Ultimate Hall of Fame Class of 2011 Announced
Posted: January 4, 2012 03:20 PM
BOULDER, Colo. – USA Ultimate, the National Governing Body for the sport of Ultimate in the United States, announced today the Class of 2011 for induction into the Ultimate Hall of Fame. The most recent class includes Open division inductees Kenneth Dobyns, Tom Heimann, Cliff Marhoefer, Mike O'Dowd, as well as Women's division inductee Wende Coates Pinz, and Special Mention Jim Kenner and the "Discraft Ultra-Star".
"We are thrilled to announce the latest class of inductees for the Ultimate Hall of Fame," said Dr. Tom Crawford, USA Ultimate Chief Executive Officer. "The Class of 2011 represents a variety of outstanding accomplishments and contributions to our sport, and we are proud to recognize these talented players."
The five newest members were selected by the USA Ultimate Hall of Fame Voting Committee from the final "Slate of Eight" candidates and comprise the eighth class to be inducted. The finalists were chosen from a highly decorated pool of players and contributors by the USA Ultimate Hall of Fame Vetting Committee as part of an overall selection process that included recommendations from peers and input solicited from the USA Ultimate membership through its third annual "Call to Community."
"Each year we are presented with the difficult challenge of selecting those who are most deserving of consideration for induction into the Hall of Fame," said Suzanne Fields, Chair of the USA Ultimate Hall of Fame Committee. "This year’s class once again embodies the highest level of excellence, as well as the special meaning behind our great sport, that induction into the Hall represents. "As a fellow Hall of Fame member, I am honored to stand next to each of them."
The Ultimate Hall of Fame was established in 2004 to honor the men and women who by their deeds as Ultimate players and contributors, and by the examples of their lives, merit acknowledgement by the individuals involved in the sport. The Ultimate Hall of Fame currently exists as a virtual hall, with a long-term goal to establish a permanent site by 2018 – the 50th anniversary of the sport’s founding. The inductees will be honored with a plaque at USA Ultimate headquarters in Boulder and the organization’s website, usaultimate.org.
ULTIMATE HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2011:
Kenny Dobyns has been called the most intense competitor to ever play the game, a force of nature, and a living legend. During a twenty year career that spanned the 80s and 90s, Dobyns displayed an indomitable will to win, as well as, a penchant for making spectacular plays seem routine. As the soul of the NYNY dynasty, he helped lead the team to six National and four World championships, displaying a singular ability to step up when the game was on the line. But he was more than a physical marvel.
Dobyns had brains as well as brawn. He was an innovator in ultimate strategy and tactics, incorporating a system of structured, set-play offenses, complicated, switching defenses, and a serious training regimen that made NYNY nearly unbeatable during their reign atop the sport. He was a dedicated leader, inspiring teammates and opponents alike with his passionate intensity and willingness to sacrifice his body in order to make a play.
While the ferocity of Dobyns’ competitive spirit has prompted some to question his commitment to the Spirit of the Game, he earned the respect of those who played against him at the highest levels of competition by playing hard, fair, and with tremendous heart. As one long-time rival put it, Kenny never gave up. Not on a play. Not in a game.
Dobyns lives now in Pawling, NY, still finds the time to play summer league, and is currently working to grow youth involvement in ultimate through a new organization, DiscNY.
Tom founded and was captain of the St. Louis Tunas from its infancy in 1980. In just over two years Tom led the St. Louis team to the finals in the 1982 National Championships, defeating Glassboro and "The Gang" on the way. In 1984, St. Louis captured the National Championship with a victory over Flying Circus in Santa Barbara.
Tom always played hard and took pride in his St. Louis team being the top conditioned team in the sport. St. Louis made the finals in 22 of 23 tournaments during one incredible run and won 95% of all games played.
What separated Tom from other skilled handlers was his ability to also play defense during key games. His amazing throwing skills required the best marking defenders every game and many times a platoon of defenders. Great quickness and breakaway speed made this a daunting task for the best defenders of his generation as Tom scored often from the handler position. It was not unusual for Tom to play over 80% of all points during the semis and finals while handling as much as 50% of the passes. He also takes pride in having gone one full year without dropping a pass.
Athleticism, world class disc skills and leadership while playing in the semis at Nationals in 5 of 7 consecutive years speaks volumes about Tom’s winning program. Having the respect of his fellow Ultimate players, his never failing dedication to the spirit of the game and sportsmanship even during the most hotly contested points, made Tom even more unique during his career.
Tom lives in Wildwood, MO with his wife Jolyen and two sons.
Three things that distinguished Cliff as an ultimate player were his advanced throwing skills, his ability to get open, and his unwavering positive attitude as a quiet leader.
Cliff had one of the best sidearms in the game and was amongst the first to use upside down passes. He could throw touch passes or long bombs with equal skill, accuracy, and consistency and had an uncanny ability to break his mark. Despite the high number of "touches", Cliff rarely had turnovers. On the other side of the disc, Cliff was guarded by the best defenders in the game and consistently got open to contribute on offense.
He played a dominant role on one of the best teams of the late 70’s and 80’s, the Santa Barbara Condors. He then moved up to Portland in the late 80’s, bringing his skills and influence to the Donor’s and Rhino Slam’s success at Nationals. Cliff played in 17 Open Regionals, qualifying for Nationals 12 times. His teams won Nationals twice and made it to semis or finals 5 other times.
Cliff was the consummate teammate with a consistently positive influence on others. He didn’t have to be "the star" and was heavily counted on by his teammates. Cliff played intensely and all out at the highest-level while thoroughly honoring the Spirit of the Game.
Cliff has lived in Portland, Oregon with his wife, Amy Lennon, and has 2 sons and a daughter.
Michael O’Dowd was one of the greatest players of his generation; he loves the game of ultimate and what it stands for. Michael was a fierce competitor who always built a bond with his opponent; he was a defensive stopper, innovator and master scout/coach. Prior to playing ultimate, Mike was a three-sport athlete and an accomplished disc player (disc golf, freestyle, DDC, guts, self-caught flight) which gave him a distinct advantage in ultimate. Mike had all the disc skills, speed, size and a toughness that let him dictate the outcome of a game. Michael could throw goals from anywhere on the field; quick transition goals were his specialty. But one man does not succeed without great mentors and a strong team in the game of ultimate.
Mike had amazing teammates to push and inspire him to greatness. "Knock-down- drag-out" practices for Windy City made tournaments easy. Teammates include Hall of famer Michael Glass. Playmaker, John Conway taught Mike the finer points of leadership. Joey Giampino gave Mike the opportunity to guard the best receiver in the game four times a week. Fellow defensive captain Dean Smith relentlessly pushed Mike and Windy City to practice, train, and play harder than seemed possible, " Never enough".
Mike started the Windy City team with Carey Goldenberg; within four years Mike organized it, nurtured it, drove it to win the National and World Championship by the age of 21. Mike won Championships with every team he played on after Chicago. San Francisco, Idaho/Montana, and his own Northwest masters team Troubled Past. Mike retired as UPA Champion and World Champion and after winning in the UPA Championship in October 2009 and World Championship in Prague in August 2010.
Michael lives in Arcata, California and is married to former UPA Champion, Alison O’Dowd. They have twin girls, Jasmine and Cassidy, born in 2010.
|Wende (Coates) Pinz
(San Diego, CA)
Wendell is arguably one of the best throwers in the history of the game. The beauty and consistency of her skills is beyond those of any player in her era, both men and women. Picking apart a zone defense in strong winds was her forte; her throws were strong on both sides and her deep throw was amazing. Wende was one of the most feared offensive players and was always covered by the best defensive players.
A compliment to Wendell’s throws was her core athleticism; she could run, dive, catch and jump. She played great defense and had excellent field sense. Wende would typically come up with a couple of key defensive plays per game; she always knew where the disc was and loved to poach. With a strong will and work ethic; Wende was told she is "The Michael Jordan" of Ultimate!
Wende played with fierce intensity but was always a great sportsperson, never a rah rah player. Wende put her spirit, heart and soul into the sport of Ultimate. She loved Ultimate and it showed with her endless commitment to her teammates and community to improve our sport. She treated all her teammates and opponents with respect. Wende showed true spirit of the game.
Wende started her Ultimate career in 1982 and played competitively from 1982-1997. She played in San Diego on the Ultimates, Windjammers, and Safari. Wende also played on combo teams Block Party and the Condors.
Wende played at the highest level of competition at Nationals in 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1992 with Safari. Their best team showing at Nationals was in 1990 with a 2nd place finish against the Maniacs. Wende has also competed at Worlds, Goaltimate tournaments, and Beach ultimate tournaments.
Wende lives in San Diego, California. She is married to Greg Pinz, a long time ultimate player with UCSD Entropy, Spinoffs and Iguanas and has two sons, Kent and Troy.
|Jim Kenner and the
Jim Kenner, one of the earliest competitive freestylers, started a small flying disc manufacturing operation in 1978 and introduced the Ultra-StarTM disc for Ultimate in 1981. At 175 grams (10 grams heavier than the discs then being used) and with a diameter of 10.75 inches, the Ultra-Star began to catch on among players in the Midwest. With the expiration of certain of Wham-O’s patents in 1983, Kenner was able to add flight rings to the Ultra-Star which added considerable stability during flight, and he made other revisions based on his experience as a player. The new Ultra-Star was a hit and began to attract a growing following who viewed it as markedly superior to the post-80 mold Wham-O frisbees. Many players considered the Ultra-Star as easier to throw, with more predictability in flight and with greater velocity. With word of mouth on the playing fields and a grass roots marketing campaign that provided sponsorship for hundreds of Ultimate events and teams, Kenner’s Ultra-Star had become ubiquitous on Ultimate fields by the late 1980s. With the introduction of approved disc standards in the late 1980s, largely patterned after Ultra-Star’s characteristics, the stage was set for the Ultra-Star to be selected in February 1991 as the official disc for tournament play by Ultimate Players Association (now USA Ultimate). The Ultra-Star was ranked #19 on the list of "31 Things Every Man Should Own" by Esquire Magazine in May 2009. Discraft’s primary market continues to be direct sales to players, teams and clubs. The Ultra-Star remains today as the official disc of the USA Ultimate Championship Series, 30 years after its introduction and 20 years since first being recognized as the official disc for Ultimate.
About USA Ultimate
USA Ultimate serves as the National Governing Body for the sport of Ultimate in the United States. USA Ultimate is a non-profit organization headquartered in Boulder, Colo. and focuses foremost on the needs of its athletes while improving access to the sport and enhancing members’ overall experience. Founded in 1979 as the Ultimate Players Association, USA Ultimate is one of the first flying disc sport organizations in the world and is also the largest with more than 30,000 members and a national volunteer network. Last year the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) named Ultimate the fastest-growing team sport in the nation. Internationally, USA Ultimate is a member of the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF), which is an affiliate of the General Association of International Sport Federations (GAISF) and the International World Games Association (IWGA). USA Ultimate annually fields U.S. National Teams to compete at international events, including The World Games, which operates under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).