Offensive Line Legacy Highlighted on Hall of Fame Day on Oct. 5
Four individuals, the 1986-87 Eastern Women’s Basketball Team and a recipient of the Service and Contribution Award to be honored
Tom Ackerman, Larry Hattemer, Mick Landmark and Hal Werner will join the 1986-87 Eastern Washington University Women’s Basketball Team as the 13th class of inductees in the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame, and will be honored on Oct. 5, 2013, in Cheney, Wash. In addition, Vic Wallace will be given the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame Service and Contribution Award.
The induction breakfast and ceremony will start at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 5 at the Pence Union Building. The public is invited to attend and the cost is $15 per person. Guests must RSVP to 509-359-2463 or 1-800-648-7697. Inductees will also be honored at halftime of EWU’s football game against Weber State later that day.
This year’s class is a celebration of the legacy of outstanding offensive linemen Eastern has produced. The group includes Ackerman, who was an All-America offensive lineman in 1995 and went on to play eight seasons in the National Football League for New Orleans and Tennessee. He started 32 of 43 games he played as an Eagle, then played 105 games in the NFL.
Before Ackerman burst on the scene in Cheney, Hattemer was Eastern’s offensive line coach from 1979-91 under head coach Dick Zornes. Also Eastern’s offensive coordinator, Hattemer helped Zornes win 70 games during the school’s rise from NAIA to NCAA Division I. He coached nine All-Big Sky performers (EWU joined the league in 1987), four All-Americans and helped develop future NFL standouts Ed Simmons and Kevin Sargent.
Landmark earned honorable mention All-America honors in 1966 and helped Eastern win 20 of 27 games in three seasons in Cheney. He went on to play briefly in the Canadian Football League, but spent most of his post-collegiate career playing in the Continental Football League. Zornes, his former Eastern teammate, says Landmark is “the best football player in our era (early 1960’s) and the first of the many great offensive linemen Eastern has produced.”
Werner was an Eastern javelin thrower in 1950-51, and returned for four seasons as Eastern’s head coach (1966-70) and seven more as an assistant. He won the Evergreen Conference title in 1951 with a throw of 213-5 1/2 that stood as a school and conference record for 15 years. He coached five NAIA All-Americans at Eastern, including four in 1969 when EWU finished fourth at the NAIA Championships. Internationally, his coaching stops included Kuwait, Berundi, Ghana, Hungary, Mexico and Syria.
Coached by Bill Smithpeters and led by Brenda Souther – both already members of the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame – the 1986-87 Eagles became the first Eastern team to earn a berth to the NCAA Division I Championships. The squad knocked off second-seeded Weber State 71-65 in the Mountain West Conference (now Big Sky) Tournament semifinals, then upset host Montana 77-74 in the title game at Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont. Eastern went on to lose in the NCAA Tournament to Oregon in the NCAA Tournament to finish 18-12. Souther averaged 21.9 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.8 blocked shots per game to earn honorable mention All-America honors.
Eastern’s former police chief, in retirement Wallace has become an Eagle Athletic Association member and one of Eastern’s biggest supporters. He and his daughter, Chrissy, rarely miss any EWU games or events, and attend practices for most sports regularly.
The Eastern Athletics Service and Contribution Award was created in 2007 to recognize extraordinary achievements and contributions by individuals with a past association with the Eastern athletic department. This honor is selected by the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame Executive Committee and seeks to honor individuals who have contributed not only to EWU, but to other outside endeavors such as education, community service and coaching.
Established in 1996, this year’s inductees will bring the total number of individuals in the Hall of Fame to 65, teams to 10 and recipients of the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame Service and Contribution Award to 13.
Below are bios of each of the inductees.
Ackerman was an All-American at Eastern in 1995 and went on to play eight seasons in the National Football League. He came to Eastern after graduating in 1991 from Nooksack Valley High School in Northeastern Washington, and would later be joined on the offensive line by his younger brother T.J. (1995-98). With a total of 32 games started and 43 games played, Tom started three games as a freshman in 1992, seven in 1993 and 11 each as a junior and senior. In his junior season he started five games at right tackle, four at left tackle and two at center, and as a senior he started at guard. In addition, he was a long snapper and began his career as a tight end. He helped Eastern win 21 games in his four years as an Eagle, including a 7-4 record and the Big Sky Conference championship in his freshman season and a 7-3 mark the following year. He earned third team NCAA FCS All-America honors in 1995 after earning first team All-Big Sky honors. Ackerman was the 145th pick overall by New Orleans in the 1996 NFL Draft and was the first offensive lineman in Washington and the Big Sky Conference to be taken. He played six seasons with New Orleans and the 2002 and 2003 seasons with Tennessee. He played in 105 career games, including 21 as a starter. Mainly used as a special teams player his first two seasons in the NFL, he appeared in 14 games in 1997 after playing in two games as a rookie in 1996. He started at center in 10 of the 15 games he played in 1998, and in 1999, he played in eight games as a starter and eight as a reserve. Following the 1999 season, he signed a four-year, $6.89 million contract to remain with the New Orleans Saints, then played as a backup in 15 games in 2000 and 16 in 2001 before leaving the team. He was signed by the Oakland Raiders on May 22, 2002, but was released and signed with Tennessee. In 2002, he played in 11 games and started three for the Titans, who advanced to the AFC Championship Game and finished the season 12-6. In 2003, he played in 16 games as a backup. He eventually helped coach offensive linemen at Eastern and assisted with EWU’s strength and conditioning program. He helped coach the Spokane Shock in Arena Football 2 (af2) and has also been involved with the Michael Roos Foundation. He was selected by the Eastern Athletic Department to the “100 for 100” All-Time Football Team, which was honored on Sept. 27, 2008, to commemorate Eastern’s 100th year of football.
Landmark has been called by Dick Zornes as “the best football player in our era (early 1960’s) and the first of the many great offensive linemen Eastern has produced.” Landmark earned honorable mention All-America honors in 1966 and twice earned All-Evergreen Conference honors. He also earned honorable mention Little All-West Coast honors and first team AP Little All-Northwest accolades. Landmark lettered from 1964-66 as Eastern won 20 of 27 games in that span. He earned first team All-Evergreen Conference honors in leading the Savages to league titles in both 1965 and 1966. Eastern was 8-1 his junior season in 1965 and 7-1-1 as a senior when his career ended with a 41-0 victory over rival Whitworth. He originally attended Boise Junior College in 1961, then sat out two seasons while attending Lewis-Clark State College. A letter he wrote to an Eastern assistant coach resulted in him being invited to Cheney for his sophomore season in 1964. Following his Eastern career, he played in the Canadian Football League for parts of two years, but spent most of his time in the Continental Football League playing for the Norfolk Neptunes. Landmark was selected as the left guard on the “Z” team in 1999 as one of the top players in Dick Zornes’ 26-year career as a player and coach at Eastern. He was selected by the Eastern Athletic Department to the “100 for 100” All-Time Football Team, which was honored on Sept. 27, 2008, to commemorate Eastern’s 100th year of football.
A tireless athlete, coach and contributor to the sport of track and field world-wide, Werner spent two seasons at Eastern as an athlete (1950-51), four years as head coach (1966-70) and another seven as an assistant coach. A 1947 graduate of Wenatchee High School, Werner competed in the 1950 and 1951 seasons for Eastern. He adopted the “Finnish technique” of throwing the javelin, and in 1951 won the Evergreen Conference title with a throw of 213-5 1/2 that stood as a school and conference record for 15 years. It was the fifth-best collegiate effort in 1951 and he became the first thrower from the state of Washington to exceed 65 meters (213-3). In addition, in 1951 he had the top mark in the only indoor javelin competition in the United States at the Washington State College Fieldhouse in Pullman. Interestingly, the javelin was thrown into a wooden wall and the distance was determined by measuring the hole angle and the height of the hole on the wall. He had a four-year stint in the Air Force as a survival instructor during the Korean War, and in 1952 was the leading javelin thrower on the Air Force team. However, an elbow injury hindered him at the Olympic Trials, where two of his teammates qualified for the Olympics and won medals in Helsinki, Finland. After his military service, he attended Brigham Young University where he had a throw of 224-9 and qualified for the NCAA Championships in 1956. He competed internationally that summer and had a career-best 232-4 throw. He went on to earn his master’s degree at Washington State where he completed the first study on javelin technique ever conducted on the West Coast. At 45 years of age he concluded his throwing career by winning a gold medal in his age group (45-50) at the 1975 World Master’s Championships. He coached five NAIA All-Americans at Eastern, including four in 1969 when the school finished fourth at the NAIA Championships. While he was head coach at Eastern, he designed a cross country course and designed an indoor track for the old fieldhouse. He also started the Eastern women’s program. After spending eight years at Simon Fraser University where he coached four Canadian Olympians and six NAIA All-Americans, he returned to the Inland Northwest to serve as an assistant coach at Whitworth from 1981-88. He rejoined EWU’s staff under Jim Wharton and Jerry Martin from 1988-95. In 1991, he coached Erik Humble (232-1) and Adam Weston (226-3) to a 1-2 finish at the Big Sky Conference Championships. Humble’s mark stood as a school record for 10 years, just ahead of Weston’s mark. Werner also has extensive coaching experience internationally, starting in 1978 when he was the throwing coach for the Kuwait national team. He also spent time coaching in Africa, including in the countries of Burundi and Ghana, and has also spent time in Hungary, Mexico and Syria. Now living in Tacoma, Werner’s life experiences have also included 37 jumps as a smoke-jumper for the U.S. Forest Service and owner of Ptarmigan Products, which produced insoles for shoes of athletes. Werner passed away on Aug. 4, 2013, at the age of 82.
The Eagles won the Mountain West Conference Tournament title to become the first Eastern team to earn a berth to the NCAA Division I Championships. The 1986-87 squad finished the year 18-12 and was 8-4 to finish third in the regular season in the Mountain West (now Big Sky). But the Eagles knocked off second-seeded Weber State 71-65 in the conference tournament semifinals, then upset host Montana 77-74 in the title game at Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont. Eastern went on to lose in the NCAA Tournament to Oregon 75-56 on March 11, 1987, in Eugene, Ore., and snap EWU’s 10-game winning streak. The 1986-87 team was coached by Bill Smithpeters, who was inducted into the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame in October 2010 after winning 290 games as Eastern’s head coach. The squad was led by 6-foot-2 post Brenda Souther, a 1998 Eastern Hall of Fame inductee, as she averaged 21.9 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.8 blocked shots per game to earn honorable mention All-America honors. Souther was a four-time All-MWC selection, and in 1992 was selected to the Big Sky All-Decade team. Eastern teams were 74-38 (.661) in her four seasons as the Eagles placed in the top three and advanced to the Mountain West Tournament all four years. She set Mountain West records for career rebounds (1,045) and blocked shots (364), as well as for single-season blocked shots (100 in 1984) and numerous tournament records. A standout from Arlington High School near Everett, Wash., Souther established more than 10 school records, including career points (1,733) and field goal percentage (.582) in her 100-game career. Junior point guard Roj Johal joined Souther as a team captain in 1986-87, and averaged 10.9 points and 6.3 assists per game. She had a school-record 17 assists in a 74-71 road win at Idaho on March 1, 1987, a record that still stands. Other starters included Lisa Danner (12.4 points, 7.3 rebounds), Susan Smith (12.0 points, 43-of-90 three-pointers) and Sonya Gaubinger (5.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists). Other members of the squad who played that season were Angie Coleman, Karen DeVoir, Monica Dickson, Kelly Fitzgerald, Laurie Hattemer, Kris Karnes, Collette Smith and Bridget Vietz. Others on the team’s roster for that season included Deanie Burrous and Jodi Erickson, and the team’s assistant coaches included Soni Adams, Mike Divilbiss and Kellie Green.
Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame Service & Contribution Award Recipient
Eastern’s former police chief, in retirement Wallace has become an Eagle Athletic Association member and one of Eastern’s biggest supporters. He and his daughter, Chrissy, rarely miss any EWU games or events, and attend practices for most sports regularly. They greet and welcome players as they come and go at practice, with an especially endearing treatment of new students. Wallace has annually served as a “team member” for Eagle Athletic Association fund drives. Wallace retired from the United States Air Force in February of 1974 and started at EWU that October. After the death of his spouse in 1999, Vic and Chrissy began their passionate involvement with Eastern Athletics. In fact, during the two-month installation of the red Sprinturf surface at EWU’s Roos Field in 2010, they were on hand for all but one day to view the progress.