UNLV's Hall Of Fame Class Of 2012 Announced
Class of 2012 Photo Gallery
April 18, 2012
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - Seven different Rebel sports will be represented during ceremonies this fall as the UNLV Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2012 was announced by the school Wednesday.
Six former Rebel standout players, one former head coach and a distinguished contributor will join one team in being inducted on Friday October 12, which is also the night before the Battle for the Fremont Cannon football game in Las Vegas between UNLV and Nevada, Reno.
The Class of 2012 is made up of women's swimmer Lorena Diaconescu, women's basketball player Linda Fröhlich, men's basketball player Eddie Owens, men's swimmer Jacint Simon, softball player Amie Stewart, football player Kevin Thomas, men's tennis coach and two-time interim athletics director Fred Albrecht, the 1984 football team, as well as Mike Miller, who is a celebrated local graphic artist and creator of the UNLV mascot Hey Reb. Also scheduled to be honored that night is former Rebel football player and longtime ESPN personality, Kenny Mayne, who will be the second recipient of the Silver Rebel Award. The class holds the unique distinction of featuring the all-time leading scorer for both the men's basketball team (Owens) and the women's basketball team (Fröhlich).
Location and ticket information for the ceremony will be released in the coming weeks.
"The Hall of Fame Executive Board did an outstanding job in selecting a sensational group of honorees," said UNLV Director of Athletics Jim Livengood. "We can't wait to enshrine such a diverse group that unquestionably added so much to the history of UNLV."
Born in 1987, UNLV's Athletics Hall of Fame will now grow to 114 members strong. Under the hall's bylaws, former student-athletes must have completed their eligibility at least 10 years earlier to be selected. Coaches and administrators must have stopped working at the University five years previous. All classes now enter on a biennial basis.
UNLV ATHLETICS HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2012 FRED ALBRECHT Men's Tennis Coach/Administrator (1974-83, 1995, 2003) Lorena Diaconescu Women's Swimming Athlete (1998-2002) LINDA FROHLICH Women's Basketball Athlete (1998-2002) MIKE MILLER Distinguished Contributor EDDIE OWENS Men's Basketball Athlete (1973-77) Jacint Simon Men's Swimming Athlete (1998-2002) AMIE STEWART Softball Athlete (1992-95) Kevin Thomas Football Athlete (1998-2001) 1984 FOOTBALL TEAM California Bowl Champions SILVER REBEL AWARD WINNER KENNY MAYNE Football Athlete (1980-81), ESPN Personality
CLASS OF 2012 INDUCTEES BIOS
Fred Albrecht coached the Rebel netters from 1974-83 and compiled a record of 230-80 for a winning percentage of .742. His teams won 20 matches or more for five consecutive seasons and seven times overall. His best year came in 1982 when the Rebels finished 34-5. Albrecht came to UNLV as a graduate assistant coach for the men's basketball team in 1970 and, after earning his master's degree from the school, became an instructor in the physical education department before becoming head tennis coach. Also a longtime administrator along Maryland Parkway, Albrecht served as UNLV's Director of Alumni Relations while coaching, a profession he left to oversee the university's athletic fund-raising efforts from 1983-88. He was twice called upon to lead the athletics department during a period of transition as he was Interim Athletics Director in both 1995 and 2003 during searches for permanent replacements. Albrecht retired from UNLV in 2007 after 38 years with a final title of Vice President for University and Community Relations.
The second UNLV women's swimmer to be voted into the Hall of Fame, Lorena Diaconescu is arguably the program's most decorated. Competing for head coach Jim Reitz, the native of Bucharest, Romania, earned three consecutive Conference Swimmer of the Year awards from 2000-02 while setting school records in six separate events. She also set three Mountain West individual records and was part of three more league-record relay teams. Diaconescu earned All-America in 2000 when she came in fifth in the 200-meter freestyle event at the NCAA Championships and was honorable mention All-America in the same event the very next season. From 2000 to '02, she won eight MW individual crowns as well as seven relay titles. Diaconescu was also a two-time Olympian for her home country. She swam one individual and two relay events in the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta and then three more relays in the 2000 Games in Sidney. Her 4x200-meter relay team just missed medaling in Australia, coming in fourth place in the finals.
The highest-scoring basketball player in UNLV history - men's or women's - Linda Fröhlich finished with 2,355 points and a 21.2 PPG average in her dominating college hoops career. The native of Oldendorf, Germany, served notice almost immediately upon joining Regina Miller's squad and went on to be named USBWA National Freshman of the Year in 1999. She was AP Honorable Mention All-America as a sophomore and junior and then was tabbed Third Team All-America as a senior in 2002. Those seasons also saw Fröhlich win Mountain West Player of the Year honors three straight years from 2000-02. The four-time all-conference honoree twice won the league's scoring championship (2000, '02) while setting the MW record for career double-doubles. She owned the UNLV record for career rebounds with 1,124 (just broken this season by Jamie Smith) and left her school ranked in the top 10 in 12 other categories, including seventh in assists, third in blocks and second in steals. Fröhlich's stunning accomplishments on the court carried over to her team, which made two postseason appearances during her career (2001 WNIT and the 2002 NCAA Tournament). Also a top student, the 2002 CoSIDA First Team Academic All-American went on to be selected 25th overall by the New York Liberty in the 2002 WNBA Draft. She played four seasons in the league as well as more time overseas. In 2003, she returned to campus to see her UNLV jersey No. 13 retired.
Entering the Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Contributor is noted Las Vegas artist and illustrator Mike Miller. Coming to the Silver State in 1962 after a working for studios such as Disney, NBC and MGM, Miller built a career here as an ad agency owner, creative director, illustrator and author. During the 1980s, Miller created the cartoon man with the long moustache known as Hey Reb, which has served as the mascot for UNLV ever since. Saying the inspiration for the logo was historical Nevada frontiersmen from the 1800s, Miller also named the mascot by simply writing Hey Reb on the back of the character's coat in one of the variations he developed for the school. Miller was paid a single dollar for his work, which eventually helped UNLV vault to the top in college apparel licensing. Over the years, Miller has also done artwork for the nationally prominent UNLV men's golf program and for the very same Athletics Hall of Fame he now enters.
Still the leading Runnin' Rebel scorer in history, Eddie Owens was the emerging program's second All-American in men's basketball when he was tabbed First Team by a pair of outlets as a junior in 1976. The native of Houston, Texas, was a member of coach Jerry Tarkanian's first UNLV squad and averaged 10.1 points per game as a freshman. The following season he pushed that to 18.4 per game and then to 23.4 in his third year, which still ranks fifth in UNLV single-season history. He paced the team in scoring for three consecutive campaigns (one of only two Runnin' Rebels to do so in the last 35 years) as he averaged 21.8. That magical senior season saw Owens star as part of the so-called "Hardway Eight" team that gained fame by setting NCAA records for most points in a season (3,246), most 100-point games (23) and most consecutive 100-point games (12). The high-flying upstarts from the desert also earned the school its first spot in a Final Four by winning the West Regional and falling by just one point in the national semifinals to North Carolina at Atlanta. In his final collegiate game, Owens scored 34 points to lead UNLV to a 106-94 victory over UNC Charlotte in the now-defunct consolation game to make the Runnin' Rebels a stunning 102-16 during his four years on the court. Selected in the second round of the NBA Draft (31st overall), he played one season in the league for Buffalo. Owens still ranks first in UNLV history in field goals made with 913 and total points with 2,221. His career average ranks fifth while his 395 free throws ranks ninth at the school.
The second men's swimmer to earn induction, Jacint Simon turned in a career in the water that rivaled any in school history. The native of Kecskemet, Hungary, was named Mountain West Swimmer of the Year three consecutive seasons (2000-02) while setting six school records under head coach Jim Reitz. The 2000 and 2001 UNLV Sportsman of the Year earned All-America honors with a fifth-place showing in the 200-meter freestyle at the 2000 NCAA Championships while also being honorable mention in two relay races (14th place 200-meter freestyle relay and 15th place 4x100-meter freestyle relay). His fourth All-America finish came in 2002 when he earned honorable mention (15th place) in the 200 free. Overall, Simon won 10 conference championships as an individual and one more as a member of a relay team. The two-time qualifier for the World University Games swam as a member of his home nation's 4x200-meter freestyle relay team in the 2000 Summer Olympic Games held in Sydney, Australia.
One of only two UNLV softball pitchers to be named All-America, Amie Stewart was a dominant force in the circle for a program that had to be reckoned with on a national level in the mid-1990s. In fact, her senior season 1995 club is already in the Hall of Fame along with two of her teammates. A First Team All-Region and Second Team All-America selection that year, her 30-9 mark is still the school record for wins a season. She led her team all the way to the Women's College World Series and tossed two complete games while finishing with a 0.95 ERA en route to becoming the only Rebel to be named to a College World Series All-Tournament Team. Stewart twice earned All-Big West Conference honors as both a pitcher and a designated player and was a five-time Pitcher of the Week from 1994-95. Her 73-33 career record included two no-hitters, 83 complete games, 28 shutouts and 492 strikeouts to go with a 1.45 ERA and .689 winning percentage. In addition, her final season saw her bat .317 with nine homeruns as head coach Shan McDonald's squad finished tied for third in the nation. Stewart went on to play professionally and started her own non-profit organization, Amie Stewart's California Rebels, a top travel team in the Golden State. She is currently a teacher and head varsity coach at Bellflower (Calif.) High School.
Arguably the top cornerback to ever wear the Scarlet & Gray, Kevin Thomas still holds numerous school and conference defensive records. The first player in school history to start 46 games - every one of his career - Thomas was the first defensive player from UNLV to earn All-America status in 26 years when he was named Third Team by Football News and Fourth Team by Sporting News after his senior campaign in 2001. The Sacramento native will forever be remembered by Rebel fans for his part in the most famous play in program history as he returned a fumble 100 yards for a game-winning touchdown with no time on the clock at Baylor in 1999. That return, dubbed The Wonder of Waco, was ranked 85th in ESPN.com's Top 100 Defining Plays in College Football History. After helping his team earn a win in the Las Vegas Bowl as a junior, he became the second three-time First Team All-Conference honoree in 2001. His seven interceptions as a senior broke the school and Mountain West record for a single season as he led the nation in interception return yardage and defensive scoring. His six career touchdowns off picks highlighted a school-record 55 all-time pass breakups. Named the 2001 Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year, KT played in both the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Game before being drafted by the Buffalo Bills where he played four seasons.
The 1984 UNLV football team was the first of two in school history to win a conference championship and its 11-2 overall record represents the most wins for UNLV since moving to Division I in 1980. The squad went undefeated in the Pacific Coast Athletic Association with its only losses coming by four points at Hawaii and by 17 points vs. 10th-ranked SMU. Still the only UNLV team to defeat a ranked opponent at Sam Boyd Stadium, the Rebels downed arch-rival and 20th-ranked Cal State Fullerton 26-20 on November 10 in one of the most exciting games in stadium history. The talent-rich squad featured the conference Offensive Player of the Year in All-America punter/quarterback Randall Cunningham; the Defensive Player of the Year in lineman Aaron Moog; and the Coach of the Year in Harvey Hyde. In fact, Cunningham had his UNLV jersey No. 12 retired at the final home game after becoming the third NCAA quarterback in history behind Doug Flutie and John Elway to pass for more than 2,500 yards in three straight seasons. The 1984 team earned the school its first bowl trip and the Rebels defeated Toledo 30-13 in the California Bowl in Fresno, Calif. These Rebels set school records with five First Team All-Conference honorees: QB Cunningham, OL Doug Eisher, RB Kirk Jones, TE Reggie LaFrance and DL Moog; and seven more Second Team honorees: DB Anthony Blue, K Joey DiGiovanna, OL Paul Godbey, DL Richard Grant, LB Daryl Knox, LB Tom Polley and DB Dalton Reed. Five players on the team eventually were drafted by the NFL (all of whom played in the pros for a combined 38 seasons): QB Cunningham, DL Polley, RB Ickey Woods, DB Charles Dimry and WR George Thomas.
2012 SILVER REBEL AWARD WINNER
The Silver Rebel Award was instituted by the UNLV Athletics Hall of Fame Executive Board in order to honor former members of the school's athletics family, such as student-athletes, coaches or staff members, whose primary accomplishments took place after leaving campus but have brought positive recognition to the University. This year's recipient of the Silver Rebel is Kenny Mayne. A former quarterback for the Rebels, Mayne played for head coach Tony Knap in 1980 and '81, including starting in a victory over Long Beach State as a senior. He graduated from the school in 1982 and began his broadcasting career at the local PBS affiliate. Joining ESPN2 in 1994, he eventually rose to national prominence as a regular host of ESPN's anchor program "SportsCenter" while also covering auto and horse racing. In 2006, he was a contestant on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," and became an regular contributor to the hit ABC show. His first book, "An Incomplete And Inaccurate History Of Sport," was published in 2008. A TV pitchman for products such as Progressive Insurance, Top-Flite and JC Penny, Mayne also hosted the ESPN sports trivia game show "2 Minute Drill" and from 2008-11 produced and starred in an original scripted series on ESPN.com titled "Mayne Street." Last year he starred in another web series, "Kenny Mayne's Wilder World of Sports," and continues to provide features to "SportsCenter" and "The Mayne Event" segments to "Sunday NFL Countdown."