The late Dan Fitzgerald, considered the godfather of Gonzaga University’s rise to men’s basketball prominence, heads a list of eight local sports figures to be honored during the 2019 Inland Northwest Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on Oct. 29.
Fitzgerald, who died in 2010 at the age of 67, took the Bulldogs to their first NCAA Tournament in 1995 and posted a 252-171 record in 15 years as head coach. He also championed Gonzaga’s move to the West Coast Conference, and as athletic director hired the coaches who launched Gonzaga to its current heights. He also lent his expertise to Spokane’s expansive AAU program.
Others being inducted:
Ron Cox, the former State B basketball great from Coulee City and still the tournament’s rebounding record-holder, went on to become Eastern Washington’s career scoring and rebounding leader and an NAIA All-American. His distinguished coaching resume at Tekoa-Oakesdale and Lakeside includes a 417-298 record and a State B boys title in 1993.
Jason Hanson is one of the greatest place-kickers in football history. He spent 21 seasons with the Detroit Lions and retired No. 3 on the NFL’s career scoring and field-goal lists and the record-holder for 50-yarders. The Mead graduate was also a consensus All-American at Washington State, graduating as the school’s kick-scoring record holder.
Jake Rosholt is one of most decorated wrestlers in NCAA history who won three individual titles at 184 and 197 pounds, compiling a 105-20 collegiate record while helping Oklahoma State to four straight national team championships. At Sandpoint High School, he was 131-8 and a three-time state champ as the Bulldogs won two team titles.
Jack Thompson, “The Throwin’ Samoan” at Washington State, rewrote Pacific-8 and NCAA records in passing, starting with the single-season yardage mark as a sophomore. With a three-year NCAA-record total of 7,818 yards and 53 touchdowns, he was twice All-Pac-8 and the third player picked in the 1978 NFL draft. He is one of just two Cougars to have his number retired.
Don “Buzzie” Welch, the “Pied Piper” of Spokane volleyball, won 11 Greater Spokane League titles as a coach at Rogers, Ferris and Lewis and Clark, where he added two state championships to a collection of 10 state trophies. His teams won 504 of 689 matches and he was a driving force in the camp and club culture that made Spokane a volleyball powerhouse.
Bart Templeman, nationally recognized as a guru in track and field’s weight events, operated the Iron Wood Throwers Camp for 23 years that developed Olympians and brought them back to teach. Later he built a state-of-the-art training facility near Rathdrum and continues as a volunteer coach. His Iron Wood Throwers Classic annually draws world-class athletes.
John Tuft, the longtime parks and recreation director for Spokane County, nurtured the area’s appetite for recreational sports by introducing the popular slowpitch softball leagues for men and women and a participation-driven basketball program. In earlier roles at the YMCA and Spokane Club, he was instrumental in establishing swimming and adult volleyball programs.
Templeman and Tuft will be inducted into the Scroll of Honor.
The induction will take place at the Veterans Memorial Arena. Doors open at 3:15 p.m. with the ceremony beginning at 4. A reception will follow, along with the unveiling of each inductee’s cubicle. The public is welcome. Ticket can be purchased online through the spokanesports.org website.
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