SAN JOSE (September 22, 2010) –Five South Bay sports icons who made their mark in professional, college, and Olympic sports make up the 2010 Class of Inductees of the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame.
The sixteenth class, which will be inducted at the November 16 ceremony at HP Pavilion at San Jose, includes:
- Arturs Irbe: All Star San Jose Sharks goaltender, community supporter and fan favorite
Bruce Jenner: Decathlon Champion, Olympian
- Keri Sanchez: NCAA Champion and Women’s Soccer Pioneer
- Dave and Mark Schultz: Wrestling Legends, Olympians and Brothers
The November 16th event, presented by Hewlett-Packard, celebrates 16 years of the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame. The event begins with a reception followed by dinner and induction ceremony. Dinner tickets begin at $200 each and sponsorship packages are available ranging from $2,500 to $15,000. For information and to purchase tickets (408) 288-2936.
The 2010 Class brings the total number to 76 of South Bay sports figures in the Hall of Fame, which recognizes each honoree with a bronze plaque permanently installed on the concourse at HP Pavilion. The annual induction is an event of the San Jose Sports Authority, San Jose Arena Authority, HP Pavilion Management/San Jose Sharks and the City of San José. The event benefits Special Olympics Northern California and high school sports programs.
About the San Jose Sports Authority
The San Jose Sports Authority is a non-profit organization whose mission is to increase the City of San Jose’s economic development, visibility and civic pride through sports. Serving as the City's sports commission since its inception in 1991, the Sports Authority has provided leadership and support to attract or host hundreds of sporting events in San Jose and the South Bay. The Sports Authority also supports and operates community, youth and amateur sports programs, including the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame, The First Tee of San Jose, and the REACH Youth Scholarship Program. To learn more, visit www.sjsa.org.
It is often said that hockey goaltenders are cut from a different cloth than other players on the ice. During his time in the South Bay, Arturs Irbe set the bar for what it meant to be a San Jose Sharks player, both on-and-off the ice.
Born in 1967 in Riga (in present day Latvia), Irbe excelled early in his career, first as the top goaltender for the Soviet Union at the 1985 IIHF European Junior Championship, and quickly established himself as a star professionally with Dynamo Riga in the then-Soviet national league. He led the Soviet team into the IIHF World and European Championship until 1991, when Latvia formally joined the United Nations as an independent country. He was soon bound for the NHL.
The Minnesota North Stars drafted Irbe in 1989, a long-shot selection due to uncertainty surrounding the Russian political landscape at that time. The San Jose Sharks acquired Irbe's rights in 1991 through the NHL Dispersal Draft which was held to fill the expansion Sharks' roster for their inaugural season.
For his first two seasons in North America, Irbe split time between the Sharks and their minor league affiliate Kansas City Blades (IHL). In 1993-94, Irbe took hold of the Sharks top goaltending spot and, in their first full season at San Jose Arena (now HP Pavilion), Irbe led San Jose to the biggest turnaround in NHL history, finishing with a 33-35-16 record and making the playoffs with 82 points. This represented a 58-point increase from the previous season. Irbe won 30 games that season, adding three shutouts and playing a then-NHL single season record 4,412 minutes, and set a still-standing Sharks record as he faced 2,064 shots. He became the first Sharks goalie to be named to the NHL All-Star Game in 1994.
The eighth-seeded Sharks entered the 1994 playoffs against the top-seeded Detroit Red Wings, and backstopped by a confident Irbe, San Jose pulled off one the most memorable first-round upsets in modern NHL history.
Irbe remained with the Sharks for two more seasons, then went on to play for the Dallas Stars, Vancouver Canucks and Carolina Hurricanes. It was with Carolina that Irbe posted his best statistical seasons, winning 34 games in 1999-2000 and 37 games in 2000-01. In 1999, Irbe was named to his second NHL All-Star Game. In the 2001-02 postseason, Irbe led the Hurricanes all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, posting a remarkable 1.67 goals-against average and .938 save percentage. The 'Canes eventually lost to Detroit in five games.
Following the NHL lockout in 2004-05, Irbe spent several seasons playing professionally in Europe before joining the Washington Capitals in 2009 as goaltending coach.
Beyond his impressive statistics, there are intangibles that cemented Irbe's place in San Jose sports lore. He was a consensus choice as the most popular player among fans during the first decade of the Sharks franchise. He was the first player to have his name chanted inside the new San Jose Arena, and he returned the fans' sentiment with his tireless community work and selflessness.
In 1993-94, in a ballot by his own teammates, Irbe was chosen as the Sharks nominee for the NHL's King Clancy Award, given by the League to "the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on-and-off the ice and has made a noteworthy contribution to the community." Irbe later founded the Kids First Fund to help abused kids in his native Latvia.
As he led a young Sharks team to many franchise “firsts,” the man hockey fans knew as “The Wall” is the first professional ice hockey player to be inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame.
Bruce Jenner was a rare and special athlete, who seemed to excel at any sport.
When he was born on October 18, 1949, Jenner already had athletics in his genes. His father William Jenner had competed in the U.S. Army Olympics in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1945, and won a silver medal in the 100-yard dash. Jenner's grandfather had run in the Boston Marathon several times.
Jenner displayed his athletic prowess across a wide variety of sports at an early age. By the time he reached high school, he was competing on the basketball, football, and track teams. He was also a three-time water skiing champion in the Eastern States competition. During his senior year, he received a college scholarship to Graceland College in Iowa. A leg injury during his freshman season effectively ended his collegiate football career. However, while recovering from his injury in 1970, he joined the track team, and soon after competed in his first decathlon. He not only won the event, but set a school record in the process. His meteoric rise to the top of the sport of decathlon – said by many to be the truest expression of all-around athleticism - had begun.
Jenner placed third in the decathlon at the 1972 U.S. Olympic trials and finished in tenth place at the 1972 Munich games. Following Munich, Jenner dedicated himself to preparing for the 1976 Games and San Jose City College served as his primary training facility. His presence in the San Jose area was part of what made San Jose a hotbed for training elite track and field athletes during that era. In 1974 and 1976, he was the American decathlon champion.
He went on to win a gold medal in the Decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics, while setting a world record of 8,634 points. He was named the “World's Greatest Athlete” as a result of his Olympic Gold, and was the 1976 recipient of the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States. Jenner was also the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year in 1976. He was inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame in 1986. the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame and the Connecticut Sports Hall of Fame in 1994, and the United States National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1980.
San Jose City College hosted the "Bruce Jenner Classic" as a televised, annual stop on the United States Track and Field Circuit for nearly twenty years. Jenner frequently hosted the meets' telecasts.
In the years following his athletic achievements, Jenner has been involved in a wide variety of projects and causes. He's been a guest star on numerous prime time television programs, a commentator for NBC, ABC, and Fox Sports, and host of his own health show. He is a supporter of many charitable organizations and serves on several advisory boards. In 2004, California's Governor Schwarzenegger appointed him to the State Athletic Commission.
Jenner is also and entrepreneur, commercial spokesperson, television personality, actor, producer, and author. A devoted husband and father of ten, when he isn't making corporate appearances, Bruce can be found spending time with his family onscreen on E! Network's Keeping up with the Kardashians. Off screen and outside of work, Bruce finds time to enjoy his own hobbies including flying planes, racing cars in Grand Prix events and working on his golf game.
Now, the “World's Greatest Athlete” is the first decathlete to be inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame.
Keri Sanchez was born on December 25, 1972 and made San Jose home when her family moved to the South Bay when she was a young girl. She was raised in an athletic family, and she set her sights on a career as a professional athlete almost immediately.
“I loved all sports,” she said, “but at that time there was very little pro men’s soccer, let alone women’s pro sports in general, except for golf and tennis. Oddly, I grew up wanting to be a men’s pro football or hockey player. It was only later on in high school that I focused more on soccer.”
And focus on soccer she did. She was a four-year varsity player on the Santa Teresa High School team that made the CCS playoffs in each of those years. In her senior year, Sanchez notched 2 assists in a 2-1 CCS championship victory over Homestead. She also played club soccer during this period, with the San Jose Girls Soccer Club, and as a senior with the West Valley club that won state and regional titles and finished 3rd nationally in the under 19 division.
Her athleticism also found an outlet in the spring season, where she was a member of the Santa Teresa track team. She won 3 events (triple jump, 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles) at CCS Championships as a freshman and sophomore and was a state finalist in each event. In her junior season, the won 4 events ( long jump, triple jump, 100m hurdles and 300m hurdles) to pace the team to a CCS Championship.
Sanchez was selected for the California Olympic Development Team in 1989, 1990, and 1991. She made the Region IV team in 1990 and 1991.
Sanchez was voted High School Athlete of the Decade (1980’s) by readers of the Mercury News. Her tremendous accomplishments as a young athlete earned her a spot on the nationally renowned North Carolina team, where she helped carry on a winning tradition.
During her freshman year in 1991, the Tar Heels won 24 consecutive matches and Sanchez earned All-ACC honors en route to an NCAA Championship.
The following season, the team posted a remarkable 25-0 record and won its seventh consecutive NCAA title.
In Sanchez's junior season, North Carolina went 23-0 season and added another national championship. She was named an All-American and earned a second-team selection by Soccer News.
As a senior Sanchez was named team captain and led her Tar Heels team to a 25-1-1 record. The team capped the season with the fourth championship in her collegiate career. Sanchez was named team MVP and she was named to the All-ACC team. She graduated with a degree in physical education.
During her time at North Carolina, Sanchez also trained as a member of the U.S. National Team pool, under the direction of Tar Heels head coach Anson Dorrance. She was a member of the Youth National Team from 1990-1992 and played with the U.S. Senior National team from 1991-1995 and again in 2001. Sanchez played in World Cup qualifying in Haiti in the spring of 1991 and played a total of 13 games for the women's Senior team over her career.
In 2001, Sanchez was drafted by the Boston Breakers of the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA). She played for the Breakers for two years before joining the San Jose CyberRays, where she spent the 2003 season playing at Spartan Stadium in her hometown.
From 1997-2004, Sanchez was an assistant coach at the University of Oregon where she earned a master's degree in exercise physiology.
In 2004, she accepted the position of head coach at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, where she has an overall record of 69-42-12, and 45-21-6 in conference play.
In 2009, while maintaining her head coaching role with CMS, she joined the Los Angeles Sol of the Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) league. With Sanchez on board, the Sol went 12-3-5, and advanced to the WPS Championship game.
One of the true pioneers during the rise in prominence and recognition of women's amateur and professional soccer, Sanchez enters the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame as its first inductee from the sports of soccer.
From their humble beginnings at Palo Alto High School, Dave and Mark Schultz went on to dominate and define a generation of wrestling in the United States. They were the first brothers in U.S. history to win Olympic titles at the same Olympic Games, and are the only brothers in U.S. history to win both Olympic and World championships. The Schultz brothers combined to win more NCAA, World, and Olympic titles than any American brother combination in history.
From a young age, Dave Schultz worked hard to learn wrestling technique and was a relentless student of the sport. As a high school senior in 1977, he won a California state title and U.S. senior national titles in freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling.
Mark's first sport was gymnastics, and by his sophomore year in high school, he was a Northern California age-group champion gymnast. Yet Mark was also drawn to wrestling, and in 1977, as his older brother was winning titles, he made the transition to the mat, going 4-6 as a junior. As a senior, in only his second full year in the sport, Mark demonstrated his natural ability as he earned a 27-2 record and claimed a state championship for himself.
The brothers were enrolled together as UCLA, and transferred to the University of Oklahoma one year before UCLA elected to drop its wrestling program. At Oklahoma, they made an immediate impact, totaling a combined four NCAA Championships for the Sooners. Dave won his title competing at 167 pounds in 1982. Mark won his first NCAA Championship at 167 lbs. in 1981. In 1982, his junior season, he moved up to 177 to challenge two-time champion Ed Banach of Iowa. Mark defeated Banach and was named the tournament's Outstanding Wrestlers. As a senior, Mark remained at 177 lbs. and met all expectations by capturing his third consecutive NCAA title.
While Mark was completing his third NCAA championship, Dave, in his first year out of college, won a freestyle World Championship at 74kg in Kiev.
The following year, Dave and Mark continued their dominance on a world stage when they won Olympic gold on home soil at the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles. Both competed in freestyle, with Dave winning at 74 kg and Mark at 82 kg.
As he had since their days at Palo Alto High School, Mark followed-up Dave's 1983 World Championship with his own World title at the 82 kg weight class in 1985. He added a second World Championship in 1987.
Stateside, Dave Schultz won a total of 10 Senior National titles (eight Freestyle, two Greco-Roman) over 19 years. Internationally, he won five World Cup and two Pan American Games titles.
Mark captured four national Freestyle titles, two World championships and a Pan American gold medal. He represented the United States at the Olympics for a second time in 1988, placing sixth while battling through an injury.
Both brothers gave back to the sport they loved as coaches. Dave was an assistant coach at the University of Oklahoma, Stanford University, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Mark was an assistant coach at Stanford from 1983-1986, and at Villanova University from 1986-1989. He signed on as an assistant at Brigham Young University from 1991-1994, and then took over as head coach at BYU from 1994-2000.
Dave Schultz was killed in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, on Friday, January 26, 1996 at the age of 36. At the time of his death, Dave was a wrestling coach for Team Foxcatcher in Newtown Square. He was the top ranked U.S. wrestler in his weight class and was a prospect for the 1996 U.S. Olympic freestyle wrestling team.
Four months later, on May 16, 1996, Mark paid homage to his brother’s life and memory with a victory in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) IX. The competition was a nearly no-holds-barred match, the only exceptions being a ban on eye gouging and biting. With his foundation in wrestling, and his newly-acquired skills in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and striking, Mark was triumphant via TKO over Gary “Big Daddy” Goodridge in what he holds as “the most important victory of my life” which “allowed me to go out a winner.” Mark retired from mixed martial arts with a record of 1-0-0.
Mark was inducted as a Distinguished Member into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1995, and Dave soon followed in 1997.
Mark is currently a business broker, public speaker, writer, actor, builder, coach, businessman, primitive survivor, pro wrestler, executive security guard, athletic director, yogi, red belt, and LDS Sunday school teacher. He is a father to Mark Jr., Kelli, and Sarah.
True giants, innovators, and legends in the sport of American wrestling, Dave and Mark Schultz are the first wrestlers to take their rightful place in the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame.