Cunningham Spink Latest Bulldog To Join WCC Hall of Honor
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Former Gonzaga University women’s volleyball player Kelley Cunningham Spink became the latest Bulldog member of the West Coast Conference Hall of Honor at induction ceremonies Saturday morning.
The Sixth Annual West Coast Conference Hall of Honor class was inducted at The Orleans Hotel in conjunction with the WCC Basketball Championship.
Cunningham told the sold-out breakfast crowd she was thankful of the opportunities she had at Gonzaga, not only as an athlete but in developing as a well-rounded person.
“Gonzaga was committed, and still is, to making the whole person,” she said. “They took the time and the resources to help me grow and become a player. I always tried to work hard both on and off the court.”
She thanked athletic director Mike Roth and the entire Gonzaga family. She had special praise for Steve Hertz, former baseball coach and current associate athletic director for major gifts.
“Steve Hertz makes people realize this is a family. He welcomes you to that family and makes you understand what it is to be a Zag,” Spink recalled of the lessons learned from Hertz, who is also a former GU student-athlete.
Spink said then-head coach Sean Madden “believed in me” and she recognized her teammates.
“A hitter is only as good as a setter can set and as a passer can pass,” she said.
She met her husband Scott, a former Bulldog basketball player, her first year of college.
“He was always good at giving me advice, sometimes when I didn’t really ask for it,” she joked.
She and Scott and their three children - Ty, Coy and Kacey – reside in Spokane.
Joining Spink in the 2014 WCC Hall of Honor were BYU’s Ed Eyestone (cross country), Loyola Marymount University’s Jeff Fryer (basketball), University of the Pacific’s Keith Swagerty (basketball), Pepperdine University’s Mike Scott (baseball), University of Portland’s Laura Sale O’Connell (basketball), Saint Mary College’s Tracy Morris Sanders (basketball), University of San Diego’s Jose Luis Noriega (tennis), University of San Francisco’s Ollie Johnson (basketball) and Santa Clara University’s Leslie Osborne (soccer).
One of the most dominant players in the history of the West Coast Conference, Spink rewrote the WCC and Gonzaga University record books from 1989-92.
Spink, who won two Sports Festival gold medals in 1990 in Los Angeles and in 1992 in San Antonio, TX, shattered former teammate Lisa Petticord's records for career (1,964) and single-season (651) kills on her way to earning WCC Player of the Year honors in 1992. Her career kills still rank third in WCC annals. She is tied for 10th on the WCC single-season career kills chart with 577 set as a junior, and she still holds the first (651 in 1992), third (577 in 1991) and seventh (450 in 1990) spots on the Gonzaga single-season kills list. She's third in career blocks with 502 which also ranks eighth in the WCC, second in career block solos with 117 and third in career block assists with 385.
Her 1,120 career digs rank sixth, 136 service aces are fifth and 454 games played rank third on the all-time Gonzaga charts.
An honorable mention All-WCC pick as a freshman in 1989 and a second-team selection as a sophomore in 1990 as she helped the Bulldogs to their inaugural NCAA Tournament appearance, the homegrown product of Spokane's Lewis and Clark High began her dominance as a junior in 1991. That season she led the nation in kills-per-game average at 5.888, paced the WCC with her .301 hitting percentage and her 14 total blocks and nine block assists at Eastern Washington University set school records. She earned All-WCC first-team and All-West Region second team status as selected by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
Her sensational senior campaign saw her gain All-WCC first team, All-West Region first team recognition and honorable mention All-America honors as selected by Volleyball Monthly Magazine. She produced 19 matches of 20 or more kills, including a personal best and 1992 WCC season-best of 42 which still stands as a Gonzaga record for a five-set match. Her 37 kills for a four-set match is still tops the Gonzaga charts. Nationally she ranked fourth with an average of 5.86 kills-per-game. Spink was the unanimous MVP of the Subway Volleyball Classic hosted by the University of Montana, and was named all-tournament at Gonzaga's Spikeoff Spokane and the Red Raider Classic hosted by Texas Tech University.
Spink was named the Gonzaga University Bulldog Club Senior Female Athlete of the Year, and was Gonzaga's institutional recipient of the Champion NCAA Woman of the Year.
Spink, a graduate of Spokane’s Lewis and Clark High where she was a two-sport standout in volleyball and basketball, married former Gonzaga men’s basketball player Scott Spink. They resided in San Diego until returning to Spokane in 1998 where in the spring of that year she returned to her alma mater as an assistant volleyball coach, a position she would hold for three seasons until retiring from coaching to spend more time at home.
In 2010 Spink was one of 10 former Bulldogs honored on the commemorative 25th Anniversary Team of 50 student-athletes to celebrate 25 years of the West Coast Conference sponsoring women's athletics. She was selected to be Gonzaga’s representative at the 2010 Zappos.com WCC Basketball Championships which recognized the 25th Anniversary Team.
The following is a look at the other inductees.
Ed Eyestone, Brigham Young University: Ed Eyestone became a 10-time NCAA All-American, and in 1984, went undefeated in NCAA cross-country events. Eyestone is one of only three runners, along with Gerry Lindgren and Suleiman Nyambiu, to capture the NCAA "Triple Crown" by becoming the 1985 NCAA Champion in cross-country, 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters. In 1985, the Academic All-American and recipient of the NCAA Top Six Award set a then-NCAA record in the 10,000 meters with a time of 27:41:05. He finished his collegiate career with four NCAA Championships and set the school record in the 10,000 meter, 5,000 meter, 3,000 meter and 2 mile races.
Eyestone claimed conference championship titles for BYU in 1983 and 1984 in cross country, in 1984 and 1985 for the 5,000, in 1984 for the indoor mile, and in 1985 for the indoor two-mile and 10,000. He was the first non-football player to win the WAC's Stan Bates Award. He also won the NCAA Top Six Award in 1986.
As a professional runner, Eyestone was a five-time U.S. Road Racer of the Year and won the San Francisco Bay to Breakers 12KM race and is the last American (and only since 1981) to win what is considered the world’s largest footrace. Eyestone has also served as a commentator for ESPN and Fox Sports Elite Racing for 12 years and has been a columnist for Runners World magazine since 1999. In 2008, Eyestone was the head distance analyst for NBC’s coverage of the Beijing Olympics.
As the men’s cross country coach since 2000, Eyestone has guided the Cougars to eight Mountain West Conference Championships and two WCC Championships. Eyestone earned WCC Cross Country Coach of the Year accolades in 2011 and 2013.
Jeff Fryer, Loyola Marymount University: As the Lions’ all-time deep threat, Jeff Fryer was one of the best all-time three-point shooters in school history. In his four-year career (1986-90), he played in 112 games and scored 1,922 points, 1,089 of them were scored from the three-point line. He is currently ranked sixth all-time in scoring and holds seven of the nine three-point records in LMU history, including the 11 three-pointers he hit in the NCAA tournament Second Round win over Michigan in 1990. The 11 threes is an NCAA tournament record and Fryer finished with 41 points against the Wolverines. En route to being named to the All-West Region Team and first-team All-WCC, Fryer averaged just under 23 points per game his final two seasons at LMU. He finished his career averaging 17.2 points per game.
One of the top long distance shooters in WCC history, Fryer still owns two of the top three spots on the single-season charts in three-point field goals with 126 (4.1 per game) as a junior and 121 (4.3) as a senior. More than two decades since attempting his last shot as a collegiate player, Fryer currently ranks second all-time in career three-pointers with 363 (3.24) in overall games and is the career leader during league play with 166 (3.4).
Fryer played a key role on a loaded Loyola Marymount team advanced to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments, including a dramatic run to the 1990 Elite Eight. The Lions captured three WCC Regular Season Championships and two WCC Tournament titles.
Keith Swagerty, University of the Pacific: Keith Swagerty was a potent scorer and fierce rebounder who led University of the Pacific to two conference championships and a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances from 1964 to 1967. A San Jose, CA native, he was one of the most highly-decorated players in Tiger history. He was named West Coast Athletic Conference (WCAC) Player of the Year twice (1966 and 1967) and was a first team Academic All-American. As a senior, he earned first-team All-America honors from the Helms Foundation, second-team honors from Converse, and was named honorable mention by the Associated Press and UPI.
In the 1966 NCAA Tournament, Swagerty scored 16 points and had 19 rebounds in a first-round 83-74 loss to Utah. He scored 26 points and collected 23 rebounds in a 102-91 loss to the Elvin Hayes-led Houston Cougars in the consolation game. A year later in the 1967 NCAA Tournament, Swagerty led Pacific to a 72-63 first-round win over defending national champion Texas Western (now UTEP). He scored 11 points and had eight rebounds in an 80-64 second-round loss to John Wooden's UCLA Bruins. Swagerty earned national recognition when he had 39 rebounds in one game against UC Santa Barbara on March 5, 1965; it is still a WCC and Pacific record. Upon graduating, he held the records for career totals in points and rebounds, and still holds the record for career rebounds today.
Swagerty went on to play two seasons in the ABA with the Houston Mavericks and the Kentucky Colonels. He also played in Italy before becoming a physical education instructor and coach at Seattle Pacific University from 1974-80. He compiled an 87-61 record and led the Falcons to the NCAA Division II Tournament with a 20-9 mark in 1976-77.
He was the first Pacific Basketball player to have his number retired (32). A 1985 inductee into the Pacific Athletic Hall of Fame, Swagerty was awarded the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award of Honor in 2005 for living a life of distinction.
Mike Scott, Pepperdine University: Mike Scott turned in a decorated three-year career (1974-76) at Pepperdine. The righthander made an immediate impact for the Waves, capturing WCC Freshman of the Year honors in 1974. A three-time All-WCC selection, Scott departed the Malibu campus as Pepperdine’s career record-holder for wins (26), strikeouts (232) and games started (42). Scott still ranks fourth in career ERA (2.10) and tossed a perfect game against Cal Lutheran on Feb. 17, 1976.
During his collegiate career, Pepperdine won three consecutive WCC titles and advanced to the NCAA Tournament each year. Scott was a 1975 District VIII selection. Named to the WCC’s 50 Greatest Student-Athletes list in 2001, Scott was also named to the WCC/Rawlings 40th Anniversary Baseball Team.
After being selected by the New York Mets in the second round of the 1976 Major League Draft, Scott enjoyed a remarkable professional career and played 13 years in the majors with the New York Mets (1979-82) and the Houston Astros (1983-91). One of just a handful of pitchers to ever record a no-hitter and 300 strikeouts in the same season, Scott was a three-time All-Star and started for the National League in the 1987 Midsummer Classic.
Scott captured the 1986 National League Cy Young Award after posting an 18-10 record with a 2.22 ERA to go along with a league-leading 306 strikeouts. On September 26 the Santa Monica native pitched a 2-0 no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants in the Astrodome to clinch the N.L. West division title. The Astros fell to the Mets, the eventual World Series Champions, but Scott was so dominant in his starts in game one and four that he was named the 1986 NLCS MVP – the first ever selected from the losing team. As a 20-game winner in 1989, Scott finished second in the Cy Young voting. The Astros retired his No. 33 jersey in 1992.
Laura Sale O’Connell, University of Portland: Laura Sale O’Connell was the ultimate student-athlete, starring on the court while shining in the classroom. Sale O’Connell, who still ranks fifth all-time in UP program history with 1,542 career points, helped lead the Pilots to three NCAA Tournaments in the mid-1990’s and was named an Academic All-American in 1996. She also still ranks fifth all-time at Portland in field goals (596), is tied for eighth in free throws made (287) and is 10th in rebounds (579).
After averaging in double figures in points as both a sophomore and a junior en route to All-West Coast Conference Honors, Sale O’Connell had perhaps her best season as a senior in 1995-96. That year, she was named the WCC Player of the Year after leading the Pilots to the WCC regular season championship. She led the conference in scoring with a 19.2 points per game mark, had a season and career-high 30 points against University of San Francisco at the WCC Tournament and she garnered United Press International (UPI) All-America Honorable Mention.
The 116 field goals Sale O’Connell made that year against WCC opponents are still an all-time league season record. The 577 points she scored as a senior ranks fifth on Portland’s all-time single-season charts, while her per game average that year is eighth best all-time. Sale O’Connell was a two-time All-WCC First Team selection and was selected to the WCC All-Tournament Team twice. She landed conference all-academic accolades three times and garnered all-region all-academic honors as both a junior and a senior.
Following college, Sale O’Connell earned an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship before playing a year professionally in Germany. She would go onto become a long-time high school teacher and girls basketball coach.
Tracy Morris Sanders, Saint Mary’s College: Tracy Sanders (formerly Morris) enjoyed a standout collegiate career as a member of the Saint Mary’s women’s basketball team from 1996-2000. A member of the WCC’s 50 Greatest Student-Athletes list, Sanders’ honors include the WCC Freshman of the Year (1997), three WCC first-team selections and the 1999 WCC Player of the Year. She finished her career with 1,807 points (a school record at the time), amassing 1,069 points in her final two seasons.
During the 1998-99 year, the Gaels entered the WCC Tournament as the No. 3 seed as Sanders led SMC to an upset win over No. 2 seed and tournament host Santa Clara in the semifinals, then a 72-69 win over No. 1 seed Pepperdine to cut down the nets. Sanders captured WCC Tournament MVP honors. Sanders led the league in scoring for three straight seasons and finished second all-time in the WCC in points scored. She set the Saint Mary’s school record for points in her career, breaking a 15-year old mark. During her Player of the Year season in 1999, Sanders led the Gaels to their first-ever NCAA Tournament berth.
Sanders has coached the last eight seasons with Thomas, being promoted to Associate Head Coach before the 2013-14 season. She has helped produce several All-WCC award winners, including helping the development of Louella Tomlinson, who ended her career as the Saint Mary’s leader in career points, the WCC leader in career rebounds and the NCAA career leader in blocked shots.
Jose Luis Noriega, University of San Diego: Jose Luis Noriega, a four-time NCAA All-American, was the first USD student-athlete to achieve that status. Although he fell short of his goal of winning an NCAA Singles Championship during his time at USD, Noriega accomplished just about everything else possible in college tennis. His four-year cumulative record was 138-30 (100-15 in singles; 38-15 in doubles), and his overall record in ITA Grand Slam events was an amazing 34-10.
During his senior year, he advanced to the NCAA Singles Championships Semifinals. He captured two Grand Slam titles - the 1992 Rolex National Collegiate Indoor Championships and the 1989 DuPont Intercollegiate National Clay Court title. He led USD to two West Coast Conference Championships (1989 and 1990) and two NCAA Team Championship appearances (1989 and 1990).
In his junior campaign, he advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals, won his second West Coast Conference Singles Championship, received the Region VIII Head/Arthur Ashe Sportsmanship award, and at the NCAA Tournament, received the national Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award. As a sophomore, he won the WCC Doubles title with teammate J.R. Edwards and was runner-up in singles. He was the WCC Singles Champion and Doubles Champion with Dave Stewart as a freshman and was named the 1989 Volvo Tennis/Rookie Player of the Year.
Born and raised in Lima, Peru, Noriega was one of his country’s best junior players. He capped off his junior career by winning the 1987 South American Junior Championships. During his USD tenure, he also won back-to-back Peruvian National Clay Court titles (1989 and 1990) and represented his country for the first time in Davis Cup competition (1990-91). A 1992 USD graduate with a degree in Business, he was inducted into USD's Chet and Marguerite Pagni Family Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007.
Ollie Johnson, University of San Francisco: Ollie Johnson, a two-time West Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Year who earned All-America honors as a senior in 1964-65, played an instrumental role in the resurgence of the USF basketball program to national prominence during his three-year varsity career from 1962-65. After a four-year run which saw USF win two national championships and go to three Final Fours from 1954-58, the Dons went through a four-year period in which they compiled a 42-62 record. Beginning with Johnson’s sophomore season in 1962-63 (freshmen were not eligible), USF compiled a 65-19 record (.774), won three straight WCAC championships and made three NCAA Tournament appearances. He was a two-time NCAA All-Tournament selection and averaged 36 points and 18 rebounds in the 1965 NCAA Tournament.
Johnson ranks sixth on USF’s all-time scoring list with 1,668 career points and has the third highest scoring average in school history at 19.9 points per game. He also ranks second all-time in career rebounding, trailing only Bill Russell, and his 1,323 career rebounds rank fifth in WCC history.
Johnson is just one of four USF players, along with Bill Cartwright, Bill Russell and Darrell Tucker, to rank in the school’s all-time top-10 in scoring and rebounding and is one of just two players, along with Cartwright, to rank in the all-time top-10 in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage. Johnson’s No. 32 jersey was retired by the University on Jan. 25, 2014, becoming the sixth USF men’s basketball player to have his number retired.
Johnson was selected in the first round of the 1965 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics with the eighth overall pick but never played in the NBA. He played for the San Francisco Athletic Club in the Amateur Athletic Union and professionally in Belgium for three seasons.
Leslie Osborne, Santa Clara University: A four-year standout for the Broncos from 2001-2004, Santa Clara’s Leslie Osborne is one of the most decorated women’s soccer players in school history. A member of Santa Clara’s 2001 National Championship team, Osborne was a three-time All-American and was the recipient of the 2004 Honda Sports Award for soccer, which is given annually to the nation’s premier female player.
Contributing to a women’s soccer program rich in achievement, Osborne currently sits sixth on Santa Clara’s all-time goals list with 44 and ranks ninth in assists with 33. Named to the 2001 and 2004 College Cup All-Tournament teams, Osborne won back-to-back West Coast Conference Player of the Year awards in 2003 and 2004 and was also tabbed as the WCC’s Defender of the Year for the 2004 season.
Appearing in 62 games for the United States senior national team, Osborne earned her first USA national team appearance in 2004 vs. Sweden and scored her first national team goal vs. Chinese Taipei on October 1, 2006. Osborne also started five of six games in the 2007 Women’s World Cup in which the USA team placed third.
Osborne began her professional soccer career as team captain of the Bay Area FC Gold Pride in 2009. In 2010, she was team captain with the Boston Breakers, and in 2013 she joined the Chicago Red Stars as team captain in the inaugural season of the National Women’s Soccer League.
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