- Big Block Awards and Sports Hall of Fame Induction Dinner
- UBC at the Olympics
- 2011-12 Athletic Awards Winners
- 2012 Hall of Fame Inductees
The Big Block Awards and Sports Hall of Fame Induction Dinner on April 4 was replete with sights and sounds of UBC Thunderbirds past and present, but the statement that might have been the most poignant of all went unheard by the 900-plus in attendance.
“All for one, and one for all, forever,” said football alumnus David Sidoo after the induction of his coach, Frank Smith, during which Sidoo and 12 former team mates took the stage to stand behind the rock-solid 80-year-old icon in a display of allegiance. The most successful football coach in UBC history, Smith’s acceptance speech moved the crowd from hilarity (“I can remember the entire roster of the 1947 New York Yankees but I can’t recall what I had for breakfast”) to heartfelt solemnity when acknowledging his late son and successor
(“God bless you Casey”).
Many other moving recollections of yesteryear were offered up, including classically understated remarks by 1963 hockey team member, humanitarian and three-time Olympian Terry O’Malley. Then there was 1960 oarsman Bill McKerlich, who expressed inexhaustible pride in being part of a scrappy crew of students who came ever so close to winning gold medals in the 1960 Rome Olympics. One of Canada’s top international soccer goaltenders, Pat Onstad, couldn’t make the party due to coaching responsibilities with MSL’s DC United, but his mother and father stood in admirably, particularly when Cindy Onstad reminded some 600 student-athletes of the role their parents may have played in their success.
Former volleyball superstar Tom Jones’ dignified acceptance speech set the tone for those that followed, including that of Richmond Olympic Oval Volleyball Centre of Excellence head coach Joanne Ross, who appeared overjoyed to be introduced as simply one of the greatest athletes in UBC history. Tracey Lipp-Derheim’s children, husband and parents beamed while the former Canadian Ladies Amateur Golf champion thanked them and her university for supporting what she modestly avoided admitting was a stellar playing career. Current Thunderbird coach Deb Huband graciously accepted on behalf of basketball pioneer Barbara Robertson, and a large
crowd of hockey alumni grandly feted former men’s athletic director Rick Noonan, who conveyed fond memories of more than four decades of supporting student-athletes.
The evening began appropriately with a spectacular sunset upon the floor-to-ceiling windows of the Vancouver Convention Centre, and culminated with the annual athletic awards hardware being handed out to another cadre of extraordinary students. MC and volleyball alumna Emily Cordonier skilfully managed proceedings; associate athletic director Theresa Hanson described a vintage year that included four CIS national championships; and football alumnus Atlee James produced many a celebratory video, including one to salute retiring women’s field hockey coach Hash Kanjee. Somewhere in the middle of it all, the announcement (within mere metres of the Vancouver 2010 cauldron) that five UBC swimmers had qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games contributed additional wow factor. All in all, the year-ending soiree was one for the ages.
Eight days later, UBC Athletics associate director of development Steve Tuckwood threw open the doors of the long awaited UBC Sports Hall of Fame in the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre and welcomed a crowd of some 100 inductees and guests. The hall displays photos and memorabilia of a century of varsity sport, unifying in perpetuity the collective footsteps of an otherwise diverse body of accomplished alumni – “all for one, and one for all, forever.”
A total of five current UBC Thunderbird swimmers and two alumni have qualified to compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games. The UBC contingent includes CIS Female Swimmer of the Year Savannah King (400 and 800-metre freestyle); CIS Male Swimmer of the Year Tommy Gossland (4×100 metre freestyle relay); World Championship bronze medalist Martha McCabe (200 metre breaststroke); CIS Rookie-of-the-Year Tera Van Beilen (100 and 200 metre breaststroke) and Heather MacLean (4×100 metre freestyle relay).
At the recent Olympic trials in Montreal, Van Beilen and McCabe swam the second and third fastest times in the world this year in the women’s 200-metre breaststroke, clocking respective times of 2:24.03 and 2:24.81. “We are very excited that five current UBC Thunderbird swimmers and two of our alumni have qualified for the London 2012 Olympics,” said UBC head coach Steve Price, acknowledging former Thunderbirds Scott Dickens and Brent Hayden who are also going to London. “It again shows that by combining the assets of our varsity team, club team and the National Swim Centre, our student-athletes can pursue their international and varsity aspirations at the same time.” Former UBC swim coach Tom Johnson and National Swim Centre colleague Jozef Nagy will be on deck as coaches in London, while the National Swim Centre’s Janice Hanan will make the trek as team manager. Former UBC rowing coach Al Morrow also hopes to be coaching athletes in London, pending the outcome of Olympic trials.
Meanwhile, Kyla Richey, who has just completed her fifth year of eligibility on
UBC’s five-time national champion women’s volleyball team, has high hopes to qualify for London along with five of her former UBC team mates. Marisa Field, Claire Hanna, Jennifer Hinze, Carla Bradstock and Liz Cordonier are all former Thunderbirds who are training with the national team in preparation for the May Olympic qualifying tournament. Recent graduate Steve Gotch, meanwhile, has similar hopes with Canada’s men’s team.
UBC Track and Field coach Marek Jedrzejek says former Thunderbird high jumper Mike Mason “already has one leg on the plane to London.” Mason took top spot in the recent UBC Open by clearing 2.28 metres, meeting the Olympic ‘B’ standard. To make the Olympic team, Mason must clear the 2.28 mark once more and also finish in the top four at the national championships at the end of June in Calgary. Former T-Bird men’s race walker Inaki Gomez has to do the same in his event at the national championships in order to qualify. Alumna Liz Gleadle, a four-time NAIA champion and current record holder in javelin, also has a very good chance of advancing, as does current Thunderbird thrower Curtis Moss.
Are you going to the games?
We’re collecting stories from the UBC community about the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games. If you’re heading to London, or know of any other alumni who will be participating, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604.822.3313 / 800.883.3088.
Male Rookie of the Year
Tera Van Beilen
Female Rookie of the Year
Du Vivier Team of the Year
Hayley Pipher and Alexandra Leask
Thunderbird Athletic Council Buzz Moore Leadership Award
Kylie Barros and Robyn Pendleton
Marilyn Pomfret Trophy (Outstanding Female Athletes)
Billy Greene and Tommy Gossland
Bus Phillips Memorial Trophy (Outstanding Male Athlete)
Martha McCabe and Kyla Richey
May Brown Trophy (Outstanding Graduating Female Athlete)
Bobby Gaul Memorial Trophy (Outstanding Graduating Male Athlete)
Rick Noonan and Frank Smith
Tom Jones, Joanne Ross,
Tracey Lipp-Derheim, Pat Onstad
and Barbara Robertson
1960 Men’s Eight Rowing Crew
and 1962-63 hockey team