Gathers to Be Inducted into WCC Hall of Honor on March 7
LMU great to be posthumously honored at WCC Tournament
Jan. 29, 2009
San Bruno, CA - Former Loyola Marymount great Hank Gathers will be among six individuals making up the West Coast Conference's inaugural Hall of Honor class. The members will formally be inducted at the 2009 WCC Hall of Honor Brunch on Saturday, March 7 at the Orleans Arena and honored the next day during halftime of the first men's basketball semifinal game on March 8.
The Hall of Honor Brunch will be held Saturday morning at 9 AM in Gold Rooms B & C. Tickets are currently available for $40, and tables of eight are available for $320. In order to purchase tickets, contact Audrey Mesta at the WCC Office by phone at 650-873-8622 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year's honorees include eight individuals that span a long history of outstanding athletic achievements across the WCC's eight respective institutions. The inductees include: Loyola Marymount's Hank Gathers, the conference's first two-time tournament MVP and the leading scorer in the event's 19-year history; 1991 and 1992 All-American and conference MVP Doug Christie from Pepperdine; Frank Burgess, who led Gonzaga in scoring for three seasons and won the national collegiate scoring crown in 1961; head coach Clive Charles, who led Portland's men's and women's soccer teams to 439 victories, 20 national playoff berths, 13 league titles, and a national championship; the most winningest Santa Clara men's basketball coach and former athletic director Carroll Williams; Tom Meschery, who concluded his collegiate career as Saint Mary's leading rebounder and 12th leading scorer; former USD basketball captain and MVP Bernie Bickerstaff, who later coached USD's men basketball team and moved on to coach in the NBA; and USF Hall of Famer Joe Ellis, who represented the U.S. in the World Games.
"We are very proud of the inaugural Hall of Honor class," said WCC Commissioner Jamie Zaninovich. "The list of inductees represents the West Coast Conference's strong tradition of athletic excellence."
All inductees will be present at the Hall of Honor Brunch in Las Vegas with the exception of the late Hank Gathers and Clive Charles. Attending on behalf of Gathers will be former LMU teammate, Jeff Fryer, while Clarena Charles will be in attendance to honor her husband.
The 2009 Hall of Honor inductees are as follows:
HANK GATHERS, Loyola Marymount University
Gathers passed away tragically during the semifinal game of the 1990 WCC Tournament, which resulted in the tournament being suspended and Loyola Marymount being given the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. In seven career WCC Tournament games, Gathers scored a record 186 points for a 26.6 points per game average, the highest clip in league history.
FRANK BURGESS, Gonzaga University
Burgess was a Helms Foundation All-American selection in his junior and senior year and was an All-American choice by the major wire services in his senior year. After two seasons with Hawaii in the professional American Basketball League, he returned to Gonzaga to attend law school and graduated near the top of his class. He was inducted into the Inland Empire Sports Hall of Fame in 1985. Gonzaga University retired his No. 44 jersey Feb. 19, 2005, and today it hangs in the McCarthey Athletic Center rafters.
DOUG CHRISTIE, Pepperdine University
Swingman Christie attracted dozens of NBA scouts to Firestone Fieldhouse and was later selected 17th overall in the 1992 NBA Draft by the Seattle SuperSonics. Christie played for the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Sacramento Kings, Orlando Magic, Dallas Mavericks, and Los Angeles Clippers, where he would end his professional career. While playing for the Kings, Christie developed into one of the league's best defenders and was perennially named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team.
CLIVE CHARLES, University of Portland
Just before the Olympics in August 2000, Charles was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Despite the harsh news, Charles still coached the U.S. to a fourth place finish in the Olympic Games. Charles also continued to coach both the men's and women's Portland teams until his death. During his last season (2002), the Portland women's team won the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship.
TOM MESCHERY, Saint Mary's College
Meschery then went on to play 10 seasons in the NBA. The first six seasons were spent playing for the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, where he competed in the 1963 NBA All-Star Game. The Warriors also retired his jersey number (No. 14). Meschery then spent his last four seasons with the Seattle Supersonics before retiring in 1971, the same year in which he became head coach of the ABA's Carolina Cougars. Meschery was also inducted to the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.
BERNIE BICKERSTAFF, University of San Diego
After USD, he joined the Washington Bullets as an assistant coach. As the top assistant in 1978, the Bullets won the NBA Championship. Hired by the Seattle Supersonics in 1985 as head coach, Bickerstaff led the team to the NBA playoffs three times and was named NBA Coach of the Year in 1987. After Seattle, Bernie served as head coach and held high ranking administrative roles with the Denver Nuggets, Washington Wizards and Charlotte Bobcats. With over 30 years of coaching & administrative experience in the NBA, Bernie is currently an assistant coach with the Chicago Bulls.
JOE ELLIS, University of San Francisco
Upon graduation, Ellis was selected by the San Francisco Warriors in the second round (13th pick overall) of the 1966 NBA Draft. The Oakland native averaged double-figure scoring averages in three successive seasons, including a career-best 15.8 points per game in 1969-70. In eight NBA seasons - all with the Warriors - Ellis scored 4,825 points, averaging 8.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.
CARROLL WILLIAMS, Santa Clara University
As the Bronco Athletic Director, Williams guided athletic programs at Santa Clara University to continued levels of national prominence. His final year as athletic director was highlighted by a second consecutive year of NCAA semi-final appearances by the Bronco men's and women's soccer teams. During his eight years, he oversaw 19 West Coast Conference championships in seven sports and 23 post-season tournaments. He also added two sports teams (women's water polo and women's golf), increased scholarship support for student athletes, and revamped the campus' athletic facilities.