Former Air Force AD John Clune to be inducted into COS Hall of Fame
Clune was Air Force Director of Athletics from 1975-91
Former Air Force Director of Athletics John Clune is being inducted into the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation Hall of Fame, according to an announcement today. The Class of 2019 will be formally inducted and honored on Monday, Oct. 21, at The Broadmoor World Arena. The gala evening will begin with a reception at 5:00 p.m. and dinner at 7:00 p.m. Also on the menu is the popular sports silent auction, a feature of the event since its inaugural year in 2000.
John Clune graduated from the Naval Academy in 1954 and was an All-American basketball player. After graduation from Annapolis, he cross-commissioned into the Air Force. A native of Jersey City, N.J., Clune came to the Air Force Academy in 1975 and served as the Athletic Director until 1991. One of the most respected athletic administrators in America, he spearheaded Air Force’s successful move into the Western Athletic Conference in 1980, becoming the first service academy to join a conference. Clune was an active administrator in the WAC, serving on the compliance, finance and extra events committees. He initiated a comprehensive 10-sport women’s program at the Academy at the AIAW level in 1976 and then moved the women’s program to Division II in 1983. Clune served as the president of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (1984-85), was the chairman of the Board of Directors for the College Football Association in 1988, the associations’ president in 1989 and was the chairman of the Division I-A football committee.
He was instrumental in working with Colorado Springs officials to bring the Olympic Training Center, Olympic House and two Olympic Festivals to Colorado Springs. He also worked with the Air Force Academy Foundation in 1986 to build the Visitor’s Center. He also served as president of the Air Force Academy Athletic Association and was one of the 10 board members designated by Congress to serve on the Academy Board, which is the governing body of the Academy. While in the military, Clune was rated as a senior missleman. Among his military decorations are the Legion of Merit, two Meritorious Service Medals and the Air Force Commendation Medal. Clune lost a battle with cancer in 1992. In 1993, the Cadet Field House basketball arena was dedicated in his honor (Clune Arena). He was honored with the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 2003 as the recipient of the John L. Toner Award, given annually to an athletic director who has demonstrated superior administrative abilities and shown outstanding dedication to college athletics and particularly college football. Clune was a member of the first class of the Air Force Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007.
Hall of Fame Class of 2019
The following athletes/teams will be inducted into the Colorado Springs Hall of Fame in October.
Don Lucia, Colorado College hockey coach
Lucia coached the Tigers to a 166-68-18 mark from 1993-1999, winning three WCHA regular-season titles (after a 37-year drought) and an NCAA runner-up finish. He then left for Minnesota, where he went 457-247-73 and won two NCAA titles. His 736-403-102 career record is the eighth-best in NCAA history.
Allison Jones, Paralympian cycler and alpine skier
A mechanical engineer born without a right femur and whose right foot was amputated when she was 7 months old, Jones owns eight Paralympic medals (two gold, three silver, three bronze) earned across eight Games.
Aleisha (Latimer) Heier, Palmer track champion
The 1997 Colorado 5A state champion in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, Latimer later attended the University of Illinois and won the Big Ten 100-meter championship. She was also named U.S. High School Indoor Athlete of the Year by Track & Field News and still holds national high school records in the 55 and 60 meters at sea level.
Steve Bartalo, Doherty/Colorado State football
The 5-foot-9 Bartalo walked on at Colorado State in 1982 and went on to lead the Western Athletic Conference in rushing four consecutive years. His 4,813 career rushing yards remains best in Rams history by nearly 1,200 yards. His 1,211 carries ranks second to Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne in NCAA history. He played one season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and two seasons in the World League in Europe.
John Clune, Air Force athletic director
A 1954 Navy graduate, Clune cross-commissioned into the Air Force and came to the Air Force Academy as athletic director in 1975, a post he held until 1991. The Falcons moved into the Western Athletic Conference under his leadership, and the women’s programs transitioned from AIAW to NCAA Division II. He worked with Colorado Springs officials to bring the Olympic Training Center to the city and was awarded multiple military awards and medals. Air Force’s basketball arena was named in his honor in 1993, a year after his death from cancer. His wife, Pat, currently resides in Colorado Springs.
1995 Doherty Girls Basketball Team
The Carl Krug-coached Spartans went 25-0 and defeated Heritage for the 6A state title. The team finished the season ranked No. 3 nationally by USA Today after remaining in the publication’s top five throughout the season. Point guard Stephanie Frisch was a first-team all-state selection. Other standouts included Dena Koskovich, Nikki Swagger, Jacque Johnson, Chelsea Richardson, Mandy Gonser, and Karen Rants.
Col. F. Don Miller Sports Service Award – Carl Fetters
Fetters was a head coach in high school for 44 years in Colorado Springs and then served nine years as a linebackers coach at CSU-Pueblo. He was named to the Colorado High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2014 and was the first inductee to Cheyenne Mountain High School’s Hall of Fame in 2011. He won more than 200 games for the Indians football team and also led teams in girls' and boys' basketball and baseball while teaching physical education for 32 years. He was an NAIA All-American running back for Adams State after starring in football, basketball and baseball at Cheyenne Mountain.
Thayer Tutt Sportman Sward – David and Chris Jenkins
The father-son team’s Nor’wood Development Group has provided headquarters for a number of USOC National Governing Bodies, including USA Cycling, USA Wrestling, USA Triathlon and USA Volleyball. Their contribution of land allowed for the U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame, which is slated to open in 2020.