DeBerry to be inducted into Colorado Sports Hall of Fame
Oct. 10, 2007
From football to the Olympics, hockey to golf, the 2008 class of inductees into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame covers a lot of ground. Olympic marathon champion Frank Shorter and longtime Air Force football coach Fisher DeBerry headline the six-member class of inductees.
They are joined by Pierre Lacroix, the architect of the Colorado Avalanche's two Stanley Cup championships, and Colorado golfing legend Dow Finsterwald.
In addition, the class of inductees features former Western State College football coach Bill Noxon and the late Star Yelland, a pioneer in sports broadcasting in both radio and television in the Denver area. The inductees were selected on Tuesday in voting by a statewide panel of radio, television and print journalists. Induction ceremonies will be held April 8 at the Denver Marriott.
Shorter almost single-handedly launched the running boom in the United States when he ran to victory in the marathon at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.
Shorter became only the third American and the first since 1908 to win the Olympic marathon. Shorter finished in 2 hours, 12 minutes, 19.8 seconds to easily win beat silver medalist Karel Lismont of Belgium, who finished in 2:14.31.
Four years later, Shorter finished second to East Germany's Waldemar Cierpinski in the marathon at the Montreal Games, despite running 2:10:45.8.
Shorter was one of the country's dominant distance runners both before and after his Olympic performances, winning numerous national and international races. He moved to Boulder in 1975 and helped establish the running community there, as well as the Bolder Boulder race that ranks among the biggest in the country each year.
DeBerry took over the Air Force football program in 1984. In 27 seasons, he guided the Falcons to 17 winning seasons, three conference titles and 12 bowl appearances.
DeBerry ranks as the winningest coach in school history with a 169-107-1 record, as well as the winningest coach in service academy history. Under DeBerry, Air Force dominated the rivalries with Army and Navy, posting a 35-11 mark against those two schools. Air Force won 14 of 16 Commander-in-Chief's trophies during DeBerry's tenure.
DeBerry was national coach of the year in 1985 and was named conference coach of the year in 1985, 1995 and 1998.
Lacroix was the primary force behind the successful establishment of the Avalanche organization, after it moves from Quebec to Denver in 1995. With Lacroix operating the team, the Avalanche won Stanley Cup titles in 1996 and 2001, as well as a NHL record nine consecutive division titles, six appearances in the Western Conference Finals, two president's trophy titles, and two Western Conference titles.
It was Lacroix who made the dramatic trade for hall of fame goalie Patrick Roy in 1995 that helped push the Avs to its first Stanley Cup title.
The following year, Lacroix opted to match a lucrative contract offer made to all-star forward Joe Sakic, that basically ensured he would remain an Avalanche player for the rest of his career.
Finsterwald ranks among the state's greatest golfers of all time. The 1958 PGA Player of the year, Finsterwald won 12 PGA Tour victories during his professional career, including the 1958 PGA Championship.
He was the 1957 Vardon Trophy winner (given to the player with the lowest scoring average on Tour). He was a member of four U.S. Ryder Cup Teams and was captain of the victorious 1977 U.S. Ryder Cup Team. Finsterwald served as director of golf at the Broadmoor Golf Club from 1964 to 1993 and remains a great ambassador for golf in Colorado.
Noxon was one of the state's most successful high school coaches, who later led Western State College to eight Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championships.
Noxon compiled a career mark of 217-98-6 in 33 seasons. He coached high school football at Fruita (15 years) and Grand Junction (four), compiling a 133-54-4 mark and winning eight conference championships and one state title.
In 1971, Noxon took over a Western State program that had only 22 student-athletes available for spring ball. The next fall, WSC went 6-2-1 and shared the RMAC title. He led Western State to three NAIA postseason playoffs and was named NAIA district coach of the year three times. He was the Kodak District VII coach of the year once.
Yelland began broadcasting sports in Colorado in 1940. During a career that spanned more than four decades, he covered football at the University of Colorado, Colorado State and the University of Denver, AAU basketball, professional golf, as well as the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan.
Yet, Yelland also eagerly covered smaller sports like bowling, tennis and track, as well as women's sports. He was the play-by-play announcer for the first baseball broadcast from Bears Stadium. He was the first local broadcaster to host a regular talk show in Denver.