PASADENA, Calif. (May 23, 2016) – Caltech Athletics inducted its third class into the Hall of Honor on May 22, enshrining five former student-athletes as individuals, one coach and a championship-winning team. They join 14 other athletes, two pioneers, one coach and one team already enshrined in the pantheon of Caltech Athletics history.
The class of 2016 consists of Jim Hamrick '86, Cailin Henderson (Sibley) '97, Chris McKinnon '83, Folke Karl Skoog '32, Gregg Wright '69, 25-year coach Bert LaBrucherie and the 1953-54 Men's Basketball team.
Caltech also revealed its brand-new physical Hall of Honor display, which consists of a television slideshow display and mural including every current inductee and other notable former and current student-athletes, coaches and teams.
Jim Hamrick '86
Hamrick is the most lauded player in Caltech baseball history, having earned All-SCIAC honors all four years and set 10 single-season and career program records in 1985 alone. A two-time winner of the Alumni Baseball Trophy, he also earned the John C. Peterson Freshman Trophy and was named the Caltech Outstanding Athlete as a senior. Hamrick made First Team All-SCIAC once and was recognized by the conference as a catcher, pitcher and utility player at least once each. He still holds eight program records, including both single-season and career marks in runs, RBI and home runs.
Cailin Henderson '97
Cross Country, Track & Field
Henderson competed at the NCAA Championships in both cross country and track & field, including becoming the program's first-ever female representative in track & field and placing 115th in cross country. A three-time First Team All-SCIAC cross country runner, she placed fourth in the NCAA West Regional 5k and claimed the individual SCIAC title in the 3000m, running a 10:06.78, which is still a program record by more than 30 seconds. She finished her career ranking second all-time in both the 5000m and 1500m and still ranks second and fourth, respectively. Henderson garnered 10 Coach's Awards between the two sports as well as four Most Outstanding Runner honors (the only Beaver with more than two), three Outstanding Female Track Athlete accolades, one Francis W. Davis Female Athlete of the Year honor and the Basil Katem Golden Ankle Dedication Award as one of just four females to be recognized in a 19-year span. She led the cross country team to its first winning season in 1995, placing fifth in the SCIAC and sixth in the West region, and served as team captain of track & field for three years.
Chris McKinnon '83
Swimming & Diving, Water Polo
McKinnon accomplished the rare feat of qualifying for the NCAA Championships in each of his four years at Caltech, swimming a total of nine events at the national meet. One of just four swimmers in history to represent the Beavers on the national NCAA scene, he placed a high of fourth in the 400 IM, along with a seventh-place finish in the 200 IM and back-to-back eighth places in the 400 IM. Upon completion of his career, he held 14 program records simultaneously and still retained four entering the 2015-16 academic year. He was a six-time SCIAC champ, including sweeping all three individual events in both 1981 and 1982, and a two-time runner-up. One of just two former swimmers to earn the Campbell Trophy all four years and a two-year captain, he also starred on the water polo team, earning All-SCIAC honors three times and one Coach's Cup, capping his career with Caltech Outstanding Athlete recognition.
Folke Karl Skoog '32
Cross Country, Track & Field
One of three documented Olympians in Caltech Track & Field history, Skoog, who emigrated to the United States in 1925, was a three-time SCIAC champion in track & field and claimed one cross country title before going on to represent his home country of Sweden in the 1932 Summer Olympics hosted in Los Angeles. He placed sixth in his heat of the 1500-meter run, missing out on fourth and a place in the Final by just 0.8 of a second, while his time of 3:59.6 would have placed second in either of the other two heats. During his collegiate career, Skoog set track & field program records in the 1-mile and 880-yard runs twice each, as well as the 3-mile record in cross country. As a rookie, he set both the 1- and 2-mile freshman records and led the Beavers to their first championship in team history. Skoog won his only cross country title and completed the 1- and 2-mile track & field double at SCIACs as a senior after finishing runner-up in the 2-mile and placing fourth in cross country the year before. Skoog also was a renowned skiier who led the 1931 Beavers to claim the first perpetual J.A. Meyers trophy with wins in the 100-yard dash and 1.5-mile cross country events.
Following his athletic career, Skoog pioneered a number of breakthroughs in plant physiology, namely the discovery of cytokinins and soon earned his PhD in biology from Caltech for his work with auxin, a plant hormone. He continued his career at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he taught and eventually co-published one of the most-cited papers in plant tissue culture concerning a then-unknown plant growth regulator in tobacco juice. His extensive list of accolades includes a National Medal of Science, election as a foreign member to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Gregg Wright '69
Swimming & Diving, Water Polo
A two-time All-American and two-time SCIAC champion in the 200 Back, Wright became the first Beaver to represent Caltech at the NCAA Championships in 1966-67, placing 10th. Besides his two individual titles, Wright recorded a further five runner-up and two third-place finishes between the 200 Back, 200 and 400 IM. He also swam the backstroke leg of the 400 Medley Relay that placed fourth and sixth at the NAIA Nationals, in addition to individual places of third, fourth and fifth in two years across the 100 and 200 Back events. He served as team captain, won the Campbell Trophy once and set five different program records over his career. Wright also starred on the water polo team, garnering First Team All-SCIAC and NAIA District 3 honors once while leading the team to a second-place finish. A co-captain as a senior, he also earned the Coach's Cup once and was named Caltech Outstanding Athlete.
Wright went on to receive his M.D. from Case Western Reserve and M.Ed. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and now works in child welfare in a variety of educational settings. He is a member of the Medical and Environmental Work Group National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children, a board member of the Nebraska Alliance for Drug Endangered Children, worked on the Lincoln, Nebraska Mayor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Healthcare Safety Net 2009 and participated in myriad projects with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Center on Children, Families and the Law. Also an accomplished Masters swimmer, Wright has recorded several USMS Top 10 times in his age bracket.
1953-54 Men's Basketball
Coach: Carl L. Shy
Players: Fred Anson '54, William "Bill" Chambers '55, Dan Chilton, Chin-Kuang Jack Chow, Phil Conley, James "Jim" Koontz '56, James "Jim" Tyler, Richard "Dick" Smith '54, Howard "Howie" Shanks, Eugene "Gene" Nelson '56, George Madsen '55 and Paul Lindfors
Managers: James Higgins, Milton Kimmel
The 1953-54 men's basketball team won the only outright conference title in program history, claiming the SCIAC crown with a 6-2 record – a high-water mark for wins that stood until the 2015-16 team's record seven. Having previously tied for the four-team conference title with Occidental in 1943, Head Coach Carl Shy led the Beavers to the undisputed championship by beating every conference opponent at least once, along with scoring a record 112 points in a 50-point win over then-non-conference La Verne, both records which still stand today against NCAA competition. Caltech was led by First Team All-SCIAC wing and Rhodes scholarship finalist Fred Anson, Second Team All-SCIAC forward Bill Chambers and Second Team All-SCIAC guard Howie Shanks, a junior transfer after graduating from PCC in 1952. Anson, a member of the inaugural Hall of Honor class in 2014, held the program career scoring record for 40 years and still boasts the highest points-per-game average in both a career (20.7) and season (22.8). Shy boasted quite the résumé as well, having earned a gold medal in the 1936 Summer Olympics after playing college basketball at UCLA. While serving as the coach at Caltech, he was also captain of the narcotic division of the LA Police Department.
After posting a 5-3 record in 1952-53 and with the majority of the team returning, expectations were high entering the historic season despite the Beavers playing their home games at PCC and other local gymnasiums, with Brown Gymnasium construction not finished until the following year. A 2-0 start to conference play with narrow wins over Occidental and Pomona-Claremont had Caltech in a tie with defending champion Whittier, but the Beavers fell in their next game to Redlands, 59-56. After a four-game non-conference break, the Beavers crushed Whittier, 68-53, to hand the Poets their first SCIAC loss of the year and force another tie atop the standings at 2-1. Whittier avenged the defeat barely a week later, but Caltech kept its hopes of a title alive with a thrilling 74-72 victory over then-first place Redlands and sealed at least a share of the championship with a 76-59 thrashing of Oxy in the following game. With the Beavers and Bulldogs tied atop the standings at 5-2 and Whittier finished for the season at 5-3, Caltech needed to beat last-place Pomona-Claremont along with an Oxy upset of Redlands. The Bengals from Eagle Rock obliged while the Beavers posted their largest margin of victory in the conference, 67-43, over the Tigers to claim the championship outright. Three-time SCIAC scoring champion Anson poured in 26 points while Chambers and Phil Conley scored 15 and 11, respectively, to account for more than three-quarters of Caltech's total, with George Madsen and Shanks rounding out Shy's regular starting five. The team and student body celebrated the championship with a bonfire on California Blvd.
Football, Track & Field, Cross Country
LaBrucherie took the reins of the football program in 1949 as well as track & field the following year, embarking on a 25-year career which ended with him also coaching cross country once the football program was relegated from varsity status in 1968. His tenure was highlighted by the football program's 4-3 record in 1957 – its first winning season since 1945 – and a career 107-105 record in track & field dual meets, including a second-place finish in the SCIAC in his first year. LaBrucherie arrived at Caltech after three years as head coach at his alma mater of UCLA, where he led the Bruins to the 1947 Rose Bowl and was later inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1987. He led the football team to a fourth-place finish in 1951 – its best in 10 years – and its first SCIAC win since 1946. He helmed track & field to its best finish (second) in the SCIAC since its 1942 title, in addition to a remarkable six program records from his time still standing, and compiled a 13-27 dual meet record over five years coaching cross country. A total of 47 football players earned All-SCIAC honors under his tutelage, including 23 First Team selections, while track & field athletes racked up 139 top-5 finishes at the conference meet. The extensive list of elite athletes he coached includes six who have already been inducted to the Hall of Honor – Manny Bass, Phil Conley, Alan Kleinsasser, Fred Newman, Howell Tyson and Dick Van Kirk.
Congratulations to our inductees!
Learn more about the Hall of Honor: http://gocaltech.com/information/HallOfHonor/CaltechHOH