Nov. 2, 2013
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – At the Hilton Hotel in Fort Collins, Colorado State inducted six new members into the CSU Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night.
It was a celebration that included socializing, laughs and some tears as former athletes came from all over the world to congratulate the Class of 2013, including 20 past football players and over 10 swimmers.
Inductees included: quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt (2001-03), track star Marne Richardson (1994-99), wrestler Willis Holland (1953-56), swimmer Ralph Hutton (1968-71), volleyball setter Allison Peckham (1998-01) and defensive lineman Joey Porter (1995-98).
The evening began with a cocktail hour where Ram fans who purchased a ticket were able to mingle with other fans, former athletes and members of the Class of 2013 while eating hors d'oeuvres.
A sound of a gong echoed throughout the atrium of the Hilton Hotel and the crowd ushered into the ballroom which was lit up with green and gold lighting. The stage, which was at the back of the room, was well-lit and a projector displayed a giant Ram head logo in the background. Surrounding the stage were two giant screens which showed highlight videos throughout the night.
Emcee Susie Wargin, a Sports Anchor for 9News in Denver and CSU alum, began the ceremony by introducing each inductee as they came into the ballroom. From there Athletic Director Jack Graham addressed the crowd, thanking everyone for coming out and spreading the athletic department's motto of “Be Bold.”
At this point dinner was served and all in attendance were able to socialize and reminisce about CSU. After a three-course meal, Wargin took to the mic to welcome each inductee to the stage. One at a time, beginning with Van Pelt, the former athlete would come to the stage, receive their hall of fame plaque and medal and give a speech.
Van Pelt was extremely thankful for coach Sonny Lubick who gave him an opportunity to play quarterback.
“This is my deep thank you, Coach Lubick, for believing in me. You are the reason I’m up here today,” Van Pelt said.
Porter also expressed his gratitude for Lubick. During Porter’s 20-minute speech, the four-time NFL Pro Bowler told Lubick that he looks up to him as a father figure.
Richardson, a Denver product that battled a brain tumor during her college career, was a three-time All-American in cross country and Western Athletic Conference champion. Richardson delivered an emotional speech thanking her coaches and everyone who has inspired her throughout her life. She went on to talk about meeting her husband, Tom, a former golfer at CSU, and the similarities between cross country and golf.
“You might wonder what a golfer and a runner have in common and I’ll just say three words, Colindale Golf Course,” Richardson said. “Tom spent countless hours at that golf course perfecting his game and repairing the divots on that course. I however spent one day and it was my objective to get on and off that course as fast as possible and tear up as much grass as possible with my one-inch spikes.”
Holland, an All-American wrestler at Colorado A&M, was the most emotional inductee of the evening. Holland thanked his wife of 59 years who he met in Fort Collins and spoke about also playing football for the Aggies.
Hutton, a three-time WAC champion and NCAA record holder, used his time to thank his teammates, many of which were present Friday night, and explained why swimming is a team sport.
Finally, Peckham, a four-time letter winner for Tom Hilbert’s volleyball team from 1998-01, thanked her parents for her work ethic and Hilbert for giving her the necessary tools to excel.
“I want to thank Tom Hilbert who isn’t here tonight and for good reason; we are 20-0,” Peckham said. "Tom took a chance on me. I came to Fort Collins and I immediately fell in love with it, the fans, the school and the community. I obviously couldn’t leave; I made it my home.”
Before leaving the stage, Hilbert had a special video message for Peckham, thanking her for everything she has done for Rams volleyball on and off the court.
The night ended with everyone in attendance standing up and signing the CSU fight song.
The celebration continues Saturday at the football game vs. Boise State. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. The Class of 2013 will be honored at halftime.