other before we were paraded out behind the blocks, that dreaded block. But we were holding hands. And we went out there together and we did the best we could. And when we saw each other out there, fighting for it, hurting, there’s no way you wouldn’t get on the block and you wouldn’t do the same exact thing. It was that passion, it was that drive … because of that, we had such a dominance in that relay because that relay is all about speed, it was about just true grit. That’s what these ladies have. They show it not only in the pool but so many other areas of their life — doctors, businesswomen, professional athletes, American record holders. It’s a stellar group. It was so special to be a part of that.”
Baseball catcher (1986-1989)
“I’m going to take you back to 1973 really quick. I was about 5 years old and with my father, who’s a big baseball fan, I think we were in San Francisco on a trip. I don’t know if he was alone or if I was with him, but he ran into Jerry Kindall at a San Francisco Giants game. They had a history back at the University of Minnesota where Jerry played. My dad also played there after him. Jerry would come back and work with him. Jerry would throw batting practice to him and get him ready for his professional season, so they had a little relationship there. So when he saw him in 1973, it was Coach Kindall’s first year here at the U of A and I was 5. He said, ‘Hey Jerry, I’m gonna have a ball player for you in about 13 years.’ So 13 years later, the hard work, the passion — my dad taught me everything that I know — the fundamentals, he was always preaching. Thirteen years later, you have no idea how proud I was to take a recruiting trip here and have Steve Strong and Chip Hale take me out, sign my letter of intent and within a few weeks, watch the Cats win the College World Series in 1986 on ESPN. For a kid out of El Paso, Texas, that’s unbelievable.
“When (Kindall) would talk to us, it was like hearing the voice of God, I mean it was literally loud and it just echoed. One thing I never wanted to do was disappoint Jerry Kindall, the head coach. I mean, he was a legend, and to be in his presence, was just awesome. My freshman year, playing ASU, a big rival. Getting ready for the game, I was like, something is going on (with his stomach). I can’t hack it. So I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what I’m feeling but something’s not right. I’m in the starting lineup, freshman, ASU, wow … All right I can’t go, something’s up. So he’s in the dugout. This is like 20 minutes before the game and I call him over. I didn’t really speak to him because I’m a freshman. I just kind of looked at him. I called him over. He said, ‘What do you want?’ ‘I’m …’ He said, ‘Constipated? Oh, Alan. Scott give him some Pepto Bismol.’ I was like oh man, I ruined my career because I’m constipated. Luckily enough for me, I didn’t play. Luckily enough, I was taken in the fourth inning and had emergency appendicitis. Whew, that was good. I’d rather take that.
“The campus looks totally different but totally the same at the same time. It’s hard to do.”