Oregon Sports Hall of Fame has new class
Three accomplished athletes, three college teams and one peerless coach were inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame on Tuesday evening.
But it was Harry Glickman's night at Multnomah Athletic Club.
The man who brought the Trail Blazers, the Buckaroos and so much more to Portland was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1986. On Tuesday, friends reflected on all Glickman has done for sports in the city and the state.
The tribute to Glickman, 93, capped the 37th annual Oregon Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Individuals who joined the Hall on Tuesday were University of Oregon track and field standouts Ashton Eaton and his wife Brianne Theisen-Eaton, paralympic swimming medalist Aaron Paulson and Roseburg High football coach Thurman Bell.
Three national championship college teams were inducted: Oregon State's 2006 and 2007 College World Series champions and the University of Portland's 2002 women's soccer national champions.
Bill Schonely served as master of ceremonies, conducting brief interviews with the inductees and team representatives.
Ashton Eaton, the two-time Olympic decathlon champion who won five NCAA titles as a Duck and set multiple world records, was not able to attend the ceremony because of a job opportunity. Eaton and his wife — who was at the ceremony — have both retired from track and field.
In his video message, Eaton recounted the pressure he faced after missing his first two pole vault attempts at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016. Knowing a third miss likely would mean no medal, Eaton recalled thinking, "Am I going to be afraid and hesitant? Or am I going to fight forward like I know how to do?
"That was a really surreal and kind of impactful one minute of my life. … I would say my greatest competitive achievement was overcoming that moment."
On advice for aspiring athletes, Eaton said: "You should constantly be figuring out how you can improve. Never settle."
Brianne Theisen-Eaton, from a small town in Saskatchewan, Canada, was a four-time NCAA champion at Oregon. She won the outdoor heptathlon twice. She also won two indoor pentathlon NCAA titles. A two-time silver medalist in the heptathlon at the world championships, Theisen-Eaton won the pentathlon gold medal at the world indoor championships last year in Portland.
Theisen-Eaton told the audience the javelin was the most frustrating, most rewarding and most fun of her events.
She joked that watching Ashton win gold at the 2012 Olympics made it look easy, but that representing Canada and all of the people who helped her along the way makes the Olympic Games a unique challenge.
"Competing at the Olympic Games and just seeing what you're physically, and more so mentally, able to deal with as an individual was a big learning experience for me," she said.
Bell's 332 victories coaching Roseburg football are the second-most in state history and the most at the large-school level. His teams won state titles in 1981, 1990, 1995 and 1996.
Bell credited the work ethic of his mom and dad for teaching him to set goals and work hard to achieve them. He credited the dedication of his players — many of whom were in attendance — for his longevity and success.
"I'm totally flabbergasted and overwhelmed with this. I feel really out of place with all of these great, great people that have done so much in athletics," Bell said.
As for the state of high school sports today, Bell said he laments the emphasis on specialization and recruiting of high school athletes.
Paulson, the adaptive sports inductee, was a member of the United States swimming team at five Paralympic Games and won Paralympic gold medals in relay races.
Stricken with polio as an infant in India, he was adopted by a Portland family and assisted by doctors at Shriners Hospital. He thanked his parents, friends and family and talked about his parents not treating him any differently than they treated his brother.
"Life's about the people that got you there. … Without that support, I wouldn't be sitting here today — not just athletically, but having the gift of life. I truly feel blessed," he said.
A number of players from the 2006 and 2007 OSU World Series championship teams attended the event. Coach Pat Casey said the seasons were much different, noting the 2007 team had to win a late-season series at UCLA just to reach the playoffs.
Those championships, Casey said, "are special. But they're really about our kids, our program, Oregon State. … I would like to tell you I've done great things, but I really haven't and (the players) have."
The 2002 University of Portland women's soccer team coached by Clive Charles won the program's first national title after six previous trips to the final four and two championship game losses. Christine Sinclair led the nation with 26 goals in 2002 and scored the winner in overtime to beat Santa Clara for the title.
"We were extremely determined. We knew we were playing for a higher purpose because everybody wanted to win that championship for Clive," said Pilots player Erin Misaki.
The tribute to Glickman, who Schonely called the father of professional sports in Oregon, wrapped up the festivities.
Glickman got his start promoting professional boxing in Portland. In 1952, he brought an NFL preseason game to Portland, starting a tradition that lasted into the late 1960s. Glickman also brought Buckaroos hockey to the new Memorial Coliseum in 1960 and a decade later landed an NBA franchise.
Glickman quipped that his greatest accomplishment was bringing Schonely to Portland. A longtime friend of former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, Glickman said he laments that Portland never got an NFL franchise, noting he believes Seattle got the team Portland would have had if the 1964 vote to build a dome stadium at Delta Park had passed.
Among those on hand to talk about Glickman's influence were Trail Blazers President Chris McGowan, former Trail Blazer Kiki Vandeweghe, former Blazers coach and general manager Bucky Buckwalter, former Buckaroo Tommy McVie and attorney Owen Blank.
Former NBA Commissioner David Stern gave a video tribute to Glickman, as did Berlin Hodges, who over four decades worked alongside Glickman as a trainer, coach and executive — first with the Buckaroos and then with the Blazers.
"When I would travel around the league, I was always grateful to feel the respect that our franchise enjoyed," said Buckwalter, a 2011 Oregon Sports Hall of Fame inductee. "Owners and GMs would consider a handshake from Harry was as good as gold."
McVie, who went on to coach and scout in the NHL but kept Portland as his home after joining the Buckaroos, said he and his family are in debt to Glickman for acts of kindness — among them paying the hospital bill when McVie's son, Dallas, was born.
Vandeweghe, now the NBA's executive VP for basketball operations, said he felt like he was part of a family during his time playing for the Blazers.
"Something really bigger than myself. And that's what Harry and the entire Glickman family brought to each and every Blazer," Vandeweghe said. "I can tell you for many of us in the league office he's a role model. And he's certainly one of my favorites."
In addition to the inductions, the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame handed out six $3,000 scholarships to 2017 high school graduates. Scholarship winners are Aaron Alexander (Molalla High), Faith Dunn (Neah-Kah-Nie High in Rockaway Beach), Hunter Knox (Harrisburg High), Katelyn Lester (McNary High in Keizer), Tia Lohman (Beaverton High) and Cody Stahl (Dayton High).