Hall of Fame Class of 1995
Class of 1995: Front Row (l-r): Jack LaBonde, Tommy Backus, Barb Eaton, Tony Rossi, for Bob DeMeo. Back Row (l-r): Elmo Cromer, Dan Libera, Bob Blasi, Dick Monfort, Len Lordino.
|Tom Backus, Football/Wrestling (1934-39)|
Tom Backus was a letterwinner on the Bears' 1934 football team that upset Colorado en route to the Rocky Mountain Conference title. A native of Wray, Backus was a varsity wrestler under coach John Hancock and filled-in for his mentor by serving as interim wrestling coach in 1939, when he led his squad to a conference championship. Backus, a longtime contributor to UNC, later endowed the John Hancock Scholarship to honor his former coach.
|Bob Blasi, Football Coach (1966-84)|
Bob Blasi compiled a record of 107-71-3 as UNC football coach from 1966-86. He coached the 1969 Bears to a 10-0 record, a Rocky Mountain Conference title and a number-three ranking in the final UPI national college division poll. His teams won six league titles, including one North Central Conference championship, and he led UNC to its first-ever NCAA playoff appearance in 1980.
|Elmo Cromer, Multi-sports (1930s)|
Elmo Cromer earned 13 varsity letters in football, basketball, baseball and track. He began his college career in the mid-1930s and, after a five-year stint in the military, served as an assistant coach to John Hancock before an injury to the starting fullback forced Cromer back into the lineup. A Fort Collins native, Cromer coached high school basketball at Brady (Neb.), Wiggins and Eaton, where he built a 340-95 career record and led the Bears to the 1964 state title.
|Bob DeMeo, Baseball (1970-74)|
In 1972, Bob DeMeo became the first player in UNC baseball history to earn first team All-American honors and he followed up that honor with a pair of third team All-American citations in 1973 and 1974. He had three hits in the Bears' doubleheader sweep of top-ranked Arizona that propelled UNC into the 1974 College World Series. A Hamilton Square, N.J. native, he played minor league baseball and became a minor league manager before his death in a 1981 automobile accident.
|Barb Eaton, Tennis (1980-82)|
Barb Eaton was UNC's first-ever women's national champion, winning an AIAW singles title in 1981. A native of Aurora, she combined with teammate Darla Steenburgen to place second in the doubles competition at the 1981 national tennis tournament and she also won singles and doubles titles at the North Central Conference championships.
|Jack LaBonde, Wrestling Coach (1966-80)|
Jack LaBonde was the Bears' wrestling coach from 1966-80, during which time he compiled a 154-68-2 dual record. He coached two national champions and 19 All-American wrestlers. In 1969, he led the Bears to a second-place finish at the NCAA College Division Championships. A former UNC wrestler, LaBonde won a conference title in 1951, and after graduation, built a 71-4 coaching record at Montrose High School before returning to coach his alma mater.
|Dan Libera, Athletic Trainer (1971-97)|
Dan Libera served as the Bears' athletic trainer from 1971 until his death in 1997. He was previously inducted into the Rocky Mountain Trainers Association Hall of Fame. He was also honored by the National Athletic Trainers Association with a scholarship award established in his name. Libera directed UNC's award-winning student trainer program and produced several notable graduates, including Steve Antonopulos, head trainer of the Denver Broncos.
|Len Lordino, Wrestling (1958-62)|
Len Lordino was UNC's first-ever national champion, winning an NCAA Division I wrestling title at 191 pounds in 1961. Lordino was born and raised in Arvada, Colo., and graduated from Arvada High School where his stellar wrestling career was born. Lordino was a conference champion in 1955, 1956 and 1957 as a prep. He was crowned a state champion in both 1956 and 1957. Lordino was also an AAU runner-up in 1957 and AAU champion in 1958 before starting his collegiate career at Colorado State. He was a four-time Rocky Mountain Conference champion and he led the Bears to three top-15 national team finishes.
|Dick Monfort, Contributor|
A long-time supporter of UNC athletics, Dick Monfort and his wife, Chris, made the lead gift in the fundraising campaign to build the $3.5 million Nottingham Field. Formerly an executive with ConAgra Refrigerated Food Companies, Monfort is a majority owner of the Colorado Rockies Baseball Club. In addition, he is the current chairman of the UNC Board of Trustees. While a student at UNC, Monfort was a member of the varsity swimming team.
|Tony Rossi, Gymnastics Coach/Athletic Trainer
Tony Rossi enjoyed fine career as a member of the UNC faculty from 1949-83. During that time, he served as men's gymnastics coach and athletic trainer. A prisoner-of-war during World War II, he created a gymnastics program to keep his fellow prisoners physically strong and mentally alert. He was named the U.S. Olympic Committee's Trainer of the Year in 1954 and he served on the Olympic Committee from 1956-60.