WSHOF 2011 Inductees
Some of the state’s most recognized names in sports ranging from football to softball, and the memory and recognition of a collegiate cross country team are among newest class of inductees into the Wyoming Sports Hall of Fame.
Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss, longtime girls softball coach Ray Sanchez, the sibling trio of Corte, Ryan and Megan McGuffey are part of the class. So are the eight members of the University of Wyoming cross country team who died in an automobile accident in 2001, along with coach Jim Sanchez and the student-athletes who finished the season.
The Athlete of the Year goes to former UW football player Chris Prosinski, and the Lifetime Achievement Award goes to longtime UW administrator and radio color analyst Kevin McKinney.
This group will be enshrined on June 25 at the Parkway Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Casper.
For more information on the event, go to the WSHOF WEBSITE.
The Kemmerer High graduate went from a small-town to the big-time as one of the most successful owners of one of the most well-known professional sports franchises in the world.
Buss bought the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers in 1979 and since then have won 10 NBA championships, including the last two. Some of the NBA’s greatest players have been a part of Buss-owned teams, such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Shaquille O’Neill and Kobe Bryant.
Buss graduated from the University of Wyoming in 2½ years, and later earned a M.S. and PhD in chemistry from the University of Southern California.
He started as a chemist for what is now known as the Mine Safety and Heath Administration), and also briefly worked in the aerospace industry and in USC’s chemistry department. Buss then got into real estate, and soon began to purchase sports teams. At one time he owned tennis, volleyball and soccer teams.
Under his leadership, the Lakers have won 66 percent of their games, and have made 15 NBA Finals appearances. Buss purchased the Lakers for $67 million, and it is estimated to be worth approximately $600 million today.
Buss was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
Buss also is an accomplished poker player, and finished second in the 2003 World Poker Tour Freeroll Invitational, and third in the 1991 World Series of Poker.
Corte, Ryan and Megan McGuffey
There may never be a better trio of siblings to have displayed their skills in the Cowboy State.
All three played college athletics, including Ryan (football) and Megan (basketball) at the University of Wyoming.
Corte was the oldest and after graduating high school from Riverton High where he won 12 varsity letters in football, basketball and track, he played quarterback at then Division II Northern Colorado. Corte was 35-5 as a starter and led the Bears to the 1997 Division II national championship as they defeated New Haven 51-0 in the title game.
Corte was a two-time Division II All-American and the 1999 Harlon Hill Trophy winner, which is the Division II equivalent to the Heisman Trophy. Corte played professionally for two years, and his jersey No. 12 was the first to be retired at Northern Colorado in school history.
Ryan also graduated from Riverton High where he was a three-sport star. He lettered four years as a receiver for Wyoming and finished with 231 catches for 2,679 yards and 13 touchdowns. He ranks fourth in school history in career receptions, fifth in yards and eighth in touchdowns.
Ryan was a two-time team captain, and the first sophomore in school history to be voted a captain. In 2001 he was a First Team All-Mountain West Conference selection, and a Second Team Freshman All-American by The Sporting News.
The McGuffeys moved to Cheyenne and Megan graduated from Cheyenne East where she helped the Lady Thunderbirds win back-to-back state volleyball championships, and consecutive state runner-up finishes in basketball. She won letters all four years in both sports.
Megan earned a basketball scholarship at Wyoming, and finished her career ranked in the top 20 in 10 different statistical categories.
She was the Mountain West Conference Newcomer of the Year in 2005-06, a four-year letter winner and a member of two WNIT squads and one NCAA tournament team. Megan scored 1,030 career points and played in 125 games.
Arguably the most accomplished women’s softball coach in state history.
Sanchez began coaching in the early 1950s, and his first team was the Worland Squaws. In the early 1960s he coached the Worland Monarchs, and he did so for the next 40 years. Known as “Sanch” by most who knew him, Sanchez won more than 900 games and won 15 state championships. From 1968-77 the Monarchs were 245-59, and the 1972 team went 39-0.
Sanchez, who was born in Casper, retired from coaching in 2002, but still offered his guidance and knowledge to anyone who asked or would listen. It is estimated Sanchez coaches hundreds of young women over his career, and can still be seen at games in the summer time.
UW cross country team
In the early morning hours of Sept. 16, 2001, eight male members of the University of Wyoming cross country team were killed in a head-on collision when the SUV they were riding in was struck by a drunk driver along U.S. Highway 287, about 17 miles south of Laramie in Colorado.
Those killed were: Nicholas J. Schabron of Laramie, Justin Lambert-Belanger of Timmons, Ontario, Canada, Kyle N. Johnson of Riverton, Kevin L. Salverson of Cheyenne, Shane E. Shatto of Douglas, Joshua D. Jones of Laramie, Morgan McLeland of Gillette and Cody B. Brown of Hudson, Colo.
The news rocked the entire state and made national news. But just a month after the tragedy, the team returned to action with three runners from the original team, three redshirts and volunteers from the track team.
Known as the Cross Country 8, a memorial is displayed on the south end of War Memorial Fieldhouse to honor those perished.
Athlete of the Year: Chris Prosinski
The Buffalo High graduate was a four-year letterman for the University of Wyoming football team, and ended his career in 2010 fourth in career tackles with 373.
Prosinski was a Second Team All-Mountain West Conference pick as a junior and senior, and as a senior was third in the conference and 42nd nationally with nine tackles per game. He finished the season with a team-best 108 tackles, which marked the second straight season Prosinski recorded 100 or more tackles.
Prosinski was a team captain his senior year, and was honored with the Coach Paul Roach Team MVP Award after the season. He also was a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, also known as the “Academic Heisman.” To qualify for nomination, a student-athlete must be in their year of eligibility and have a 3.2 cumulative grade point average or higher on a 4.0 scale. Along with their football abilities, nominees also must have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.
Lifetime Achievement: Kevin McKinney
A Cheyenne native and graduate of Cheyenne East, McKinney earned a degree in journalism from the University of Wyoming in 1971. In 1972 McKinney was hired by the university as an assistant sports information director, and earned the head job in 1975. McKinney held that title until 2007 when he was promoted to Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs, a title he still holds today.
McKinney has also been the color commentator for Wyoming football and men’s basketball radio broadcasts for the last 34 years.
Among the honors McKinney has received in his career include the Sigma Delta Chi Excellence in Journalism Award, the Frank Norris Jr., Distinguished Service to Journalism Awards, several press box excellence awards from the College Sports Information Directors of America and three press box citations of excellence from the Football Writers