UCF Athletics Hall of Fame Retrospect Series: 2004


GO KNIGHTS This year's Hall of Fame dinner is on Friday, April 10.
GO KNIGHTS
This year's Hall of Fame dinner is on Friday, April 10.
GO KNIGHTS

April 10, 2009

Orlando, FL (www.UCFAthletics.com) - Orlando, FL (www.UCFAthletics.com) - In commemorating the 10 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 2004 class, which featured UCF athletics icons Mike Gruttadauria, Heikki Ritvanen, Tyra Harper and Ken Leeks.

Below is the press release written on Sept. 29, 2004.

A Super Bowl champion and one of the NCAA's all-time scoring leaders are among the four former UCF athletes that make up the 2004 class of the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame. Volleyball player Tyra Harper and basketball player Ken Leeks will join football player Mike Gruttadauria, and soccer player Heikki Ritvanen (pronounced Hay-Kee Rit-vanen) as the latest to be honored by UCF. They will be formally inducted at a ceremony at the Doubletree Hotel Conference Center Oct. 8.

Gruttadauria was a four-year starter at center from 1991-94 and is widely considered the best center to ever play for UCF. He was named to the Orlando Sentinel's 25th Anniversary UCF Football Team. He signed with the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent after graduation and was the starting center on the St. Louis Rams' 2000 Super Bowl championship team, becoming the first from UCF to win a Super Bowl ring. He played seven seasons in the NFL with the Rams and the Arizona Cardinals before having his career cut short due to injury.

Ritvanen played for the Golden Knights from 1996-99 and finished his career with the third most goals in NCAA history (88) and posted the 10th highest point total in NCAA history (188). He holds the UCF and Atlantic Sun record for most goals and most points in a career and scored a school-record five goals in a game three times. He was a four-time first team All-Atlantic Sun and Atlantic Sun All-Tournament honoree as well as a four-time A-Sun All-Academic honoree.

Harper played from 1994-97 and was named first-team All-Atlantic Sun Conference three times and was named to the A-Sun All-Tournament Team three times. She was named the A-Sun Tournament MVP twice and was named A-Sun Player of the Year in 1997, in addition to earning a spot on the A-Sun All-Academic team. She led the team to four consecutive A-Sun titles and four NCAA Tournament appearances. She holds the school record for total blocks and is second to UCF Athletics Hall of Fame member Renata Menchikova in career kills. She is a former member of the US National team and now plays professional beach volleyball on the AVP circuit.

Leeks played from 1988-92 and led the team in scoring and rebounding for four consecutive years. He finished his as the third-leading scorer (1,763) in school history and the school's all-time leading rebounder (942), as well as the leader in blocked shots (141). He trails only UCF Athletics Hall of Fame members Bo Clark (2,886) and his brother Mike (2,085) on the school's all-time scoring list and is ahead of UCF Athletics Hall of Fame member Jerry Prather (1,728). He is one of only three players in school history to score more than 1,500 points and pull down more than 500 rebounds. Since leaving UCF he has traveled the world playing basketball professionally.

The UCF Athletics Hall of Fame was established in 1998 to honor those individuals who, through their demonstrated athletics achievement or service, have distinguished themselves and the University of Central Florida. All four of these new inductees as well as the 27 previous members, were chosen by a selection committee comprised of former UCF athletes, alumni association members, Golden Knights Club members, and UCF faculty and staff.

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