Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson to be inducted into Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2014
April 23, 2014
The Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame's Class of 2014 features a marvelous lineup of athletes and contributors to the city's sports history and traditions. The Banquet and Induction Ceremony are co-presented for the Sports Corp by The Gazette and ANB Bank. The Class of 2014 will be inducted on Tuesday, October 28, at the The Broadmoor World Arena with dinner at 7:00 p.m. following a reception at 5:00, along with the popular sports silent auction, which has been a highlight of all 14 previous induction ceremonies starting with the inaugural Class of 2000. Reservations for tables or seats can be made by calling Aubrey McCoy at the Sports Corp (719) 634-7333, ext. 1006 or by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Prices- $2,500.00 for a VIP table of ten seats, $1,250.00 for a patron table of ten seats; $250.00 for a VIP seat, $125.00 for a patron seat. VIP seating includes priority seating location, complimentary wine, and reception.
Cockroft, a graduate of Fountain-Fort Carson High School, where he was a three-sport star in football, basketball and track, ended his sports career as one of the greatest kickers in college and the NFL. He attended Adams State College from 1963-1966, playing as a kicker and strong safety. He led the NAIA in punting in his senior year with an average of 48.1 yards per kick and was named an All-American.
He was a third-round draft Choice of the Cleveland Browns and played with the NFL team for 14 seasons as both a punter and place kicker, a rare feat. He was also the next-to-last of the NFL's "straight leg" kickers. In 1972, he was named to the NFL's All-Pro Team as a punter and received the NFL Golden Toe Award and Colorado's Outstanding Pro Athlete. He was at his best in the clutch, going 17/17 in game-winning situations for the Browns. He retired in 1981 as the 8th leading scorer in NFL history with 1080 points. He has been inducted into the Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame (2002) and the Cleveland Browns Legends (2007).
Horst Richardson celebrates his 50th season with the Colorado College men's soccer program this year, something that no other Tigers coach has come close to matching and the same can be said about soccer coaches anywhere in the United States. Since joining the CC program in 1965 under Bill Boddington, then taking the head coaching position a year later, Richardson has compiled an amazing record of 552 wins, 300 defeats and 69 ties. He has taken his Tigers to the NCAA Division III playoffs 19 times and guided his teams to six conference titles in the Rocky Mountain Conference. Heading into the 2014 season, CC's 8th year in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference, Richardson ranks among among the top 10 collegiate soccer coaches of all-time with his 552 victories. His Tigers have received four NCAA Tournament bids since 2000. In 2004, with All-American and NCAA Division III Player of the Year Patrick McGinnis leading the way, the Tigers finished 16-4-1. His teams were 144-68-16 during the 1990s, including an 18-2-2 mark and a trip to the national semifinals in 1992. He graduated from the University of California-Riverside in 1963, playing on the varsity soccer team and winning four letters. He then added a Ph.D from the University of Connecticut.
Pete Geronazzo came to Colorado College from Trail, British Columbia, as a walk-on and watched the 1991-1992 Tiger ice hockey team from the stands, then proceeded to become an All-American, Hobey Baker top-ten finalist during his career and one of the school's most productive players in history. After collecting just seven goals and seven assists his official freshman season in 1992-93, when the Tigers finished dead last in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and won only eight of 34 games overall, Geronazzo was instrumental in a remarkable turn-around that saw Colorado College soar to an unprecedented three consecutive regular-season titles in the WCHA. During those 1993-94, '94-95 and '95-96 campaigns under head coach Don Lucia, CC posted 86 victories in 124 outings. Geronazzo was credited with the game-winning goal in 20 of them. In 1995-96, when the Tigers reached the NCAA Frozen Four title game against the University of Michigan, losing a 4-3 overtime defeat and finishing finishing 33-5-4, he was one of eight Colorado College players to garner All-WCHA accolades, joining goaltender Ryan Bach on the league's elite First Team before both raked in All-America honors. Geronazzo, who tied with linemate Colin Schmidt for the CC scoring lead with 57 points (29g,28a) as a junior in 1994-95, completed his collegiate career with 91 goals and 87 assists in 146 games. His 178 points rank him 13th on the program's all-time chart. He has remained a resident of Colorado Springs since his playing days ended.
Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson is the Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy, appointed this year and the first female to hold that position. The general is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy's Class of 1981 and one of the AFA's most outstanding women's basketball players during her career. She ended her four-year stint with the basketball team with 1,706 points, second-best in the school's history. She averaged 17.6 points per game during her playing days for the Falcons. In addition, she was named to the CoSIDA Academic Hall of Fame for her performance on the court and in the classroom. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995 and was a member of the Air Force Sports Hall of Fame inaugural class. Hall of Fame nominees must have been an Academic All-American with a cumulative GPA of 3.00, and be at least 10 years past graduation. Johnson, named the Academy's most outstanding scholar-athlete in 1981, had a 3.91 GPA and was a two-time Academic All-American. After graduating from the Academy, she became the school's first female Rhodes Scholar and earned her pilot wings in 1984. Johnson has held numerous command positions at the group, wing and numbered Air Force level, and came to the Academy after serving as the Deputy, Chief of Staff, Operation and Intelligence, Supreme Headquarters Allies Powers Europe, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Casteau, Belgium. The general's military awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Combat Readiness Medal with oak leaf cluster, National Defense Service Medal with bronze star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with bronze star and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. Johnson has served as the Air Force Aide to Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton, as well as the Deputy Director for Global Effects and the War on Terrorism, Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate (J5), Joint Staff, the Pentagon in Washington.
Tom Falgien is already a sports legend in Colorado Springs after five decades of service and contribution to prep sports, academics and youth in the city. Born and raised in Florence, he attended Florence High School, where he not only won 12 sports letters in football, baseball and tennis, but was also the student body president. He graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 1954 and played tennis before beginning his coaching and teaching career. He coached at Florence before joining the U.S. Army from 1956-1958. His career in Colorado Springs began in 1958 when he became a teacher and coach at South Junior High and Palmer High. His coaching and teaching career includes stops at Palmer, Wasson, and Mitchell High Schools where he developed outstanding student athletes and was a tremendous administrator. Later, when he was needed, he also served as the Principal at St. Mary's High for two years. He played a key role in the remodeling of Berry Stadium and the creation of the Colorado Springs Metro League and staging of numerous state high school championships in hockey, volleyball and basketball. Falgien was the District 11 athletic director from 1982-1988. He was named to the CHSAA Hall of Fame in 2000 and was the winner of the Col. F. Don Miller Award from the Sports Corp in 1996. He is the Vice-President of The Broadmoor World Arena and chairman of the Arena's Youth and Community Assistance Fund for 16 years. Falgien played a major role in the venue's creation, fund raising and support. In fact, the basketball floor at the arena is named after him. He serves as the chairman of the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame's F. Don Miller Award committee. There is no doubt that his five decades of service to sport in the city makes him a natural for the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame.
Colorado Springs Brown Bombers Baseball Team
The Colorado Springs Brown Bombers baseball team of the 1940s and 1950s in the city remain one of the most cherished parts of the city's sports legends and history. In an era of racism and segregation, this semi-professional baseball team, made up of all-black players won back-to-back championships in 1949-1950 in the Colorado Springs City Baseball League, a very popular league that simply faded away after the professional Colorado Springs Sky Sox came to the city in 1950 and played at Spurgeon Field at Memorial Park. The team is celebrated still today for its historic role in the struggle for racial equality in Colorado Springs. Their first championship in 1949 generated all kinds of headlines. Here's an excerpt from The Gazette's story of the game: "A wild and rugged evening which saw two members of the losing team tossed out of the ballgame marked the Brown Bombers 9-6 victory over the Still Bros.-Jackson Gas team for the championship of the city league. Major popoff session of the evening occasioned action by members of the Police Department to quell an incipient riot." According to Gazette columnist Bill Vogrin, the Bombers were an all-black team competing against teams that were all-white and wouldn't accept black players. These were men who learned to play on their own with makeshift balls and gloves and equipment, not in organized leagues taught by experienced coaches using new equipment and uniforms as the whites enjoyed. They were men who had to swallow hard as opponents and fans yelled racial slurs. They faced the indignity of being refused service in restaurants. And they endured road games that became marathon round trips because no motel would let them stay the night. But things changed over the decades, and players like Joe Morgan (inducted into the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame in 2004) and Sam Dunlap (selected for the Col. F. Don Miller Award by the Sports Corp in 2011), were members of the Brown Bombers honored for their achievements and courage. Dunlap was the first black baseball coach for School District 11, was a youth mentor and was honored by the Sports Corp. Morgan became the first black umpire invited to officiate a state high school baseball championship. Teammate Justus Morgan was elected to the Palmer High School Hall of Fame and became pastor of Morgan Memorial Chapel Church of God in Christ, which his father started. Generations have passed, but the Brown Bombers remain an important part of the city's sports traditions and culture.
Thayer Tutt Sportsman Award - Dave Palenchar
Though he has served the city's sports community with little fanfare and has always kept a low profile, Dave Palenchar remains one of the most important individuals in the growth, traditions and history of sport in Colorado Springs, America's Olympic City. He serves as a Trustee of the El Pomar Foundation, which has had a huge role in the city in connection to sports, including the relocation of the United States Olympic Committee from New York in 1978 and the creation of The Broadmoor World Arena. He has been with El Pomar for 23 years in fact. He serves, as well, as the President and CEO of The Broadmoor World Arena and Chairman of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation. His effort and support of the Sports Corp has been a major part of the organization's recent growth and new programs. Originally from Los Angeles, Dave is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, also receiving a Master's Degree in National Security Affairs and Asian Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. In addition to various flying assignments, he served as a political science and international relations faculty member at the Academy. Dave's international relations duties included postings in Washington D.C. and Brussels. In Washington, he focused on United States relations with China, Japan and the Korean Peninsula and, in Brussels, he worked with the "southern tier" nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, including Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Turkey. In addition to his current work with El Pomar and The Broadmoor World Arena, Dave serves on a variety of community boards, including as Chairman of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation, Secretary of Pikes Peak Hospice and Palliative Care, Vice President of the Air Force Academy Foundation, and Secretary of Junior Achievement USA. He also serves on the boards of Junior Achievement Worldwide, Central City Opera, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Hall of Fame, the Colorado Springs Visitors and Convention Bureau, and is a community board member of Wells Fargo Bank in Colorado Springs. In 2007, he was selected by the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce as its Business Citizen of the Year.
Col. F. Don Miller Award- Mark Beranek
Mark Beranek has carved out one of the most successful basketball coaching careers in Colorado high school history. His boys teams won the state Class 4A title in 1997 and 2000 when he was the head coach at Sierra High School, defeating Evergreen in 1997 and Dakota Ridge in 2000 for the titles. He was honored to be selected as the coach for the West team in the 1997 McDonald's High School All-American Game that included future college and NBA stars, some still playing. He was born and raised in Lafayette and attended Centaurus High. He attended Adams State College in Alamosa, playing basketball, before embarking on his superb coaching and teaching career. He held positions at Harrison and Mitchell High Schools before moving to Sierra and taking the head boys basketball post. He was the head coach at Sierra from 1984-2000, where he became one of the top coaches in the state with his two 4A crowns. His Sierra teams appeared in the Final Four on four occasions in the state championships. He received the prestigious Tom Sutak Award from the Colorado High School Coaches Association in 1994, which was especially meaningful to Beranek because the award is named after his high school coach at Centaurus. Beranek was also honored as the Colorado High School Coach of the Year in 1997-1998 in recognition of his amazing success at Sierra, where he also taught Business Education for the school. Aside from his coaching success, he served as the Assistant Athletic Director for District 11 in Colorado Springs from 2007-2010. He was inducted into the Colorado High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2009, and for the last three years, he's been the head boys basketball coach at St. Mary's High in Colorado Springs. His 2013-2014 team went 19-5, won a league title, and made the Sweet Sixteen in the Colorado Class 3A playoffs.