Air Force announces 6th athletic hall of fame class



The Air Force Academy announced its sixth class for induction into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. 

The class consists of two coaches, five athletes and one team. 

Coaches Rich Gugat (men’s tennis) and Paul Arata (men’s and women’s swimming), athletes Mike Thiessen (baseball and football), Jim Murphy (track and field), Seth Kelsey (fencing), Don Henderson (wrestling) and Rick McAlister (diving) and the 1995-96 back-to-back NCAA champion women’s swimming and diving teams will be inducted on Saturday, April 15, at 6 p.m. at Colorado Springs Marriott.

Gugat is the winningest coach in Academy history in any sport with 730 dual-match victories during his 36-year career from 1977 to 2009. He ranked No. 3 among active Division I coaches in wins at the time of his retirement. Gugat led the Falcons to 23 consecutive 20-plus win seasons and set a school record with a 50-match home win streak between 1995 and 1997. He was an amazing 168-11 at home during the 1990s. He was selected to the Colorado Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004.

Arata coached the men’s and women’s teams for 16 seasons from 1967-71 and 1973-83. He compiled a men’s record of 188-10 while his record with the women’s team was 113-5-1 for a combined 301-15-1 mark, a 95 percent winning percentage. During his reign, the men’s team had six All-Americans in eight events and one national champion. On the women’s side, there were six national champions in 12 events with 27 different women achieving All-American honors in 112 different events.

Thiessen, who currently serves as the football team’s offensive coordinator, is a 2001 Academy graduate where he was a standout in baseball and football. He became the first cadet drafted in the Major League Baseball draft, taken in the 42nd round by Arizona in 2001. Thiessen earned freshman All-American honors in 1998 and third-team All-American honors in 2000. He is the school’s all-time record holder for hits, games, runs, doubles, total bases and walks. He earned Mountain West offensive player of the year honors in football in 2000 while leading the Falcons to a 9-3 record and a 37-34 victory over Fresno State in the Silicon Valley Bowl.

Murphy is a 1966 Academy graduate and was the school’s first NCAA champion, winning the 5,000-meter run at the 1964 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships. He also finished third in the 1964 NCAA cross country championships. Murphy was the track and field and cross country program’s first All-American in each sport. He remains ranked among the program’s top-10 in the outdoor 5,000-meter run, ranking eighth with a 14:06.60. Murphy was named the USAFA Most Valuable Athlete in 1965 and was a recipient of an NCAA post-graduate scholarship.

Kelsey is a 2003 Academy graduate and three-time member of the U.S. Olympic team, competing in 2004, 2008 and 2012. He finished fourth in the 2012 Olympic Games in the epee. Kelsey earned the Gold Medalist at the World Championships in 2010 and 2012 and earned medals in world-wide competitions from 2003-2007. While at the Academy, Kelsey was a four-time NCAA All-American and won the NCAA championship in 2003. He earned the USAFA Outstanding Achievement Award in 2003 and was the fencing team’s most valuable fencer three times.

Henderson is a 1968 Academy graduate. He was the NCAA champion at 145 pounds in 1967, earning the distinction of being the lone NCAA champion in program history. He also became the program’s first three-time MIWA champion, earning the award in 1965, 1967 and 1968. Henderson served a team captain in 1968.

McAlister is a 1975 Academy graduate. He won the NCAA championship in 3-meter diving in 1974, becoming the only national champion in the history of the men’s swimming and diving program. He was undefeated in both 1- and 3-meter diving competitions during his career while helping the 1974-75 team to an undefeated dual meet record. A four-time All-American, McAlister earned the honor in 1973 for the 3-meter, in 1974 in both 1- and 3-meter and in 1975 in 1-meter. He was also a three-time team most valuable athlete.

The 1994-95 and 1995-96 women’s swimming teams were the first in Academy history to win a national championship, completing back-to-back titles. The Falcons posted a 20-6 dual meet record during that time under the direction of head coach Casey Converse, who is retiring this season after 29 years leading the program. Six Falcons claimed nine NCAA individual national championships in 1995 while seven Falcons earned 13 individual titles in 1996. Combined, 13 Falcons on those two teams earned 22 national titles and 16 earned All-American honors.  



Alonzo Babers, class of 1983, Track, 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist, All-American in track in 1983

Bob Beckel, class of 1959, Men’s Basketball, 1959 Helms All-American

John Clune, Athletics Administration, Director of Athletics, 1975-91

Chad Hennings, class of 1988, Football, 1987 consensus football All-American and Outland Trophy winner

Michelle Johnson, class of 1981, Women’s Basketball, 1995 CoSIDA Academic All-American

Brock Strom, class of 1959, Football, 1958 consensus All-American


Jim Bowman, Athletic Administration, former coach and administrator, 1958-2007

Callie Calhoun (Molloy), class of 1991, Track/Cross Country, multi All-American and national champion

Dee Dowis, class of 1990, Football, 1989 Heisman Trophy finalist

Ernie Jennings, class of 1971, Football, 1970 consensus football All-American

Terry Isaacson, class of 1964, Wrestling/Football, three-time wrestling All-American

Ben Martin, Coach, head football coach, 1958-77


Jim Conboy, Athletic Administration, head athletic trainer, 1955-98

Gail Conway (Gray), class of 1984, Track, two-time national champion

Chuck Delich, class of 1977, Ice Hockey, school’s all-time leading scorer

Bob Nieman, class of 1970, Swimming, two-time All-American

Scott Thomas, class of 1986, Football, consensus All-American in 1985


Karen Burton (Reeder), class of 1984, Swimming, 16-time NCAA Division II All-American

Fisher DeBerry, Coach, Head Football Coach, 1984-06, winningest in school history

Parker Hinman, class of 1964, Basketball, Football, Baseball and Track, first four-sport letterman at the Academy

Eric Mack, class of 1996, Track, six-time conference champion and three-time All-American

Patty Martinez (Gillette), class of 1983, Swimming, six-time NCAA Division II individual national champion

Carlton McDonald, class of 1993, Football, consensus All-American in 1992 and Thorpe Award runner-up


Maiya Anderson, class of 1997, Swimming, 12-time NCAA Division II All-American

Raymond Dudley, class of 1990, Men’s basketball, all-time leading scorer in program history

Gene Miranda, Coach, Men’s golf, all-time winningest coach in program history

Dana Pounds, class of 2004, Track, two-time national champion in the javelin

Bob Spear, Coach, men’s basketball, led program to two NCAA tournaments and most wins in program history

Bart Weiss, class of 1986, Football, conference offensive player of the year, runner up for Davey O’Brien award

1958 Football Team, Posted only undefeated season at 9-0-2 in program history and earned Cotton Bowl berth


Rich Gugat, Coach, Men’s Tennis, the Academy’s all-time winningest coach in all sports with 730 dual-match wins

Paul Arata, Coach, Men’s and Women’s Swimming, led programs to a combined 301-15-1 record

Mike Thiessen, class of 2001, Baseball/Football, two-time baseball All-American, football conference player of year

Jim Murphy, class of 1966, Track and Field, school’s first NCAA champion, winning the 5,000-meters in 1964

Seth Kelsey, class of 2003, Fencing, three-time Olympic team member and 2003 NCAA champion in epee

Don Henderson, class of 1968, Wrestling, program’s only NCAA champion, winning 145-pound title in 1967

Rick McAlister, class of 1975, Swimming and Diving, 1974 NCAA champ in 1-meter diving, four-time All-American

1995-96 Women’s Swimming and Diving Team, Won back-to-back NCAA championships in 1994-95 and 1995-96