SPORTS: 1970 basketball team, Sigmar, Feiro among first inductees into Peninsula College Hall of Fame
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The 1970 Peninsula College men’s basketball team will be among the first inductees into the newly formed Peninsula College Athletics Hall of Fame. The 1970 team, which featured longtime NBA referee Bernie Fryer, won the WAACC championship. The school also will retire Fryer’s No. 32 on Saturday.

Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The 1970 Peninsula College men's basketball team, which was led by Bernie Fryer, who had a successful career as an official and a player in the NBA, will headline the first inductees into the newly formed Peninsula College Athletics Hall of Fame.

The induction will take place at the college's Hall of Fame ceremony, set for 6 p.m. Friday at the Bushwhacker Restaurant in Port Angeles.

The school also will retire Bernie Fryer's jersey number at halftime of Saturday's game between the Peninsula Pirates and the Olympic Rangers.

In addition to the Washington Athletic Association of Community Colleges championship team, the first inductees also include the late Arthur Feiro, the late Dr. Wally Sigmar and two surprise guests to be announced.

“This is something we've been talking about for some time,” said Peninsula College Director of Athletics Rick Ross.

“We haven't had a facility before where we could properly house a Hall of Fame, but our new gymnasium foyer lends itself perfectly to that. I'm honored and thrilled that this is finally happening.”

Peninsula College also is collaborating with the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges to dually induct the 1970 basketball team.

Fryer was inducted into the NWAACC Hall of Fame as an individual in 1992, but the entire team will join him Friday.

Feiro was previously inducted into the NWAACC Hall of Fame in 1989, and Dr. Sigmar in 1995.

“This is a unique opportunity to start our own Hall of Fame and also to work with the NWAACC to bring in the 1970 team at the same time,” Ross said.

“There are many deserving candidates to go into our Hall, but we're starting with five and will build that over the coming years.”

1970 basketball team

While the college has been on a championship run of late, with five NWAACC soccer championships and one basketball title in just the last four years, for its first 50 years the buzz in the sports community was all about the 1970 team.

Jerry Allen, CEO of Seven Cedars Casino who is part of the organizing committee for the Hall of Fame event, called that team's state championship the first such major accomplishment in Port Angeles' sports history.

“That was a big deal,” Allen said. “We had the 1966 Port Angeles team place second and some minor sports championships, but that was the first major championship in this community's history.”

Fryer, who stepped down from his position as vice president and director of officials for the NBA two years ago, continues to work for the NBA as an advisor and video specialist for its officials.

According to the National Basketball Referees Association, before becoming an NBA official, Fryer averaged 6.3 points, 3.0 assists and 1.8 rebounds with the Portland Trail Blazers (1973-74) and New Orleans Jazz (1974-1975) and was named to the Second All-Rookie Team in 1974.

He also averaged 7.8 points, 2.9 assists and 2.4 rebounds in nine games for the Spirits of St. Louis in the ABA in 1974-75.

After Peninsula College, Fryer played at Brigham Young University, where he was an All-WAC honoree in 1972.

Fryer said he is looking forward to the event.

“It is very rewarding to have our team be remembered for the success we had,” Fryer said.

“For me personally, my experience at Peninsula was, and still is, one of the best of my basketball career.”

Fryer scored 57 points in Peninsula's come-from-behind, double-overtime 132-130 win over Lower Columbia in the championship game. That still stands as the single game scoring record for an NWAACC playoff game.

However, what made the win so memorable was that it was a Cinderella story and a team effort that won the championship, according to head coach Jack Estes, who now resides in Manhattan, N.Y.

“Bernie was clearly the star, but he wasn't alone,” Estes said.

“This was really a team, a group of young men who worked together. They passed and they pressed and they shared the victory.”

Estes remains amazed his team was able to claim the title, which required a large comeback against Lower Columbia College in the final game.

“I had a dream midseason that we won the championship,” Estes said.

“This was a magical season. A small-sized team from a small town, representing the smallest college in the state, went up against big budgets and big players from big schools.

“I still can't believe it. When we were down by a score of 100-81 with only six minutes remaining, playing at our opponent's home court and having been beaten badly by that same team only two weeks earlier, 129-91, how did we pull it out?

“Unbelievable still, all these years later.”

Looking for more

According to Peninsula College records, members of that team included Larry Baker, Mitch Blore, Rocky Brecht, Bernie Fryer, Bob Jones, Keith Lingvall, Brad Maier, Bud O'Meara, Harley Robinson, Art Ruud, Dan Ruud, Darrl Sanford, Dan Schleiffers, Jack Werkau and manager Mark Bowes.

“We were successful finding addresses and getting invitations out to most of these players,” Ross said.

“However, we could use help from those in the community to spread the word.

“We're not going to be able to get all of them there, but it promises to be a pretty special night for those who can attend.”

In addition to Friday's ceremony, the college will honor the inductees in front of the home fans and officially retire Fryer's jersey No. 32 during halftime of the men's game Saturday, which tips off at 7 p.m.

Arthur Feiro

Feiro was a member of Peninsula College's faculty when the institution opened its doors in 1961.

In addition to teaching and paving the way for the establishment of a marine laboratory, later named for him, Feiro served the college as athletic director, director of intramurals and dean of students.

He was instrumental in the success of the 1970 championship basketball team, and he helped found the NWAACC in the early 1970s, transitioning from the WAACC.

He also hired Kathy Murphy-Carey in 1975 to coach the first NWAACC women's sports teams. He passed away the same year Peninsula College dropped its athletic program in 1982.

“Art was such a big part of Peninsula's history, it was a slam dunk that he would be among the first wave of inductees into our Hall of Fame,” Ross said.

“He was everybody's favorite teacher, he was a ferocious competitor, he was an innovator, and he was an outstanding leader.

“No one talks about our history without sharing stories about Art.”

Dr. Wally Sigmar

Sigmar became president of Peninsula College in 1995 and was instrumental in bringing athletics back to Peninsula College in 1997, and in improving the college's athletic facility with new bleachers, a new gym floor surface, scoreboards and a field reconstruction to support soccer and softball.

The college fielded men's and women's basketball teams starting in the fall of 1997 and added men's soccer and women's softball in the fall of 2000.

Sigmar was inducted into the NWAACC Hall of Fame in 1995 for winning five NWAACC championships during an 11-year coaching career at Skagit Valley College (1974-1982).

Peninsula's fourth President passed away in 2000, just two months before the first Pirate soccer team took the field.

“Wally was the people's President,” Ross said.

“He made every employee, every community member, and I'm sure his colleagues across the region, all feel like close personal friends.

“His passion for athletics and his leadership with our committee changed the face of our college.”

Sigmar, worked with Ross, Jim Lunt, the late Roger Reidel, who was Board of Trustees Chair, and several community members during the 1996-97 academic year when the NWAACC approved Peninsula's request to join the conference.

“Athletics is one small piece of what makes this college a destination college, but Sigmar set the bar pretty high and we've strived all these years to run the kind of program he would have been proud of,” Ross said.

Surprise inductees

Peninsula College will induct two other members into its inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame, to be announced the night of the event.

“We have two more very deserving inductees that we wanted to surprise at the event,” Ross said.

“This is a very big night in the storied history of Peninsula College athletics, and I'm very pleased with the first group we're bringing in.”

Rob Sorensen, former owner of Sorensen's Sports and long-time Port Angeles sports advocate and historian, will serve as master of ceremonies for the event, which begins with a social hour at 6 p.m.

The induction ceremony will follow at 7 p.m. at the Bushwhacker.

Tickets for the event are $20 and will include appetizers and an open beer and wine bar.

Tickets are available by contacting Peninsula College athletic development coordinator and men's head basketball coach Mitch Freeman at mfreeman@pencol.edu, or by phone at 360-417-6467.

The event will carry over to Saturday, where the college's first Athletics Hall of Fame inductees will be recognized in front of the home fans and where Fryer's jersey will be retired during halftime of the men's game.

The Pirate women play Olympic at 5 p.m. and the men tip off at 7 p.m.

Port Angeles' radio and print media personality Scooter Chapman will serve as master of ceremonies for that event.

Last modified: January 13. 2014 6:10PM
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