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Locally: Dennis Erickson leads eight into Washington State Sports Hall of Fame

FILE– In this Sept. 17, 2011 file photo, Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson looks on during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Illinois in Champaign, Ill. Erickson was voted into the State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame. (Seth Perlman / Associated Press)
FILE– In this Sept. 17, 2011 file photo, Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson looks on during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Illinois in Champaign, Ill. Erickson was voted into the State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame. (Seth Perlman / Associated Press)

Dennis Erickson, who had stops at Idaho and Washington State during a 47-year football coaching career that also included a stint with the Seattle Seahawks, is among a class of eight voted into the State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame.

Another former Seahawks coach, Mike Holmgren, and former Seahawks running back Curt Warner are also in the Class of 2017 that also includes soccer goalkeeper Kasey Keller, Washington Huskies running back Joe Steele, Olympic Gold Medal skier Debbie Armstrong, pro basketball star Byron Beck and sports publicist and administrator Gary Wright.

Erickson will be recognized at Washington State’s home opener on Sept. 2 against Montana State, from where he graduated and started his coaching journey in 1969 as a graduate assistant.

Keller and Wright will be honored on Aug. 20 at a Seattle Sounders game against Minnesota United, and Warner, Holmgren, Armstrong, Steele and Beck will be inducted on July 25 at Safeco Field prior to a Seattle Mariners-Boston Red Sox game.

Erickson, from Everett, Washington, won two national championships at the University of Miami (the second in 1991 shared with Washington) and was coach of the year at three Pac-12 schools – WSU, Oregon State and Arizona State. In addition to coaching the Seahawks from 1995-98, he coached the San Francisco 49ers (2003-04). He spent the past four seasons as an assistant at Utah before retiring on Dec. 30, 2016.

Holmgren coached the Seahawks from 1999-2008 and won five division titles and the 2005 NFC championship that put Seattle in the Super Bowl for the first time. He earlier won the 1996 Super Bowl as coach of the Green Bay Packers.

Warner, a member of the Seahawks’ Ring of Honor, was an All-American at Penn State on the 1982 national championship team. He played seven years for the Seahawks, three times being named to the Pro Bowl, and led the AFC in rushing as a rookie.

Keller, a graduate of North Thurston High School in Olympia, is one of the most successful U.S. soccer players in history with 102 caps for in international-team play. He was on four World Cup teams and played in the English Premier League, the German Bundesliga and in Spain’s La Liga and finished his career with the Sounders

Steele, considered one the greatest Washington running backs of all-time, went from Seattle’s Bishop Blanchet High School to set single- season (1,111 yards) and career rushing (3,168 yards) records at UW which have since been broken. His pro career was thwarted by a knee injury.

Armstrong, a multi-sport athlete at Garfield High School in Seattle, was the upset winner in the giant slalom at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo.

Beck, a 1963 graduate of Kittitas High School, played college basketball at Denver and played for the Denver Nuggets in the ABA and NBA for 10 seasons. The Nuggets retired his number after a career that saw him score 8,603 points and grab 5,261 rebounds.

Wright is so well-regarded that the press box at CenturyLink Field is named for him. He was a key member of the Seahawks organization for 32 years before becoming a senior vice-president with the Sounders in 2008 and still serves as a consultant to the soccer team.


P.J. Jones, who caught for Washington State from 2012-15 and was a graduate assistant for the Cougars this past season, has been promoted to volunteer assistant coach.

The Vancouver, Washington, native, who served as the Cougars’ first base coach for much of the 2017 season, was selected in the 19th round of the 2015 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners. He played one season at short-season Single-A Everett before spending the 2016 season as a player/coach at Tacoma, the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate.

College scene

Vanessa Shippy, All-American!

The Oklahoma State junior from Lake City capped another outstanding softball season for the Cowgirls by being named a third-team All-American by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association and a CoSIDA Academic All-American, both for a second straight year, the first Cowgirl to accomplish that feat.

And for frosting on the top, she was named the Big 12 Female Spring Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

The infielder led Oklahoma State to a 38-25 record and into the NCAA Regionals with a .398 batting average, 72 hits, 46 RBIs, 16 doubles and four triples.

She had the game-winning RBI in the Cowgirls’ 1-0 win over Florida in the Gainesville Regional, OSU’s third victory over a No. 1-ranked team in program history. But the Gators won the next game and deprived the Cowgirls a chance to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals.

In the classroom, Shippy posted a 3.94 GPA and was Academic All-Big 12 first team as well All-Big 12 first team, both for a second straight year, after being named to the Big 12 All-Freshman team in 2015.

J.J. Robinson, Lewis-Clark State’s senior designated hitter from Colfax, earned honorable mention on the NAIA-Baseball Coaches Association All-America team.

A second-team selection a year ago, Robinson was the only member of the Warriors’ 2017 NAIA World Series champions to be honored. He was MVP of the 61st event after leading the Warriors to a 19th title.

The 6-foot-2, 225-pound left-handed batting cleanup hitter, two-time NAIA West Player of the Year, led the Warriors regulars with a .345 batting average as well as home runs (22), doubles (15), RBI (68) and hits (69) and was second in runs scored (53) and slugging percentage (.756).

Sarah Reiter and Cooper Kupp from Eastern Washington and Katelyn Peterson and Nathan Stark from Idaho have been selected as their school’s recipients of the Big Sky Conference Scholar-Athlete Award for the 2016-17 school year.

Brandon Gfeller from Colfax was selected as the male recipient at Montana.

The award honors the “best of the best” of the conference’s more than 3,500 student-athletes, with one senior male and one senior female selected from each school for their athletic and academic achievements.

Reiter, from Renton, Washington, who transferred from Montana State as a sophomore, is a record-breaking track & field and cross country distance runner with a 3.92 GPA in business administration. She twice advanced to the NCAA Cross Country Championships and is a four-time All-Big Sky selection in track, where she holds three school records.

Kupp, from Yakima, with a 3.63 GPA in economics, is a four-time football All-American and record-setting wide receiver who was a third-round selection of the Los Angeles Rams in the 2017 NFL Draft. He earned 14 different national player of the year accolades in his career and was a three-time Academic All-American. Twice he was the NCAA FCS Player of the Year and won the 2015 Walter Payton Award.

Peterson, from Fairfield, Idaho, is a multi-sport athlete who competed for the volleyball team in the fall during her first four years in Moscow, then after exhausting her eligibility she focused exclusively on track and field in 2016-17.

Stark, from Boise, saved his best outdoor track season for last, advancing to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships first round in the steeplechase in 2017.

Both Vandals have completed their undergraduate degrees and are working on their master’s.

Gfeller is the first player in Montana history to earn the school’s Allan Nielsen Award four consecutive years as the player who best represents Grizzly basketball and won the school’s prestigious Grizzly Cup award for overall student-athlete performance in class, community and competition. He is a four-time Academic All-Big Sky selection with a 3.53 GPA.

All the area schools were shown some love when the Oracle/Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s regional rankings were announced.

After a program-best 17-4 record and first-ever spot in the WCC Championships finale in 2017, the Gonzaga women were fifth in the Division I Northwest Regional rankings for schools in Washington, Oregon and Northern California. It’s the second time in two years GU has been ranked. It was ninth last year.

The Bulldogs landed sophomores Sophie Whittle 16th and Nevada Apollo 18th in singles and Whittle and sophomore Graciela Rosas 10th in doubles.

Washington State’s women ranked ninth with freshman Guzai Yusupua 10th in singles.

Freeman graduate Maya Jansen, a graduate student at Cal, and partner Maegan Manasse, semifinalists in the NCAA Championships, were ranked first in the Northwest in doubles. Manasse was fourth in singles.

Robert Dula, an Eastern Washington senior, was 20th in singles, the only area men’s ranking in the Northwest Region.

In the Oracle/ITA Mountain Regional rankings, Idaho’s men’s team was eighth and the Vandals landed junior Mark Kovacs 18th and sophomore Carlos Longhi Neto 19th in singles and sixth as a pair in doubles. The UI women were ranked 10th with sophomore Marianna Petrei 11th in singles and joining partner Lucia Badillos, a junior, for 10th in doubles.

In Division III, the Whitworth women were 18th in the Northwest and the Pirates’ men 19th.

Ieva Adomaviciute, a Washington State redshirt senior from Lithuania, was a first-team selection on the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association Region 5 first team and teammate Nicole Hare, a redshirt senior from Calgary, was named to the second team.

The duo returned to the Cougars this season after redshirting last year to train with their national teams for the 2016 Rio Olympics – Hare made the Canadian team – and led the WSU varsity eight to a 13th-place finish and 14th—place overall team finish at the NCAA Championships. Every year they rowed, WSU advanced to the NCAA Championships, missing in 2016 when they were missing.


Area golfers collected seven top-10 finishes at the Pacific Northwest PGA Boys and Girls Junior Championships last week at Canyon Lakes Golf Course in Kennewick.

Four of the top-10s came in the boys 13- to 15-year-old division with Daniel Kim of Manito Golf & Country Club leading the way, finishing third at 150.

Mason Bonn of Rock Creek Golf Club in Coeur d’Alene tied for fourth at 152, Tommy Kimmel of Manito was sixth at 153 and Patrick Azevedo of Othello Golf Club was ninth at 158. A 147 over 36 holes won the division.

Gunnar Knutson of Kalispel Golf & Country Club led the area showing in boys 16-18 by tying for fourth at 148. Mateo Fuenmayor of Rock Creek tied for 10th at 152. A 142 won the division.

Sofia Fuenmayor of Rock Creek led the showing by area girls, placing second in the 12-and-under division by four strokes with a 183.

Other area golfers and their scores:

Boys 16-18: Zane Mularski, Kalispel, 156; Cameron Johnson, Coeur d’Alene Golf Club, 161.

Boys 13-15: Hayden Gamache, The Creek at Qualchan, 161; Matthew McGann, Qualchan, 172; Matthew Durkin, Manito, 174.

Girls 16-18: Isadora Tomazeli, The Ranch Club (Priest River), 193.


Cameron Carter, who completed a record-breaking goalkeeping career at Arkansas in 2016, has joined the staff of the Idaho women’s soccer team as an assistant coach. Her primary responsibilities will be working with the Vandals goalkeepers.

Carter, from Waco, Texas, had a school-record 45 wins, 20 of them shutouts, during her career. She led Arkansas into the NCAA Women’s College Cup all three years she was the primary goalkeeper, reaching the Sweet 16 in 2013. She had six shutouts, a 1.04 goals-against average and an 18-5-1 record as a senior when the Razorbacks played for the SEC championship for the first time since 1996.

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