The 13th class to be inducted into the University of Colorado Athletic Hall of Fame, happening this November, will feature 10 Golden Buffalo legends who left indelible marks in their CU athletic careers.
The 10, two of whom will be honored posthumously, represent those eight different sports over a period that spans from the early 1940s to early last decade, covering seven different decades in all. Included in the group are a pair of football teammates from the ‘70s; two of CU’s standout female performers in basketball and volleyball in the early 1990s; the school’s first star skier; one of CU’s first high-profile national recruits in men’s basketball; a national cross country individual champion; a longtime coach and state golfing legend; a member of three conference champion football teams who had an outstanding and lengthy career in the pros; and a man who rose from manager of the football team to several full-time positions in the athletic department before really making his mark nationally as one of the top administrators in college sports.
The 2017 class will be the 13th inducted into the Hall since it was conceived in 1998, and the 10 will join 91 individuals (and the 1959 ski team as a unit) who have been enshrined to date (12 have been honored previously after their deaths).
Athletic director Rick George personally notified all eight living members of the upcoming class of their impending induction, as well as the next of kin for two deceased inductees, CU’s first three-time All-American in any sport, skier Frank Brown, and longtime golf coach after lettering in the sport himself in Les Fowler.
The group will officially be inducted in the Hall of Fame on Thursday, Nov. 9 in an evening reception; will be featured in the Pearl Street Stampede parade on Friday night; and then will be introduced at halftime of the CU-Southern California football game on Saturday, Nov. 11, to complete the weekend.
Those to be inducted are:
Stan Brock – Football (1976-79)
Chad Brown – Football (1989-92)
Frank Brown – Skiing (1957-59)
Karrie Downey – Volleyball (1991-94)
Les Fowler – Golf & Golf Coach (1946-76)
Steve Hatchell – Football/Administration (1966-75)
Mark Haynes – Football (1976-79)
Jay Humphries – Basketball (1980-84)
Jamillah Lang – Women’s Basketball (1990-94)
Jorge Torres – Cross Country & Track (1999-2003)
All three football players were high selections in the National Football League Draft, as Haynes and Brock were first round picks in 1980 (eighth and 12th overall, respectively), while Brown was a second-rounder and 44th overall in the ’93 draft.
Humphries, along with Inglewood (Calif.) High School teammate Vince Kelley, were perhaps the first two high profile national recruits in men’s basketball, while Lang herself was a big-time signee out of Washington High in Kansas City, Kan.
Downey was one of the early stars on CU’s fledgling volleyball team, joining the squad in its sixth year of existence and played a major role in the program taking a major step forward. Torres, on the other hand, was a key in helping the Buffs go from perennial conference champion to winning CU’s first men’s national cross country championship in 2001.
Hatchell started as a football team manager doing what they do – laundry, sizing equipment, fixing helmets, to being an assistant to the athletic director, the late Eddie Crowder and being the right-hand man to ski coach Bill Marolt at the front end of CU’s eight straight NCAA ski titles. After a short stint as co-sports information director, he moved on to several high profile collegiate positions with the Big 8, Metro and Southwest conferences, with a run as the Orange Bowl’s executive director sprinkled in-between, to where he is now, the top man with the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame.
Frank Brown was an All-American in both alpine and Nordic events three straight years, while Fowler starred as a golfer in the late 1940s and took over coaching the team in 1948 through his retirement midway during the 1976-77 athletic year.
All inductees were nominated by their peers in the Alumni C-Club or by members of the selection committee; 27 semifinalists emerged from over 60 names originally submitted over the last three years. There are now 101 members (plus the ’59 ski team, CU’s first national champions) in the CU Athletic HOF since its inception in 1998. An athlete must be at least 10 years removed from their CU career and retired from professional sports (teams) to be considered for induction. With an induction every year instead of on a biennial basis as was the case for the first 16 years of the Hall, CU has been able to get more of those who are deserving of the recognition honored in a shorter time span with larger induction classes over the last four years.