Athletics Excellence at the Top of the Nation
Few colleges and universities in the nation have achieved the remarkable athletic and academic successes as those earned by ASC student-athletes, teams and coaches over the past 51 years. Starting with the great football teams of 1946-49 featuring Colorado Sports Hall of Fame inductee Lawrence "Spud" Orr, the RMAC-dominating football teams of the late 1950s and early 1960s coached by Darrell Mudra, and the exciting basketball teams of the mid-'50s led by Collier Magazine All Star Marv Motz, ASC has made a lasting mark in the San Luis Valley and the state of Colorado.
That early success was followed by the outstanding men's basketball teams of 1965-70 featuring All Americans Lonnie Porter, Willie Davis and big Ed Kemp, and the beginning of the most remarkable wrestling and cross country programs in the country. Starting in 1968 with a National Championship right here in the college's Plachy Hall, ASC's wrestlers went on to capture eight national titles, while the men's cross country teams coached by the legendary Dr. Joe I. Vigil began a run of national titles in 1971 that reached 15 by 1994, earning recognition as a small college dynasty by Sports Illustrated.
Jeff Geiser's football squads of 1988-90 caught everyone's fancy as they earned the NAIA national No.1 ranking, entered the National Playoffs behind the passing of All American Bobby Saiz, and earned the national runner-up finish. Meanwhile Rodger Jehlicka's wrestlers fought their way to the national championship in 1990, then two years later got the whole state excited with a furious last-day comeback that produced a record 10 All Americans, finishing just a few points short of the national title.
Damon Martin's women's cross country teams became the talk of the nation as they won seven national championships in the past eight years, and dethroned 10-time national champion Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo in 1992, the same year ASC's men's cross country squad shocked the country by becoming the first team in collegiate cross country history to record a perfect score in national competition, placing 1st through 5th with an incredible 4-second pack time and a score of 15 points.
The year 1992 also saw the men's indoor track and field team capture its 2nd national title in three years, the first coming in 1990, the same year Susan Phillips' softball team stunned the national raters by earning a spot in the NAIA National Tournament in Pensacola, Fla., placing 9th. The trophies stand proudly right beside the ASC women's 1985 NAIA Indoor National Championship trophy.
Meanwhile, Vivian Frausto's volleyball team, last in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in 1985, steadily improved, capturing two consecutive conference championships in 1992 and 1993, losing only one conference match in posting a remarkable 23-1 record.
And who will forget the conference and district dominating women's basketball teams of 1980-85 coached by the colorful Jack "Doc" Cotton and led by such talented All Americans as Deb Gilbert and Dominique Skeehan, plus coach Dick "Drag" Drangmeister's RMAC Championship men's basketball team of 1990-91 and All American Mike Hall's breathtaking, national record-setting 74 consecutive free throws without a miss?
With these successes, it becomes clear how Adams State has enjoyed such unprecedented athletic achievement. It is no wonder, then, that ASC student-athletes have now accounted for 976 All American honors, including such greats as kicker/punter Don Cockroft who went on to fame with the Cleveland Browns, and Olympic athletes Pat Porter, Julie Jenkins, Mirsada Buric, Martin Johns and Shane Healy.