Willamette Announces Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2011

Induction Ceremony Set for Nov. 5 at the Salem Conference Center

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony for the Class of 2011 will be held on Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Salem Conference Center. Activities will begin with a social hour starting at 6 p.m. (PDT), with the banquet and induction ceremony starting at 7 p.m.

Willamette's Hall of Fame Class of 2011 includes five athletes, two coaches, one team and one individual selected for meritorious service.

Individuals interested in attending the reception and dinner should contact Willamette Athletics at (503) 370-6420. Reservations also can be made by sending an e-mail to athleticstickets@willamette.edu. The cost is $75 per person. Tables also are available.


Robin (Heard) Buckingham
Women's Soccer (1995-98)

Buckingham holds the Willamette women’s soccer goalkeeping records for lowest goal against average in a season (0.38) and lowest goals against average in a career (0.56). She also holds the records for shutouts in a season (15) and shutouts in a career (52).

She was the Jean Williams Award winner in 1998, when she was the goalkeeper on the Willamette women’s soccer team that reached the NCAA Division III Final Four. She also played on an NAIA National Tournament team at WU in 1996 and NAIA Regional Tournament teams in 1995 and 1997.

Buckingham was named Second Team All-America at goalkeeper in 1996 and was chosen Third Team All-America in 1999. She was chosen as the NAIA National Player of the Week during her freshman season in 1995.

She served as the goalkeeper coach for the Bearcats for two years and at Western Oregon University for two years. In addition, she was an assistant coach at Sprague High School in Salem for one year and has worked in various middle school coaching positions over the past 10 years in basketball and track and field.

Beth (Fitzgerald) Rainford
Women's Soccer (1995-98), Women's Track and Field (1996-99)

Rainford achieved an NCAA Division III national championship in the 800-meter run in 1999. She earned All-America honors for her efforts and also gained All-America status in the 800-meter run in the NAIA in 1997 and 1998.

She is third all-time at WU in the 800-meter run (2:09.48 in 1999, school record at the time) in track and field. She won the NWC 800-meter title in 1997 with a time of 2:13.64, 1998 in 2:13.20 and 1999 in 2:12.51. She was the NWC champion in the 1,500-meter run in 1999 as she finished the race in 4:41.33.

In cross country, Rainford is ranked in Willamette’s top 10 at 4,000 meters (2nd, 14:29.0 in 1999) and at 5,000 meters (4th, 17:28.8, 1999). She earned All-America honors in cross country in 1999. She also was the NWC individual cross country champion in 1999.

Bill Hartman
Football (1959-62)

Very few college football linemen can say they started every year and never missed a single game in their college career, but Hartman did just that in his four years at Willamette (1959-62 seasons). With Hartman as the Bearcat center for 35 straight games, the team had a 23-10-2 record. In his senior year, Hartman earned The Oregonian and Oregon Journal College Offensive Lineman of the Year awards. He was awarded NAIA All-America, Little All-America and Second Team Methodist All-America honors. In his last three seasons, he received All-NWC honors at center. After he graduated, Hartman stayed on a fifth year at WU as the offensive line coach. 

He later coaches at several high schools, including Clackamas High School, where he was an assistant football coach for six years and was head football coach for 11 years. He led Clackamas to two league championships. He was the head coach of the softball team, which he guided to a spot in the league playoffs twice during his three seasons. He also coached girls’ track (12 years) and girls’ golf (6 years), and was an assistant wrestling coach (11 years). Overall, he achieved 420 wins as a high school head coach.

Hartman also was the offensive line and special teams coach at Lewis & Clark College (3 years) and Portland State University (6 years). He helped PSU finish second in NCAA Division II in 1987 and 1988 and reach the quarterfinals in 1989. 

Nik Lubisich
Baseball (1998-01), Men's Basketball (1997-01)

Lubisich was an outstanding pitcher and hitter on the baseball team and a solid contributor on the men’s basketball team. In baseball, he ranks in the top five at Willamette in six career pitching categories and seven career offensive categories. He is #1 as a pitcher in career complete games (26) and ranks #1 on offensive in career hits (202) and career triples (9). He achieved an overall record of 26-9 (ranked 3rd), a career ERA of 2.75 (4th) and struck out 221 batters (4th). On offense he ranks second in career at bats (576) and career doubles (39) and is third in career runs (129) and career batting average (.351).

Lubisich also is ranked #1 in several single season categories:  pitching wins (10), pitching starts (14, tied), complete games (10, tied), offensive at bats (169) and offensive triples (5). He helped the Bearcats earn a combined record of 105-62 (.629) in baseball, including a 69-27 (.719) NWC record with two first place finishes and two third place finishes. He was named First Team All-NWC three times, including Player of the Year twice. He was chosen Third Team All-America.

Lubisich went on to play professional baseball for the Chicago White Sox organization in the Appalachian League in 2001 (Bristol) and the South Atlantic League (Kannapolis) in 2002.

At Bristol, he achieved a 2.83 ERA to finish eighth in the league. He led the team with 70 innings pitched and had a string of 25 consecutive scoreless innings.  He was the league Pitcher of the Week once. While at Kannapolis, he contributed a 2.71 ERA and nine wins. He pitched 122 2/3 innings and allowed just 1.9 walks per 9 innings. He struck out 81 batters and had a string of 21 consecutive scoreless innings. He limited opponents to a .210 batting average with runners in scoring position.

In basketball, Lubisich is ranked fifth all-time at WU in single season scoring with 20.1 points per game in 2000-01. He is second in single season steals with 2.12 per game in 2000-01. He is the WU record holder for 3-pointers made in a game, with nine on two occasions (vs. PLU on Feb. 16, 2001; vs. GFU on Jan. 16, 2001). He was chosen First Team All-NWC in 2000-01.

Jimmy Watts
Men's Track and Field (1997-00), Men's Basketball (1996-99)

Watts won two NCAA Division III national championships in the decathlon in 1999 and 2000. He set Willamette’s school record in the decathlon at the NCAA Championships in 2000 with a score of 7,384 points. His national titles earned him All-America honors in 1999 and 2000.

Watts ranks in the top 10 all-time at Willamette in five categories. He is first in the decathlon and second in the high jump (6’10.75” in 2000). He also ranks fourth in the javelin throw (202’11” in 1999), seventh in the pole vault (14’5.25” in 2000) and ninth in the long jump (22’10” in 1997).

He won Northwest Conference individual championships in the high jump in 1999 (6’8.75”) and 2000 (6’8.75”).

Watts also competed for the Willamette men's basketball team for three seasons. He was a post for the Bearcats in 68 games during his career and shot 51.3% from the field. He averaged 6.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.


Marlene Piper
Head Volleyball Coach (1994-01)

During her coaching career, Piper became one of the nation’s most successful volleyball mentors. She coached at Willamette for eight seasons and led the Bearcats to three consecutive conference championships in 1994, 1995 and 1996, and was a three-time Northwest Conference Coach of the Year. In her first three years at Willamette (1994-96), Piper had a record of 85-24 (.780), and after eight years she had a combined record of 146-83 (.638).

Before coming to Willamette, Piper coached at Portland State University, the University of California-Berkeley, and the University of California-Davis. In 2001, she retired with an impressive cumulative career record of 815-328 (.713) in 33 years of coaching. The year before she retired, Piper ranked No. 2 in NCAA Division III for career wins (798) and was No. 10 in the NCAA in winning percentage (.727).

Piper was a seven-time ASA All-American fast-pitch softball player and led her team to two national championships. She also played on the Canadian National volleyball team and was a three-time USVBA Master’s All-American, earning MVP honors at the 1984 national tournament. 

Kelly Sullivan
Head Cross Country Coach (1997-03), Head Track and Field Coach (1998-2002)
Athlete at WU:  Cross Country (1977-78), Track and Field (1978-79)

Sullivan was Willamette’s head coach for men’s and women’s track and field and cross country from 1997 through the fall of 2003. He was named West Region Coach of the Year in both men’s and women’s tack and field in 2002 and 2003. He also was chosen Northwest Conference Coach of the Year in men’s and women’s track and field in 2002 and 2003. He coached athletes to five individual NCAA Championships at WU.

While he was at Willamette, three of his cross country athletes received a total of six All-America awards. In track and field, he coached eighth athletes who earned a total of 13 All-America awards. He coached three athletes who were National Champions in track and field.

Prior to coaching at Willamette, Sullivan coached at Clackamas Community College and Auburn University. He was the head cross country coach and assistant track and field coach at Clackamas from 1980-84. He coached 24 All-America athletes at CCC. The Clackamas men’s cross country team was second in the NJCAA in 1982 and finished third in 1981 and 1983. He was the head men’s and women’s cross country coach and assistant track and field coach at Auburn University from 1984 through 1996. He made Auburn’s cross country teams nationally competitive. He coached 36 All-Americans at Auburn, including Brian Abshire, who competed at the 1998 Olympics in the steeplechase.

Sullivan has been the head coach of women’s track & field and cross country at Oregon State University since January of 2004. His athletes at OSU have recorded numerous all-time top Top 10 results for the Beavers, including the school’s 10-kilometer record.


1998 Women's Soccer Team
Head Coach:  Jim Tursi
Record:  19-1-4 (NCAA Final Four), 14-0-2 NWC (1st place)

Willamette's 1998 women's soccer team was the first Bearcat team to reach an NCAA Division III Final Four. The Bearcats achieved an overall record of 19-1-4 (.875) and won the NWC with at 14-0-2 (.938). WU went 3-1 in the NCAA Tournament.

The team included Robin (Heard) Buckingham in goal and was very strong on defense. The Bearcats allowed just 10 goals all season, setting a record that was later tied by the 2006 team that qualified for the NCAA Tournament. WU also set a school records with a 0.38 goals against average and 15 shutouts. During the season, Willamette put together a string of 23 consecutive wins or ties before losing in the Final Four.

Meritorious Service

Dick Carney

Carney has remained a positive force supporting Willamette athletics for the past several decades. He has been a generous financial supporter of many projects on campus, with more than half of his donations directly impacting athletics. He has helped sustain and strengthen athletics through a variety of projects, all without bringing direct attention to himself. Even so, his support has been significant and he has provided the momentum to bring many projects to completion. In addition, he has been a source of information and guidance for Willamette’s athletic administrators for the past 25 years.

As a student-athlete at Willamette, Carney was a defensive lineman on the Bearcat football teams of the early 1960s. Along with his teammates, he was inducted into the WU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1995 as part of the undefeated 1960 football team.

Carney has been president of CFP, Inc., a company in Salem, Ore., for more than 40 years, as he has continued to support the local community. CFP organizes benefits packages for major employers and provides individual life insurance and estate planning for professionals.

Robin (Heard) Buckingham earned 52 career shutouts as a goalkeeper for the Willamette women's soccer team.

Robin (Heard) Buckingham earned 52 career shutouts as a goalkeeper for the Willamette women's soccer team.