PC Inducts Team, 4 individuals into Hall of Fame
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, headlined the first inductees into the newly formed Peninsula College Athletics Hall of Fame at a ceremony held January17, at the Bushwhacker Restaurant.
In addition to the Washington Athletic Association of Community Colleges championship team, the first inductees also included the late Arthur Feiro, the late Dr. Wally Sigmar, Kathy Murphy-Carey and Jerry Allen.
“This is something we’ve been talking about for some time,” said 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 collaborated 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 went in at the ceremony on Friday. Feiro was previously inducted into the NWAACC Hall of Fame in 1989, and Dr. Sigmar in 1995.
“This was 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 Men’s 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. He 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 them the championship, according to head coach Jack Estes, who now resides in Manhattan, NY.
“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.”
“I had a dream mid-season 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.”
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.
In addition to the ceremony on Friday, the college honored the inductees in front of the home fans and officially retired Fryer’s jersey No. 32 during halftime of the men’s game.
The late Art 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
The late Dr. Sigmar became President of Peninsula College in 1995 and was instrumental in bringing athletics back to Peninsula College in 1997 and 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,” said Ross, who served with Dr. Sigmar, 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.”
Kathy Murphy-Carey, who retired in December, was hired by Art Feiro in 1975 as a counselor, volleyball coach and tennis coach. She was also named Peninsula Women's Athletic Commissioner and served in that role from 1975-1982. She continued in her role as a faculty member and counselor during the period Peninsula was without athletics and returned to her commissioner role when the college re-launched men's and women's basketball in 1997. Since that date, Kathy has served as North Region Chair Women's Basketball Chair and the NWAACC Executive Board. She has also played a significant role in Peninsula College athletics, serving on hiring committees for coaches; counseling, advising and inspiring student athletes; and helping the program win six NWAACC championships in the last four years.
"Kathy's contribution to our success is immeasurable," said Ross. "She has worked very hard for this college in a career that spanned almost 40 years. She has positively impacted thousands of student athletes in that time and has been a great friend and mentor to me, as well as our coaches. I am very happy for her that she is represented in our first Hall of Fame. She is very deserving of this honor."
Jerry Allen's relationship with Peninsula College began as a basketball player in the mid-1970s, but it was his impact as CEO of Seven Cedar's Casino that changed the course of Peninsula College athletics in 1997 when the institution brought back men's and women's basketball. The Casino, in cooperation with the Jamestown Tribe, as been the largest contributor of scholarship donations and general support of the athletic program for the last 16 years. Seven Cedars has sponsored leagues, tournaments, events, as well as sponsorships and donations.
"Jerry is a pretty humble guy and was quick to credit the Casino and the Jamestown Tribe for that support," Ross said. "We are very blessed to have their support. There are many deserving organizations out there, but Jerry and Ron understand the value of an athletic program in the development of young people, as well as its value to a college and a community. We wouldn't be where we are as a program without Seven Cedar's Casino and Jerry's leadership."