New Hall of Fame class inducted
The University inducted its fifth class of sports heroes into the Athletics Hall of Fame during Chicago’s Homecoming celebration Friday, Oct. 19. The seven honorees and their athletic contributions to the University’s sports programs are as follows:
Joe Bochenski was an All-American, two-time national qualifier and a conference champion as a wrestler from 1985 to 1988. He capped his career with a runner-up performance at 134 pounds at the 1988 NCAA Division III Championship. The Stagg Medal winner in 1988, Bochenski was the Midwest Conference 126-pound champion in 1987 and the University Athletic Association 134-pound titleholder at the conference’s inaugural championship in 1988. As a volunteer assistant at Chicago since 1989, he has coached 15 All-Americans.
Derrick Brooms was an NCAA Division III statistical champion, All-American, and two-time University Athletic Association Player of the Year as a wide receiver and kick returner for the Maroons from 1992 to 1995. In 1995, he led the nation with a 35.2 yard kickoff return average as he helped lead Chicago to an 8-2 record—its best mark of the modern era. The 1996 Stagg Medal recipient, Brooms also was a two-time UAA sprint champion in indoor and outdoor track & field.
Walter Hass was instrumental in reinstituting football as a varsity sport, following a 30-year absence. The University’s director of athletics from 1956 to 1977, Hass initiated a football class as part of the physical education curriculum, which later evolved into a club program. In 1969, largely as a result of Hass’ efforts, football regained its status as an intercollegiate sport at the NCAA Division III level. Hass served as the head football coach from 1969 to 1975.
Clarence Herschberger became the first consensus All-American in Chicago football history, when in 1898, he was among the first players outside the Ivy League to earn selection to Walter Camp’s All-America team. A standout running back and kicker, Herschberger was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1970. During Herschberger’s career, Chicago teams compiled a record of 35-8.
Claire Orner earned 12 varsity letters in basketball, softball and volleyball from 1973 to 1977. During her career, Chicago posted a record of 47-30 in basketball and 39-15 in softball. Orner was a member of Chicago’s 1976 IAIAW semifinal volleyball team, the 1977 IAIAW basketball runner-up, and the 1977 IAIAW softball champion. She also served as the University’s first trainer for women’s athletics.
Floyd Stauffer was an All-American diver in 1937 when he placed third in 3-meter diving and fourth in the 1-meter competition at the Intercollegiate Diving Championships. The 1937 Western Conference medal winner, Stauffer also was a standout water polo player who helped lead the Maroons to a Big Ten title his senior year. In 2006, Stauffer was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
Mitchell Watkins was a two-sport star during the late 1950s. A versatile track and field athlete, Watkins ranked among the team’s top scorers competing in jumps, hurdles and throws. During his final two basketball campaigns, Watkins was the second-leading scorer and rebounder, as the Maroons compiled a 31-10 record.
The seven inductees join 1935 Heisman Trophy winner Jay Berwanger, legendary football coach Amos Alonzo Stagg and women’s sports pioneer Gertrude Dudley, who are among 46 previous Athletics Hall of Fame honorees.
University faculty, staff and alumni comprise the committee that selects the honorees. Twenty-five individuals were chosen for the inaugural class in 2003. A maximum of eight individuals have been and will be selected on an annual basis.
To be eligible for induction into the University Athletics Hall of Fame, athletes must have attended the University, competed in an intercollegiate sport and completed their participation in intercollegiate sports a minimum of five years prior to induction. Coaches or administrators also must have ceased service in that capacity at least five years prior to induction.