CLAREMONT, Calif. – A group of four Claremont-Mudd-Scripps standout alumni have been selected as inductees into the CMS Alumni Association Athletics Hall of Fame, Class of 2016. This year's class of Stags and Athenas are officially going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday, Nov. 12 at Claremont McKenna College's Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum.
The Class of 2016 includes three Claremont McKenna College graduates (Billy Nash '75 – Football; Regina Schafnitz '01 – Volleyball; Michael Sutton '76 – Men's Swim/Water Polo, CMS Coach and Director of Athletics) and one inductee from Harvey Mudd College (Katie Ray '02 – Track & Field). Nash and Sutton's playing careers were during the Claremont Men's College era.
"We are thrilled to celebrate the inductions of four new members of the CMS Alumni Association Athletics Hall of Fame," Hall of Fame Committee chair Paul Settles said. "With the Class of 2016, we will honor athletic excellence from several generations of CMS student-athletes, and the coaching and athletic director leadership legacy of Mike Sutton. This will be an evening to remember."
Individual and team accolades for the Class of 2016 are many and include All-Conference selections and Conference MVPs, along with All-Region and All-America award recognition and NCAA participation. Outstanding accomplishments were made by this group that spanned student-athlete, coaching and administrative levels of CMS Athletics.
Katie Ray '02 (HMC - Track & Field)
A four-year member of the track & field team, Ray twice earned HMC Athlete of the Year honors (2001 and 2002) as a junior and senior. Also in 2002, she was the SCIAC and NCAA West Region Athlete of the Year. She became an NCAA All-America in three events: heptathlon (second), 100 hurdles (fourth) and 4x100 relay (seventh). She ran the anchor on the 4x100 relay, which set an SCIAC record of 47.30 and placed fourth at the NCAA Championships. Her best time in the 100 hurdles (14.40) was the second-fastest time in SCIAC history and her best mark in the heptathlon (4,733) was fourth-best in SCIAC history upon graduation. Katie held the heptathlon, high jump and 100 hurdle CMS records when she graduated.
Billy Nash '75 (CMC – Football) – deceased
Nash played four seasons (1971-74) for legendary Stags head coach John Zinda. The '71 squad went 7-2 overall and finished in second place in SCIAC and that same season, Nash made the All-District first team. In 1971 and 1974, Nash put together first-team All-SCIAC seasons and he was Team MVP in 1972 and 1974. Also during the '72 season, he was selected as Southern California Player of the Week. As a senior in '75, Nash was chosen the CMC Male Athlete of the Year. Nash was a four-year All-Conference selection. After his career at CMS, Nash was invited by the Dallas Cowboys to training camp in 1975. The Cowboys cut Nash and then he went on to a brief career with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League.
Regina Schafnitz '01 (CMC – Volleyball)
A four-year starting outside hitter (1997-2000), her explosive jump and dynamic play left her among the most powerful volleyball players in the history of the Athena program upon graduation. Her drive to improve and unwillingness to allow excuses to govern the play of her and her teammates, according to her coach, were largely responsible for the 1,175 kills she accumulated in her career. She received All-SCIAC honors in each of her four years and was an All-West Region team member in 1997 and 1998 and was a three-year team captain. She was the career kills leader when she graduated. She also played basketball for the Athenas in 1997, served on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and worked in the CMS equipment room.
Michael Sutton '76 (CMC - Men's Swim/Water Polo, CMS Coach and Director of Athletics)
Sutton's career as a student-athlete, coach and administrator within CMS Athletics has spanned portions of five decades, beginning with his four years as a member of the Stag water polo and swimming programs. As a swimmer, Sutton swam on three SCIAC championship teams, was first team All-SCIAC and NCAA All-American and during his senior season, captained the Stags. As a water polo player, Sutton had a first team All-SCIAC season as a junior and senior and he played on two SCIAC championship teams.
Following graduation, Sutton took a head coaching position at San Clemente High School. After two years, he returned to CMS and started as the head coach for the men's water polo (1979-1997) and swim teams (1979-2000), leading to an impressive run of domination of the SCIAC in both sports as well as bringing the Stags to become a major player at the NCAA level. As a water polo coach, Sutton's SCIAC record over 19 years was 178-12. He had five All-American polo players, 14 SCIAC MVPs, and 50 first team All-SCIAC players. His teams won the SCIAC Championships 15 times, including 11 in a row from 1982 to 1992.
Within the swimming program, Sutton had a 101-4 SCIAC dual meet record. Individually, his swimmers were named All-American 171 times. He coached 18 NCAA Division III national champions, established 11 NCAA records, as well as 163 SCIAC champions and 10 SCIAC Swimmers of the Year. As a team, the Stags won 18 SCIAC Championships under Sutton and placed 15 times in the top-10 at the NCAA Championships, including eight times in the top-4. His 34 combined SCIAC championships were the most ever by a single SCIAC coach in a career when he moved away from coaching. He also coached the women's swim team for a season (1999-2000).
His highly-successful coaching career concluded when he moved into the role as Director of Athletics, becoming the fourth AD in CMS history. He served 16 seasons as Director of Athletics and Physical Education at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps after a 21 year coaching career in the department. During his tenure as director of athletics, Sutton oversaw a department that grew to 21 sports -10 men's, 11 women's - at the NCAA Division III level in addition to 13 club sports, an intramurals program and physical education department. Sutton oversaw the addition of women's lacrosse and women's golf to the varsity level. Approximately one in six students at Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College and Scripps College participated in intercollegiate athletics at CMS under Sutton.
Over his tenure, CMS teams won over 100 SCIAC titles in 17 of the 21 sports, a SCIAC-best 17 tournament titles and captured 13 overall SCIAC All-Sports trophies. The success of CMS Athletics across the board has seen the program earn six top-25 finishes under Sutton in the NCAA Division III Director's Cup standings, including a program-best tie for 10th place finish in 2015-16. CMS won two NCAA Division III team national championships (men's tennis – 2015 and men's golf – 2016) on Sutton's watch.
By Chris Watts
Director of Athletics Communication
Claremont McKenna College
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