DENVER COLO. – Led by five-time NBA All-Star Chauncey Billups and two-time MLB Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay, the Selection Committee of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame voted six individuals to be inducted at the 51stannual banquet April 2, 2015 at the Denver Marriott City Center.
Joining Billups and Halladay as inductees at the April banquet are John Dikeou, John Gagliardi, Becky Hammon and Warren Mitchell as the Class of 2015 was selected here Tuesday (October 14, 2014). The Selection Committee will pick the 2014 Athletes-of-the-Year at a January 2015 meeting as the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame recognizes collegiate, high school, Olympic and professional athletes at the Denver Marriott City Center banquet.
During Billups’ 17-season NBA career with seven teams, he played in 1,043 regular-season games where he averaged 15.2 points and 5.4 assists per game. Selected third overall in the 1997 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics, Billups played with the Celtics (1997-1998), Toronto Raptors (1998-1999), Minnesota Timberwolves (2000-2002), New York Knicks (2011) and Los Angeles Clippers (2001-2013). He was hired Tuesday by ESPN as an NBA studio analyst for the 2014-2015 season.
Nicknamed “Mr. Big Shot” for making late-game shots, Billups was selected as the most valuable player of the 2004 NBA finals after leading the Larry Brown-coached Pistons to the championship by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers four games to one. Billups played on teams that advanced to the post-season 12 times as he averaged 17.3 points and 5.7 assists per playoff game.
A Denver native, Billups was a four-time All-State pick at George Washington High School where he started as a freshman. He was Colorado’s Mr. Basketball three times and the state’s player of the year as a sophomore and as a junior. He was also selected to the 1995 McDonald’s All-American Team.
Billups averaged 18.5 points per game over his two seasons at the University of Colorado where he was an All-Big 12 Conference performer and led the Buffs to the 1997 NCAA Championships and the school’s first NCAA tournament victory in over 30 years with an 80–62 win over Indiana. Billups was honored by CU in 2004 by being the fifth player to have his jersey (No 4) retired.
An eight-time All-Star, Halladay pitched 16 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Toronto Blue Jays (1998-2009) and the Philadelphia Phillies (2010-2013) where he posted a 203-105 record with a 3.38 earned run average and 2,117 strikeouts. He completed 67 of his 390 MLB starts with 20 shutouts. Halladay, who won 20 or more games in a season three times (2003, 2008 and 2010), is one of five pitchers in MLB history to win the Cy Young Award in both the American (2003) and National (2010) Leagues.
After completing his prep career at Arvada West High School, Halladay was the Blue Jays’ first draft selection in 1995 as the 17th pick overall. During his first year with the Phillies in 2010, he became the fifth pitcher in MLB history (and the first since Nolan Ryan in 1973) to throw multiple no-hitters in the same season. Halladay pitched the 20th perfect game in MLB history against the Florida Marlins followed by the second no-hitter in MLB postseason history against the Cincinnati Reds.
A Denver real estate businessman, Dikeou purchased the Denver Bears in 1984 and its Major League Baseball territorial rights with the intent of bringing a big league team to the Mile High City. He began his campaign by renaming the team the Denver Zephyrs and hiring Robert Howsam, Jr. (the Howsam family had been involved with MLB since 1910) to be the team’s General Manager.
A standout football player and track athlete at Denver East High School in the 1950s, Dikeou spent the next eight years promoting Colorado’s interest obtaining a MLB team along with drafting legislation in 1990 with Neil Macey and State Representative Kathi Williams to charge a 1/10th of 1¢ sales tax through a proposed stadium authority.
Dikeou helped fund the campaign to get legislative approval to place it on the ballot. The sales tax initiative passed, bringing the seven metropolitan counties together to build Coors Field. This new tax generated so much revenue that the Coors Field bonds were paid off 10 years earlier than expected. The continued revenue was then used to build Invesco Field at Mile High (now Sports Authority Field at Mile High) for the Denver Broncos.
A major supporter of Rev. Leon Kelly’s Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives for the past 25 years, the Colorado Symphony, 100 Club, Boy Scouts, Dikeou was a founding member of University of Colorado’s football scholarship donor program and has provided a full scholarship for each of the last 35 years.
Hammon competed 16 seasons in the WNBA where she was named one of the league’s Top 15 Players of All-Time in July 2011. She ranks seventh in WNBA history in points (5,841), fourth in assists (1,708), second in three-point shots made (829) and sixth in games played (450). A six-time WNBA All-Star, Hammon averaged 13.1 points, 3.8 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 27.9 minutes during her career. She has earned All-WNBA First Team honors twice (in 2007 and 2009) and was named to the All-WNBA Second Team in 2005 and 2008.
A three-time All-American at Colorado State, Hammon went unpicked in the 1999 WNBA Draft. She signed with the New York Liberty in May of 1999 and spent eight seasons with the Liberty before being traded to the San Antonio Stars in a draft night deal in 2007. She also played three seasons in the National Women’s Basketball League for the Tennessee Fury (2002-2003) and the Colorado Chill (2004-2006). Hammon also played overseas for seven season with the Trentino Rovereto Basket (2001-2002), Rivas Ecópolis (2006-2007), CSKA Moscow (2007-2009), Ros Casares Valencia (2009-2010), Orenburg (2010-2011) and Spartak (2011-2012).
Hammon’s prolific scoring for Colorado State made her an All-American as well as Colorado Sportswoman of the Year. She led her team to a 33–3 record in the 1998-1999 season and helped them advance to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet Sixteen. She was named the WAC Mountain Division player of the year for the 1998-1999 season and surpassed University of Utah player Keith Van Horn as the WAC’s all-time leading scorer.
A three-time Colorado Sports Hall of Fame collegiate athlete of the year, Hammon set many Colorado State all-time records, including points (2,740), points per game (21.9), field goals made (918), free throws made (539), three-point field goals made (365) and assists (538). She received the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award from the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association as the best senior player under 5-8 in 1999.
Hammon was inducted into the Colorado State University Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 and her No. 25 Colorado State jersey was retired at the Moby Arena in 2005. Hammon became a naturalized Russian citizen in 2008 and represented the Russian national team in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Hammon was hired this past August by the San Antonio Spurs as an assistant coach, becoming the second female assistant coach in NBA history but the first full-time assistant coach. This also makes her the first full-time female assistant coach in any of the men’s four major professional sports in North America.
A native of Trinidad, Gagliardi ended his collegiate career in 2012 as the winningest football coach of all-time with a 489-138-11 (77.5) per cent. Gagliardi’s 64 years of coaching is the most in college football surpassing the old record of 57 years held by former University of Chicago and University of the Pacific coach Amos Alonzo Stagg (1890-1946).
Gagliardi coached 60 seasons at Saint John’s (Minn.) University where he posted a record of 465-132-10 (.774) record and won four national championships (1963, 1965, 1976 and 2003). Prior to Saint John’s, Gagliardi posted a 24-6-1 record at Montana’ Carroll College where he won three league titles.
A 1949 graduate from Colorado College and the first active head coach to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (Class of 2006), Gagliardi began his coaching career at Trinidad (Colo.) Catholic after the head coach was drafted into World War II. Gagliardi, as captain, took over the reins at the age of 16 in 1943. His teams won four conference titles in Gagliardi’s six years of coaching high school at Trinidad Catholic and St. Mary’s in Colorado Springs.
Mitchell, who was inducted into the National High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2008, amassed 117 seasons of coaching at Limon High School over 55 years, including 55 years as head boys track coach, 28 as an assistant football coach, 27 as head basketball coach and nine as head football coach where he succeeded legendary Badgers coach Lloyd Gaskill. In all, Mitchell won 17 state championships as a head coach (12 in track) and 17 titles as a football assistant. He was an assistant on football teams with 42- and 43-game winning streaks during the 1960s and several dominant track teams.
Tickets are $200 each and Sponsor tables start at $2,500. For additional for ticket and table information, please telephone the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame (www.coloradosports.org, 720/258-3535). The Colorado Sports Hall of Fame & Museum is located at Gate 1 on the west side of Sports Authority Field at Mile High at 1701 Bryant Street in Denver.
Since its inception in 1965, the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame has inducted 234 individuals prior to Tuesday’s selection meeting. The first class of inductees featured Earl “Dutch” Clark, Jack Dempsey and former Supreme Court justice Byron “Whizzer” White. Otis Armstrong, Forrest B. “Frosty” Cox, Andy Gambucci, Darian Hagan, Todd Helton and Dorothy Mauk were inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame this past April.