letter winner KEvin CoSTnER BASKETBALL AREnA

letter winner
order of the o newsletter I university of oregon I summer 2008
Baseball of Fire
Joe Giansante
page 5
Inside the NEW
page 4
Nine Innings with
the Legend
page 6
Message from the President
Dear Fellow Letter Winners
Well I’m back. It seems my replacement, Rich Vaughn, has one more
year in Japan with his teacher exchange program. I promise after
next year there will be some new leadership.
don stone - president
I am looking forward to the 2008-2009 year with positive anticipation.
As you know we have established a scholarship and this year we have
another tremendous recipient; the winner will be announced soon. For
this next year we have another project planned.
This past December, I received a note from one of our graduating
Duck athletes. She was looking for a job and had very few leads.
She sent me her resume and I passed it on to some of my Oregon
teammates who happen to be working in her field of study. Because
our board feels our organization is as much a service club as it is a
Board of Directors
social club, we would like to compile a database for our seniors to
use in pursuing jobs. I know I would not be where I am today if not
Don Stone, President
Football 1970-71
for the education I received at Oregon, nor the influence some great
Matt LaBounty, Treasurer
coaches had on me during that time. So in spirit, it’s time to give
Football 1989-91
back to our University. My hope is to put together a network program
Missy Koke, Secretary
and database enabling graduating student-athletes to contact past
Softball 1994-99
letterwinners who can share information about their careers and
Dick Arbuckle
Football 1959-60
help them find employment. So when you receive your renewal letter,
Mike Johnson
please note your occupation and all your contact information.
Football 1968-70
Doug Little
A couple of reminders for next year…we will again have an Order of
Men’s Basketball 1971-73
Colin McArthur
the O tunnel for the first home football game, a big one: the Huskies,
Men’s Track 1997-2000
on August 30. Also the Oregon athletic department is planning for
Trina McCartney
a Football Reunion at one of the games later this fall…more on that
Women’s Basketball 1991
Tim Reed
Baseball 1976
Curt Strahm
Shortly you will receive your renewal letter. I look forward to serving
Wrestling 1987-91
one more year as your president. Please contact me at
Brian Wright
[email protected] or Beth Campbell [email protected] if you
Men’s Track 1988-91
have any suggestions or comments.
Bob Donnelly, Social
Tennis, FB Manager 1964-65
Peg Rees (Sr. Awards, Becky Sisley) As always GO DUCKS!
Volleyball, Basketball, Softball 1973-77
Jenifer Pleus
XC & Track 1975-79
Don Stone
Rich Vaughn
Swimming 1968
Order of the O President
Matt English, Assoc. Dir. of Development
Beth Campbell, Development Asst.
Writing: Ken Woody
Design: Brian Thomas Wright Creative Group
Editor: Missy Koke
Printing: QSL Printing
Photos: Jack Liu, Eric Evans, Missy Koke
& John Guistina.
© University of Oregon 2008
The LetterWinner is the official publication
of the Order of the O and the University
of Oregon Department of Intercollegiate
Athletics. If you have stories, ideas, or
articles about Order of the O members,
address changes, or other suggestions for
the please send correspondence to:
Missy Koke
Order of the O
Department of Intercollegiate Athletics
University of Oregon
2727 Leo Harris Parkway
Eugene, Oregon 97401-8835
Rave Reviews
Oregon women’s softball had
a highly successful reunion in
March around a three-game
weekend which included
defeating defending national
champion Arizona. The
result? “It was a wonderful
weekend,” enthused Peg Rees,
former player and Order of
the O Board member. “We
had 70 players and coaches
return, from 1968-2008. It
was a great opportunity to
reconnect with teammates
from the past.” Not only
that, but the Ducks’ win over
Arizona (which ultimately was
the decider in Oregon winning
their first-ever series with the Wildcats), proved the
tipping point in the Ducks being picked for the NCAA
playoffs despite finishing in 8th place in the tough Pac10 Conference.
The reunion was the result of a lot of work by former
athletic director Becky Sisley, Alison Smith and the
Oregon Alumni Association’s Lisa Fortin and provides
a model for other athletes and teams that might be
considering reunions of their own in the future. “The
Alumni Association is only focusing on 50th class
reunions for respective classes, as the 10, 20 and
30-year reunions are fading,” said Fortin. “We are
finding ways to work with ‘affinity-group’ reunions, like
with the softball team. The Alumni Association will
Softball Reunion
140, and a tailgater at
the ball park, sponsored
by the parents of the
present team.
Football season is
still prime time for
reunions, primarily
because of the
Homecoming events:
there are a multitude
of them and the
Association will work
with your team to have
you included. “Other
than that,” observed
Fortin, “reunions are
best around events that
will attract the interest of the particular group, like
the softball reunion for a series of games during their
own season.”
Becky Sisley, the ‘grande dame’ of Oregon women’s
sports, as a coach and athletic director named to
the Oregon Hall of Fame said, “We had a fabulous
banquet, there were just so many good vibes, it was
awesome. A reunion should be to renew friendships,
retain memories and it’s also important to fund
raising.” The players on the current team were
treated to an evening of memories and recognition
for 40 years of softball, including hearing from four All
The softball reunion provides
a model for other teams to
“We had a fabulous banquet, there were just so many
follow, both women’s and
good vibes. A reunion should be to renew friendships,
men’s. Those interested
retain memories and it’s also important to fund raising.” are encouraged to contact
Lisa Fortin of the Alumni
Association at (541)
give support in programming: campus tours, design of
346-5710 to get the ball rolling. The rewards are
materials, and preparing the mailing.”
not just for the alumns: this year’s softball players
talked about the sense of tradition they discovered in
The group having the reunion would be responsible
speaking with and hearing from players of the past.
for putting together a mailing list which is important
Thus inspired, they beat the Wildcats and ultimately
because some athletes finish their eligibility but don’t
earned a trip to the NCAA playoffs. This sense of
officially graduate, which is the list the Association
tradition is an important learning experience for all
maintains. The team would plan and finance their
Duck athletes, both past and present. In the end, the
banquet, or have a registration fee to break even. The
scores are forgotten, but the friendships are a gift
softball team reunion featured a banquet attended by
that never stops giving. o
Inside the NEW
Basketball Arena
New Basketball Arena Will be a Modern ‘Mac’
The new basketball
arena will “be a good
deal for former
lettermen and alumni,”
declared Jim Bartko,
Senior Associate
Athletic Director,
on one of the most
ambitious projects
ever undertaken
by the University of
Oregon. “The biggest
misconception out
there is that ticket prices are going to be higher,
making it difficult for the average fan to afford to come
to the games. While there will be some upgraded
seating, there will be plenty of options at prices
comparable, or in some cases less, than right now.”
Bartko, in his 19th year with the university, said, “We’re
going to reward our fans, there will be a place in this
building for everybody to enjoy. If you’re good and loud,
you will win.”
“It’s been a seven year journey so far,” observed Bartko,
“the permitting process is going well and we hope to
break ground in October and then we’re looking at two
years before it’s ready.” The stadium will be located on
land previously occupied by the Sunbeam Bakery, now
owned by the university, near Franklin Boulevard. The
stadium will be close to parking off campus, and right
next to one of the main bus lines in Eugene-Springfield,
which should allay the anxiety of residents near
campus who worry about the additional crowd capacity
(12,500) of the new arena.
The process of replacing the storied (and loathed, by
opposing teams and coaches) Mac Court has been
arduous and controversial. The arena, the second
oldest in the country, has outlived its usefulness. The
intimacy of the arena has sustained the ‘home court
advantage’ for the Ducks’ basketball and volleyball
teams, but in terms of bathrooms, concessions and
comfort, much is left to be desired. “It’s been difficult to
try and make a modern-day Mac Court,” said Bartko,”
having the second and third decks right over the floor
seating as it is in Mac Court is not suitable in this day
and age, but architects can recreate that situation with
a steep angle for seating, which will bring fans closer to
the floor than (modern) arenas that are bigger and more
spread out.”
The new arena will host 52 events a year in men’s
and women’s basketball and volleyball and is budgeted
for 20 additional events, including concerts, lectures,
graduations, and high school state tournaments. “We
will be hiring a manager for the arena who will also be
responsible for marketing,’ said Bartko, “but this is first
and foremost an athletic arena. We are budgeting for
70 events a year, not 200.”
So what’s going to happen to loveable old Mac Court?
“It’s in the hands of a faculty/student committee,”
replied Bartko. “Ideas I have heard about range from
a parking facility, dormitory space, or an alumni center,
among others.”
The good news is that the new arena won’t price
out the Duck fans that have made the ‘Mac Court
Experience’ memorable over the years. The bad news,
for opponents, is there will be about 3500 more Ducks
in an atmosphere that has been specifically designed to
emulate the intimacy of the old arena. With shorter lines
at concessions and rest rooms, just think how much
more of those games you’ll actually be able to see! o
Joe Giansante is a ball of fire and a big baseball fan, the perfect
point man to lead the revival of Oregon’s storied baseball program.
“Baseball has a proud tradition here,” he said, “it was Oregon’s
first collegiate sport. We should have baseball here, it’s part of
our heritage.” Giansante even pointed out the Ducks made the
trip to Omaha’s World Series (1954) long before the Beavers
(who have won back-to-back titles) ever did. Such statements have
revived old rivalries.
Giansante, Associate Athletic Director, who is also known as
the television voice of the Ducks for the Oregon Sports Network,
said that Oregon does have an advantage once the stadium is
built: “We want to average 2,000 fans by year five, but with the
minor league Eugene Emeralds leasing the facility in the summer
we have the advantage of lease payments and extras from
concessions and attendance.” The Emeralds have traditionally
been a strong draw in Eugene’s summers, regardless of winning
or losing records. “No other college has a minor league team
using their ball park,” said Giansante, but when you think about, it’s
a great idea.
and a BIG
The Ducks’ new baseball digs will be east of Autzen (see inserts),
with plenty of parking and access to 4500 students (more than
in current dormitory housing on campus), who live across Martin
Luther King Expressway. “It’s just like building the stadium right
across from the dorms,” observed Giansante. “The biggest
challenge has been fund raising: because we’re having to raise
money for everything all at once: operations, scholarships, and a
place to play.”
Plans for fund raising are ambitious: “We told President
Frohnmayer that we want to involve 100% of Oregon’s 452
baseball letter winners as a start, no matter what level of giving.
As for our timeline, we’re currently in the ‘second inning,’ although
we’d like to be in the seventh.” As with the basketball arena,
permitting and architecture plans and revisions may add precious
time to a project that needs to have a home ball park set for the
2009 season. “We have a contingency plan to play homes games
at Civic Stadium (near South Eugene High School and the Oregon
campus) or at Swede Johnson (North Eugene High School—1500
chair-back seats), but we think we’re still on schedule to open here
at the Autzen site,” observed Giansante.
The biggest concern voiced by fans has been the loss
of 500 prime parking spaces for football games with
the addition of the new park. That doesn’t mean the
facility will sit empty outside of baseball season. “For
football games, we’re going to have a big tent over it,
making it an outdoor ‘Mo Center,’ said Giansante. “It
will be a free celebration area that will be much more
convenient for fans coming in from the east side of
the stadium. We want the fans to have a great, fun
As for the parking situation, fans that have been
at other venues in the Pac-10 know that Eugene’s
situation is well thought out and orchestrated, and
problems encountered will be solved. In the 1960’s,
70’s and 80’s, it was easy to get a parking spot at
Autzen. The only trouble was there was no place to
go before the game, and once the game started, the
outcomes were not always pleasant. Better to have
a great pre-game atmosphere and a competitive
football team than an easy parking space any day.
That is, if you want to challenge for conference and
national championships. And with a national champion
coach, George Horton, and the best conference in the
country, Duck baseball fans next year can look forward
to first-class baseball in a first-class facility after a
28-year hiatus. o
Joe Giansante Spotlight
Baseball Stadium on Schedule.
celebration of his achievements. Laughter
prevailed, despite some tears.
“Mel would tear you down, and then build
you back up,” said one of his ex-players. You
heard a lot about the ‘building up’ from the
speakers. It’s easy to estimate that alone,
Krause worked directly with thousands of
young men and women, many who have
passed on what they learned to their own
kids or teams. It all adds up to a beautiful
legacy from a man known to have a soft
spot in his heart for kids, but could be ‘hell
on wheels’ to an umpire or referee.
“Nine Innings with Mel,” conducted
in the middle of April, drew a crowd of one
thousand people to honor Mel Krause. Krause is
the popular Oregon baseball coach who saw his
program dropped from under him in 1981. Since
that time, Krause has been a tireless advocate for
youth baseball and the resurrection of the Duck
baseball program, which is going to be reinstated
in 2009. What made this celebration special
was that Krause was diagnosed with leukemia
in January. Doctors tell him he has two to six
months to live. For many, this would be their last
chance to tell Mel how special he was in their lives.
The gathering served in place of a funeral, and
less than two months later, Krause succumbed to
the disease on June 13th, 2008.
There were nine speakers, one for each inning,
and they represented stories of Mel’s legendary
coaching and mentoring from high school
baseball, basketball and football, college and junior
college coaching, and his many years of youth
sports involvement. There were inside jokes,
stories, a reunion for many of his athletes, and a
Krause had insisted on an upbeat approach
to the celebration: there were peanuts,
crackerjack, hotdogs and beer, (“and no
crying”) just like at the ball park. There was
the National Anthem and Mel led the crowd
in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” All the
trappings of what Krause loved most: a
baseball game with all his friends.
“We all just live day-to-day,” Krause said,
“who knows how long I’m gonna be alive.
I hope I can make it to ’09 and the first
(Oregon’s) ball game.” Krause, 80, said
he’s had no regrets, and he’s had a great
life, and “if it’s time to check out, it’s time
to check out.” Mel follows a long line of
legendary coaches at Oregon: Bowerman,
Casanova, Frei, Dellinger, men whose
“Mel would tear you down, and
then build you back up,” said
one of his ex-players.
players still sing praises of their coach(es).
Krause’s desire to compete and win was
intense, but like his own mentors, his
finest, and longest-lasting victories are
embodied in the players he helped become
responsible adults, parents and coaches
They will pass his gifts to generations yet to
come. o
Mel Krause Feature
Nine Innings with
HALL OF FAME class of 2007
Two Oregon coaches and four athletes were inducted
in the University of Oregon Athletics Hall-of-Fame before
the Arizona State football game this fall. Arne Kvalheim,
Track and Field, 1967-69; Debbie Sporcich, Women’s
Basketball, 1990-94; Willie West, Football, 1956-59;
and James Yuhashi, Men’s Gymnastics, 1980-81, were
honored as athletes who distinguished themselves both
regionally and nationally while competing for Oregon.
the archrival Oregon State Beavers. Taking advantage
of a bye week as head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats,
Brooks gave his players all the credit for his success:
“This award belongs to them as much as it does to me.
We all went through a lot here at Oregon and I am proud
to be associated with the players and teams that have
done so much for the university. This is a very proud
moment for me.”
In a reception and dinner at The Club at Autzen, the
inductees were honored before a capacity crowd. As a
Duck, Willie West played both offense and defense and
earned first-team All Conference and All-Coast accolades
in a career that culminated with him being voted cocaptain and honorable mention All-American in 1959.
Drafted in the fourth round, West played pro football for
nine years and was selected for the All-AFL team and Pro
Bowl twice.
The Order of the O also honors one member of the
Oregon athletic family who was not a letter winner, but
has made a great contribution to the success of the
program and its athletes. This year’s winner was Neil
Zoumboukos, who served as an assistant football coach
for the Ducks for 27 years in his 39-year coaching
career. Zoumboukos, a colorful personality with his
players and fans alike, instilled a work ethic in his
players and inspired many of his charges to follow in his
footsteps into the coaching profession. He, like Brooks,
credited his players for his achievement: “I wouldn’t be
here without great players who worked hard and loved
this program. I am the luckiest man in the world to
have been part of their lives and shared in the success
they had on the playing field.” Zoumboukos, who had
additional administrative duties as an assistant football
coach, is currently in a new role as a special assistant to
the athletic director.
Arne Kvalheim was one of the top distance runners in
the world, with a collegiate record in the 2-mile run, and
as an eleven-time Norwegian national champion, set five
all-time marks in his country’s history. He was picked as
the 1969 Emerald Trophy recipient as the university’s
top student-athlete in addition to All-American honors
in 1968 and winning the Pac-8 Conference’s 3-mile
championship in 1969.
In gymnastics, James Yuhashi was a two-time All
American whose unique floor exercise was dubbed “The
Yuhashi” when he scored 9.90 to win the championship
at the NCAA tournament in 1981. Achieved in his
last collegiate performance, it was the first time the
maneuver had ever been performed in the world. While
at Oregon, Yuhashi, lead the Ducks to a third and
fifth-place finish in the NCAA championships and four
consecutive Pac-10 Conference championships.
Rich Brooks, Head football coach for the Ducks from
1977-1994, lead Oregon to the Rose Bowl for the first
time in 37 years in 1995. Brooks ended his career as
the winningest football coach in school history, and more
importantly to many, posted a 14-3-1 record against
The Order of the O is pleased to partner with the
Department of Athletics in the production of the Hall of
Fame Awards Ceremony. Induction into the Hall is the
ultimate honor for any past Oregon athlete. o
Rich Brooks
Debbie Sporcich lead the Ducks to their first NCAA
tournament appearance in seven years as a senior and
finished as an All-Conference choice in 1994. A threetime team MVP, she is the only women’s basketball
player in the program’s history to lead the team in
rebounding four consecutive seasons. Sporcich was one
of ten Oregon players named to the Pac-10’s women’s
all-decade team in 1996.
Letter Winner
Department of Intercollegiate Athletics
University of Oregon
2727 Leo Harris Parkway
Eugene, Oregon 97401-8835
2007-08 Oregon Team Results
18-14 (9-9 Pac-10, T5th)
14-17 (7-11 Pac-10, 7th)
M CC 1st Pac-10, NCCA Champions
W CC 2nd Pac-10, 2nd NCAA
Football 10-4 (Pac-10 T 4th)
M Golf
9th Pac-10
W Golf
7th Pac-10
Lacrosse 13-7 (3rd MPSF)
W Soccer 8-8-4 (7th Pac-10)
W Softball 33-27
M Tennis 11-14 (8th Pac-10)
W Tennis 10-12 (6th Pac-10)
W Volleyball22-11 (T 5th Pac-10)
Wrestling 9th Pac-10
Visit the Order of the O Website!
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