|School: Benson||Graduation Year: 1990|
Year Inducted: 2020
Sports Played: Basketball, Track and Field
High School Honors: 2 letters in Basketball and 3 in Track. On State Championship Basketball Team as a Senior. State Champion 4×400 Relay all three years in record times; 1990 mark still the State record at 3:16.82. As a Junior, PIL and State Champion on 4×100 and 4×400 Relay teams. Scored 15 points on State runner-up team. As a Senior, PIL Champion in 100m, 4x100m and 4x400m Relay; scored 16 points for State Championship team.
Post High School Career: 2 years at Washington State University, lettered in Track as a Freshman. Coached track 19 years at the youth, high school and national level; also served as a Special Education Para Educator. He coach 2 years at Oregon Episcopal and 14 at Aloha High, the last 7 as head track coach. Many of his athletes won state honors. He is in his 6th year as President of Oregon’s USA Track & Field organization and 8th year as a Director of the Oregon/Nike NW Clinic. He is in his first year as head track coach at Benson.
Looking back at my time at Benson Tech, I had no idea at the time how much that experience was shaping my entire future. Walking into the school that first day was an eye opener to see the level of talent around me. It was a challenge just to keep up. It made everyone there better, constantly being pushed by your peers. I can’t even count the number of teammates I had that are already here in this great Hall of Fame.
Coaches McKenzie, Mays, Carlisle, Gerber on the track and Emery and Gray on the basketball court—all these men shaped me and taught me how to think, train and conduct myself as a Champion. My teammates became like family; many of whom I still talk to regularly. My coaches became additional father figures to me. They pushed me further than I thought I was capable of going. They guided me through difficult and challenging times. I thank them all.
Competing and winning in the PIL meant you are among the best in the state. Rivalries with Jefferson and Grant; competition from Cleveland, Wilson, Franklin and the rest of the league pushed us all to great things. Now as an adult I look at those rivalries and the men and women they produced that are now leading the way in our community. That’s what this is all about.
My favorite memories come from the weekends spent in Eugene for the state track meet. As a sophomore I was called up to run on the 4x400m relay team. I was the last alternate at the time and our team was stacked. I didn’t think there was any way the coaches would call my name. But as we warmed up together for prelims, I could tell the coaches were up to something. “You really think young blood can handle it?” I hear one coach ask. “He’s ready. Give him the baton.” Not only did they select me to run, they put me on the anchor leg. We advance to finals. I’m thinking, “Cool. I did my part. Now the veterans can run in the finals.”
We’re warming up again and I get a tap on the shoulder again. It’s Coach Mays with a baton in his hand. “Now if I give you this baton again today, don’t mess this up. Are you ready?” he asked. I was scared out of my mind, but I was ready. And again, I am put on the anchor leg. I remember coming down the final stretch in the lead and hearing the crowd erupt. I just know another team was chasing me down. All I could think was, “Don’t let my team down. Finish this race with all you have. PUT THOSE DAMN ARMS!!!” I crossed the line in first place in record time. I asked what the crowd was going so crazy for, and it turned out to be for two teams that were battling neck in neck for 2nd and 3rd place. I learned that day, not to worry about the competition and to focus on giving your very best effort every single time.
Thank you to my family for always supporting my athletic endeavors. Long hours sitting on hard gym bleachers or at cold and rainy track meets. To my teammates who always lifted me up and my competitors who brought the best out in me and I hope I did the same for them. And to my coaches who showed me the way. GO TECH!!!