LBCC honoring past greats with induction into Hall of Fame

Linn-Benton Community College announced the Class of 2022 for its Athletics Hall of Fame. Eight individuals and two teams will be inducted on Sept. 17, 2022 on the LBCC campus.

The Athletics Hall of Fame was created in May of this year to recognize, honor, celebrate and preserve Roadrunner Athletics history.  The inaugural coincided with the 50-year anniversary of Roadrunner athletics, which began with baseball, men’s basketball and men’s golf during the 1970-71 school year. 

The college inaugurated an inaugural group of four coaches/administrators and seven athletes. The group featured Olympians, professional athletes, Oregon Community College Athletic Association and National Junior College Athletic Association national champions who competed for LBCC. 

2022 inductees will be:

— Dennis Balmer, who attended Linn-Benton from 1974-76. He led the Roadrunners baseball program to back-to-back OCCAA titles in 1975 and ‘76 as a key starter on the team’s pitching staff.

Balmer went on to play baseball and earn his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Willamette University. He worked for Hewlett-Packard in Roseville, Calif., serving many years as its financial operations manager.

He was inducted into the NWAC Hall of Fame in 1996.

— Tim Bright, who participated in track and field at Linn-Benton from 1978-80, earning NJCAA all-America honors his sophomore year, and then transferred to perennial NCAA track and field powerhouse Abilene Christian University. 

Bright represented the United States in the decathlon at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics and the 1987 World Championships. He won the American national championships in decathlon in 1987. At one point he held the Decathlon world record for the pole vault, set during the 1988 Olympics.

Bright represented the U.S. in the pole vault at the 1985 World University Games, the 1985 World Cup, the 1991 World Championships and the 1992 Olympics. He also became American champion in pole vault in 1991 and 1992. His personal best jump was 19¼, achieved in July 1990 in Nice.

Bright served as an assistant coach for Concordia University (Oregon), Lewis and Clark College and Oregon State University.

He was inducted into the NWAC Hall of Fame in 1991.

— Dave Dangler, who coached baseball and women’s basketball at Linn-Benton from 1976-83.

His baseball teams won OCCAA titles in 1978, 1980 and 1983 and also finished runner up in 1977, 1979, 1981 and 1982. Dangler’s baseball teams posted an overall record of 214-84 (.718).

Dangler was also charged with starting the women’s basketball program at Linn-Benton, and by its third season the Roadrunners claimed the OCCA title.

The 1980-81 women’s basketball team won the championship with a perfect 16-0 record while leading the league in team defense with a 51.9 ppg mark. At one point late in the season, the Roadrunners were 27-0 and ranked third nationally by the Associated Press.

Dangler was inducted into the NWAC Hall of Fame in 2022.

— Bob DeKoning, who compated in basketball and golf at LBCC.

DeKoning played on Linn-Benton’s first two basketball teams from 1970-72. He earned all-OCCAA honors in 1972 when his 21.4 scoring average was fifth best in the league. He also participated in golf while at LB. 

DeKoning went on to the University of Oregon, where he earned a degree in business and has spent his career as entrepreneur and business leader in the Portland area.

He was inducted into the NWAC Hall of Fame in 1993.

— Greg Hawk, who coached baseball at Linn-Benton from 1983-2013 and also served as head coach for women’s basketball from 1983-87. Additionally, he served as LBCC’s athletic director for 11 years.

Hawk posted a baseball career record of 602 – 526, and captured two NWAC Championships (1988, 1991). He was named NWAC Baseball Coach of the Year eight times, Rawlings National Coach of the Year twice (1988 and 1991) and has been selected to receive the ABCA Ethics in Coaching Award at the 2015 ABCA Convention. 

Hawk also had success with the women’s basketball program, including two Southern Region league titles and two NWAC Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year honors.

He was inducted into the NWAC Hall of Fame in 2014.

— Dave Johnson, who competed in track and field at Linn-Benton during the 1983 season.

A Crescent Valley High School graduate, Johnson originally headed to Western Oregon State College (now University) to play football, but landed at LB the following year.

Roadrunners’ track coach Dave Bakley convinced Johnson to give the decathlon a try, and the rest is history. He won the NJCAA Region 18 decathlon title in 1983 and transferred to Azusa Pacific University. Johnson continued to compete on the national stage, winning national titles in 1989 and 1990. 

Johnson qualified for the 1988 and 1992 U.S. Olympic Teams, and earned the bronze medal in the decathlon in Barcelona, Spain, at the ‘92 Games. He also participated in the 1990 Goodwill Games.

Johnson was inducted into the NWAC Hall of Fame in 1992.

— Linda McLellan, who competed in volleyball, basketball and track while at Linn-Benton from 1976-78.

She was the second-leading scorer and rebounder on the basketball team, behind fellow Hall of Famer Carol Menken-Schaudt. McLellan helped the Roadrunners to a historic 20-2 overall record under head coach Dave Dangler in 1978. 

Also in 1978, McLellan represented Linn-Benton at the NJCAA Track and Field National Championships Meet, where she finished fifth in the javelin.

McLellan earned a basketball scholarship at Portland State, where she also competed in track and field.

She went on to a 29-year career as a teacher and coach in the Portland Interscholastic League (PIL), coaching volleyball, basketball and softball at Cleveland and Benson high schools. McLellan earned PIL Coach of the Year honors seven times.

McLellan was inducted into the NWAC Hall of Fame in 1993.

— Ritch Price, who played baseball player at Linn-Benton during the 1975 and 1976 seasons. An infielder from Sweet Home, Price helped lead the Roadrunners to back-to-back Oregon Community College Athletic Association (OCCAA) championships in 1975 and 1976, and earned 1st Team all-Conference honors each season. 

Price went on to play at Willamette University, graduating in 1978. He began his coaching career at Southern Oregon’s Phoenix High School and went on to coach at three California Community Colleges (American River, Menlo, De Anza).

Price went on to coach at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo from 1995-2002, and accepted the head coaching position at University of Kansas after the 2002 season. He led the Jayhawks to two NCAA Tournament berths along with their first Big 12 Conference Baseball Tournament title in 2006. He is the winningest coach in KU baseball history. 

Price was inducted into the NWAC Hall of Fame in 1996.

— The 1980-81 Women’s Basketball Team, which won the OCCAA championship with a perfect 16-0 record while leading the league in team defense with a 51.9 ppg average. At one time, they were 27-0 and ranked third nationally by the Associated Press.

The 1980-81 team members were: Desiree Anderson, Linda (Quigley) Butsch, Linda Friesen, Debbie (Prince) Herrold, Kerri (Anderson) Lemerande, Joelle (Quesinberry) Lewis, Debbie Mothershead, Susan Newhouse, Tracie Odden, Jean (Melson) Siefer, Sheri Steiner, Pamela (Snyder) Tams and Head Coach Dave Dangler.

They qualified for the NJCAA Region 18 Tournament at North Idaho College but fell short in the championship game and missed a chance to play in the NJCAA Tournament. Their 28-2 record is still the best in school history.

The team was inducted into the NWAC Hall of Fame in 2005.

— The 1971 Baseball Team, who were the first Roadrunners to compete in that sport intercollegiately. The team was coached by Dick McClain and consisted of just 17 players.

Members included: Roger Bauer, Ethan Bergman, Larry Brown, Steve Carothers, Terry Cornutt, Dennis Coon, Tim Faville, Rick George, Steve Hagen, Tim Labrousse, Dan Lipsey, John Lowden, Terry Simons, Mikal Stampke, Winston Tucker and Dave Whitney.

Linn-Benton won more than 30 games on its way to claiming the Southern Division Oregon Community College Athletic Association (OCCAA) League title.

The team had several All-League players including Terry Cornutt, Ethan Bergman, Dennis Coon, Tim Faville and Tim Labrouse. Cornutt led the League in batting average .519.

The 1971 LBCC baseball team is the only team to win a OCCAA championship in their first year. The team was inducted into the NWAC Hall of Fame in 2011.

Inaugural members, inducted earlier this year, were:

— Dave Bakely, who was honored posthumously, who started the track and field program at LB as its first head coach in 1972 and later served as athletic director from 1992-94. He taught physical education at LB and was instrumental in launching and maintaining the College’s Wellness Program.

— Arlene Crosman, who started the college’s gymnastics program in 1974, winning a national title the next year. Crosman was a member of the Physical Education faculty at LB for 27 years. She served as the Oregon chairperson for the U.S. Gymnastics Federation and was active in promoting gymnastics throughout the Pacific Northwest. 

— Verlund “Butch” Kimpton, who started the men’s basketball program before the college even had a gym for them to play in, and coached the sport from 1970-82, winning 111 league games and state sub-regional championships in 1972, 1974 and 1976. 

— Dick McClain, who started the athletic programs at Linn-Benton and who coached baseball from 1969 to 1992. His teams won  Oregon Community College Athletic Association baseball championships in 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975 and 1976.

— Terry Cornutt, who played on Linn-Benton’s first two baseball and basketball teams from 1970 to 1972, becoming the school’s first All-American, then moving on to the San Francisco Giants in the 1972 draft, pitching in 29 games with a 1-2 record and a 3.61 earned run average in 1977-78.

— Jim Davidson (posthumously), who also played baseball and basketball for the Roadrunners, in 1972-73, then moving on to the San Francisco Giants, where he played three seasons.

— Donna Karling (Southwick, Alarcon Alizondo), of Anchorage, Alaska, who competed for the Roadrunners in their first year of women’s gymnastics in 1974-76, winning an individual national title in 1976. She was the first female athlete to obtain an athletic scholarship at Oregon State University.

— Jean Melson (Siefer), of Tillamook, who won national junior college crowns in discus (147-9) and shot (43-7) in 1980, helping the Roadrunners to fourth place in the nation. She went undefeated and untied in both events in the 1980 season, winning the national title in the shot by more than a foot and by more than 20 feet in the discus. She also was an all-league player in basketball for the Roadrunners.

— Carol Menken-Schaudt, of Jefferson, who played basketball for the Roadrunners in 1977-78 before going on to an outstanding career at Oregon State and then played professionally overseas. Menken-Schaudt originally came to LB in 1975 to study graphic design. When coach Dave Dangler was tasked with starting the Roadrunner women’s basketball program, he spotted Menken, who stood 6-4½, on campus and encouraged her to play.

The team first competed as a club in 1976-77 and joined the OCCAA for the 1977-78 season. After transferring to Oregon State, Menken became one of the greatest players in Oregon Basketball history. At OSU she was selected as the MVP in 1979 and 1980. In 1981, she was the national college leader in field goal percentage (.750) and fourth in scoring (29.6 average). 

— Paul Poetsch, who played basketball for LBCC from 1974-76, before going on to play at Oregon College of Education (now Western Oregon). For the Roadrunners, he led the league in scoring (19.2 ppg) his freshman year and went on to become LB’s all-time leading scorer. 

— Debbie Prince (Herrold), who was a three-sport athlete for LBCC from 1979 to 1981, in cross country, basketball and track and field. She led the Roadrunners to an undefeated conference title in 1981 and competed in the NJCAA national championships in track, in the heptathlon and javelin. In her freshman year, Prince also set the school record in the 800 meters (2:27.66) and as a sophomore, finished ninth nationally in the heptathlon.

In 1987-88 Prince returned to LB to become the women’s basketball head coach, retiring after the 1992-93 season but continuing to teach part-time at LB until 2020.