Class of 2001
"Groundbreakers" Added to Hall of Fame
Breaking new ground was the trend for the Eastern Washington University athletic department in the 60's, 70's and 80's.
On September 22, 2001, EWU honored several of the "groundbreakers" who helped put Eastern Athletics on the map in the school's rise to NCAA Division I. Five individuals and one team were be inducted as they comprised the fourth class in the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame.
The class included the 1967 Eastern football team that finished 11-1 and was the runner-up in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) playoffs. The '67 Savages -- coached by inaugural Hall of Fame member Dave Holmes -- were the first team to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
All-America wide receiver Dave Svendsen, a record-breaking member of that '67 football squad, was also inducted. He set Evergreen Conference and school records that season with 57 catches, 979 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Energetic Ron Raver was inducted as he began his 35th year of service to the athletic department as an administrator and coach. He served as athletic director from 1979-90, and was the force behind Eastern's growth from NAIA affiliation to NCAA Division I status. Also a former head tennis coach and assistant basketball coach, he assisted the department with special events and fund-raising up until his death on March 1, 2002, at the age of 63.
Raver's predecessor as athletic director, Jerry Martin, was also inducted for 30 years of service to Eastern. As a track coach for 18 years and cross country coach for 13 seasons, his teams placed in the top 10 nine times at national championship events. He coached Eastern to the 1982 NCAA Division II cross country title, one of two national team championships Eastern has won in athletics. In all, Martin coached 23 All-Americans in track and cross country, including 14 national champions. From 1975-78 he served as athletic director to go along with a nearly 30-year career as a faculty member in Eastern's physical education department.
The fourth individual inducted was Pat Whitehill, a former basketball player, track and field standout and coach at Eastern, as well as a national champion racquetball player and Hall of Fame official. He played basketball for Red Reese for four years from 1948-51, during which Eastern teams were 77-35. Whitehill played on Eastern's squad in 1949-50 that finished 23-7 and was regarded by Reese as his best team in 31 seasons as head coach. In addition, Whitehill was a member of Reese's All-Time Team, representing the top 13 Eastern players he ever coached.
The fifth individual inductee was Juli Argotow, who led Eastern's highly-successful volleyball program to its first-ever Big Sky Conference Championship and NCAA Division I Tournament appearance in 1989. She was selected as the MVP of the Big Sky and MVP of the Big Sky Tournament as the Eagles finished the season 25-7 overall and 14-2 in the conference. She set 14 school records in her career, and went on to serve as an assistant coach at the Community Colleges of Spokane.
Argotow led Eastern to the 1989 Big Sky Conference Championship and a first-round appearance in the NCAA Tournament. She was selected as the MVP of the Big Sky Conference and MVP of the Big Sky Tournament as the Eagles finished the season 25-7 overall and 14-2 in the conference. She also earned second team All-Northwest Region honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). Eastern set a school record for victories as EWU made its first appearance in the NCAA Volleyball Tournament. Argotow was also a Big Sky All-Academic selection as a senior at Eastern, and she set 14 school records with career totals of 1,011 kills (3.42 per game), 2,588 hitting attempts and 972 digs (3.28 per game). As a senior in 1989, she had 525 kills (4.1 per game), 1,354 hitting attempts and 428 digs. In 1992 she was selected to the Big Sky Conference All-Decade team (1982-92). Formerly from Port Alberni, B.C., Argotow played for the Eagles for three seasons after transferring from Malaspina College. At Malaspina she earned All-Canada honors and was selected as her school's female athlete of the year.
Martin spent 18 seasons as Eastern's head track and field coach during stints from 1972-86 and 1993-95. He also spent 13 years from 1976-85 and 1992-94 as the school's cross country coach, and from 1975-78 he was Eastern's athletic director. His crowning glory came in 1982 when Eastern won the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championship with a team that featured three All-Americans. His best track finishes came in 1980 with a fourth-place finish in the NCAA Division II Championship and sixth in the NAIA Championships. Eastern was also fourth nationally in NAIA in 1978, sixth in 1976, and placed in the top 10 a total of seven times at the NAIA or NCAA Championships under Martin. The team's performance in 1978 helped lift Eastern to a second-place finish in the NAIA All-Sports Trophy, the school's highest placing ever. Eastern also finished fifth in the NAIA Cross Country Championships in 1978, and won District 1 cross country titles in 1974, 1977, 1978 and 1979. In track his teams won District 1 titles six-straight years from 1975-80. Martin was District 1 Coach of the Year in cross country twice (1977, 78), six times in track (1973, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78) and in 1974 was the NAIA Pacific Coast Coach of the Year in track. His track athletes won 12 NAIA titles, including six by triple jump/high jump standout Vic White and four by distance runner Bob Maplestone. In addition, in NCAA Division II Brad Boland won the 1980 discus title and Bruce Anderson won the 1983 shot put championship. In all, Martin coached 12 NAIA All-Americans and 11 NCAA All-Americans. His last All-American was high jumper Greg Jones, who in 1986 placed second outdoors (7-3) and fourth indoors (7-2 1/2) at the NCAA Division I Championships. Before coming to Eastern, Martin coached at Colfax High School, North Central High School, Spokane Community College, Columbia Basin College and Washington State University. He received both his bachelor's and master's degrees from WSU. He came to Eastern as an assistant football and assistant track coach in 1970, and became head track coach in 1972 after the drowning death of Arnie Pelluer. Pelluer and Martin started Eastern's annual twilight track meet in 1971, and the following year Martin renamed it the "Pelluer Invitational," which took place for the 36th time in 2007. The Jerry Martin Invitational Indoor Track and Field Meet was established in 1988, and the event took place for the 20th time in 2007. An expert in meet management, Martin continued to assist Eastern in hosting meets, including eight years as facilities coordinator for the WIAA State 2A/1A/B Championships hosted by EWU. For almost 30 years Martin was an instructor in the Eastern physical education department. And in 1999, the Washington Track and Field Coaches Association selected him to its Hall of Fame.
The 2001-2002 school year was his 35th at Eastern. From 1979-90 he served as athletic director, and from 1990-2002 he was an assistant A.D. He came to Eastern in 1967 seeking a master's degree, which he received in 1968. He served as a graduate assistant for the men's basketball team and then was a full-time assistant under head coach Jerry Krause for more than a decade. He also served as interim baseball coach in 1970, and was men's tennis coach from 1974-82. His 1976 tennis squad won the NAIA District 1 championship and he was selected as Coach of the Year. In 1979 he succeeded Jerry Martin as athletic director as Eastern launched its drive toward NCAA membership. Eastern moved through the ranks of NCAA Division II to NCAA Division I, and eventually was granted membership in the Big Sky Conference beginning in the 1987-88 school year. Said former Eastern President H. George Frederickson regarding Eastern's rise to Division I, "There is simply no doubt that without the leadership of Ronald Raver this would never have happened. Ronald Raver made that road possible." Raver passed away on March 1, 2002 at the age of 63.
Svendsen was selected to the NAIA All-America squad in 1967 when Eastern advanced to the NAIA Championship game. He was also selected to the honorable mention All-America squad in 1968 after establishing Eastern career records for receptions (147), yards (2,238) and touchdowns (26) as a three-year letterwinner. In 1967, he set school records with 57 catches for 979 yards and 12 scores. He still holds the school record with 26 career touchdowns after scoring 162 points in his career. His other records have been overturned by players who played four years, as his three-year marks have been unsurpassed in school history. He caught 36 passes for 534 yards in 1966 when Eastern finished 8-1, and had 54 grabs for 725 yards as a senior in 1968. He was drafted in the 11th round by Los Angeles in the 1969 NFL draft, but was released by head coach George Allen on the last cut prior to the start of the regular season. Originally from Sumner High School, he played at Grays Harbor Junior College before transferring to Eastern. He passed away in the mid-1990's after a battle with cancer. Svendsen was one of the 13 wide receivers/tight ends on Eastern's "100 for 100" All-Time Football Team released in June 2008 by the EWU Athletic Department. The overall "100 for 100" squad consisted of 100 of the top players in school history to help commemorate the 100th year of football at Eastern. Players were honored on Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame Day on Sept. 27, 2008, in conjunction with EWU's Big Sky Conference football game with Idaho State.
Whitehill is a former basketball player, track and field standout and coach at Eastern, and was also a national champion racquetball player and Hall of Fame official. He played basketball for Red Reese for four years from 1948-51, during which Eastern teams won 77 games and lost just 35. He averaged 9.3 points and 8.9 rebounds as a senior when Eastern repeated as Evergreen Conference champions. Whitehill was a member of the Red Reese All-Time Team, representing the top 13 players Reese coached in 31 seasons at the helm. Whitehill played on Eastern's squad in 1949-50 that finished 23-7 and was regarded by Reese as his best team In track, Whitehill won Evergreen Conference pole vault and high jump titles, and at one time held the school's high jump record. He coached track for two seasons at Eastern in the 1960's, with Eastern finishing as high as fifth in the NAIA Championships. Whitehill served as a professor of physical education at Eastern for 30 years after receiving four college degrees. He received his undergraduate degree from Eastern in 1951, a master's in education from Eastern in 1956, a master's in science from Oregon in 1961 and his doctorate degree from Oregon in 1963. He served as Eastern faculty president and chairman of academic senate, and later became president of the school's retired faculty organization. He officiated in football and basketball for more than 16 years, and was selected to the Inland Empire Basketball Officials Hall of Fame. From 1974-90 he played in five national racquetball tournaments, winning three individual championships and four doubles titles. He helped bring the 1974 World Racquetball Championships to Eastern in conjunction with the World's Fair in Spokane. And since 1955 he and his wife Altamae have been avid supporters of Eastern's athletic department, with Pat serving as chairman of the committee that dedicated the Reese Room and Reese Court in honor of his former coach.
Coached by inaugural Hall of Fame member Dave Holmes, Eastern won its first 11 games of the season and advanced to the NAIA Championship game in Morgantown, W.V. Although the Savages lost to Fairmont State 28-21 for the championship, the runner-up finish was a ground-breaking achievement for a school that would undergo huge growth athletically and academically in the years to come. From back-to-back winless seasons in the early 60's, Holmes built the Eastern program into a powerhouse with records of 8-1 and 7-1-1 in 1965 and 1966, respectively. With the "New Woodward Field" making its debut in 1967, Eastern won all four of its home games en route to a perfect 6-0 record in the Evergreen Conference. Several close, come-from-behind victories were added to a trio of shutouts -- 45-0 over Whitworth, 27-0 over College of Idaho and a 68-0 romp over Whitworth that ended the regular season. A 28-14 victory over New Mexico Highlands in the NAIA semifinals earned Eastern a berth to the 12th annual NAIA Champion Bowl. The passing combination of Bill Diedrick to Dave Svendsen was devastating all season long as Diedrick set Eastern and conference records for total offense (2,066 yards), passing yards (1,995) and touchdown passes (25), and Svendsen set new school and EvCo marks for receptions (57), reception yards (979) and touchdown receptions (12). Both earned NAIA All-America honors -- Svendsen on the first team and Diedrick on the second team. Defensive end Vern Garland, a team captain along with Roger Berg, earned honorable mention All-America honors as well as halfback Ray Stookey and guard Rolf Oxos. Besides the All-Americans, players on the Little All-Northwest team were center Greg Gavin, defensive tackle John Halfmoon, tight end Roger Cramer, strong safety Robin Rexius, linebacker Bill Wall and fullback Pat Zlateff. Dick Zornes, a legendary football coach and Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame member, was a graduate assistant coach on the 1967 football team.