Long Beach State

Long Beach State Athletics Hall Of Fame Induct New Class

Age and time weren’t deciding factors for the 2018 Long Beach State Hall of Fame class. Former student-athletes such as Casper Ware, Nadia Link and Kay Hoey are inductees who played at LBSU within the last decade.

“That was an unbelievable era,” LBSU athletics director Andy Fee said of the NCAA appearances for men’s basketball and women’s soccer in 2011 and 2012. “Those were some golden years. Roger Kirk and his staff put together a huge compilation of data, and I think in the end, the candidates they felt were most deserving rose to the top for each of their bodies of work.”

The induction dinner on Thursday night was hosted at the Long Beach Hyatt. Homecoming is tomorrow at Walter Pyramid.

“It’s an unbelievable week of celebrating these student-athletes and what we want to do in the future,” Fee said. “These are student-athletes that the community was able to follow, and this is a community celebration.”

This is the fourth consecutive time that LBSU honored a team as well as the individual inductees. This year’s team is the undefeated 1998 women’s volleyball squad that won the NCAA national championship with players like Misty May-Treanor, Benishe Dillard and Anja Grabovac.

Dillard is also being induced as an individual. She was a two-time All-American, a three-time All-Big West selection, and she LBSU with 405 kills in 1998.

Link is the first LBSU women’s soccer inductee, and coach Mauricio Ingrassia said she deserves that honor.

“I couldn’t be prouder,” Ingrassia said. “Nadia knows she is kind of a symbol for other players and the program, and rightfully so. She has a great story, and to be in the hall of fame kind of caps it off. It immortalizes her.”

Link was a two-time All-American, the first for the program, and led LBSU to the Elite Eight for the firs time in 2011. Her 16 goals that season tied the single-season record, and Link’s 32 career-goals are second-most in school history.

Ware was a two-time Big West Player of the Year and an All-American at LBSU, and he helped the 49ers reach the NCAA Tournament in 2012. The point guard scored 38 points in the Big West Conference championship game that year, and he is the program leader with 545 career assists. Ware went on to play for the Philadelphia 76ers, and has won MVP awards and championships with multiple European clubs.

Kay Hoey is the first women’s golfer to be inducted, and and is the only LBSU individual to have played at the NCAA Championship. The four-time All-Big West selection led LBSU to its first ever Big West Championship and NCAA Regional appearance in 2009.

David Lee, a three-time Olympian and current captain of the US Men’s National Team, will represent men’s volleyball. The middle blocker was a All-American and All-MPSF selection in 2004 after leading LBSU to the national championship match.

Albert Shorts was part of the LBSU track and field team in the 1970s, and the All-American ran a time of 45.91 in the 440-yard dash. That time ranks third in its current equivalent, the 400-meter dash.

Jason Vargas will be representing the Dirtbags after his 12th year in Major League Baseball. The New York Mets left-handed pitcher won the 2015 World Series Championship with the Kansas City Royals. Vargas led the American League with 18 wins that year, and made the All-Star game. Vargas was a two-way player in 2004 alongside fellow MLBers Jered Weaver and Cesar Ramos.

Carla Williams transferred to LBSU, but still left her mark on the softball program by leading the 49ers to back-to-back NCAA Regional appearances. The conference player of the year in 1988, Williams finished the season with a .350 batting average.

JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.