2012 Hall of Fame Induction Class Announced
GREELEY – One of the greatest honors a person can receive is being inducted into any Hall of Fame, and six outstanding individuals and seven teams from Northern Colorado Athletics history recently received notification of that honor.
The 2012 University of Northern Colorado Athletics Hall of Fame Class is a balanced group of two contributors, two male student-athletes, two female student-athletes and seven College World Series softball teams.
The 1974-77 and 1979 Northern Colorado softball teams were elected into the Hall of Fame a year ago and will be inducted at this year’s ceremony on Feb. 24.
Individually, Tom Barbour (Sports Information/Contributor), Teale (Goble) Hemphill (Volleyball/Basketball), Sharon Hoffman (Softball/Basketball), Mike Leberknight (Wrestling), Vance Lechman (Football) and Bob Oliver (Director of Athletics/Contributor) have all been elected.
With their inclusion the Northern Colorado Athletics Hall of Fame will grow to 128 individuals and 30 teams.
Oliver has chosen to delay his induction by one year as he and his family already have an engagement during the same time frame.
The induction festivities for the 2012 class will begin with the Northern Colorado men’s basketball game against Weber State on Feb. 23. There will be a pre-game reception at 5:30, and the inductees will be honored at halftime.
The Northern Colorado Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremony will take place Feb. 24 in the University Ballrooms on the Northern Colorado campus.
For more information please contact Julie Hill at 970.351.2979 or Julie.email@example.com.
Football (1969), Sports Information, Contributor (1977-present)
If you have attended either a football or men’s basketball game at Northern Colorado in the last several years you have heard his voice booming through the speakers as the public address announcer.
Barbour began his association with Northern Colorado Athletics in 1969 on the gridiron. He played football for one year for the Bears before turning his attention toward obtaining a degree, which he completed in 1974.
In 1977, Barbour returned to UNC as its Sports Information Director, a role he served in until 1983. During his six years as SID he won numerous national publication awards, including in 1979, when his football programs claimed first place in the College Division. He also helped expand the department to include historical information and statistics for the women’s athletic programs.
Barbour then moved across campus, where he held several positions until 2000. He still serves on the Blue & Gold Club and the Hall of Fame committee in addition to informing fans of vital information on the field and court.
Teale (Goble) Hemphill, Volleyball,
One of the smartest players to ever step foot on the court in Butler-Hancock, Teale (Goble) Hemphill smashed volleyballs for four years and then won an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship as well as the UNC Board of Trustees Scholarship. She earned both her bachelor’s (2003) and master’s degrees (2004) from the University of Northern Colorado.
Hemphill still ranks second in school history in career kills, fourth in digs and eighth in service aces. As a senior in 2002, she was captain of the team that advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight at the Division II National Championship.
An all-conference selection three times, she was also an AVCA Second-Team All-American and a Verizon Academic All-American in her senior year. She also spent one year with the basketball team, playing in 19 games, scoring in double figures twice.
In addition, Hemphill was a three-time Monfort College of Business outstanding business student and in 1999 won the prestigious Boettcher Scholarship.
Sharon Hoffman, Softball, Basketball
One of the earliest two-sport stars in women’s athletics at Northern Colorado, Hoffman led the softball team to four-straight Intermountain Conference titles and helped the basketball team to second- and third-place finishes in conference play.
Hoffman was also among the first to receive the UNC Women’s Intercollegiate Athletic Scholarship, which was awarded for her leadership and ability in both sports.
On the diamond, she helped lead the Bears to the 1974 and 1975 Women’s College World Series as a starting pitcher, earning all-conference honors as a senior. On the hardwood, Hoffman averaged a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds a game in her final year.
Her work in both sports helped open the door for female athletes around the country.
Mike Leberknight, Wrestling
Leberknight posted a 126-26-1 collegiate record and is the winningest wrestler in Northern Colorado history.
In 1992, he won his first national title and was honored as the Outstanding Wrestler of the NCAA Division II National Tournament. He repeated his title at 177 pounds in 1993, making him one of two two-time National Champions in school history. Leberknight was also a three-time All-American after finishing third in the nation as a sophomore in 1991.
In 1991 Leberknight was one of four Northern Colorado All-Americans, helping the Bears finish third overall.
In addition to his national titles, Leberknight was a two-time North Central Conference Champion. He still ranks first in Northern Colorado history with his 126 victories and his single-season wins in 1992 (33) and 1993 (36) still rank among the top 10 in school history in single-season wins.
Vance Lechman, Football (1986-89)
The middle of three brothers who all excelled in football at Northern Colorado, Vance Lechman started all four seasons at cornerback for the Bears and as a senior in 1989 was honored as a First-Team Kodak All-American as well as a Second-Team selection by the AP and Football Gazette.
Lechman is the only four-time North Central All-Conference football player in school history. He is still tied for the school career record with 18 interceptions, is in the top-20 in total career tackles and is tied for 11th with five career fumble recoveries.
As a freshman, Lechman intercepted seven passes, which is still tied for the second-most in a single-season. As a senior, Lechman recorded a career-best 21 tackles in a closely-contested game at North Dakota State.
Softball teams: 1974, 1975, 1976,
1977 and 1979
All five teams advanced to the AIAW Women’s College World Series—a run of six straight CWS’s in which the Bears placed no lower than fifth.
Northern Colorado’s 1978 team has already been inducted into the Northern Colorado Athletics Hall of Fame.