VANCOUVER - A total of five athletes, two builders and two teams, including former UBC Thunderbirds football coach Frank Smith, 1990's women's volleyball sensation Joanne Ross and the 1960 men's eight rowing crew will be formally inducted into the UBC Sports Hall of Fame at the annual Big Block Awards and Sports Hall of Fame Banquet April 4, 2012 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
One of CIS football's most historically renowned figures, Frank Smith coached the Thunderbirds for 21 seasons from 1974 to 1994 and led the team to a record 126 victories, including five Canada West Championships, four Vanier Cup appearances and Vanier Cup Championships in 1982 and 1986. He received the Frank Tindall Award as CIS Coach of the Year in 1978 and 1987, and a total of 47 of his players went on to play in the CFL. Smith also made guest coaching appearances at 11 CFL training camps during his time with UBC, and subsequently served on the coaching staff of both the Saskatchewan Roughriders (1995) and BC Lions (1996-2000).
Previously inducted in the Team category in 2003 along with the members of his 1982 team, Smith enters the hall in the Builder category this year along with former men's athletic director Rick Noonan. A graduate of Toronto's St. Michael's College, Noonan came west in the early 1960's and joined the athletic department staff at roughly the same time that his mentor Father David Bauer assumed the role of chaplain of UBC's Saint Mark's College and as Thunderbird hockey coach. After serving as men's athletic director from 1980 to 1992, Noonan managed the Thunderbird Winter Sports Centre and continued to administer the UBC hockey program, including a recently-concluded 25-year volunteer stint overseeing the Thunderbird Hockey Alumni Association.
Inductees entering the Hall of Fame in the Athlete category include former national team volleyball players Joanne Ross and Tom Jones. A five-year starting middle blocker, Ross played for UBC from 1994 to 1999 and led the Thunderbirds to CIS national championship appearances in each of those years, including silver medal finishes in 1997 and 1999. Now the head coach of the Richmond Olympic Oval Volleyball Centre of Excellence, Ross played on Canada's national team from 1996 to 2002.
Jones was both a hitter and a setter for UBC from 1974 to 1979 and a national team member from 1977 to 1984. During his UBC years, he led the team to two Canada West Championships (1976 and 77) and a CIS title in 1976. The highlights of his international play included a bronze medal in the 1979 Pan American Games and a fourth-place finish in the 1984 Olympics, Canada's best-ever Olympic result.
Tracey Lipp, a member of UBC's women's golf team from 1990 to 1994, will enter the Hall of Fame in April for a long list of achievements both before and after her graduation. In 1992 she became the first UBC golfer to win a NCAA tournament after carding the lowest 54-hole total in the University of Wyoming Invitational. She won the Canadian amateur crown in 1995, joining a list that includes Jocelyn Bourassa, Dawn Coe-Jones and A.J. Eathorne. The Delta, BC native turned professional later that same year and played in various pro tours in Canada, the USA and Europe. In 2000 she qualified to play in the final two rounds of the LPGA du Maurier Classic at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club, one of only four Canadians to make the cut.
The Class of 2012 in the Athlete category also includes 1990's men's soccer goalkeeper Pat Onstad, who backstopped the Thunderbirds to three CIS Championships (1991, 92 and 94) and in 2010 retired after an impressive 23-year professional career. Now a member of the coaching staff of MLS's DC United, Onstad played a total of 57 international matches for Canada, more than any other goalkeeper.
Rounding out this year's inductees in the Athlete category is former Thunderbirds basketball star and national women's team pioneer Barbara Robertson who played at UBC from 1959 to 1964. In an era that pre-dated national university championships for women, she helped UBC to Western Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships in 1960 and 1961. In 1965 she was named to Canada's first-ever national team and was instrumental in Canada's bronze medal finish at the 1967 Pan American Games.
The 1960 UBC-VRC men's eight won the Canadian Championships at St. Catherines, Ontario that year and earned the right to represent Canada at the 1960 Rome Olympics later that summer, where they lost a very close race for gold medals to the heavily favoured German crew. The silver medalists that will be inducted in the Team category this year are Walter d'Hondt, Archie McKinnon, Don Arnold, Lorne Loomer, John Lecky, Bill McKerlich, Glen Mervyn, Nelson Kuhn, David Anderson, Keith Donald, and Sohen Biln.
Also entering in the Team category is the 1962-63 Thunderbirds hockey team. Coached by Father David Bauer, the 1962-63 Thunderbirds were 1963 Western Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Association (WCIAA) champions, claioming the W.G. Hardy Trophy, and advanced for the first time ever to the national championship where they lost 3-2 in the championship final to McMaster. The team was a pre-cursor to Bauer's 1964 UBC-based Olympic team and its key players included Olympians and/or future NHL players Terry O'Malley, Roger Bourbanais, Barry McKenzie, Ken Broderick and Gary Dineen.
This year's inductees were selected by a seven-member committee from a list of over 80 nominees. The UBC Sports Hall of Fame was inaugurated in 1993 and has since inducted 105 athletes and builders and 19 teams from various eras dating as far back as the early 1920's. A new UBC Sports Hall of Fame and memorabilia display exhibit is currently under construction in the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre and is expected to be completed in early April.
The Sports Hall of Fame Banquet is open to all alumni and friends of UBC.