December 20, 2012

Athletics Hall of Fame Announces 2013 Class

By HEATHER KENNEDY
UNCBears.com

GREELEY – Honoring those who have distinguished themselves either on the playing field or via contributions to the department, the Northern Colorado Athletics Hall of Fame is proud to announce its 19th induction class.

The 2012-13 class is comprised of: O. Kay Dalton (Football Coach), Mick Holmes (Football), Toby Moser (Men’s Basketball), Ruth Nelson (Tennis/Volleyball), Mike Pantoya (Wrestling), Kiha Thomas Sutta (Soccer) and the 1988-89 Men’s Basketball team.

Former Director of Athletics Bob Oliver, who was elected into the Hall of Fame a year ago, will also be inducted this season after not being able to attend last year’s festivities.

The induction ceremony will take place on Friday, February 1 at the University Center Ballrooms, while the class will also be honored at halftime of the Northern Colorado Men’s Basketball game against Weber State on Saturday, February 2 at 7 pm.

Tickets to the banquet are $50 and can be purchased online at www.uncalumni.org/things-to-do.

O. Kay Dalton, Football Coach/Contributor, 1989-2005, 2012
Currently serving as an offensive consultant to the University of Northern Colorado Football team, Dalton is considered one of the brightest and most-respected minds in all of football. He served as the offensive coordinator of the Bears from 1989 until 2000 when he was named head coach of the program. He served in that role until 2005, compiling a 38-31 record. He has also been the head coach for the CFL’s Montreal Allouettes, Western State and Trinidad State and his assistant coaching stops have included four NFL teams, two CFL teams and two NCAA Division I programs.

Mick Holmes, Football, 1966-69
His name is still sprinkled throughout the Northern Colorado Football record books after serving as an all-purpose back for one of the greatest teams in school history – the undefeated 1969 squad (10-0), which captured the school’s first conference championship in 35 years and ended the season ranked third. At the time of his graduation, Holmes owned the school career records in: all-purpose yards (3,173), punt return yards (461), points scored (122) and touchdowns (20) and he still continues to rank in the top 20 in all of them.

Toby Moser, Men’s Basketball, 1986-90
He earned both First-Team All-Region and North Central Conference All-Conference honors as a senior in 1990 and was one of the stars on the 1988-89 team that finished the year ranked 11th in the country and hosted the first two rounds of the NCAA Regionals. Moser ended his career with 1,060 points and is one of just 18 players in school history to top the 1,000 point milestone. His 669 career rebounds still rank fourth all-time in school history. In addition to his on-the-court awards, Moser also received the prestigious NCAA postgraduate scholarship and he was a two-time First-Team All-Academic pick by the NCC.

Ruth Nelson, Basketball, Field Hockey, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball, 1966-70
Nelson was a five-sport athlete, earning letters in basketball, field hockey, softball, tennis and volleyball and ranked second in doubles in the Intermountain USTA Region and is widely remembered as one of the best athletes at the institution during the pre-AIAW era. Nelson went on to coach for 16 years at the collegiate level at George Williams College, Houston, Louisiana State and Iowa, totaling over 500 wins. Nelson has been a USA National Team Player, USA National Team Assistant Coach, USA National Team Technical Advisor, Junior National Team Head Coach, World University Games Head Coach and Dallas Belles Major League Volleyball Professional Team Head Coach with additional experience in training, sports marketing, fundraising and advertising. Nelson has also received two prestigious awards: USA Volleyball’s All-time Great Coach Award – Pioneer Division, awarded in 2011 and USA Volleyball’s George J. Fisher Volleyball Award for significant service rendered to the sport of for at least 20 years, received in 1996. 

Bob Oliver, Director of Athletics, 1982-92
Oliver served as the Northern Colorado director of athletics from 1982-92, leaving to become a director at the NCAA Office, where he served for 10 years. While at Northern Colorado, he led a restructuring of athletics that included cutting several sports, increasing fund raising via the Blue and Gold Club and posturing the athletic department so it could be competitive. During the 1980’s UNC had numerous successes, including numerous championship appearances by the women’s volleyball and tennis teams. The men’s programs also experienced success in football, basketball and wrestling. He also led a successful attempt to bring the women’s athletic program into the North Central Conference. He was also a consultant as the university started its five year process to become a NCAA Division I institution.

Mike Pantoya, Wrestling, 1988-91
A two-time NCAA Division II National Champion, Pantoya won the 134 pound titles in both 1990 and 1991 for the Bears, helping the 1991 team finish third – the second-highest team finish in school history. In his two seasons at Northern Colorado, he posted a career record of 59-11 and his .843 career winning percentage still ranks in the top 10 in school history, as do his 34 wins from his senior campaign. Combined with his two-year record at Fort Lewis College, he was 91-26 on the mat. Pantoya was inducted into the NCAA Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2001 and is coaching wrestling at Thornton High School.

Kiha Thomas Sutta, Soccer, 1999-02
Sutta started all four years for the Bears at the forward position, helping lead the team to the NCAA Tournament in both 2001 and 2002. During her career, the Bears posted an overall record of 56-20-1 and they went 28-4 in North Central Conference games. She was a three-time NSCAA All-Region, NCC All-Academic and NCC Player of the Week selection and was a First-Team CoSIDA All-Academic District and NSCAA Academic All-Region selection as a senior. She still ranks second all-time in goals and points and is tied for first in assists. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northern Colorado and is currently a soccer assistant coach at the Air Force Academy.

1988-89 Men’s Basketball Team
The 1988-89 team finished the season 24-6 overall and 14-4 in North Central Conference (NCC) play, the only conference championship team for the Bears in the NCC in its 25-year membership for men’s basketball. The team lost in the NCAA Regional finals, 89-88 in double overtime to narrowly miss advancing to the Elite Eight. Hall of Fame member Mike Higgins was the team’s leading scorer and rebounder and was named to the NCAA Division II All-America team. Also on the team were: Ralph de Abreau, Charles Evison, Clifford Gooden, Robert Held, James Hendricks, Craig Hopkins, Doug Kaczmarek, Mike Kort, Doug Lodmell, David Mellick, Toby Moser, Gus Nehme, John Olander, Shawn Osthoff, Brian Parker, David Pierro and Scott Watson. Ron Brillhart was the head coach.