On Oct. 30, 11 individual athletes and one team were admitted to the Colorado State University-Pueblo Athletic Hall of Fame at the Pueblo Union Depot.
By the women, Nadia Fercha (Women’s Basketball/Women’s Soccer), Freda Hancock (Women’s Track), Ivana (Women’s Tennis) were honored.
Pat Bekeza (Baseball/Men’s Basketball), Frank Grant (Football/Men’s Track), John Martinez (Men’s Track), Chuck Pipher (Wrestling), Cal Tatum (Men’s Basketball), coach inductee Blasing (Track and Field), Pueblo Chieftain publisher Robert H. Rawlings (contributor), and special inductee, Dale Rea, were inducted Friday. Also inducted was the 1960-61 men’s basketball National Junior College Athletic Association national championship team.
Track and field coach James “Spank” Blasing and Dale Rea, the university’s first athletic director were inducted postmortem. Daniela Ivana, a two-time women’s tennis all-American, could not attend the event because she was in Romania.
“This first class honors ‘the best of the best’ and we are proud of this class,” said Joe Folda, CSU-Pueblo Director of Athletics.
After the acceptance speeches for their honor, several of the inductees thanked the committee and held emotional speeches.
“When he recruited me, it changed my life forever,” said John Martinez, a 1967 national champion in the mile run. “He taught me so much. I’ve been coaching track and field for 40 years now, and I owe my life to him.”
The highlight was the induction of the 1961 (NJCAA) Men’s Basketball national championship team. Seven former team members attended the event. Tony Hegler, a Pueblo Central High School alum, accepted the honor for the team.
“This was a great way to get our new Hall of Fame off on the right foot,” Folda said. “We look forward to growing this Hall of Fame over the years with these outstanding inductees from this inaugural class as our foundation.”