Willamette Announces Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2013

Induction Ceremony Set for Oct. 19 at the Salem Convention Center

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony for the Class of 2013 will be held on Saturday, Oct. 19 at the Salem Convention Center. A social hour will start at 6 p.m. (PDT), with the banquet and induction ceremony starting at 7 p.m.

Willamette's Hall of Fame Class of 2013 includes six athletes, two teams, one coach and one individual selected for meritorious service.

Athletes who will be inducted are football center Brian Greer (1995-98), baseball pitcher Matt Kosderka (1995-98), baseball player and pitcher Andy Petersen (1930-32), volleyball outside hitter Brandi Row (1992-95), and soccer defender and football place-kicker Elizabeth (Heaston) Thompson (1995-98). Swimmer and track and cross country runner Gayle (Roth) Cutaia (1982-84) also was selected for the Hall of Fame this year, but will not be available for the induction ceremony and will be inducted with the next class.

Teams chosen for induction are the 1974-75 men’s basketball team and the 1995 volleyball team. The coach selected for the Hall of Fame is former men’s and women’s head golf coach Steve Prothero. Athlete, coach and Bearcat fan Gery Ellibee was chosen in the meritorious service category.

Persons interested in attending the reception and dinner should contact Willamette Athletics at (503) 370-6420. Reservations also can be made by sending an e-mail to drigsby@willamette.edu. The cost is $75 per person. Tables also are available.


Brian Greer
Football (1995-98)

Greer played center for the Bearcats from 1995 through 1998. He was a four-year letterman who started 37 consecutive games. He was elected team captain as a senior in 1998, and was selected as an American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) All-American, First Team Hewlett-Packard All-American and First Team USA Football All-American. He was named Third Team Hewlett-Packard All-American and First Team Sigma Alpha Epsilon All-American in 1997.

He earned First Team All-Northwest Conference honors in 1997 and 1998. He was chosen Second Team All-NWC in 1996.

He helped Willamette achieve a combined record of 35-8-1 (.807) during his four seasons, including 13-1 in 1997 and 9-2 in 1996. Greer helped the Bearcats advance to the NAIA Division II Championship game in 1997 after reaching the NAIA quarterfinals in 1996.

At the conclusion of his Willamette career he was selected to play for the NCAA Division III All-Star Team that defeated the Mexico All-Stars, 40-13. Later, he played one season in the European Pro Football Federation for the Paris Molasses, who won the Northern Division championship and placed second overall.

Matt Kosderka
Baseball (1995-98)

Kosderka was a pitcher on the Willamette baseball team for four years from 1995 through 1998. As a senior, he was named NAIA First Team All-America and was the Northwest Conference Player of the Year.

He holds Willamette career records with 30 wins and 350 1/3 innings pitched. He ranks second all-time at WU with 53 appearances, 25 complete games, 42 starts and 265 strikeouts. He is seventh on the career list with a 3.60 earned run average and is tied for seventh with five saves.

In 1998, he set WU single season records with 109 strikeouts and 102 1/3 innings pitched, while tying a school record with 10 wins. He is tied for third all-time at WU with nine wins in 1997, is tied for seventh in complete games (7, 1997, 1998), is tied for ninth in appearances (16, 1998), and is tied for 10th in saves (3 in 1998).

He was drafted by the Texas Rangers and played four seasons in the minor leagues before retiring in 2001.

Kosderka has served as the head baseball coach at Wilsonville High School (Ore.) for 10 seasons. He was named Class 5A Baseball Coach of the Year by The Oregonian in 2011 after leading Wilsonville to a runner-up finish in the OSAA Playoffs. His career record through the 2013 season was 178-111.

Andy Petersen
Baseball (1930-32), Posthumous award

Petersen was an outstanding pitcher for the Bearcats from 1930 through 1932. He threw a total of three perfect games, including one on May 21, 1931 in which he struck out 15 batters. During the best-of-three NWC championship series in 1931, he won the first game and the third game, while recording a total of 32 strikeouts.

His single-game high for strikeouts was 23 against Oregon State early in the 1932 season. He struck out 18 batters the following weekend against Puget Sound. He left Willamette following the 1932 season.

He played in a series of games at Meiji Jingu Stadium in Japan during a tour of U.S. athletes. While in Japan, he hit a home run to center field that went farther than plaques marking the landing spots of homers hit by New York Yankee greats Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig just a few weeks prior.

Petersen signed with the Yankees, but left several months later due to arm injuries. He went on to pitch for the Portland Beavers Triple-A team in 1934 before retiring from baseball in 1935. He was inducted into the NAIA District 2 Hall of Fame in 1965 and was selected for the McMinnville High School Hall of Fame in 2007.

Brandi Row
Volleyball (1992-95)

Row played for the Bearcats from 1992 through 1995. She was named Third Team All-America in 1995 and was Honorable Mention All-America in 1994. She helped the 1994 team finish 30-5 and take first place in the Northwest Conference of Independent Colleges (NCIC) at 12-0. Her efforts helped the 1995 team win the WCIC title at 12-2, qualify for the NAIA National Tournament and finish 29-11 overall.

She was chosen All-Region in 1994 and 1995 after earning Second Team All-District recognition in 1993. She was selected Conference Player of the Year in 1994 and 1995. She was First named Team All-Conference in 1994 and 1995, and received Second Team All-Conference honors in 1992.

Row holds many of Willamette’s volleyball records. Her career records include 1,986 kills, 3,738 total attacks, 231 service aces, 1,889 digs and 485 games/sets played. She also owns single season records with 658 kills, 5.22 kills per game, 1,469 total attacks and 11.16 attacks per game. Single game/set records held by Row are 39 kills and 88 total attacks.

She is a Willamette faculty member in the Department of Exercise Science.

Elizabeth (Heaston) Thompson
Women’s Soccer, Football (1995-98)

Thompson was a defender on the Willamette women’s soccer team from 1995 through 1998. During her career, she helped the Bearcats earn a combined record of 75-11-6 while winning four conference titles and reaching the NCAA Division III Semifinals in 1998.

She was named Honorable Mention All-America in 1996 and 1997, when Willamette competed in the NAIA.

In addition, she was the first woman to play and score in a college football game on Oct. 18, 1997, when she successfully kicked two extra points on two attempts in a 27-0 win over Linfield College. She also played against Southern Oregon University, but did not score. She appeared on the Today Show in addition to numerous other interviews. Her accomplishments are highlighted at the College Football Hall of Fame.

After graduating from Willamette, she earned a doctorate in optometry. She is an optometrist in Richland, Wash., where she has been an assistant women’s soccer coach at the high school level.

Thompson also is in the Willamette Athletic Hall of Fame as a member of the 1997 football team and the 1998 women’s soccer team.

Gayle (Roth) Cutaia
Women's Swimming, Cross Country, Track and Field (1982-84)

Cutaia attended Willamette from 1982-84 and qualified for NAIA nationals in three different sports in the same year. Her three sports were swimming, cross country, and track.
In 1984, she set Willamette swimming records in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 24.18 seconds and the 100-yard freestyle in 53.21 seconds. She set an NAIA record with her time in the 100 freestyle during preliminary heats at the National Championships.

She also swam on Willamette’s 200-yard medley relay team which won the national championship in 1983 with Cutaia swimming the butterfly leg.

In cross country, she placed ninth at the NAIA District Championships and 62nd at the NAIA National Championships in 1982.

Cutaia won the NAIA District track and field title in the 800-meter run in 1983. She helped WU win the District team title in 1984, while taking first place in the 400-meter hurdles and contributing to victories in the 4 x 400-meter relay and the medley relay.

She set a school record at the time with 4,408 points in the heptathlon in 1984, a record which lasted for 24 years and currently ranks second on WU’s top 10 list. She helped Willamette place second in the Women’s Conference of Independent Colleges (WCIC) in track and field both years and was part of WU’s 4 x 400-meter relay team that placed first in the WCIC in 1984.

Cutaia later competed at Texas Christian University of NCAA Division I in swimming and track. She set several school records in swimming at TCU, and qualified for the NCAA Swimming Championships and the Senior Nationals.


Steve Prothero
Head Men’s Golf Coach, Head Women’s Golf Coach (1966-09), Posthumous award

Prothero was the head coach of the Willamette men's golf team for 44 years from 1966 through 2009, and was the head coach of the Bearcat women's golf team for seven years from the team's first year in 1995-96 through the 2002 spring season. Prothero impacted many Willamette students in positive ways, not only as a golf coach, but also throughout his 46 years as a member of the faculty in the Department of Mathematics.

He recorded the second longest tenure for a Northwest Conference head coach in one sport. He trailed only WU's Lestle Sparks, who coached the Bearcats in men's tennis for 50 years (1925-74).

Prothero led the Bearcats to six NWC championships in men's golf. He also guided the team to eight NAIA District 2 titles, with the team advancing to the NAIA National Championship tournament in each of those seasons. In 1975 and 1976 the Bearcats finished 14th in the nation. He coached six men’s golfers to a total of eight NWC individual titles

Under Prothero’s guidance, the women’s team won conference titles in 1995, 1996 and 1999. The Bearcat women advanced to the NCAA Division III National Championship tournament in 1998 and 1999. WU also claimed the NWC women's individual title in 1999.


1974-75 Men’s Basketball Team
Head Coach:  Jim Boutin
Record:  24-5 Overall, 11-3 NWC (2nd Place)

The 1974-75 Willamette men’s basketball team achieved a 24-5 record and won the NAIA District 2 Championship. In the Northwest Conference, the Bearcats were 11-3 and took second place. Willamette shot 71.3% as a team at the free throw line to set a school record at the time.

The team scored 114 points against Humboldt State on Dec. 27, 1974 and earned 66 rebounds versus Simon Fraser on Feb. 10, 1975. Five days later, the Bearcats earned 28 assists against the College of Idaho. Willamette’s season ended with a loss to Grand Canyon (Ariz.) in the first round of the NAIA National Tournament. WU averaged 79.7 points per game while allowing 73.9.

Head Coach Jim Boutin led the Bearcats to a 15-1 record at home in the first season at Cone Field House and was named Northwest Small College Coach of the Year. The Bearcats upset #2-seeded Lewis & Clark, 83-73, and then defeated #1-seeded Oregon Tech, 83-74, to win the NAIA District 2 Tournament.

Post player Mike Cashman was selected NAIA All-American and was Honorable Mention All-Coast for all divisions of play. He was chosen All-Northwest Conference and All-District 2. He was named District 2 MVP after averaging 19.1 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. Cashman was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA.

1995 Volleyball Team
Head Coach:  Marlene Piper
Record:  29-11 Overall (Reached NAIA National Tournament), 12-2 NCIC (Champions)

Willamette’s 1995 women’s volleyball team reached the NAIA National Tournament for the first time, took second place at the Regional Tournament, and won the NCIC Championship for the fourth consecutive season. The Bearcats finished the year with a 29-11 overall record, including 12-2 in the NCIC.

During the season, Willamette received its first national ranking in volleyball at #13 in the country. The 1995 team holds school records with 88 kills in a match and 1,861 kills in a season.

The team produced four All-NCIC selections in Brandi Row, Alicia Wright, Kathy Fisher and Aspen Phelps. Row was chosen Third Team All-America and All-Region, while Wright earned Honorable Mention All-America and All-Region honors. Wright was selected as an All-American Scholar-Athlete.

Seniors on the team helped Willamette achieve a combined record of 136-44 (.756) during the 1992 through 1995 seasons for the most wins by the Bearcats over a four-year stretch.

Head Coach Marlene Piper is already in the Willamette Athletic Hall of Fame for her coaching success with the Bearcats from 1994 through 2001. Her record in eight seasons at WU was 146-83 (.638). She earned her 700th career victory, including previous head coaching positions, during the 1995 season.

Meritorious Service

Gery Ellibee

Ellibee was a standout athlete for the Bearcats in football and track and field. In addition, he has been a volunteer assistant track and field coach for jumpers and sprinters at Willamette for 41 years through the 2013 season. He began coaching during his senior year. Ellibee is a tremendous fan of the Bearcats and travels to many road contests.

He arrived at Willamette as a student in 1971 after transferring from Spokane Falls Community College. During his two seasons in track and field, Ellibee amassed six Willamette records.

In indoor track, he set a record in the long jump at 22’ 2” and contributed to setting the record in the mile relay at 3:28.8. Outdoors, he helped set the school record in the 880-yard relay as well as the mile relay in 3:20.6. He tied the WU record at the time in the 440-yard dash in 49.6 seconds. He still holds the Willamette record in the long jump at 23’ 9.75”.

Ellibee was Willamette’s team captain as a senior in track and field. He scored 62 points in meets during his senior season.

In football, he rushed for 902 yards and six touchdowns at Willamette. He earned All-NWC honors twice. His efforts helped the backfield set a WU single season rushing record that stood until the mid-1990s. Ellibee was chosen most inspirational by his teammates.

As a coach, he has provided guidance to numerous All-Americans and All-Conference athletes for more than four decades. He has been a great team motivator and individual mentor to countless student-athletes by inspiring them with his leadership and enthusiasm.

The 1995 Bearcat volleyball team is one of two teams that will be inducted into the WU Athletic Hall of Fame on Oct. 19.

The 1995 Bearcat volleyball team is one of two teams that will be inducted into the WU Athletic Hall of Fame on Oct. 19.