Stanford Athletics adds eight new members to Hall of Fame


Eight new members of the Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame will be inducted in October, adding to a long and distinguished list of individuals honored at the school known as the Home of Champions.

The inductees will be Nicole Barnhart '04 (women's soccer), Notah Begay, III '95 (men's golf), Toi Cook '86 (baseball and football), Laura Granville '02 (women's tennis), A.J. Hinch '96 (baseball), Skip Kenney (men's swimming and diving coach), Anika Leerssen '00 (sailing) and Heather Olson '99 (synchronized swimming).

All of the inductees will be honored at a private reception and dinner at the Bing Concert Hall on Saturday, Oct. 11 beginning at 6 p.m. The class will also be introduced at halftime of Stanford's football game against Washington State on Oct. 10.

Here is additional information on the Stanford Hall of Fame class of 2014:

Nicole Barnhart: Currently a volunteer assistant coach on the women's soccer team, Barnhart is an Olympic gold medalist, U.S. national team veteran and current professional goalkeeper.

A regular in the U.S. national team lineup, Barnhart has won two Olympic gold medals, in 2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London. She also played for the 2011 U.S. World Cup team that reached the championship final. Barnhart is a veteran of two Olympic and two World Cup teams (including in 2007), has played in two U.S. pro leagues, including the 2013 season with FC Kansas City of the National Women's Soccer League.

She was the Goalkeeper of the Year while leading FC Gold Pride to the 2010 Women's Professional Soccer championship, and also played for the league's Philadelphia Freedom. She began coaching at Stanford as a volunteer assistant in 2005, shortly after completing her collegiate career. She held the post from 2005-07 and then returned after the 2008 Olympics for Stanford's 2009 season.

A two-time first-team All-American, Barnhart holds Stanford career records for goals-against average (0.45) and shutouts (35), as well as single-season marks in both categories (0.19 and 18, respectively).

Barnhart, a native of Gilbertsville, Pa., graduated from Stanford with a double degree in studio art and psychology in 2004.

Notah Begay, III: Leading his Stanford team to the 1994 national championship as a first team All-American, Begay finished his career with a stroke average of 72.6. A three-time All-American, in 1992, '94 and '95, Begay's career low score of 62 came during the 1994 NCAA championships, finishing one stroke shy of the school record, held by teammate Tiger Woods.

A full-blooded Native American, Begay turned pro and collected six victories including four on the PGA Tour while earning a top-20 world ranking. In 1998, he became one of only a handful of golfers to shoot 59 in the second round of the Nike Tour Dominion Open. He was also a member of a U.S. Walker Cup team as well as a U.S. Presidents Cup team that included former Stanford standout Tiger Woods.

Currently an analyst with NBC Sports and The Golf Channel, Begay became the first player in a pro tour to putt both right and left-handed. Begay was named one of Golf Magazine's Innovators of the Year in 2009 and has also been named one of the Top 100 Sports Educators in the world by the Institute for International Sport. Begay graduated with a degree in economics.

Toi Cook: A two-sport standout at Stanford, Cook was equally impressive in both football and baseball. On the diamond, he played outfield and helped the Cardinal win the 1987 College World Series. On a team with eight future major leaguers, Cook went 3-for-5 with three runs scored in the title game against Oklahoma State, capping a career that saw him start 192 games out of 215 that he appeared in.

A .317 career hitter (248-782), Cook batted under .300 just once in his career – a .284 mark as a sophomore. While he collected 51 career extra-base hits with 157 runs batted in, speed was his game and he demonstrated plenty to the tune of 85 career swipes, including 37 during an All-Pac-10 junior season.

As a cornerback for the football team, Cook led the Cardinal in interceptions as a sophomore and junior, and was among the nation's leaders as a senior when he fractured his left wrist against San Diego State in early October. He returned just three weeks later, finishing the season with a career-high and team-leading eight interceptions while helping lead Stanford to the Gator Bowl.

Cook had a three-interception day against San Jose State in 1986 and finished with 17 career interceptions.

Drafted in the eighth round of the 1987 NFL Draft on concerns that he would choose baseball over football, Cook was also drafted in baseball, going in the 38th round to Minnesota. He wound up playing 11 seasons in the NFL from 1987-97, winning Super Bowl XXIX with the San Francisco 49ers.

Cook is currently President of Empire Sports, a division of Empire Film Group. Empire Sports is a sports, entertainment, and consulting company.

Laura Granville: A two-time NCAA singles champion, Granville left Stanford in 2001 after her sophomore year to play professional tennis.

During her two years at Stanford, Granville won a NCAA record 58 consecutive singles matches, two NCAA singles titles, one NCAA team title and two ITA Collegiate Indoor singles titles, while compiling a singles win-loss record of 93-3. Both seasons, the Chicago native was honored as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Player of the Year.

Granville achieved WTA Tour career high rankings of #28 in singles and #47 in doubles. She twice reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon, as well as the third round of the US Open, French Open and Australian Open. She recorded wins over Grand Slam champions Marion Bartoli, Martina Hingis, Mary Pierce and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario. After nine years on the Tour, Granville returned to Stanford to earn her diploma in history in June, 2012.

Granville just finished her second year as head women's tennis coach at Princeton University.

A.J. Hinch: Hinch was a player that rarely makes it to college, an early round draftee out of high school. But Stanford has a long history of landing those players and one glance at Stanford's record books shows that Hinch stayed for a while.

A three-time All-American, Hinch still ranks among the top 10 in seven statistical categories, including games (229, ninth), batting average (.351, seventh), hits (305, fourth), doubles (58, sixth), triples (15, fifth) and runs batted in (191, sixth). In addition to three All-Pac-10 honors and two Player of the Year awards, Hinch was a finalist for the 1996 Golden Spikes Award, given to the national player of the year.

One of the greatest catchers at Stanford, Hinch never gave up his Stanford dream. He was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the second round of the 1992 Major League Baseball Draft but did not sign, opting to attend Stanford. After a junior season that saw him earn the first of two Pac-10 Player of the Year honors, Hinch was drafted again, this time by Minnesota in the third round in 1995. He opted to remain at Stanford for his senior season, earning another Pac-10 Player of the Year honor, graduating with a degree in psychology and, again, being drafted in the third round, this time by Oakland.

Just two summers after being drafted and helping Team USA to a bronze medal at the Atlanta Summer Olympics, Hinch debuted with the Athletics in 1998 and remained with the team through the 2000 season. He played for Kansas City from 2000-02, Detroit in 2003 and Philadelphia in 2004 before retiring following the 2005 season.

Currently the vice president and assistant general manager for the San Diego Padres, Hinch is a former manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he skippered the team from May 2009 to July 2010.

Skip Kenney: One of the most respected coaches in the world of swimming, Kenney led the Cardinal for 33 years before his retirement in 2012. To understand Kenney's impact on the sport, it goes beyond the seven NCAA titles or 31-straight conference titles, the 1086 All-America certificates, 134 All-America athletes or 72 NCAA champions. The three-time Olympic coach also produced 23 of his own Olympians, which won a combined 18 medals from 1984 through 2008.

His teams made NCAA history. No other team has finished fourth or better at every NCAA Championship from 1982 to 2012. And conference history, too. The 31 straight crowns crushed John Wooden's UCLA team record of 14 straight titles in 1995. Wooden was on deck that day to honor that accomplishment.

Individually, he was a six-time NCAA coach of the year and 20-time Pac-10 coach of the year. In 2004 he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame and in 2005 the American Swim Coaches Hall of Fame.

Equally impressive is the fact that 100 percent of his athletes have graduated, including 10 which were Academic All-Americans, notably Olympians Pablo Morales, Ray Carey, Kurt Grote and Ben Wildman-Tobriner.

Under Kenney, the Cardinal was third or better in the national standings 27 times. From 1916 to his arrival in 1979, Stanford had won conference 31 titles. In his 33 years, he won 31. He won the first of three straight NCAA titles in 1985, winning another three straight NCAA titles from 1992-94. He won his last NCAA title in 1998. His teams finished as NCAA runners-up another seven times.

An Olympic coach as well, he was an assistant for Team USA in 1984 and 1988 and was the head men's coach in Atlanta in 1996. He was also a U.S. National coach at the Pan-American, Pan-Pacific and other world championship events.

Anika Leerssen: Sailing in her hometown of Newport, R.I., in 1999, Leerssen became the first Stanford athlete to win the Janet Lutz Trophy as the individual national champion in sailing. She won 15 of 16 races to capture the ICYRA Women's Single-handed sailing championships, becoming the first athlete to win that many races at a national event. In a sport where low totals win, Leerssen's 23 points (15 points for each win and eight points for an eighth-place finish) cruised past runner-up from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy by an astounding 38 points. Her fast start stunned the field as she won the first 11 races before recovering from her eighth place finish to win the final four. Her commanding victory was only potentially eclipsed by the Sportsmanship Trophy bestowed upon her by the competitors following the event.

Leerssen was not a one-race wonder, however. The senior captain helped Stanford to two team national titles (1997 and 1999) and placed sixth individually in 1998.

Leerssen, who graduated from Oregon with a law degree, is currently an Assistant Attorney General for the Oregon Department of Justice in the Natural Resources Section. Leerssen advises various state agencies including the departments of Forestry, Fish and Wildlife and Environmental Quality.

Heather Olson: As both a student-athlete and coach, Olson has played a role in five of the seven Stanford collegiate national championships, as a student-athlete in 1998 and as a coach for four straight seasons from 2005-08. In 2008, under the guidance of Olson, Stanford became the first collegiate team to capture a U.S. National title.

Olson graduated from Stanford in 1999 and took over the head coaching role in 2001, coaching the team from 2001-2012.

A former synchronized swimmer for the Cardinal, Olson graduated from Stanford in 1999 with a B.A. in English.

In 2008, Olson led Stanford to its fourth consecutive Collegiate National Championship after winning gold medals in Solo, Duet, Trio and finishing with the silver in team. Olson was also honored as Collegiate Coach of the Year for the fourth straight season. The 2008 campaign marked a breakthrough in synchronized swimming as Olson led the Cardinal to the U.S. National Championships, making Stanford the first collegiate team to accomplish that feat, an achievement usually reserved for club teams.

Overall, Olson led the Cardinal team to four first-place finishes and five second place finishes at the Collegiate Nationals in just 11 seasons at Stanford. She also led the team to two first-place finishes, four second-place finishes and a fourth-place finish at U.S. Nationals.

During her collegiate athletic career, Olson captained the Stanford squad in 1998 and led the Cardinal to its first-ever NCAA Championship. She was a four-time U.S. Synchronized Swimming All-American (1994, 1995, 1996, 2000) and Collegiate All-American (1997, 1998). She also received the Stanford "Block S" Outstanding Athlete Award her junior year (1998).

Outside of her Stanford career, Olson was a five-year member of the First National Team, and a two-time U.S. Olympic Team member (1996, 2000), winning a gold medal in the 1996 Atlanta Games. She was honored as the U.S. Synchronized Swimming Athlete of the Year in both 1996 and 2000 and as Olympic Team Captain in 2000.

During the 2008 Olympic Games, Olson served as a broadcaster for synchronized swimming for NBC. She was also a four-year AAC Athlete Representative for the USOC. In 2005, she won the Ninetta Davis Athlete Representative Award for service as an Athlete's Representative.

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Like this comment
Posted by randy albin
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 30, 2014 at 10:43 am

they are all certainly deserving of this. so many Stanford athletes are honored to be in the hall of fame. thank you for reporting this. root on these athletes and teams

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