WEST POINT, N.Y. Welcoming perhaps its most diverse grouping to date, the Army Sports Hall of Fame will induct its third class this September, enshrining an 11-member Class of 2006 that features national individual champions in fencing and squash; strikeout artists from baseball and softball; explosive scorers from lacrosse, hockey and basketball; the hall’s first sibling inductees; and the coach who led the famed Black Knights’ football program to its first unbeaten season.
In total, the Class of 2006 encompasses nine sports, with four of those sports being represented in the Hall of Fame for the first time. Ten of the 2006 inductees were athletes while one was a player and coach at the Academy. Five are members of other halls of fame. Two Class of 2006 members went on to coach at the collegiate level, both at Air Force, later in their careers. Two of the honorees were killed in action while another rose to the rank of Major General.
The Class of 2006 includes Bob Anderson (football), Richard Bowman (fencing), Pete Cramblet (lacrosse), Charles Daly (football player-coach), Don Holleder (football/men’s basketball), Kevin Houston (men’s basketball), Colleen McCabe (softball), Dave Merhar (hockey), Richard Oehrlein (squash/men’s tennis), Walter Oehrlein (squash/men’s tennis) and Steve Reich (baseball).
“I really like the mix of this class,” says Kevin Anderson, Army’s director of athletics. “We have nine different sports represented, with four programs seeing their first members inducted. A Hall of Fame should truly represent the best of the best’ across your entire spectrum of sports, and now that we are in our third year of inducting members into the Army Sports Hall of Fame, I think we are starting to see a reflection of the success Army athletes have enjoyed in all sports. The diversity of sports in this class once again demonstrates the depth and breadth of competitiveness that Army has enjoyed across the board for many, many years.
“I am once again impressed by the work that the selection committee put forth to bring us to this point in the process,” Anderson added. “There are a lot of people working behind the scenes as we continue striving for induction classes that truly represent the Academy’s rich athletic heritage. As always, the members of the USMA Athletic Committee, as well as Superintendent Lt. General William J. Lennox, have once again been vital components in the selection process by providing pinpoint leadership and guidance.”
This year’s class will be honored at a special induction banquet at West Point on Sept. 29. The Class of 2006 will also be honored during a halftime ceremony the next day when Army's football team hosts Rice at Michie Stadium.
The Army Sports Hall of Fame is a subset of the Kenna Hall of Army Sports, a comprehensive museum display of Army's proud intercollegiate athletic program. It is located on the third floor of Kimsey Athletic Center, Army's mammoth football training facility that opened during the spring of 2003.
The introduction of the Army Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2006 marks the end of a lengthy selection process that began during the spring. A 10-member selection committee representing athletic administrators, academic administrators, former West Point athletes, graduates and representatives from the Association of Graduates began the process of developing a workable list from the thousands of athletes and coaches that have represented the Academy on the "fields of friendly strife." Only athletes that graduated the Academy were considered and only those five years removed from their playing and coaching days are eligible.
In addition, the selection committee followed a charter, established to support the Army Sports Hall of Fame, that profiled a myriad of strict eligibility requirements for former cadet-athletes, coaches and administrators to be considered. "Primary" consideration for election to the Army Sports Hall of Fame is granted to accomplishments during an individual's tenure as an athlete, coach or administrator while at West Point. Honors attained or accomplishments that pre- or post-dated Academy careers are granted "secondary" consideration.
Once the selection committee comprised its recommended list, the names were forwarded to USMA's Athletic Committee for its review and ratification before being passed on to USMA Superintendent Lt. Gen. William Lennox Jr., for final approval.
In addition to enshrining the Class of 2006 at this September’s induction banquet, Anderson will present the ODIA Distinguished Service Award to Morris Herbert. Herbert, a 1950 West Point graduate, is a long-time historian with the Academy’s Association of Graduates and was instrumental in the creation and completion of both the Army Sports Hall of Fame and the Kenna Hall of Army Sports.
The Distinguished Service Award is presented to an individual for significant contributions to Army’s intercollegiate athletic program. Recipients are determined by a vote of the Army Sports Hall of Fame selection committee, whose members also serve as the nominating committee for this award.
The Army Sports Hall of Fame selection committee is not required to bestow the award annually, rather only when a suitable candidate emerges. Upon identifying a potential recipient by majority approval, the selection committee will forward its candidate to the Director of the Athletics for approval. If the Director of Athletics supports the nomination, he will then forward it to the USMA Superintendent for his final approval.
The addition of the 11 members of the Class of 2006 brings the total number of individuals inducted into the Army Sports Hall of Fame to 41 over the initial three years of the shrine’s existence.