West Coast Conference Announces Top 50 Student-Athletes in League History
Six Lions honored on all-time athlete list announced by WCC.
Nov. 29, 2001
SAN BRUNO, Calif. - In honor of the West Coast Conference celebrating its 50th year of existence, the WCC is announcing 50 of the conference's greatest student-athletes to ever grace the courts, courses, and fields over the last five decades. Six Lions grace that list, including Billy Bean (baseball), Hank Gathers (basketball), Bo Kimble (basketball), Tim Layana (baseball), Sarah McFarland (volleyball) and Sarah Noriega (volleyball).
The list includes only individuals from the league's current membership who participated in WCC athletics while the conference sponsored each performer?s particular sport. Each of the honorees is being recognized for his or her contributions to the conference, with primary focus on each individual's collegiate accomplishments.
All eight of the WCC's current member institutions submitted nominees to the conference staff to be considered for the league's Top 50 list. The final student-athletes were then selected by the conference office from the pool of nominees.
Bean was possibly one of the greatest hitters to every grace the diamond at LMU. He helped guide the Lions to the 1986 College World Series while being named a two-time All-American and he was twice an All-WCC and All-District VIII selection. Bean holds a spot in 20 different career statistical categories at LMU, ranking second in seven of those, including at bats (822), runs scored (216), hits (290), RBI (204), triples (16), total bases (449) and walks (150). Bean had his number 44 retired in 2000 and was a fourth round pick by the Detroit Tigers.
As the only second player in NCAA history to lead the country in scoring and rebounding in one season, Gathers might be one of the most recognized names in LMU Athletic's history. He finished his junior season with an unheard of 32.7 points per game and 13.7 rebounds per game. To date, only three players have achieved the honor of leading the country in both scoring and rebounding. He was a finalist for the John Wooden Player of the Year Award in his senior season. In addition, he was a second-team All-America selection by the USBWA and NABC, a third-team All-America selection by the AP and an honorable mention by UPI and Sporting News. He was voted the WCC Player of the Decade in the 1980s, and holds nine scoring records at LMU, including career points (2,490), career scoring average (28.0), field goals made in a game (24), season (419) and career (1,037). His number 44 was retired also in 2000.
Kimble had a breakout season in 1989-90 in leading the nation in scoring with 35.3 points per game. He carried the Lions into the 1990 NCAA Tournament and an Elite Eight appearance by averaging 335.8 points per game in four tournament contests. He was named as a second-team All-America selection as a senior, in addition to his All-NCAA West Regional team selection and WCC Player of the Year honor. His number 30 was retired in 2000.
Back on the diamond, Tim Layana was one of the greatest pitchers ever at LMU. His number 54 was retired in 2000, helping the team to that NCAA World Series in 1986. A first-team All-WCC pick as a senior, Layana was tabbed the Pitcher of the Year and earned All-District VIII honors. A second-team All-America selection by the American Baseball Coaches Association, Layana re-wrote many of the pitching records at LMU. His career records for innings pitched (511), strikeouts (405), complete games (33) and wins (35) many never be surpassed.
On the volleyball court, McFarland was the recent success story of a very successful volleyball program. She was a two-time All-American, three-time first-team All-WCC, two-time AVCA National Player of the Week, and a three-time WCC Player of the Month. She left LMU as the all-time career kill leader with 2,020 and she holds two of the top three spots in the NCAA record books for kills in a season. He 7.78 kpg set the record in 2000 and her 7.35 is ranked third from 1999.
Before McFarland's success, Noriega turned heads on the LMU volleyball court. She elevated standards with program, becoming the first person to earn AVCA All-America first-team honors as well as Volleyball Magazine All-America second-team accolades. She was the WCC Player of the Year in 1997 after being named a first-team all-conference selection for the third time. Noriega completed her stellar career second all-time at LMU in kills (1,446) and attack percentage (.393). As a member of the US National Volleyball team that qualified for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, she became only the third alum to participate in the Olympic games.
Below is a list of 50 of the greatest student-athletes in West Coast Conference history. The honorees are presented in alphabetical order. The full list with individual accomplishments is also available at WCCsports.com, the official website of the West Coast Conference
The Top 50