Willamette Inducts Hall of Fame Class of 2011
Ceremony Held at Salem Conference Center
SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University Athletic Hall of Fame received the Class of 2011 during an induction ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 5. The ceremony took place as part of a dinner honoring the inductees at the Salem Conference Center.
Eight individuals and one team were included in the Class of 2011. It was the 16th overall induction ceremony since the Hall of Fame began in 1991 and the fifth ceremony since Willamette moved to biennial inductions in 2003.
Former Willamette athletes who were inducted this year were Nikolas Lubisich, baseball and men's basketball, 1997-01; Bill Hartman, football, 1959-63; Robin (Heard) Buckingham, women's soccer, 1995-99; Beth (Fitzgerald) Rainford, women's cross country and women's track and field, 1995-00; and Jimmy Watts, men's track and field and men's basketball, 1995-00.
Coaches for the Bearcats who were inducted were Marlene Piper, women's volleyball, 1994 through 2001 seasons, and Kelly Sullivan, men's and women's cross country and track and field, 1997 through 2003.
Dick Carney was inducted for meritorious service to Willamette Athletics.
The 1998 women's soccer team coached by Jim Tursi also was inducted.
WU Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2011
Nikolas Lubisich ranks first at Willamette in three career baseball statistics: hits (202) and triples (9) on offense, and complete games pitched (26). He also ranks #1 in several single season categories: wins (10), starts (14) and complete games (10) as a pitcher, and at bats (169) and triples (5) on offense.
During his career, Lubisich achieved a 26-9 pitching record and a 2.75 ERA with 221 strikeouts. He also earned a .351 career batting average with 39 doubles and 129 runs.
He helped the Bearcats earn a combined record of 105-62 (.629) during his four years, including Northwest Conference championships in 1998 and 2001. He was named First Team All-NWC three times, including Player of the Year twice. He was chosen Third Team All-America in 2001.
After graduating from Willamette, Lubisich played professionally in the Chicago White Sox organization for several years.
In basketball, Lubisich ranks fifth all-time at Willamette in single season scoring with 20.1 points per game in 2000-01. He set the WU record for 3-pointers made in a game (9) on two occasions. He was chosen First Team All-NWC as a senior.
Bill Hartman started 35 consecutive games at center from 1959 through 1962, helping the Bearcats achieve a 23-10-2 record. As a senior, he was chosen College Offensive Lineman of the Year in Oregon and was named A.P. Little All-America, NAIA All-America, and Second Team Methodist All-America. He was named All-Northwest Conference during each of his last three seasons.
After graduation, Hartman joined the Willamette University football coaching staff. He later served as an assistant football coach for six years and as head coach for 11 years at Clackamas High School, leading the team to two titles. At Clackamas, he was the head coach of the softball team for three seasons, including two trips to the league playoffs. He also coached girls’ track for 12 years plus girls’ golf for six years, and was an assistant wrestling coach for 11 years. He achieved 420 wins as a head coach at the high school level.
As a college assistant coach, Hartman helped Portland State University finish second in NCAA Division II in 1987 and 1988 and reach the quarterfinals in 1989.
Robin (Heard) Buckingham
Robin (Heard) Buckingham holds the Willamette women’s soccer goalkeeping records for lowest goal against average in a season (0.38) and a career (0.56). She also holds the records for shutouts in a season (15) and a career (52).
Buckingham was the Jean Williams Award winner in 1999 following the soccer team’s appearance in the NCAA Division III Final Four. She also played on the 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 1998. She was chosen as the NAIA National Player of the Week during her freshman season in 1995.
She was a two-sport athlete at Willamette, as she also competed on the women’s basketball team.
Later, Buckingham served as the goalkeeper coach for the Bearcats for two years and was the goalkeeper coach at Western Oregon University for two years.
She currently teaches health at Leslie Middle School in Salem, Ore.
Beth (Fitzgerald) Rainford
Beth (Fitzgerald) Rainford won an NCAA Division III national championship in the 800-meter run in 1999. She earned NAIA All-America honors in the 800-meter run in 1997 and 1998.
Rainford is a former Bearcat record holder and is ranked third all-time at Willamette in the 800-meter run (2:09.48 in 1999). She won the Northwest Conference 800-meter title in 1997 and 1998 and both the 800-meter and 1,500-meter championships in 1999.
In cross country, Rainford is ranked in WU’s Top 10 at 4,000 meters (2nd, 14:29.0 in 1999) and at 5,000 meters (4th, 17:28.8 in 1999)). In 1999, she earned All-America honors in cross country and was the NWC individual champion.
Rainford lives in McCall, Idaho. She is married to Eddie Rainford, former Willamette football player and a member of the 1997 football team that was inducted into the WU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007.
Jimmy Watts won two NCAA Division III national championships in the decathlon in 1999 and 2000 while earning All-America honors. He set a Willamette record in the decathlon at the 2000 NCAA Championships with a score of 7,384 points.
Watts ranks in the Top 10 all-time at Willamette in five track and field events. He is first in the decathlon, second in the high jump (6’10.75”), fourth in the javelin throw (202’11”), seventh in the pole vault (14’5.25”) and ninth in the long jump (22’10”).
He won back-to-back Northwest Conference individual championships in the high jump in 1999 and 2000, clearing 6’8.75” each year.
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.
He currently teaches health and physical education at Lakeridge High School in Lake Oswego, Ore.
Marlene Piper was the head volleyball coach at Willamette for eight seasons and led the Bearcats to three straight Northwest Conference titles in 1994, 1995 and 1996. Piper earned a combined record at Willamette of 146-83 (.638) and was named NWC Coach of the Year three times.
Before coming to Willamette, Piper coached at Portland State, UC-Berkeley, and UC-Davis. In 2001, she retired with an impressive cumulative record of 815-328 (.713) in 33 years of coaching. Piper 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.
In addition to her success in volleyball, Piper earned ASA All-America honors seven times as a fast-pitch softball player. She led her team to two national championships.
Kelly Sullivan served as the Willamette University head coach for men’s and women’s track and field and cross country from 1997 through 2003. In 2002 and 2003, he was chosen as the Northwest Conference Coach of the Year and West Region Coach of the Year in both men’s and women’s track and field.
Sullivan coached three Willamette athletes to five individual national championships in track and field. Three of his cross country athletes received a total of six All-America awards and eight track and field athletes earned 13 All-America awards during his tenure.
Prior to coaching at WU, Sullivan coached at Clackamas Community College and Auburn University. He coached 24 All-America athletes at CCC and coached 36 All-Americans at Auburn, including Brian Absure, who competed at the 1998 Olympics in the steeplechase.
Sullivan has been the head coach of women’s track and field and cross country at Oregon State University since January of 2004. His athletes at OSU have recorded numerous all-time Top 10 results for the Beavers.
Dick Carney has remained a positive force supporting Willamette athletics for several decades. He has been a generous financial supporter of many projects on campus, with more than half of his donations directly impacting Bearcat athletics. In addition, Carney has been an individual mentor, partner and guide for Willamette athletic administrators for more than 25 years.
As a Willamette student-athlete, Carney was a defensive lineman on the Bearcat football teams of the early 1960s. 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., in Salem, Ore., for more than 40 years.
1998 Women's Soccer Team
The Willamette University 1998 women’s soccer team was the first Bearcat squad to reach an NCAA Division III Final Four. The Bearcats achieved an overall record of 19-1-4, won the Northwest Conference championship with a 14-0-2 record, and went 3-1 in the NCAA Tournament.
The Bearcats set a school record with 23 consecutive wins or ties before losing in the Final Four. Willamette also set records by earning a 0.38 goals against average, achieving 15 shutouts, and allowing only 10 goals all season.
Members of the 1998 Willamette University Women’s Soccer Team:
Rachel (Alenduff) Albers
Robin (Heard) Buckingham
Dana (Christopherson) Carmichael
Rebecca (Esterly) Contos
Kathryn (Privette) Hackney
Natalie (Flindt) Hanson
Katherine (Edmonds) Hartman
Karen (Heaston) Helms
Jenna (Ward) Lane
Jennifer (Bellone) Larson
Amy (Morris) Sanderl
Elizabeth (Heaston) Thompson
Araya (Parrish) Williams
Head Coach Jim Tursi
Assistant Coach Scott Newman