Boulder, Colo. The 15th class that will be inducted into the University of Colorado Athletic Hall of Fame this November will feature 10 Golden Buffalo legends who are representative of five different sports, along with a trailblazer in administration, all of whom have their special place in history created during their careers in a group that collectively covers over a century of CU athletics.
The 10, two of whom will be honored posthumously, cover a period starting in the 1890s through the 2000s. A pair earned their way into the Hall through coaching, one of whom has the stadium named for him, another through both playing and coaching and a fourth who was the first of just two women’s athletic directors in school annals. Two cross country and track stars, two skiers and two football players, one of whom also played baseball, round out the class.
The 2019 class will be the 15th inducted into the Hall since it was conceived in 1998, and the 10 will join 112 individuals (and the 1959 ski team as a unit) who have been enshrined to date (15 have been honored previously after their deaths).
Athletic director Rick George once again personally notified most of the living members of the upcoming class of their impending induction, as well as the next of kin for two who will be honored posthumously, Fred Folsom, the coach who made CU an early western power and for whom the stadium is named after, and Ed Pudlik, a star in both football and baseball who helped the Buffaloes transition into the Big 7 Conference in the late 1940s.
The group will officially be inducted in the Hall of Fame over the course of Nov. 7-9 (final details pending); they will also be featured in the Pearl Street Stampede parade on Friday night and will be introduced at halftime of the CU-Stanford football game on Saturday, Nov. 9, to complete the weekend.
Those to be inducted are:
Gary Barnett, Football Coach (1984-91; 1999-2005)
Jenny (Barringer) Simpson, Cross Country & Track (2005-09)
Brian Cabral, Football: Player & Assistant Coach (1974-77, 1989-2012)
Fred Folsom, Football Coach (1895-99, 1901-02, 1908-15)
Bruce Gamble, Skiing (1975-78)
Barry Helton, Football (1984-87)
Ed Pudlik, Football & Baseball (1946-49)
Dan Reese, Cross Country & Track (1982-87)
Jana (Rehemaa) Weinberger, Skiing (2003-06)
Jane Wahl, Women’s Athletic Director (1975-79)
Simpson, a four-time NCAA champion and Olympic bronze medalist, joins Chauncey Billups and Ceal Barry as those inductees who were selected in their first year of eligibility. An athlete must be at least 10 years removed from their CU career and if on a professional team, retired from that sport to be considered for induction (it was five years at one point until upped to 10 earlier this decade).
“I have been fortunate enough to have been recognized in different ways for my accomplishments as an athlete, but the CU Hall of Fame in the one I really wanted,” Simpson said. “I came to CU because I admired the already existing legacy in running, and I only dreamed I might become a footnote to that legacy. My dream was planted, nurtured and blossomed while I was a Buff."
“I look at my life lived and what lies ahead, and I see how much CU has and influences much of it,” she added. “I’m so grateful to be a Buffalo and humbled to be joining the Hall of Fame athletes who drew me to this university in the first place.”
She is one of six four-time NCAA individual champions at CU, three in cross country and track and three in skiing. She was recently joined by CU junior Dani Jones, who won the 5,000-meter run on June 8 for her fourth title (she had an indoor and outdoor season left to try and add to her total).
Reese could easily be considered CU’s “Godfather” in the steeplechase, as he was the first to truly excel on multiple occasions in the competition.
“Being inducted into CU’s Athletic Hall of Fame is validation that I had an impact on the school both while competing as a Buff and running after college,” Reese said. “Most people thought that I was weird for running the steeplechase, everyone knows that I must have been crazy to run over 100 of them."
“I also feel this is validation that the three Reese boy All-Americans did something that only a few schools in country have done, and I think this gives my brothers (Sam and Tom) some recognition as well. We were all part of the CU and Boulder running scenes for the better part of two decades and I’d like to thank the community that makes up CU Run Nation.”
Reese recalled a conversation with his teammates during his junior year and made a generous offer. “As I told them in 1984, I will never forget how they got me to NCAA's and enabled me to become All-American in cross country. I hope that they all show up and their travel is on me if they need help getting here.”
He also gave a shout out to the rest of his family and several coaches who helped him along the way, starting with his late high school coach, Bob Brown. Reese also acknowledged all of CU’s track coaches over the last 37 years: “David Troy, who convinced me to run the steeple; the late Jerry Quiller, a great supporter who enabled me to lead our team; Mike Gilbert, who helped give me the opportunity to run after college and to pursue my dream; and Mark Wetmore, a very willing supporter and adviser after my college days.”
Barnett joined Bill McCartney’s staff as an assistant in 1984 and was promoted to offensive coordinator in his final year on the staff in 1991. He left to become head coach at Northwestern, eventually guiding the Wildcats to back-to-back Big Ten Conference titles and the school’s first bowl games in 46 years. He returned to Boulder as CU’s 22nd full-time head coach in 1999, and would lead the Buffs to the 2001 Big 12 Conference title and four North Division titles. Within that magical 2001 season was the infamous 62-36 win over then No. 3 Nebraska (which was actually ranked No. 1 in the BCS Standings at the time).
“It's humbling to be joining so many great Buff athletes and coaches that have excelled to such an extraordinary level,” Barnett said. “I have so many wonderful players, coaches, administrators and fans to thank for this unbelievable honor.”
Title IX was signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon in June 1972; soon thereafter colleges across the nation starting either adding women’s programs and/or upgrading club teams to varsity status. And that meant at most schools the creating of women’s athletic departments and the position of women’s athletic director, which Jane Wahl would be named as CU’s first.
“What an amazing honor – and so unexpected that words still escape me,”! Wahl exclaimed after taking the call from CU’s deputy AD, Ceal Barry. “Working as the administrator for women’s athletics in the early years of the program was, in and of itself, very rewarding. The objective was the empowerment of women through the expansion of opportunities for them in sports. I was privileged to be on the ‘team’ of committed women athletes, dedicated coaches and support personnel that, with one heart and soul along with considerable sacrifice, saw those opportunities unfold. As you can imagine, it was slow at the beginning but everything eventually fell into place."
“Now to be inducted into the CU Hall of Fame and be in the company of so many of our amazing athletes, coaches and support staff — it is quite humbling, since it took all of our team to make it happen.”
Cabral, who lettered at linebacker (1975-77) and who went on to earn a Super Bowl ring with the Chicago Bears, is the longest tenured assistant coach in any sport at CU, starting as a volunteer for the 1989 season before serving 23 years full-time (1990-2012) under four different head coaches.
“There are no words to express what my induction into the CU Hall of Fame means to me and my family,” Cabral said. “The first time I drove up U.S. 36 and then downhill into Boulder, it instantly felt like home and I knew I wanted to be a Buffalo. Every day since, I have strived to pour my heart and soul into this program. I never could’ve imagined the blessings I’d receive in return, as a player and coach."
“I will never forget the coaches who believed in me and gave me my start here, he continued. “I am thankful for the teammates I had the privilege of sharing the field with. And I am humbled by every player that allowed me to be their coach, for they are the real Hall of Famers to me. I am honored to have worked alongside so many amazing coaches, and I also want to recognize the fans who make Folsom Field such an incredible place to be a part throughout my journey at CU.”
Helton was the first of 14 players who earned first-team All-American honors under McCartney, doing so twice in both 1985 and 1986. He finished second in the nation as a sophomore with a 46.0 average, and then fourth his junior season in 1986 with a 45.6 mark; he had net averages of 43.6 and 42.3, respectively, the first of which led the nation. He was an honorable mention selection as a senior (44.0 figure for 1987), making him the first of only two football players in school history to earn some level of All-American three times.
“It’s an honor I didn’t really expect,” Helton said. “I definitely identify myself as a CU guy, period. Never any problem with loyalty toward CU in my household. My wife graduated from CU as did my daughter, and my middle son will graduate from there (his oldest played baseball at Utah). It makes Christmas pretty easy because you can always get something with CU on it. And my daughter is even marrying a ‘Chip’ (a student who CU’s mascot costume), so both sides of the family will be CU."
“I have nothing but great memories of CU, and being able to get an award of this magnitude keeps making it better and better.”
Gamble was a member of four straight NCAA champion teams when he lettered from 1975-78; it was a part of seven straight under coach Bill Marolt and eight in a row by the school (’72-79). He is one of just seven CU skiers (and athletes for that matter) to be at least a three-time All-American and compete on four national title squads, and just one of three American-born skiers to do so.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to represent my teammates from the 70’s that won eight national championships in a row,” Gamble said. “But personally, it’s a validation of my life as a Buff. Thank you CU”!
Rehemaa Weinberger is the second women’s skier to be selected for induction and the first Nordic competitor of either gender. She was a five‐time first‐team All‐American and two‐time individual NCAA champion during her CU career (2003‐06), participating in 28 collegiate races, claiming 23 top five and 27 top 10 performances.
“I’m very excited and very honored,” she said. “I had no idea there were no individual Nordic skiers in the Hall of Fame yet, and there were so many great ones on the team before me, so that makes this even more of an honor to be able to represent that side of the sport. I was really surprised as well, I thought maybe after 10 or 20 years of coaching I might have a chance to get in.”
Folsom owns the highest winning percentage of any coach – in any sport – who coached more than one season, as he won 76.5 percent of his games in going 77-23-2 in three stints over 15 years. After he passed away in 1944, the name of Colorado Stadium was changed to Folsom Field.
Pudlik enrolled after serving in the European theater for two years in World War II and was a key performer in helping CU make a solid entrance into the old Big 7 Conference in 1948. His family was ecstatic that he was selected, particularly his 88-year old widow, Ellie, and his stepson, Joe Frye.
“Our family is most grateful to the university, and on behalf of his teammates and student body of his time at CU we are ecstatic to have him represent all of those who saw him play and cheered him on,” Frye said. “He was always referencing his playing buddies, and if he were alive, he’d definitely say this is an induction about them as well.”
All inductees were nominated by their peers in the Alumni C-Club or by members of the selection committee; 23 semifinalists emerged from over 40 names submitted over the last four years. There will now be 122 members (plus the ’59 ski team, CU’s first national champions in any sport) in the CU Athletic Hall of Fame since its inception in 1998. With an induction every year instead of on a biennial basis as was the case for the first 16 years of the Hall, CU has been able to get more of those who are deserving of the recognition honored in a shorter time span with larger induction classes over the last six years.