Olympian J.R. Holden, Three Swimmers Highlight 30th Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame Class
July 18, 2008
LEWISBURG, Pa. – A 2008 Olympian, three swimmers, a field hockey star and a record-setting distance runner encompass the 30th Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame class, committee chair Gene Depew announced today.
The six-person Class of 2008 will be formally inducted during Homecoming Weekend ceremonies on Oct. 25, and they will be re-introduced at halftime of the Bucknell-Colgate football game that afternoon.
This year’s class includes two first-ballot Hall of Famers from the Class of 1998. One is basketball star J.R. Holden, who has parlayed an outstanding overseas professional career with powerful CSKA Moscow into a chance to play with the Russian national team at next month’s Summer Olympics in Beijing. Swimming standout Jen Myers also received a Hall of Fame nod in her first year on the ballot.
The other inductees are swimmers Steve Winings ’74 and Jay Gross ’93, field hockey standout Almira Baldwin Arnold ’94, and Judy Perry West ’90, who still holds the school record in the 10,000-meter run.
This will be the second time that three women have been inducted in the same class. The other was in 2000, when Gabrielle Czaja, Pam Heller Shassian and Lynne Walshaw were elected together. Baldwin Arnold, who will be the first member of this class officially inducted because her name comes first alphabetically, will have the honor of being Bucknell’s 200th Hall of Famer.
The Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame was established in 1979 to honor the very best in the history of Bison athletics. This year’s induction brings to 205 the number of outstanding student-athletes, coaches, administrators and friends of Bucknell whose contributions to Bucknell athletics are forever preserved in the Hall of Fame.
ALMIRA BALDWIN ARNOLD ’94 became only the second woman athlete at Bucknell to earn all-conference honors in four consecutive years. The first was another Hall of Famer, softball’s Lisa Fink. One of two Bucknell players named to the Patriot League All-Decade Team, Baldwin Arnold was a Second Team Mid-East Regional All-American in both 1992 and 1993. She finished her career with 23 goals, 14 assists and 60 points. The assist total was a school record at the time, and the goal and point totals were both fifth in school history when she graduated.
Baldwin Arnold was the Patriot League Co-Rookie of the Year in 1990, she co-captained the team with fellow Hall of Famer Tricia Way as a senior, and she was a co-winner (with Way) of the Christy Mathewson Award as Bucknell’s top senior athlete.
JAY GROSS ’93 was one of the top men’s swimming sprinters in program history, and he won eight individual Patriot League titles during an outstanding four-year career. He won three PL gold medals in both the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly, and he captured two titles in the 100 free. In addition, he was a member of six Patriot League champion relay teams as well as one East Coast Conference championship relay unit as a freshman. Gross was honored as the Patriot League Co-Swimmer of the Meet in both 1992 and 1993, and he went on to win ECAC championships in the 100 fly and 100 free in 1992, and in the 50 and 100 free in 1993. He set meet records in both events as a senior.
Gross still ranks second only to All-American and fellow Hall of Famer Jim Harvey on Bucknell’s all-time list in the 50 free (20.36) and 100 free (44.67), and he is tied for third all time in the 100 fly (49.69). When he graduated, Gross was part of four school-record relays, and one of those marks – the 400 free relay – still stands today by more than a full second. Gross was a Christy Mathewson Award winner as Bucknell’s top senior athlete.
J.R. HOLDEN ’98 has gained fame in recent years for his heroic exploits with CSKA Moscow and the Russian National Team, particularly after he hit the game-winning shot in the championship game of the 2007 European Championship, giving Russia a spot in the 2008 Olympics. But his Bucknell career was also noteworthy, as he transformed from a lightly recruited guard into a two-time First Team All-Patriot League selection. A two-time team MVP, Holden scored 1,327 career points, which ranked ninth in program history when he graduated. He is one of only three players in school history with 1,000 points and 300 assists. His best year came as a senior, when he led the team in 11 statistical categories, including scoring (18.2), assists (4.1) and steals (1.5), and he led the Patriot League in assists and ranked second in scoring that year.
As a junior, Holden led the Bison to the Patriot League championship game, where they lost by one point to Navy on the Mids’ home floor. Holden also helped his team to significant upset victories over Princeton and Alabama during his career, and he went on to win the Christy Mathewson Award. Today, Holden ranks 12th in scoring, eighth in assists and eighth in steals on Bucknell’s all-time list. Since graduation, he has played professionally in Latvia, Belgium, Greece and Russia. He is now a naturalized Russian citizen, allowing him to play for the national team. He will become Bucknell’s fourth Olympian when he takes the floor in Beijing in August.
Holden is the 45th basketball player to be inducted, and the first to be coached by Pat Flannery.
One of Bucknell’s most decorated woman swimmers, JEN MYERS ’98 became the first female in Patriot League history to win the same event (200-yard backstroke) at the league championship meet four straight years. She won 35 of 36 career races in the 200 back and never lost a race at home in four years. A four-time All-Patriot Leaguer, Myers won the 100 back, 200 back and 200 individual medley at the 1995 Patriot League Championships and was named Co-Swimmer of the Meet.
In addition to her four Patriot League gold medals in the 200 back, she also won three more in the 100 back and, including relays, graduated with 10 PL titles. Her eight individual gold medals were a league record at the time. A Christy Mathewson Award winner, Myers was named to the Patriot League All-Decade Team for women’s swimming and diving. She graduated as the school record holder in both the 200 back and 200 IM.
JUDY PERRY WEST ’90 earned 12 career varsity letters in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field, and she was the No. 1 runner on four East Coast Conference champion cross country teams. She was also part of three ECC track championship teams and five others that finished second.
At the 1987 Penn Relays, Perry West, then just a freshman, clocked a time of 35:05.14 in the 10,000-meter run. That smashed the previous school record by 58 seconds, and today her time still holds up as the Bucknell record by more than 54 seconds. In fact, it is the oldest outdoor running record still in the books. Perry West also ranked No. 2 on Bucknell’s all-time list in the indoor 5,000, No. 3 in the outdoor 5,000, sixth in the indoor 3,000 and 10th in the outdoor 3,000 at graduation.
She won ECC track championships in the indoor 3,000 in 1987 and 1990 and in the outdoor 10,000 in 1990. Perry West also earned All-East honors after finishing third in the ECAC indoor 5,000 in 1987, second in the outdoor 10K in 1987 and fifth in the outdoor 10K in 1989. In her four ECC cross country championship appearances, she finished first-first-fifth-second, and she was All-East in cross country in 1986. Perry West was also named the ECC Scholar-Athlete of the Year in cross country in both 1987 and 1989, and she was a Christy Mathewson Award winner as the top athlete in her class.
STEVE WININGS ’74 is one of three Bucknell swimmers to earn Division I All-America recognition. He will now join the other two, Jim Harvey and Peter O’Keeffe, in the Hall of Fame. Winings earned the All-America plaque by finishing eighth in the 50-yard freestyle at the 1971 NCAA Championships, the highest finish ever by a Bucknell swimmer. He captured the Middle Atlantic Conference title in the 50 free every year from 1971-74, making him the first swimmer in conference history to win an event four years in a row. He also won the 100 breaststroke in 1971 and 1973 and captured seven more MAC titles in relays, including four in the 400 free relay.
Winings, who swam both breaststroke and butterfly legs on conference champion medley relays, was twice a silver medalist in the 50 free at the Eastern Championships. He and Hall of Famer Bob Richards co-captained the 1973-74 team to the only undefeated season in Bucknell history.