Seawolf Hall of Fame debuts with 7-person inaugural class
Featuring five former student-athletes, a coach and an administrator, the inaugural class of the newly created Seawolf Hall of Fame was announced July 24, 2001, by Athletic Director Steve Cobb.
The first class includes five former UAA student-athletes - gymnast Teri Frankie-LaVallee, men's basketball player Hansi Gnad, women's basketball player Robin Graul, hockey player Dennis Sorenson and volleyball player Tracy Zink - along with former ski coach Tom Besh and administrator Dr. Lee Piccard.
The Seawolf Hall of Fame has completed construction in the UAA Sports Center on campus, with the first induction ceremonies scheduled for Oct. 14, 2001. The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m., with the unveiling set for 2:15 p.m.
"We are pleased and proud to be able to establish a permanent tribute to those who have achieved excellence in athletics at UAA or those who have made exemplary contributions in support of Seawolf Athletics. This inaugural group of inductees is very deserving of this honor," said Dr. Cobb. "I also want to express my sincere appreciation to chair Dede Allen and the Seawolf Hall of Fame committee for their diligence in making this dream a reality."
Former UAA student-athletes and teams are eligible for nomination 10 years following their last competition at UAA. Former UAA staff members are eligible five years following their university service.
A native of Anchorage, Besh's accomplishments as UAA's first full-time ski coach are ledgendary, a position in which he served from 1977-90. He moved on to serve as chair of UAA's physical education department, a position he held until his untimely death in an airplane accident in 1993 at the age of 45. As head ski coach at UAA for 13 years, his teams produced one national championship, 19 All-Americans and numerous top-10 NCAA Championship finishes. His 1979 women's ski team captured the AIAW national ski championship. The AIAW was a women's intercollegiate athletic association that later merged with the NCAA. Judy Ziemlak, a member of that national championship team, would later become Besh's wife. Besh received his bachelor's degree in 1971 from Western State College in Colorado where he earned All-America honors as a skier. Besh earned his master's of education degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1977 and also did graduate work at the University of Oslo in Norway. A one-time member of the U.S. Ski Team, Besh frequently served as U.S. Ski Association's Alaska Division coach and was an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic Nordic team at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. Instrumental in the formation in many local events, including the Crow Pass Crossing, the Seawolf Triathlon and the Tom Besh Homestead Hill Run, Besh was a three-time winner of the Seward Mount Marathon race. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife, Judy, and two daughters - Kendra and Leah.
Originally from Edmonds, Wash., Frankie-Lavallee holds the distinction of being UAA's only two-time Athlete of the Year, winning the award in 1986 and 1990. A three-time All-American in 1985, 1986 and 1990, Frankie missed most of the three seasons in between due to serious knee and ankle injuries. A charter member of the Seawolves' gymnastics team when it began in 1984, Frankie earned her B.S. degree in health sciences from UAA in 1990, a master's of education degree in sports injury, prevention and management from Springfield (Mass.) College in 1992 and a master's of science degree in physical therapy from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in 1995. Frankie currently serves as gymnastics coach and choreographer at the Sterling Academy of Gymnastics as well as a physical therapist and clinical staff member at South County Physical Therapy - both in Leominster, Mass. She and her husband, John Lavallee, have a son, Carson.
Originally from Langen, Germany, Gnad wound up a brilliant four-year career on the UAA men's basketball team in 1987 by being named to the NCAA Division II All-America First Team as well as UAA Athete of the Year. A three-time All-Conference selection and two-time All-Region selection, Gnad finished his career as the team's No. 1 all-time leading scorer (1,666 points) and rebounder (1,124) - records that still stand. His jersey number 33 was retired during the 1987 Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout. Drafted in 1987 by the Philadelphia 76ers, Gnad signed with the Miami Heat in 1988. A 10-year member of the German National basketball team, Gnad captained the 1992 German Olympic basketball team in Barcelona, Spain. Having played in a record 183 games with the German National team, Gnad was awarded the title of Honorable Captain For Life. Gnad has played professional basketball in Europe since 1987 and currently is a member of the Leverkusen team in Germany. He and his wife, Selke, have two children - Justin and Robin.
Originally from Denver, Colo., Graul finished her four years with the women's basketball team in 1989 as the most acclaimed women's basketball player ever at UAA. A four-time team Most Valuable Player and three-time Continental Divide Conference Player of the Year, she was the first female student-athlete in UAA history to have her jersey retired (No. 22). She was selected UAA Athlete of the Year in 1988. Graul helped the Seawolves to three NCAA Tournament appearances and upon completion of her career was the holder of 18 school records. She continues to hold many records, including most career points (2,237) and most games started (111). Graul received her bachelor's degree in business management from UAA in 1989. She is currently a regional manager of a property management company in Mesa, Ariz.
Dr. Lee Piccard
Dr. Piccard's involvement in and support of UAA athletics dates back to his arrival at the UAA campus in 1976. Over the ensuing 25 years, he has supported athletics in his roles as Director of Student Services (1976-79), Vice Chancellor for Student Services (1979-88), Vice Chancellor for Campus Affairs (1988-90) and Associate Athletic Director (1990-94). Since his retirement from UAA in 1994, Dr. Piccard has maintained an active interest in UAA Athletics, including personal memberships in the various department booster clubs. Upon his arrival in 1976, he was instrumental in expanding a fledgling athletic program with only three sports (men's basketball, rifle and cross country skiing) and relatively no facilities to include women's basketball. Over the next couple of years, he continued to champion athletics, spearheading the addition of fulltime positions as well as the funds to finish the interior facilities of the Sports Center, the outer shell of which was built in 1977. Dr. Piccard continued to serve for many years as the University's representative to the NCAA and was instrumental in resolving NCAA membership, Title IX and funding issues. In his role of Associate Athletic Director, a newly created position at the time, Dr. Piccard established the functions of compliance, academic advisement and tutoring for student-athletes. His efforts resulted in significantly improved academic performance, including an overall department grade point average increase from 2.5 to 3.0. After his retirement, he and his wife, Idamarie, established a scholarship for women's basketball/cross country running. A fixture at all home UAA athletic events, Dr. Piccard has not missed a single game at the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout over its 23-year history. A native of Grand Rapids, Mich., Dr. Piccard received a bachelor's degree in history and political science from Colorado State College in 1959, a master's degree in counseling and guidance from CSC in 1960 and a doctorate degree from the University of Missouri in counseling and student personnel in 1970. He served in the U.S. Naval Reserve (1952-53) and in active duty on the USS Destroyer James C. Owens from 1953-55. He and his wife, Idamarie, have three children - Cheryl Reinhart, LuAnn Mixsell and Alan Piccard - and five grandchildren.
Originally from Edmonds, Wash., Sorenson capped a brilliant four-year career at UAA in 1984 by being named First Team All-American. Part of UAA's first hockey team that played an all-college schedule beginning in 1980, Sorenson finished his career the holder of numerous Seawolf hockey records - including most career points (197). He continues to rank No. 2 in career points, No. 2 in career assists (127) and No. 6 in career goals (70). A two-time team captain, Sorenson led the fledgling UAA hockey program to four consecutive winning seasons, including an all-time best 23-6-1 mark in 1983-84. Part of a school-record 29-game winning streak that spanned the 1982-83 and 1983-84 seasons, Sorenson was a two-time team Most Valuable Player. He received two undergraduate degrees from UAA - one in business in 1984 and the second in education in 1994. Instrumental in the founding of the Anchorage Aces hockey team, Sorenson has had outstanding success as a hockey coach at various youth, adult and high school levels. The head hockey coach at Anchorage's Dimond High School since 1992, his teams have won two state championships (1998 & 2001) while compiling an outstanding 170-67-8 overall record. He was named the 2001 Alaska state high hockey Coach of the Year. He coached the USA Hockey Bantam national championship team in 1990 and his 2001 Bantam team was national runnerup. Sorenson has served the past three seasons (1999-2001) as the USA Hockey Select 16 regional coach. In addition to his coaching duties, Sorenson is a teacher at Anchorage's Mears Junior High School. He and his wife, Lisa, have four children - Josh, Tasha, Tanner & Taylor.
Originally from Indianola, Neb., Zink was a four-year standout with the women's volleyball team from 1987-90. A two-time All-Conference selection and an All-Region selection in 1990, she led UAA to back-to-back NCAA Championship appearances in 1989 and 1990. Selected team Most Valuable Player in 1990, she was a two-time UAA Athlete of the Year finalist. Zink established numerous team records and still is the UAA record holder for most assists season (1,522) and career (3,791). She served as assistant volleyball coach at UAA (1991-94) and also for two seasons at West Texas A&M (1995-97). Zink earned a bachelor's degree in secondary education from UAA in 1994 and a masters's degree in sports administration from West Texas A&M in 1996. She is currently serving as the director of marketing and business partnerships for AthleticLink.com in Colorado Springs, Colo.