Hall of Fame Class of 1997
1997 Class: Front row (l-r): for Roy Hardin, Lark Birdsong, Carla Stearns. Back row (l-r): Don Govoni, Dr. James Wheeler, Dave Stalls, Bill Thomas, John Koehler.
|Lark Birdsong, Multi-sports (1968-72)|
Lark Birdsong was a four-year letterwinner in volleyball, basketball, and tennis and participated in track and field and in field hockey. After UNC, she coached at the University of Iowa, where she implemented the women's basketball program and later coached a player who was selected to the women's junior program.
|Don Govoni, Wrestling (1950-52)|
Don Govoni was often referred to by Coach John Hancock as "the finest all-around wrestler ever to compete for UNC." During the years when colleges and universities of all sizes competed for one NCAA title per weight class, Govoni, at 157 pounds, placed third in both the 1951 and 1952 NCAA national championships. He also won three Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championships, the national AAU title and the All Armed Forces title. He posted an overall collegiate record of 42-4. Govoni was Hancock's assistant in 1953 and went on to coach at the high school and college levels for many years. He was inducted into the Illinois Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame in 1991.
|Roy Hardin, Football (1933-35)|
Roy Hardin played football for John Hancock in the mid-1930s, and is best remembered for helping lead the Bears to the RMAC title in 1934, a season also highlighted by a 13-7 win over the Colorado Buffaloes at Jackson Field. Hardin was a triple threat -a runner, a passer and a drop kicker of field goals and points-after-touchdown. He was named to the Little All-American team and various all-conference teams that season.
|John Koehler, Baseball (1959-61)|
John Koehler was a three-year letterman whoplayed shortstop, third base and center field under Pete Butler, earning NCAA Division I All-American honors in 1961. He helped the Bears win three College World Series berths. A three-time all-district selection, he holds the school record for most runs scored in one season with 60 in 1961. He signed with Chicago White Sox, then went on to coach varsity baseball with teams that won 10 league championships. He also coached girls' basketball and his teams won 13 league championships, compiling a conference record of 153-7 in 16 years and becoming the "winningest" girls' coach in Orange County, California history with a record of 325-80.
|Dave Stalls, Football (1974-76)|
Dave Stalls earned third-team All-American honors as a defensive tackle for the Bears in 1975 and went on to a successful professional football career with the Tampa Bay Bucaneers and with two Super Bowl champion teams, the Dallas Cowboys and the Los Angeles Raiders. In 1993, he founded Inner Places, Inc., a Denver non-profit organization dedicated to serving urban youth.
|Carla Stearns, Multi-sports (1978-83)|
Carla Stearns competed in volleyball and softball for four years at UNC and during her senior year took up basketball as well. She earned AIAW All-American honors in volleyball and participated in three Olympic Sports festivals. In softball, she earned Honorable Mention All-American honors as well as being named to the all-conference team. In 1982, she was recognized by the Sportswomen of Colorado.
|Bill Thomas, Track & Field (1979-83)|
Bill Thomas was UNC's first individual national track champion, winning the Division II high jump in 1981 and 1983 with jumps of 7-feet and over. In 1983 he was undefeated during the indoor season, winning the NCC Indoor Championship. He still holds the UNC high jump record at 7-3.5. After UNC, he continued his track career in the Air Force and was their champion from 1983-1988. At the age of 27 in 1988, he won the Cornhusker games.
|James Wheeler, Team Physician (1958-93)|
Dr. James Wheeler served at the Bears' team physician for 35 years. One of the greatest UNC sport fans, he contributed to the building of Nottingham Field and continues to be a loyal supporter of the Blue and Gold Club and all of the activities.