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2024 Sports Hall of Fame Class & Award Winners

Henry Cejudo

Henry Cejudo, aka “Triple C” and the “King of Cringe,” is a fighter unlike any other. Born in Los Angeles and raised in Phoenix, Henry overcame countless obstacles on his journey to become arguably one of the greatest combat sports athletes of all time. Growing up with a single mother and facing homelessness, Henry found solace and discipline in the sport of wrestling. After winning Arizona state titles in his freshman and sophomore years of high school, he moved to Colorado Springs to become a resident athlete at the United States Olympic Training Center. At the same time, he attended Coronado High School where he completed his junior and senior years with wins in the Colorado state championships. After having success with wrestling at the national level, Cejudo chose to forgo collegiate wrestling to pursue an international career. With his relentless drive and unmatched skills, Henry took home the ultimate prize in freestyle wrestling — an Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. He was only 21, making him the youngest American wrestler ever to win the Olympics. Later, Henry set his sights on the UFC, where he quickly made a name for himself as a dominant fighter, winning title belts in two weight classes, flyweight and bantamweight. He retired in February 2024 after a valiant and lasting career as a UFC fighter. Henry made history as the first fighter ever to win an Olympic gold medal and a UFC championship.

Rick Swan

Rick Swan contributed to volleyball in Colorado for more than 30 years to local clubs, schools, and businesses. He served as the longtime former head coach of the Colorado College (CC) women's volleyball team where he guided the Tigers to 22 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division III national tournament, compiling an overall record of 596-175. Swan concluded his final season with CC (2020-21) ranked No. 1 in the country in Division III, but due to the pandemic, no NCAA playoffs were hosted. Prior to his time at Colorado College, Swan coached the St. Mary's High School girls’ team to a state championship in 1996, when he was named Coach of the Year by The Colorado Springs Gazette, Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News. St. Mary’s also finished second (1994), third (1997) and fourth (1995) at state during his five seasons there. He won more than 600 matches overall as a collegiate coach and since leaving CC in July 2021, he served as head coach of the Saint Kitts and Nevis men's and women's national teams, competing worldwide. Rick continues to give back to youth volleyball by promoting and directing the development of youth volleyball programs on the island and coaching youth camps in Boulder. Along the way, he served several terms on volleyball’s NCAA National Committee and Regional Advisory Committee.

Lauren Howe

Lauren Howe, a prominent female golfer from the 1970s-80s, achieved early success by winning the San Francisco Women’s City Championship shortly before turning 14 and moving to Colorado. She excelled in national competitions, reaching the finals of the U.S. Girls’ Junior in 1974 and co-medaling in 1975. Despite girls’ high school golf not being officially recognized until 1990, she dominated as the No. 1 player on the boys’ team at St. Mary’s High School in Colorado Springs. Howe qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open in 1976 and later won the Women’s Western Amateur in 1977, earning her the Colorado Woman Athlete of the Year honor from the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. She also played college golf at the University of Tulsa, where she was a teammate of budding superstar Nancy Lopez. Joining the LPGA Tour in 1978, she became the youngest medalist at the qualifying school and set a scoring record. In 1983, she was named Golf Person of the Year by the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame after winning the Mayflower Classic. Throughout her 13-year LPGA Tour career, she achieved notable placements, including second in the 1986 Mazda LPGA Hall of Fame Championship. Howe shared her expertise as a golf instructor, teaching at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida, from 2003 to 2008 before returning to Colorado where she continued to instruct golfers of all ages in the Denver area.

Chucky Jeffery

Chucky Jeffery is a longtime resident of Colorado and a local basketball star. She played football for eight years as a child before settling down on basketball to work toward her dream —playing in the WNBA. In high school, she distinguished herself as one of the most gifted players ever to come out of Colorado Springs. She was a vital component of the Sierra High School basketball team her senior year as she led the Stallions to a 22-3 record, their third consecutive Class 4A Colorado Springs Metro League title, and a Class 4A state quarterfinal appearance. She was named to the Denver Post Class 4A All-State first team and repeated as the Colorado Springs Gazette Big Schools player of the year. After so much success in all four years of high school, Jeffery took the next step to reaching her dream of the WNBA, playing Division I major-college basketball at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Jeffery became the first player in CU program history to record 1,600 points, 900 rebounds, and 400 assists. After putting up those impressive stats, Jeffery declared for the 2013 WNBA draft where she was selected by the Minnesota Lynx as the 24th overall pick. Shortly after, she played the 2013 and 2014 seasons for the New York Liberty. Jeffery continues to inspire young athletes in Colorado and beyond with her dedication and achievements.

Lou Vairo

Lou Vairo served as a pivotal, widely respected figure in American hockey for over six decades. In the 1960s, he led grassroots hockey initiatives in New York City, transitioning to coaching in the 1970s. Notably, he led the Austin Mavericks to a national championship in 1976 and introduced European training methods to the U.S., influenced by Anatoly Tarasov. After joining USA Hockey in 1979, Vairo served as head coach for various national teams, including the U.S. National Junior Team and the U.S. Men’s National Team, achieving significant milestones such as a fourth-place finish in the 2001 IIHF Men’s World Championship. Vairo's impact extended to the international stage, serving as head coach for the U.S. Olympic men’s team in 1984 at Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, after he worked as a scout for the Miracle on Ice team that won the 1980 Olympic gold medal in Lake Placid, N.Y. He later was an assistant coach for the silver medal-winning 2002 U.S. Olympic team in Salt Lake City. He furthered his influence abroad, coaching in Italy and the Netherlands. Within USA Hockey, Vairo played a crucial role in initiatives like the Diversity Task Force and the creation of player development camps. His contributions were recognized with inductions into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, the Paul Loicq Award given by the International Ice Hockey Federation for outstanding contributions to developing the sport worldwide, the Lester Patrick Trophy given by the National Hockey League and USA Hockey for contributions to American hockey, and several other prestigious honors.

General Richard Clark

General Clark completed his four-year tenure as the first African American superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2024, ending his 38-year Air Force career where it began after his 1986 graduation from the service academy. Clark was also the first superintendent to serve as the commandant of cadets, beginning his final assignment amid the COVID pandemic, and actually lived with cadets in the dormitories for 33 days. During this time, he directed the regimen of military training, academics, athletic and character development programs leading to a Bachelor of Science degree and a commission into the Air Force or Space Force. He also guided the USAFA athletic teams through the treacherous COVID years that forced many adjustments and course changes. During his time as a cadet, Clark was a four-year letter winner (1982-85) in football as a defensive lineman, making a key interception in the Falcons’ first road win at Navy to help secure the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy in 1982. He also delivered a quarterback sack late in Air Force’s first road victory at Notre Dame. His senior season of 1985, Clark helped lead the Falcons to a 12-1 record, a bowl victory over Texas and a No. 5 national ranking, capping a career that included four wins over Notre Dame. Following his athletic career, he became an Air Force pilot, flying the B-1 and later serving as an instructor. He was the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Deterrence & Nuclear Integration at the Pentagon and was selected as a White House Fellow to serve as a key advisor to the Secretary of Labor. Gen. Clark served three combat tours and has received numerous awards and decorations such as the Distinguished Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. In retirement, Gen. Clark is returning to the sports world as executive director of the College Football Playoff (CFP) as it moves into a 12-team format, having served previously on the CFP selection committee.

1983 Coronado High School Girls' Volleyball Team

Almost immediately after Sierra High School opened in 1984, the Stallions became a boys basketball powerhouse led by its first head coach, Mark Beranek, along with longtime assistant Wendell Baker. Sierra soon began making it to the state tournament, coming close to the mountaintop seven times before breaking through in 1997 with the first state championship in the school’s history. Led by guard Kendall “K.K.” Boyd and other standouts including Jarrod Wimbley, Dedrick Meadows, Darrell Ivory, DeMeco Moore and Phil Jackson, the Stallions finished by winning 18 straight games en route to the Class 4A title, overcoming other strong area contenders such as Lewis-Palmer and Air Academy to win their league, district and regional championships. With Boyd as the playmaker, regarded as perhaps the finest passer in Colorado Springs history, Sierra also was regarded by many as the most talented and athletic basketball team ever to come from the Pikes Peak region. Their dominance continued through the championship game, a convincing 57-43 win over Evergreen, with Boyd producing 22 points, five steals and five assists to wrap up winning the 4A most valuable player award. The success of the team also could be attributed to its impeccable match-up zone pressure defense instilled by Beranek and his staff.

1997 Sierra High School Boys' Basketball Team

It’s safe to say Coronado wasn’t given much chance in the 1983 volleyball season, after just two victories by the same players a year earlier. But the Cougars had other ideas, as did their coach Joan Powell. They roared through the regular season losing just once in league play, then stormed through the playoffs to the Class 3A title, the first state championship in Coronado’s school history. Colleen Keenan, a 6-foot force around the net, and setter Lisa Blunt led the way, with Blunt going through the entire regular season without missing a single serve. Other major contributors on a senior-laden roster included Angie Sprouse, Desiree Hodson, Julie Boles, Angie Dixon, Nancy Gilmore and Nancy Haller. In the state tournament, Coronado started with a three-set win over Ponderosa, then handled Moffat County in the Saturday morning semifinals. The title match at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs was actually less dramatic as the Cougars rolled 15-0, 15-5 over St. Mary’s, with Keenan wrapping up the season as the area player of the year. That first title team opened the way for more Coronado successes, as Powell coached the Cougars to the Class 4A state championship in 1988 and the 5A title in 1992.

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