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Meet the Board


John E. Mattos

John E. Mattos
RAAA President
Board member since 2014

John graduated from Colorado State University in 1971 with a bachelor's degree in English. He was an All-American swimmer for CSU finishing 3rd and 5th in the 100/200 back at the 1969 NCAA D-I Championships and 7th and 5th in 1970. He was also and Honorable Mention All-American in 1969 in Water Polo. He came back to CSU and finished his college education in 1975 with his Teacher Certification in English. He was immediately hired at Fort Collin's Poudre High School as an English teacher and coached both the girls and boys HS swimming teams.

In 1980 John was hired to coach the Colorado State Women's Swimming and Diving Team and he remained their head coach for 31 years. He retired in July of 2011. Mattos had over 200 career dual meet wins. He guided the Rams to 77 individual conference titles, 2 District VII regional team titles, 5 High Country Athletic Conference championships, 2 Western Athletic Conference titles and 1 Mountain West Conference regular season team championship. He was named HCAC's Coach of the Year 3 times, the WAC Coach of the Year twice and the MWC Coach of the Year once. In 1994 his team finished 12th at the NCAA Division I Championships as legendary swimmer, Amy Van Dyken, became the first CSU swimmer to win an NCAA individual event championship while setting a new NCAA and US record in the 50 yard Freestyle. Amy earned Swimmer of the Year honors for her efforts at that championship meet and Mattos was named NCAA Division I Coach of the Year by his peers. Amy went on to become the first woman from the USA to win 4 Gold Medals at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, GA and Mattos helped guide her to 2 more Gold's at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

John was selected as an assistant coach to the US (long course) World Championship swimming team that competed in Rome, Italy in 1994. He was later named an assistant to the 2004 US (short course) World Championship team that competed at the Conseco Events Center in Indianapolis. He was inducted into CSU's Athletic Hall of Fame in November of 2005.

Along with wife, Connie, Mattos has lived in Fort Collins since 1975. They have a 20 year old daughter, Marissa Valorie, who graduated from Fossil Ridge HS where she was elected the girls swim team captain her senior year.

Stan Hornung

Stan Hornung
RAAA Vice President
Board member since 2015

Stan graduated in 1984 with a degree in Ag Business after growing up in Stratton, Colorado. Upon graduation Stan went to work for NW Transport in Denver. After stops in Dallas Texas and Long Beach California, Stan and his family found their way back to Colorado. Stan and his wife Jennifer now happily reside in Arvada Colorado.

Stan played football for CSU in the 1982 & 83 seasons. Stan joined RAAA to stay connected with CSU Athletics and to support other former Athletes.

The Hornung's make up 3 generations of Rams, as Stan's parents met and married while attending CSU, all four of his children are currently enrolled or have graduated from CSU.

John E. Mattos

Kim Austin Mbadinga
Board member since 2014

Kim Austin Mbadinga, the director of operations for the women's basketball program, is beginning her third season working with the Rams. She was a 1998 graduate of Colorado State and she was a four-year letterwinner for the Rams, helping them to the Western Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles, then the program's first NCAA tournament bid in 1996 under head coach Greg Williams.

As a senior captain, Austin Mbadinga-Nzamba helped lead Colorado State to the WAC Mountain Division title and a trip to the NCAA tournament second round in 1998 with teammates Becky Hammon and Katie Cronin. During her career the Rams won 20 or more games in three seasons, advancing the NCAA tournament twice.

Kim, a native of El Paso, Texas, and her husband, Eric Mbadinga-Nzamba, have three children.

Pierce Hornung
Board member since 2014

Pierce grew up in Arvada, Colo., and graduated from Colorado State University with a bachelor's degree in business administration. He played on the men's basketball team at CSU from 2009-13 with two NCAA appearances in 2012 & 2013. Pierce currently works as a loan officer at Bank of Colorado in Johnstown, Colo.

Arica Abrames
Board member since 2014

Arica grew-up in Fort Collins, CO graduating from Fort Collins High School in 1997. Following two successful softball seasons at Otero Junior College in La Junta, CO, she transferred to Colorado State University. Arica played her junior and senior seasons with the Rams (1999-2001).

She graduated Cum Laude with a B.S. in Biochemistry. Following graduation, Arica attended the University of Colorado-School of Dentistry. In 2005, she graduated Cum Laude with a doctorate in dental surgery.

After earning her dental degree, Arica returned home and began practicing family and cosmetic dentistry. She is co-owner of Wells and Abrames Family Dentistry in Fort Collins. She loves her profession and is grateful to Colorado State University for the educational foundation that it provided.

Arica lives in Fort Collins with her husband of 13 years and their two children Paige and Jack.

Joel Varnell

Joel Varnell
Board member since 2015

Joel Varnell is a practicing attorney for White and Steele in Denver Colorado and joined the firm of counsel after serving for 20 years as the manager of the Farmers Insurance Branch Legal Office for Colorado. While Joel served in that position, the Farmers Branch Legal Office grew from two attorneys to 11, and defended Farmers and its insureds in cases throughout Colorado involving personal injuries from auto accidents, homeowners incidents, claims against commercial establishments and claims for construction defects and workers compensation related injuries.

Joel graduated from Colorado State University in 1978 with a B.S. in Business Finance. He was on the track team from 1976-1978 where he lettered in 1977 as a half-miler/quarter miler. Additionally, and was fourth in the Western Athletic Conference in the indoor 1000 that year. He enjoyed his time as a CSU athlete and takes pride in working with other former athletes to strengthen his alma mater.

Jason Smith

Jason Smith
Board member since 2015

Jason is a native of Colorado and grew up in Centennial where he attended Arapahoe High School. He came to CSU in 2004 as a walk-on member of the football team and track and field team and pursued a degree in Construction Management with a minor is Business Administration. After graduating in the Spring of 2009, Jason pursued a career with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) in the Fort Collins area. Jason now serves as the Campus Director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at CSU. He also volunteers weekly with the CSU track and field team working with sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers.

While at CSU, Jason competed as a kicker and punter for the Rams football team under head coaches Sonny Lubick and Steve Fairchild. Jason also competed as a triple jumper for the Rams track and field team under head coaches Del Hessel and Brian Bedard.

Jason currently lives in Fort Collins and has one brother who also competed for the Rams track and field team.

Jake Kuijper

Jake Kuijper
Board member since 2015

Jake graduated from CSU in 1973 with a degree in Business Administration. Jake was a 4 year letterman and two-time All-American for the Ram's swim team as well as playing on the water polo teams. He began his business career working for the National Association of Securities Dealers and currently is the Executive Director of Colorado County Officials & Employees Retirement Association and is responsible for the overall administration and management of the state-wide 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan, the 457 Deferred Compensation Plan for over 20,000 local government participants.

Jake is a naturalized citizen and was born in Indonesia. He and his wife, Jan, currently reside in Littleton, CO. He continues to toil at his golf game with a core group of ex-Aggie swimmers and is looking forward to being on the Board of the RAAA.

Jason Smith

Jack Capp
Last RAAA President

Board member since 2008

Jack grew up in Greeley, Colo., and graduated from Colorado State University in 1965 with a bachelor's degree in Wildlife Management and in 1967 with a master's degree in Wildlife Biology. While at CSU Jack worked summers for the National Park Service and Colorado Division of Wildlife and was founding president of the CSU student chapter of The Wildlife Society. Jack completed a 38-year career with the US Forest Service serving in assignments in New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, California, Colorado, Alaska, and two assignments in Washington, D.C., including one year for a U.S. Senator. Jack retired in 2005 and moved back to Fort Collins.

Jack played varsity baseball for CSU from 1962-65 and then coached the CSU freshman baseball team for one year. His son Craig played varsity baseball for CSU in the 1980s. Jack coached Little League baseball for eight years in Oregon and Colorado, high school summer baseball for two years in Colorado, and youth league basketball in Oregon and Colorado for six years.

Jack has three children and eight grandchildren. All three children attended CSU. Two children and five grandchildren live in Colorado. Jack is also an active member of the CSU Ram Club and is a lifetime member of the CSU Alumni Association, where he serves on the Board of Directors.


Q: I was a member of the football team for two years but never lettered. Am I eligible to be a member of RAAA?

A: Yes. Our bylaws state that the RAAA shall be open to any individual who participated in varsity intercollegiate athletics while a student at Colorado State University and who has no intercollegiate athletic eligibility remaining.

Q: What is so special about being a member of RAAA? Do I get anything?

A: Like most non-profit organizations many of the benefits are intrinsic. Being a dues paying member is an inexpensive and easy way to help make a difference in the lives of the current student-athletes (see the list of projects). You are a part of a small and select group of individuals who have participated at a high level of intercollegiate athletics. The fraternal feeling that goes with being part of a team is carried on by involvement in RAAA. You do receive a gift each year you renew your membership plus during home football games you have access to our lounge at Hughes Stadium. We are exploring other tangible benefits which we will post as they become available.

Q: I see the RAAA name associated with CSU's athletic department's special events. How does this partnership work?

A: To insure proper "institutional control" as required by the NCAA, the policies, procedures, and activities of the RAAA are subject to approval by the Director of Athletics or his/her designated representative. This policy, in effect, makes the RAAA a partner with the Department of Athletics in any event which we sponsor or otherwise help with funding, such as the Hall of Fame banquet and the student-athlete Career Fair. We share, with the athletic department, the goal of strengthening CSU athletics.

Q: How do I get in contact with "Jane Doe"? We were teammates and I want to see what she is doing.

A: Go to the directory link on our website to find the most up-to-date information we have on members who pay their dues. This is one of the benefits of maintaining a membership in the RAAA. You can find your friends and teammates and they can find you.

Q: Can the RAAA help me get tickets to CSU athletic events?

A: No. We are not in the ticket business. All ticket requests go through the CSU ticket office (970-491-7267). For those wanting to get more information regarding priority seating for season tickets, contact the Ram Club at 970-491-4666 or visit www.CSURAMS.com.

Q: Our 2000 Liberty Bowl championship team would like to have a reunion. What should we do?

A: Contact the CSU Athletic Department at 970-491-5067. They coordinate all Legends reunion events.

Q: Are my membership dues tax deductible?

A: Yes. The dues are funneled through the CSU Foundation and earmarked for RAAA use. The dues are 100% tax deductible.

Q: What if I join RAAA in the middle of the membership year? Does my membership extend for a full 12 months?

A: Memberships extend from January 1 to December 31, the calender year of when your dues are paid. It behooves you to join or renew your membership early to take advantage of a full year of membership benefits.

RAAA Projects

The Ram Alumni Athletes Association, in partnership with the CSU athletic department, co-sponsors the following projects:

    • Hall of Fame: Select alumni-athletes to be inducted into CSU's Sports Hall of Fame. Host the Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremonies. This is the Association's signature event.
    • Career Night: Host an annual career night for current student-athletes. The goals of career night are: (1) provide a forum for alumni athletes to discuss with student-athletes the do's and don'ts of preparing for and transitioning to professional life outside of athletics and CSU, and (2) provide an opportunity for student-athletes to mingle and meet with potential future employers.
    • Graduating Seniors Luncheon: Host an annual luncheon for all graduating student-athletes and their families. The goal is to honor those who took the opportunity available to them to participate in intercollegiate athletics and also to earn a degree from CSU.
    • Scholar Athlete Luncheon: Host an annual luncheon to honor all student-athletes who carry a 3.0 or better GPA. Families are also invited.
    • Alumni Athletes Association Lounge: Upgrade and maintain the RAAA lounge at Hughes Stadium. The lounge is open to all Association members during pregame and halftime at CSU home football games.
    • Etiquette Dinner: Sponsor a series of seats for student-athletes at the annual University-wide etiquette dinner. The goal of this project is to teach students the importance of and procedures for proper etiquette and dress when invited to an interview and/or a meal by a prospective employer.
    • "Ram Legend" reunion events: Invite alumni-athletes to be a part of and participate in the events surrounding reunions of athletic department sports. Help sponsor such events.

Contact Us

Ram Alumni Athletes Association:

101 McGraw Athletic Center
Fort Collins, CO 80525
(970) 491-4666

Jack Capp:

(970) 377-1218

Duan Ruff:

Vice President
(970) 491-0493

Ed Frease:

Past President
(970) 226-1138

Richard Gregory:

Secretary and Past President
(970) 674-8760

*Feel free to contact the above RAAA Board members regarding any aspect of the Association's activities. We are volunteers so we will respond to your inquiry as soon as we can.

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