Nov. 21, 2003
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - It might not have been a night of a thousand stars, but the eight former Santa Clara University coaches and athletes inducted Wednesday night into the school's athletic hall of fame were certainly flying high.
The induction of former soccer All-Americans Brandi Chastain, Paul Holocher and Eric Yamamoto, football lineman Gary Hoffman, lacrosse coach Gary Podesta, basketball all-stars Melissa King-Fisher and Bill Duffy and baseball standout Bill Connolly brings the total number of members in the hall, which was established in 1962, to 223 individuals and one team which represent the best in the university's athletic heritage.
"The long line of former student-athletes and coaches at Santa Clara have helped to advance its mission," University President Paul Locatelli said to the crowd of approximately 300 in attendance. "Many student-athletes, taking what they have learned in the classroom and on the court or playing field, have brought their leadership, team work, and desire to always do their best to their families, careers, and communities. Those honored tonight join a distinguished group who have brought special honor and renown to Santa Clara both as outstanding athletes and as committed citizens."
In a night that celebrated the past, present and future of Santa Clara Athletics, the tone of the evening revolved around the institution's commitment to excellence. The school's rich athletic history was relived throughout the evening's acceptance speeches and each inductee recognized the importance of their educational experience and its impact on their lives.
Locatelli also spoke to the university's continued commitment to providing an intercollegiate athletic program that competes at the highest levels of Division I.
"Santa Clara University remains committed to the idea that athletics provides a key component of its overall educational experience," said Locatelli. "It is certainly important to the participants in athletics. But, it is also a rallying point for everyone associated with the university. The long-term growth and development of our Division I athletics programs is a priority. And as long as we keep producing teams and students who play and live like champions, we will demonstrate to colleges and universities across the country, and to the general public, that it is possible to have a successful program that emphasizes both the student and the athlete and that gives real meaning to the term student-athlete."
Director of Athletics Cheryl Levick echoed the president's words and provided a frame of reference that extended to today's student-athletes.
"Santa Clara Athletics has a proud and tradition-rich history," said Director of Athletics Cheryl Levick. "We also have an incredibly talented current group of student-athletes who represent you and your institution every day. They are the ones, just like tonight's inductees, who someday will be sitting in these chairs and enjoying the fruits of their hard work and dedication. It is the legacy of tonight's eight inductees that make Bronco Athletics such a special place."