ANCHORAGE – Perhaps the most statistically well-rounded player and one of the grittiest competitors in Alaska Anchorage men’s basketball history, Rick Stafford will be the lone inductee to the Seawolf Hall of Fame in 2008. The announcement of the hall’s eighth class came Wednesday from UAA director of athletics Dr. Steve Cobb.
Although induction ceremonies typically take place in mid-October, Stafford’s induction will be postponed until another year when his schedule allows attendance. Currently a professional head coach in Germany, he will immediately become a member of the Seawolf Hall of Fame and have his plaque enshrined in the display case in the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.
“Rick Stafford excelled not only athletically and academically, he showed a competitive fire that left an impression on both teammates and opponents alike,” Dr. Cobb said. “He is a terrific addition to the Seawolf Hall of Fame. “While we are disappointed Rick could not make it this fall, we understand and will welcome him back at the first opportunity. We look forward to resuming our induction ceremonies with the Class of 2009.”
Nominations for the 2008 class were accepted through April 4. Former UAA student-athletes and teams are eligible for nomination 10 years following their last competition at UAA. Former UAA coaches and staff members are eligible five years following their university service. Volunteer contributors may be nominated at any time.
Seawolf Hall of Fame inductees are chosen by an athletic director-appointed committee consisting of UAA Athletics staff, coaches, boosters, volunteers and faculty members.
Here is a look at Stafford’s accomplishments:
Rick Stafford [1995-97] accumulated lofty statistics and numerous individual awards in his two years with the Alaska Anchorage men’s basketball team, but it was his intangibles – toughness, determination, unmatched hustle, and a natural instinct for the game – that helped the Seawolves win a pair of conference titles and reach back-to-back NCAA Tournaments. The native of Auburn, Wash., posted career averages of 15.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.3 assists from the point guard position, twice earning first-team All-Pacific West Conference honors and garnering the league’s Player of the Year award as a senior. UAA posted a 39-17 overall record during his tenure, tying for the PWC title as a junior in 1995-96 and winning it outright in 1996-97. Of his 13 double-doubles, none came in as dramatic of fashion as his last – a 31-point, 11-rebound effort at UAF’s sold-out Patty Center as UAA clinched the PWC championship with a 94-90 win, Mar. 1, 1997. The consummate all-around player, the 6-4, 195-pound Stafford was, until last year, the only Seawolf in school history to have at least 30 points and 10 assists in a game (Jan. 2006 in a win at Chaminade), and he also registered one of three triple-doubles in school history (15 points-11 rebounds-10 assists), against Aquinas in Nov. 1996. Eleven years after leaving UAA, Stafford is still No. 3 in terms of career assists per game. Of the top 15 assist leaders in program history, he is the only player to also rank in the top 20 in both scoring (12th) and rebounding (12th) per game. In addition to his stats on the court, Stafford was equally as proficient in the classroom, becoming the first Seawolf basketball player to earn Academic All-America honors, with a 3.71 overall GPA. The English major/German minor graduated cum laude from UAA in 1997. Following his college career, Stafford went on to a distinguished pro career in Germany, including seven seasons in that nation’s top league. In 2005 his Bamberg club won its first-ever BBL title and also became the first German club to qualify for the prestigious Euroleague Top 16. In 2006-07, he helped Bamberg to another BBL crown as an assistant coach, and he recently attained his first head-coaching job with EnBW Ludwigsberg. Stafford is a bishop in the LDS Church and an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Community of Hirschaid, Germany. He and his wife Maren are the parents of five children – Ricky (9), Danja (7), twins Radi and Eli (5), and Abe (1).
Seawolf Hall of Fame Classes
Rick Stafford, men's basketball, 1995-97
Rob Conn, hockey, 1988-91
Elena (Tkacheva) Lowery, gymnastics, 1994-97
Allegra (Stoetzel) Butler, women’s basketball, 1992-96
Derek Donald, hockey, 1988-92
Harry Larrabee, basketball coach/administrator/athletic director, 1979- 86 & 1991-2000
Jason Kaiser, men’s basketball, 1993-95
Pete McEnaney, hockey, 1984-88
Ron Petro, athletic director, 1984-92
Ken Ralph, swimming, 1988-90
Cheryl Bishop, women’s basketball, 1982-87
Tiina (Kantola) Hoffman, skiing & cross country, 1982-92
Paul Krake, hockey, 1988-92
Jack Peterson, faculty athletic representative, 1975-97
Dr. Jay Caldwell, team physician, 1979-04
Wendy Sturgis, women’s basketball, 1988-92
Chuck Homan, hockey booster, 1977-present
Jennie (Szczerbinski) Krupp, volleyball, 1988-92
Dean Larson, hockey, 1988-92
Brush Christiansen, hockey coach, 1979-96
Jesse Jackson, men’s basketball, 1985-87
Britta Kjellstrand, women’s skiing & cross country, 1978-82
Jon Pauole, swimming, 1989-92
Mike Peluso, hockey, 1985-89
Tom Besh, ski coach, 1977-90
Teri Frankie-LaVallee, gymnastics, 1985-90
Hansi Gnad, men's basketball, 1983-87
Robin Graul, women’s basketball, 1985-89
Dr. Lee Piccard, administrator, 1976-94
Dennis Sorenson, hockey, 1980-84
Tracy Zink, volleyball, 1987-90