Ultimate Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Announced

Posted: February 1, 2018 03:00 PM

Nine New Members Welcomed into Ultimate Hall of Fame in 2017 Class

Colorado Springs, Colo. (Feb. 1, 2018) – The Ultimate Hall of Fame and USA Ultimate,  the national governing body for the sport of ultimate in the United States, are excited to welcome nine new Hall of Famers in the Class of 2017.

The 2017 Class includes open division inductees Dave Blau, Jeff Cruickshank, Steve Dugan and David "Buzz" Ellsworth; women’s division inductees Leslie Calder, Pam Kraus and Caryn Lucido; and contributors Mark Licata and Mary Lowry.

"We are excited to welcome the newest members of the Ultimate Hall of Fame," said Dr. Tom Crawford, USA Ultimate Chief Executive Officer. "We are inspired by the collective contributions and phenomenal accomplishments of the inductees and are proud to recognize these nine new members of the Hall of Fame. We look forward to honoring them all at the 50th Anniversary Celebration during the National Championships in San Diego later this year."

The 2017 inductees were selected by the current USA Ultimate Hall of Fame voting members from a final slate of 20 candidates announced in early December with the additional consideration of two contributor candidates included on the final ballot. The candidates included in the Call to the Community were chosen by the Hall of Fame Vetting Subcommittee from an accomplished pool of athletes and contributors through a review of peer voting results and written applications solicited by the committee. 

The Hall of Fame Committee continues to incorporate improvements into the Hall of Fame process to enable a "catch-up period" in advance of the 50th anniversary of ultimate and the next formal Hall of Fame Induction ceremony to be held in 2018. 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. During the current catch-up phase, the second stage involves winnowing the field down to a slate of 20 candidates through a review of the peer voting results and written applications solicited by the six-person Vetting Subcommittee. The slate of 20 is announced in the Call to the Community which requests input from the candidates' peers. The final stage involves two rounds of voting for up to 10 inductees and two contributors 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 two-thirds of the voters to be selected.

"I am proud of the efforts of the ultimate community and Hall of Fame members who continue to improve the selection process which yielded this impressive group of new Hall of Fame members," said Hall of Fame Committee Chair Suzanne Fields. "We had an excellent class of nominees this year, all worthy of consideration. We are so pleased to welcome these nine new members into the Ultimate Hall of Fame."

The Class of 2017 is the 14th 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 2017 Class will be officially inducted into the Ultimate Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the 2018 National Championships in San Diego, where USA Ultimate and the community at large will celebrate the 50th anniversary of our sport. 


Hall of Fame Class of 2017

Player Inductees

Dave Blau (Katonah, N.Y.)
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Dave Blau was an unstoppable two-way force during the dominant New York dynasty of the 1980s and 1990s. A go-to cutter on their vaunted four-man pull play, he was the stalwart thrower and tenacious receiver that enabled NY, NY offenses to dominate all comers. At 6’2", David was unusually agile, deceptively speedy and freakishly springy, outrunning and out-jumping the best players in the game, against whom he was always matched. David was pivotal in leading NY, NY to six U.S. National Championships and four World Championships.

David’s calling card was a huge underneath cut back to the disc for 30-40 yards. Great defenders knew it was coming, and no one effectively stopped it. Anywhere near the end zone, David found the disc in his hands near a cone, his favorite place to score. Yet his defense was just as impactful – New York would rely on Blau to shut down the best cutters in the biggest games, and he obliged. Stop after stop, block after block, he brought physicality and desire to every assignment. Opponents learned to fear his presence, yet their respect for him as a sportsman bringing his best never wavered. Though casual observers might have paid more attention to Dobyns’ flair or Warsen’s explosiveness, opponents and teammates agree that Dave was as impactful and influential as anyone on his star-studded NY, NY squad.  

Leslie Calder (Vancouver, B.C.)
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Leslie Calder grew up in a very athletic family that focused on badminton; both parents and two older sisters have Canadian national titles. After obtaining Western National titles at 15 and attending McGill University to pursue badminton, the ultimate world benefited from Leslie’s discovery of it via college intramurals.

Described as a legend and a game changer by her opponents and astute ultimate players from the women’s and open divisions, Leslie was a physical, driven competitor who trained hard, put her team first and played every point full-out. She was an all-around player who was equally devastating on O and D. Teams had to adjust their offensive and defensive plans to try to contain her, and she always rose to the challenge of the top match-ups. Her combination of great top speed, jaw-dropping explosiveness, tremendous disc skills, unflappable mental toughness and enviable field vision was unparalleled. As a sign of her contributions to the sport, this talented lefty is already in the Canadian Ultimate Hall of Fame.

Leslie was all substance and no drama; she played and led her teams with tremendous integrity. She always demonstrated respect for opponents and never let her emotions get the best of her; she let her impressive play do the talking.

Jeff Cruickshank (Kelowna, B.C.)
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Jeff Cruickshank was one of the best throwers to ever play ultimate. When Furious George was winning two UPA National Championships and Team Canada was racking up three World titles, it was "Shank" who was delivering breathtaking breakmark backhands and devastating forehand hucks to win the biggest games. Even when an opposing team was playing perfect defense, Jeff found a way to get his teammates the disc, often for massive yardage. He broke down the morale of the best defenses with his lightening reflexes, sharp decision making and awe-inspiring precision. How did he get the disc so often if his arsenal was so well known? Jeff was multi-dimensional. As an athletic reset handler and occasional lane cutter, he used his athleticism, size and shifty cuts to get open repeatedly when there was no doubt the disc was coming his way. Defensively, Jeff was an O-line player who was counted on to get the disc back after a turnover. He read offensive plays accurately, set up crafty traps and got much-needed layout blocks at critical times. 

Those following Furious George and Team Canada during Shank’s career were well aware of his fearless mindset and fierce will-to-win leadership style. He expected the most from himself, always put his team first and competed with honor. While he never gave an inch, he always maintained respect for the game and those with whom he battled. His legacy is one of unmatched skill, contagious passion and an unrelenting pursuit of excellence.

Steve Dugan (Santa Barbara, Calif.) 
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Steve Dugan was destined to become the driving force that would reestablish the legendary Santa Barbara Condors as the best team in the sport in the early 2000s. As the captain, and acknowledged heart and soul of the team, Steve’s leadership, strategic game planning and intelligent and consistent play helped the Condors reach the finals at the National Championships five times during the six-year period from 1998-2003, which included back-to-back titles in 2000 and 2001. His team also played in two WFDF World Championship finals in 2002 and 2004, winning the title in 2002. Playing primarily at the handler position, Steve was regarded as one of the most skilled throwers of his era, with the ability to break the mark, bust a zone or huck it deep with equal aplomb. His work ethic set a high standard at practice, which inspired his teammates to do the same, while his relentless effort in games left opponents gasping and broken. Steve earned the respect of his peers as a player and person of high character and integrity.

David "Buzz" Ellsworth  (Denver, Colo.)
BuzzEllsworth 2018  

A true "Iron Man" of ultimate, David "Buzz" Ellsworth was the picture of consistent top-level play over a 15-year career in the club open division and an equal amount of time competing in the sport's other divisions. He was the first player to win Nationals titles in the college, club open, masters and grand masters divisions. Buzz was a warrior – full stop. He was always ready to compete against anyone at any time, was able to play any position and never wanted to come off the field. His leadership, toughness, intensity and never-quit attitude inspired a higher level of play from teammates and opponents alike. Off the field, as director of Denver/Boulder youth ultimate for over a decade, it’s impossible to fully describe the impact Buzz has had as an organizer, mentor and coach on that community’s youth ultimate programs, YCC teams and the current and rising star players it has produced. Respected by all as a person of honor, integrity and a wide-open heart, both on and off the field, Buzz is one of the sport’s great players and ambassadors.  

Pam Kraus (Seattle, Wash.)
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Pam Kraus has been successful at every level of the sport. Beginning at Carleton College in 1985, she captained and organized the women’s team to become the first team from Carleton to compete at College Nationals in 1988. After a two-year stint with Satori in Washington, D.C., she played for Seattle’s Women on the Verge (WOTV) from 1991-1999. As a captain and/or roster decision maker on WOTV, she helped lead the team to three consecutive WFDF Club Championships. While the primary offensive handler and playmaker for the Seattle mixed team Shazam, she won two national titles (2004, 2007) and a bronze for the U.S.A. at the 2008 WFDF World Ultimate and Guts Championships in Vancouver. And as a member of the first women’s masters team from Seattle, Mint, she competed at the Masters Championships to help earn a third-place overall finish in 2009.

Pam’s ultimate career has spanned 21 years of National Championship appearances. Her play has been described as poetic, as she creatively generated space on the field. Her patented give and goes were virtually unstoppable. Pam was quick, crafty, reliable and resilient, with a complete arsenal of throws. WOTV’s success was due in no small part to Pam’s stellar play and leadership. In addition to offense, Pam was a tenacious defender who could play anywhere on the field: covering handlers or receivers, playing middle-middle in the cup and deep-deep in zone. As a defender, she was often matched up against many of the current Hall of Fame women. Her versatility and willingness to do whatever it took, all with the utmost in spirit, made Pam a great role model and a person everyone looked up to.

Giving back to the sport is key to Pam. In addition to her leadership roles as a player, she coached an elementary school team from 2009-2012, a middle school team from 2011-2017, and coached the Seattle Mint women’s master’s team for the 2015 and 2016 seasons, winning the Northwest Region both years and attending the Masters Championships. As a coach, her youth teams have won the spirit award for their division at three Spring Reign Tournaments and in two DiscNW league seasons. Pam served on the Board of Directors for DiscNW from 2011-2016, as secretary for three of these years.

Caryn Lucido (Oakland, Calif.)
CarynLucido 1990Nationals  

Caryn started her ultimate career with the Austin Supremes while a graduate student at the University of Texas and was fully inspired and addicted two weeks in, after her first tournament in St. Louis. In 1987, she played with the University of Texas men’s team at College Nationals at Penn State, played with Texas and combo teams from the South Region, then moved to the San Francisco Bay area. As a competitive gymnast at Stanford from 1980-1984, Caryn knew how to fly, a skill for which she became well known on the ultimate field with diving defense and incredible layout receptions on offense.

Caryn was a unique and dynamic player throughout her career; her intensity, desire and tenacity raised the level of play of both teammates and opponents around her. Her athleticism and aggressive play were instrumental in helping her teams win four National Championships in five years, as well as three World Championships from 1992-1994. Her defensive prowess was instrumental in shutting down opponents – taking on top players, getting key blocks in crucial situations and altering game plans. A versatile player, she was always an offensive receiving threat. As a team leader, Caryn helped plan and run practices, hone strategies and call subs in key games. 

Caryn respected the Spirit of the Game, played fairly, respected opponents and exhibited superb sportsmanship. In 1994, she was with the first group of female players to travel to Japan to teach college students and enjoyed mentoring younger players. Aside from being an exceptional athlete, she always had an excellent attitude, maintaining focus while having a lot of fun and showing a true love of the game. 



Contributor Inductees

Mark Licata

In his long career of service to the community and sport of ultimate, Mark has made many contributions, all in volunteer roles. He has served as a Sectional Coordinator, Regional Coordinator, Tournament Director, UPA Managing Director, Director of Competition, and Board of Directors member. However, Mark’s greatest contribution was as the Disc Standards tsar. With his engineering background, Mark was able to bring a scientific approach to the ultimate community in understanding how the plastic they played with affected the disc, such a crucial item for the sport. It was his work that demonstrated the reason for the deterioration in the Wham-O discs that led to the decision for the UPA to adopt the Discraft UltraStar in 1991 as the official disc. He served as the UPA/USAU Disc Standards Chairperson from 1994-2011 and developed the standards in the late 1990s to ensure that discs from other manufacturers could be tested properly to see if they met the standards for use by the ultimate community. He remained active in ultimate until his untimely death in May 2014.

Mary Lowry (Seattle, Wash.)
MaryLowry 2018  

Mary has been the driving force behind the organization of youth ultimate in Seattle for over 30 years. The area youth program has been instrumental in developing Seattle into the powerhouse it is at all levels of the sport. As a teacher at Seattle Country Day School, she taught an elective disc sports class beginning in 1983 and has been coach of the team since 1984. She co-started a youth division of the Puget Sound Ultimate League in 1986 and, under DiscNW, established their first youth league in 1993. Mary continued helping with youth leagues and tournaments whenever she was needed. In 2000, Mary helped the UPA select the first-ever U.S.A. girls’ Junior Worlds team and coached the team to a championship at the WFDF 2000 World Championships in Heilbronn, Germany. As an accomplished player of both ultimate and overall events, Mary was a co-founder of the first women’s ultimate team in Seattle in 1983 and also co-founded the team that became Women on the Verge. Mary and her Seattle club team won the WFDF World Ultimate Club Championships in 1995 and 1997. An active freestyler, Mary is a three-time FPA Women’s Pairs World Champion (1994, 1997, 2000) and Mixed Pairs Champion (2001); she won the WFDF Women’s World Overall title in 2009, and was awarded the Jorgenson Coddington Award by the Freestyle Players Association for her contributions to the sport.


The Vetting Sub-Committee included:

  • Suzanne Fields (Chair, Hall of Fame Committee) - Hall of Fame Inaugural Class of 2004
  • David Barkan (Open Peer Co-Lead) - Hall of Fame Class of 2010
  • Gloria Lust-Phillips (Women's Division Chair) - Hall of Fame Class of 2008
  • Robert "Nob" Rauch (Contributor Peer Chair) - Hall of Fame Class of 2006
  • Brian Murphy (Ad-hoc subcommittee member) - Hall of Fame Class of 2007
  • Keay Nakae (Open Peer Co-Lead/Ad-hoc subcommittee member) - Hall of Fame Class of 2012
  • Henry Thorne (USA Ultimate Board Liaison)


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