2015 Hall of Fame Slate of 8 Selected - Your Feedback Requested
Posted: October 23, 2015 08:25 PM
The Hall of Fame Committee is pleased to announce the Slate of 8 candidates selected for consideration for the 2015 Hall of Fame. This year, six open and two women's candidates will be considered for up to five spots in the Ultimate Hall of Fame:
Congratulations to these Ultimate Hall of Fame finalists. It is a high honor to be selected from the respective Open and Women’s Peer Pools. From this slate of eight final candidates, up to five individuals will be selected for induction into the Hall of Fame (HoF) by the Voting Committee, the elected members of the HoF.
Any member of the ultimate community who is familiar with these candidates is encouraged to provide your input and any comments you would like to be considered by the voters. This feedback, both laudatory and critical, is an important part of the committee's consideration; we encourage the candid participation by all who have had personal experience with the candidates. All feedback will be kept strictly confidential and will be available only to the HoF voters as part of their deliberations. Please complete a Google Docs survey (responses will be anonymous unless otherwise designated). This survey will close Monday, November 2, 2015.
While there is no Contributor amongst the 8 candidates for the 2015 Ultimate Hall of Fame, one individual nominee stands out. Raymond "Mondo" Chun has contributed to the growth of disc sports in Hawaii from the late '70's to today. Mondo helped form HULA (Hawaii Ultimate League Association) in 1988 which has presided over the Kaimana Klassik since 1988 and later the Hopu Ka Lewa (mixed) tournament. As a beloved member of Hawaii's ultimate community, Mondo has been a passionate volunteer and the heart and soul of Hawaii ultimate. A long-standing member of the HULA Hall of Fame, Mondo is known as the "King of Kaimana" and recently had a Spirit of the Game award established in his name for the annual Kaimana Klassik. As a great example of "Spirit of the Game" (except for the occasional thrown hat), Mondo is a special competitor and contributor to the Ultimate community.
Hall of Fame Vetting Subcommittee
- Suzanne Fields (Chair)
- Robert "Nob" Rauch (Contributor Peer Chair)
- David Barkan (Open Peer Chair)
- Gloria Lust-Phillips (Women's Division Chair)
- Henry Thorne (USA Ultimate Board Liaison)
- Keay Nakae (HoF member and ad hoc subcommittee member)
- Brian Murphy (HoF member and ad hoc subcommittee member)
Nicole "Sprout" Beck
Nicole's ultimate career began with the intramural program at UC Berkeley and led to a finals loss at College Nationals in 1991. With the Maine-iacs, there were 3 Nationals appearances in finals and 2 titles and 2 World titles. Thereafter, Sprout earned another National title with Felix. As one of the founders of Fury, there were 6 additional National and another World title, capped by Nationals, Worlds, and the team Spirit Award in 2008. Described as a tough, fierce competitor, an innovator, and a visionary, Sprout inspired her team mates on both sides of the disc; consistently making big plays at big moments. Her versatility, exemplary field position, and work ethic set a higher standard for women’s ultimate. Her speed and vision on the field were a lethal combination; her determination and grit were unmatched. Sprout’s combination of athleticism, strategic mind, love of team, and dedication to a sport inspired her team mates and opponents alike. Sprout possessed and maintained a contagious energy throughout her career; when she believed something was possible, others believed it, too.
Lori Van Holmes
Lori started her competitive ultimate career on Open teams in the early ‘80’s and continued her winning ways with Chicago’s Nemesis, Seattle’s Women on the Verge (WOTV), founded and captained women’s ultimate in Minnesota (Repo Women), played a season with Lady Godiva, and two seasons in the Mixed division with Shazam. Lori has been a key team member with nine appearances at Club Championships and three WFDF/Club competitions, including a win in Vancouver with WOTV in 1997. Lori was a driving force in the growth of ultimate in the Northwest and captained WOTV through their glory years demonstrating her commitment as a leader and stellar athlete. Lori was a defensive standout and prolific receiver; one of the strongest runners in the sport with equally great leadership and spirit. In addition to her ultimate play, Lori displayed a true commitment to giving back to this sport by running tournaments, coaching high school and college, and as the Western Regional Coordinator. She mentored and inspired scores of women who have gone on to promote this sport with passion and great success.
Big, fast, and lightning-quick, Stu locked down the middle of zone defenses. He was, arguably, the best middle-middle of his era. After success on Boston club teams in the mid 80’s, Stu came to Atlanta, where he elevated Chain Lightning and its defense to national caliber. With a mind as fast as his reflexes, his poaching prowess, when playing man to man, often made it appear as if he covered two to three people simultaneously. He could play any position on offense or defense, and often did. Opposing teams had to devise a strategy to stop him on offense and another to avoid his mayhem on defense. The face of Southeast Ultimate from the late 80’s into the early 2000’s, Stu was known for his great play and widely acknowledged as the embodiment of Spirit of the Game. His sportsmanship is legendary and touched thousands of Ultimate players throughout his career. Stu always showed the utmost respect for his opponents, and in turn, earned a reputation as one of the most exemplary players to ever take the Ultimate field.
David "Buzz" Ellsworth
A defensive monster with an ever-burning desire for marquee match-ups and game-changing blocks, David "Buzz" Ellsworth had a national reputation for taking on and shutting down the best offensive players on the best teams. He was also known for playing with honor, integrity, and a wide-open heart, earning him iconic stature in the Ultimate community. In 1981, Buzz left college and moved west to California to try out for the Santa Barbara Condors; 6 months later he was a national champion and starting defensive stopper on the star-filled team. Moving back east in 1984, Buzz played a major role for Boston Titanic from 1985-1987, and led Zoo Disc to a national collegiate championship in 1986. A true "Iron Man" of Ultimate, Buzz played his first regionals in 1980 with his UMASS college team, Zoo Disc, and in 2014, competed for the national championship with the Grandmasters team, Yomofogoho. He is the only "quadruple" division nationals title holder on record (College, Open, Masters, and Grandmasters champion).
Rich "Gags" Gallagher
Rich burst onto the Ultimate scene in 1981, when, as a first year player, he emerged as a major contributor to the Santa Barbara Condors National Championship team. After graduating from UCSB, Rich moved to Los Angeles to start his own software company. While evolving into one of the game’s top handlers, Rich was the centerpiece of a multi-year effort to develop a top-level Open Club team in Los Angeles. In 1987, Rich and Polo Club finally broke through to become the first from Los Angeles to ever qualify for Nationals. This team, later named Iguana, showcased Rich as its primary disc handler and reached its pinnacle between 1989 and 1991, finishing as a semi-finalist, finalist, and semi-finalist at Nationals during those three years. Rich was regarded as having one of the most accurate and powerful forehand throws and is widely recognized as the first proficient thrower of what is now called a Scoober. His dominance, skill, and poise in the backfield were displayed at the 1990 Nationals championship finals, where he completed an astounding 93 of 94 pass attempts. During his playing career, Rich was held in the highest regard by competitors and teammates for his integrity and embodiment of Spirit of the Game.
Skip Kuhn was a standout two-way star on NY, NY from the beginning of their victory ride until the end. He excelled alongside marquee players like Ken Dobyns, Pat King, and Dennis "Cribber" Warsen, bringing blazing speed, tremendous jumping ability, and high intensity to every big game. Winning 5 National Championships and 5 World Championships, Skip was one of the few players used interchangeably on offense and defense; acknowledged by many of his teammates as the best all-around player on New York’s star-studded roster. One example was the pivotal role Skip played in the "Homey" offense; essentially a two-person formation with the other 5 players waiting downfield. He would work the disc all the way up the field with another talented teammate, then zip the disc to a third cutting teammate for the goal. Unstoppable. Skip ran circles around defenders on offense and was a menace to great offensive players on defense. Not usually loud or boisterous, he brought focus and consistency to NY throughout his career. Skip was a formidable competitor; widely respected by his peers and teammates as an athlete who thrived for years at the very top of the game.
As the only man who starred on two of the biggest dynasties in the history of Open Ultimate, NY, NY and Boston’s Death or Glory, the legacy and achievements of Billy Rodriguez are unparalleled; 10 National championships, 4 in a row with New York, then 6 in a row with Boston’s Death or Glory. Along the way he also notched 5 WFDF World Championships titles. Always surrounded by superstars, Billy was never the center of attention, yet thrived in his supporting role. Billy exemplified quiet greatness. He wasn’t showy, loud, or brash, just superb. His man-to-man defense was both physical and intellectual. As an athlete, Billy covered the best players in the biggest moments. As a cerebral player, Billy outsmarted dominant throwers, cutting off angles, baiting them into blocks, and masterfully guiding offensive flow into dangerous defensive traps. He showcased this unusual talent as a wing on zone D, proving he was one of the best at that position to ever play the game. His transition offense was impeccable; he was a high percentage thrower under pressure and took charge, when needed, with focus and fitness. In addition to Billy’s great competitive success, he was also one of the most respected and admired on and off the field. Billy was a humble, selfless, and gracious sportsman, supremely gifted at making everyone around him better by bringing the highest standard of excellence practice after practice, game after game, year after year.
Bob "Bert" Sick
Bob first caught the attention of his Western Region peers in the early 1980’s as one of the top players and leaders on the Stanford University team that would become national champion soon after he graduated. After paving the path to Stanford’s success, Bob exported his talents and deep knowledge of the vaunted "Stanford O" to the less structured but highly talented Flying Circus. Bert, as he is affectionately known, helped transform the competitive but free spirited group as he taught and institutionalized the Stanford O and thereafter contributed to the team’s success with his gritty handling abilities and keen sense of strategy. Over the six year span of 1984 - 1989, the Bay Area-based Flying Circus/Tsunami teams played in the finals of Nationals five times, winning titles in 1985 and 1988. What made Bob stand out from his peers was the consistency and predictability of his efforts to move the disc downfield; everyone knew exactly what he was going to do, how often he would touch the disc, yet he could not be shut down, proving to be a nightmare defensive matchup for any opponent. Bert was also a physical and relentless defender, taking on the toughest assignments, regardless of size or speed. He was highly respected by his peers as one who strived to play the game of Ultimate at the highest level possible, always acted selflessly to help his team, and never let his will to win compromise his behavior on or of the field.
Call to the Community
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