University of Northern Colorado Adds Six to Athletics Hall of Fame
The University of Northern Colorado Athletic Hall of Fame will add six new members this weekend.
The 2016 class is highlighted by Denver Broncos trainer Steve Antonopulos, who earned his bachelor and masters degrees at UNC and then began what has become a 40-year career with the Broncos as their athletic trainer.
The rest of the class includes Whitley Cox from women’s basketball, Kathy Heronema, Track and Field and Field hockey, Nancy Hinrichs: Women’s swimming and diving coach from 1988-2009, Tony Ramirez: Football and the 2002 Bears volleyball team.
You are invited to join the Pepsi UNC Fan Fest Tailgate and Hall of Fame Football Game on Saturday, October 1 where the Bears face off against Northern Arizona at 1:05 p.m. The Hall of Fame Tailgate is Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
About the Inductees
- Steve Antonopulos, Contributor, 1967-73
After earning both is BA and MA in at the University of Northern Colorado, Steve Antonopulos built a 39-year career in the NFL working for the Denver Broncos athletic training staff. Antonopulos started out as an assistant AT in 1976 and worked his way up to the Director of Rehabilitation (1979) and eventually became the Head Athletic Trainer (1980) of the NFL team. A position he has remained in for 35 seasons.
- Whitley Cox, Women's Basketball, 2005-10
Cox is one of five players in the women's basketball team's history to score over 1,500 points, finishing her career with 1,581. The point total was the most since the team joined the Division I ranks when her career ended. She ranks fourth overall in program history and second in the DI record book She made a fourth-best 351 free throws in her career and is ranked 9th all-time in assists with 257. She also holds the school's Division I record for scoring average in a season with 20.13 points per game which she accomplished in the 2007-08 season.
- Kathy Heronema, Track and Field/Field Hockey, 1972-76
Heronema was a four-year letterwinner in both sports and one of first female athletes to receive an athletic scholarship at UNC. She was also one of the first female athletes to experiment with the Heptathlon in track and field, and helped build the event within the conference and region. She was the Intermountain Conference Champion and Region 7 Champion, which qualified her to compete at the National Championships. Her senior year, she and a distance runner were the first two women to compete for UNC at the Track & Field National Championships, which were held at Eugene, Oregon in 1976. (This was prior to All-American recognition of women.) As three-year starter at goalie in field hockey, Kathy recorded multiple shut-outs. She led UNC to back-to-back Intermountain Conference Championships in 1974 and 75. Her senior year, opponents scored only half as many goals as the Bears. They qualified for the National Collegiate Championships in Harrisonburg, Virginia in 1975. This was the only UNC team to compete in a National Championship Tournament in field hockey, largely because of Kathy's skills in the cage.
- Nancy Hinrichs, Women's Swimming Coach,1988-2009
Hinrichs has a laundry list of accomplishments throughout her 21-year tenure with the swim and dive program at UNC. She was named NCC Coach of the Year; NCC Co-Champions (1990), coached the first NCAA Division II Individual National Champion in 1991. She was tabbed as NCC Coach of the Year in 1992 and had 21 NCAA All-Americans on her squad that season. The very next season she coached 12 NCC Champions and finished 7th at NCAA Div. II Championships. She was again named the NCC Coach of the Year in 1995 and had the best dual meet record in school history at 12-2 in 1996. Her teams finished in the Top 10 in the NCAA Tournament in 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2001, and finished in the Top 15 at the NCAA Tournament in 2000 and 2002. During the transition period and the first year of NCAA Division I, Hinrichs was named the Midwest Independent Classic Coach of the Year (2003-04) and House of Champions Coach of the Year.
- Tony Ramirez, Football, 1992-96
Ramirez is regarded as one of the best offensive lineman to ever put on a Northern Colorado uniform. He was a member of the 1996 Division II National Championship team and was tabbed as He was a CoSIDA and FB Gazette Third Team All-American in 1995 and a CoSIDA, AFCA, A.P., FB Gazette, AF Quarterly & C.M. Frank First Team All-American in 1996. He earned Second Team All-NCC in 1994 and First Team All-NCC in 1995 and 1996. He was the Conference's Most Valuable Offensive Lineman in 1995 and 1996 and was picked in the sixth round of the 1997 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. He played for the Lions from 1997-99 and for the XFL Chicago Enforcers in 2001.
2002 Volleyball Team
The 2002 volleyball team finished with a record of 31-3, which stands as the best record in UNC history. The team was coached by Ron Alexander and finished fifth in the nation, advancing to the NCAA Elite Eight in Division II. They won the NCC title in final year in conference with a 15-1 record. All three losses on the season came against Top-15 teams. Hosted the NCAA North Central Regional where they defeated #18 Minnesota State and #10 South Dakota State before falling to #7 Tampa in the Elite Eight. Erin Deffenbaugh was named the Division II National Player of the Year.