Ultimate Hall of Fame Class of 2015 Announced

Posted: November 23, 2015 03:12 PM

Colorado Springs, Colo. (Nov. 23, 2015) – The Ultimate Hall of Fame welcomed five new members today as USA Ultimate, the national governing body for the sport of ultimate in the United States, announced the Class of 2015.

The Class of 2015 includes women’s division inductee Lori Van Holmes and open division inductees Rich "Gags" GallagherSkip KuhnBilly Rodriguez, and Bob "Bert" Sick.

"We’re very excited and proud to announce the five newest inductees into the Ultimate Hall of Fame," said Dr. Tom Crawford, USA Ultimate Chief Executive Officer. "Their collective contributions and phenomenal accomplishments in the sport of ultimate are inspiring.  We are proud and honored to recognize these new members of the Hall of Fame."

The 2015 inductees were selected by the current USA Ultimate Hall of Fame voting members from a final Slate of Eight short list of candidates announced in late October. The Slate of Eight was chosen by the Hall of Fame Vetting Sub-committee from among an accomplished pool of athletes and contributors by the USA Ultimate Hall of Fame Vetting Committee through a review of peer voting results and written applications solicited by the committee. 

To be inducted into the Ultimate Hall of Fame, potential candidates must complete three steps. The first stage involves "peer voting," where potential candidates are reviewed and ranked by a group of players or contributors from their own playing era. The second stage involves winnowing the field down to the Slate of Eight by the Vetting Sub-committee. The Slate of Eight is announced in the Call to the Community which requests input from the candidates' peers. The final stage involves a vote for up to five inductees by the full voting committee, comprised of the Vetting Subcommittee and the player and contributor members of the Ultimate Hall of Fame. An inductee must receive an affirmative vote of at least 60 percent of the voters to be selected.

"We had an excellent class of nominees this year and we are so pleased to welcome these five new members into the Ultimate Hall of Fame," said Suzanne Fields, Hall of Fame Committee Chair.

The Class of 2015 is the 12th class inducted into the Ultimate Hall of Fame, which was established in 2004 to honor the men and women whose accomplishments as athletes and contributors merit acknowledgement by their peers. 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.

Hall of Fame Class of 2015

Lori Van Holmes (Minneapolis, Minn.)
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Lori started her competitive Ultimate career on open teams in the early ‘80’s, founded and captained women’s ultimate in Minneapolis, (Repo Women). With the skills to play any position, Lori has always been a key team member and continued her winning ways with 11 Women’s Nationals Championship appearances (3 finals, 5 semi-finals): Chicago’s Nemesis semi’s ‘87, Boston’s Lady Godiva semis ‘90, Seattle’s Women on the Verge (WOTV) finals ‘92, ‘95, ’98, and semis, ‘97, ‘99 and ‘94, with two more semi-finals in the Mixed division with Seattle’s Shazam, ’02, 03. She competed in three WFDF World Championships, earning the gold 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 two-way starter, a defensive standout, and prolific receiver; one of the strongest runners in the sport. In addition to her ultimate play, Lori displayed a true commitment to giving back to Ultimate by serving as West Region Coordinator, coaching college and high school ultimate teams, as well as running tournaments and clinics. She mentored and inspired scores of women who have promoted our sport with passion and excellence. 

Rich "Gags" Gallagher (Los Angeles, Calif.)
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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 (Lewisboro, N.Y.)
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Skip Kuhn was a standout two-way star on NYNY from the beginning of their victory ride until the end, throwing the final goal to end the NYNY dynasty. His early years anchoring his high school team CRUD, the Atomic Dogs of SUNY Purchase, and later Life B4 Plastic, prepared him to fill a pivotal role among many marquee players on NYNY. With excellent handling skills, blazing speed, tremendous jumping ability, and bringing high intensity to every big game, Skip was one of the few players used interchangeably on offense and defense; acknowledged by many of his NYNY teammates as the best all-around player on New York’s star-studded roster. One example was the pivotal role Skip played executing NYNY’s pull play. Often the opposing players would know and communicate that Skip was going to be the first cut to begin the play, and still he would get open. Uncharacteristically for a guy his size, he played deep in the zone, relying on timing and athleticism. Skip ran circles around defenders on offense and was a menace to great offensive players while playing defense. Not usually loud or boisterous, he brought focus and consistency to NY throughout his career, rarely missing a practice. 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. A lifetime member of the UPA/USAU, Skip continues to play summer league and compete in the Grand Masters and Great Grand Masters division, as well as coaching The Bronx High School of Science.

Billy Rodriguez (Boston, Mass.) 
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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 of stifling defense and transition offense. 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 and playmaking cutter 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  (San Jose, Calif.)
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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, and a Worlds Championship in 1986. 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.

The Vetting Sub-Committee included:

  • Suzanne Fields (Chair, Hall of Fame Committee) - Hall of Fame Inaugural Class of 2004
  • David Barkan (Coordinator, Open Division) - Hall of Fame Class of 2010
  • Gloria Lust-Phillips (Coordinator, Women's Division) - Hall of Fame Class of 2008
  • Robert Rauch (Coordinator, Contributors Division) - Hall of Fame Class of 2006
  • Brian Murphy (Ad-hoc subcommittee member) - Hall of Fame Class of 2007
  • Keay Nakae (Ad-hoc subcommittee member) - Hall of Fame Class of 2012


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