March 25, 2009
Orlando, FL (www.UCFAthletics.com) - In commemorating the previous UCF Athletics Hall of Fame inductions, UCF Athletics Communications will run a series of archival flashbacks to the previous classes. Today's flashback is the inaugural 1998 class, which featured UCF athletics icons Torchy and Bo Clark and Michelle Akers.
Below is the press release written on Feb. 20, 1998.
The Knight Booster office, in conjunction with the University of Central Florida Athletics Department, announced Friday that the father and son duo of Gene "Torchy" Clark and Bo Clark, along with Michelle Akers have been selected as the first-ever inductees into the UCF Athletic Hall of Fame. The inaugural class of honorees will be formally inducted in a ceremony April 18.
The UCF Athletic Hall of Fame honors those individuals who, through their demonstrated athletics achievement or service, have distinguished themselves and the University. "For a young school, UCF already has a rich athletic history," stated Hall of Fame Chairman Gary Walker. "The chosen inductees are truly outstanding individuals and we are proud to honor them through this Hall of Fame."
Torchy, responsible for starting the basketball program at UCF, coached the team from 1969-83, and compiled a record of 274-89 (.754) and led the team to six NCAA Division II Tournament appearances, including a berth in the 1978 Final Four. For Torchy, originally from Appleton, Wisc., this is the latest in a long line of hall of fame inductions including the Florida Hall of Fame and Sunshine State Conference Hall of Fame and the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame. He is currently an instructor in the physical education department at UCF.
Bo, who played at UCF between 1975-80, is the school's all-time leading scorer with 2,886 points. A three-time All-American, Bo led the nation in scoring during the 1978-79 season with an average of 31.6 points. Ironically, he was injured prior to the 1977-78 season and did not play on the team that advanced to the Final Four. He is currently the head basketball coach at Flagler College in St. Augustine.
Akers, a four-time All-American between 1984-88, was the 1988 recipient of the Hermann Award, soccer's version of the Heisman Trophy. She led the team to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including a berth in the Final Four in 1987. After graduating from the school she played professionally in Europe as well as on US National Team, developing a reputation as the best female soccer player in the world. She led the US to the first-ever Women's World Cup championship in 1991, earning the Golden Boot as the tournament's leading scorer. She was also a vital part of the gold medal-winning US squad in the Olympics in 1996. Originally from Seattle, she resides in Lake Mary, and is currently training as a member of the US National Team.
The three inductees were selected unanimously by the nine-person committee comprised of UCF faculty, staff, former athletes, alumni members and Knight Boosters. "It was a long, arduous process because there were so many deserving people," Walker said. "The committee took the job seriously and made three fine selections." There were more than 50 nominees.