Teammates, friends, family, coaches, Hall of Fame members, and numerous others from the three-college Claremont McKenna-Harvey Mudd-Scripps Colleges community turned out in force for the CMS Alumni Association Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction Ceremony, to celebrate the addition of four new members.
The Class of 2016 included 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). The ceremony took place Nov. 12 at CMC's Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum. Saturday's banquet marked one of the largest turnouts – if not the largest – in the Hall of Fame's history, as nearly 200 registered guests attended the event.
Welcome remarks from Terrance Tumey, the CMS Director of Athletics, Physical Education & Recreational Services and William B. Arce Professor and George R. Roberts Fellow for CMC, opened the evening. An invocation from Rev. O. Leon Wood, Jr., chaplain of the Claremont Colleges, followed and then guests had dinner. Master of Ceremonies Michael Haas '79 led the program throughout the evening.
As a prelude to the new Hall of Famers being inducted, CMS honored its 2016 Wall of Fame inductees, 17 CMS athletes from the Class of 2016 who graduated with a 3.0 grade-point average or higher and were first-team All-Conference during their careers. CMS also presented the 1981 NCAA Division III national championship Stag tennis team with its national championship rings. Of the 13 team members, 10 came back to campus for the ring ceremony as did former head coach and CMS Hall of Famer Hank Krieger. The '81 Stags led by Krieger were the first CMS team to win a national championship as an NCAA member.
The first new member honored was former Stag football tailback Billy Nash, who was recognized posthumously. Teammate and brother-in-law Timothy Wright '77 presented the Hall of Fame plaque to Nash's three sons (Billy Nash III, Brandon Nash, and Brent Nash). Nash, the CMC Athlete of the Year in 1975, also earned All-Conference, All-District and Team MVP distinctions during his career. After his career at CMS, Nash was invited by the Dallas Cowboys to training camp in 1975.
Next, Katie Ray took her turn at the podium. With her selection to the Hall of Fame, Ray became the first female student-athlete from Harvey Mudd College to be inducted. Ray, an NCAA All-American and CMS record holder, twice earned HMC Athlete of the Year honors (2001, 2002) as a junior and senior.
Regina Schafnitz, an All-Conference and All-Region Athena volleyball player, spoke third after being introduced by her former CMS teammate and later, head coach, Dianna Graves '98. Over the course of Schafnitz's four-season career as an outside hitter, she racked up 1,175 kills and graduated as the CMS career leader in that category.
Long-time administrator and head coach Mike Sutton wrapped up the evening as the final 2016 inductee to be honored. Sutton served 16 seasons as Director of Athletics and Physical Education at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps after a 21-year coaching career in the department. As a head coach, his teams (men's swimming and men's water polo) won a combined 33 conference championships, and as the Director of Athletics, CMS had a tremendous amount of success on the conference and national levels.
There are 124 members in the CMS Alumni Association Athletics Hall of Fame. Candidates for the Hall of Fame may be considered for selection no sooner than 10 years after their graduation. Typical candidates are alumni, coaches, and administrators who received recognition in one or more of the following categories during their careers: first-team All-Conference, All-Region and All-America awards; records set at an institutional, conference or national level; a national championship in any sport. CMS inducted Pete Welsh '50 as its first member in 1989.