Jul 16, 2014 9:55 PM by Richie Melby (

Pima County Sports Hall of Fame announces class of 2014

TUCSON - The Pima County Sports Hall of Fame has announced its inductees for the class of 2014. 14 coaches and athletes will be honored at the official banquet in October.

Here is the list of inductees with a brief description of their accomplishments.

David Adams - Sunnyside High School running back who was the 1981 KVOA player of the year. Led the Blue Devils to a 22-3 record before starring at the University of Arizona. He was drafted by the Colts and played for the Cowboys, Rams and ended his career in the CFL.

George Arias - Pueblo High state champion in baseball in 1990. Holds the Junior College World Series Record with three grand slams in two games for Pima C.C. Broke the home run record for the University of Arizona before heading to the MLB as a 7th round draft pick. Was traded from the Angels to the Padres for Hall of Famer Ricky Henderson. Is now Director of Baseball Operations for the Tucson Champs Baseball Academy.

Michael Bates - Two-sport star at Amphitheater named the "Top Athlete in Tucson History" in 2012 by the Arizona Daily Star. Was the NFL kick returner of the year in 1976. Holds five Carolina Panther records for kick returns - 5,987 yards, five touchdowns, 233 kickoff returns, 1,480 single season return yards and two single season kickoff return touchdowns. Qualified for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, capturing bronze in the 200 meters with a time of 20.37.

Dennis Bene - Coach and athlete at Salpointe Catholic High School who led the team to a perfect 14-0 record and state championship this past fall. In 13 seasons at Salpointe, he has a winning percentage of .812 with 126 victories and only 29 losses. He has won 10 league or conference championships while making 12 playoff appearances.

Mario Castro - One of eighteen children, Castro was a talented runner at Sunnyside for Jim Mielke. Finished 2nd in state cross country as a sophomore and won Sunnyside's first individual title his junior year, leading the team to a first place finish as well. Repeated as state champion in 1967 and earned a spot in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd" in 1967. He was inducted into the Sunnyside Unified School District hall of fame in 2006.

Jim Crawford - Won All-State honors in baseball and basketball in 1968. Led the state in basketball scoring at 23 points per game, while the baseball team finished runner-up. Attended ASU and was part of the 1969 national championship baseball team as well as the 1972 runner-up team. Drafted by the Houston Astros and was in the majors within the next year. Hit a game-winning extra-base hit in his first at bat in the 12th inning to earn his first big league win. Appeared in 181 games in five seasons with the Astros and Tigers.

Jim Flannery - Lettered in basketball and track at Salpointe Catholic from 1962-1966. Began coaching at Salpointe in 1974 and won regional basketball championships in 1984, 1991 and 1992. Arizona Daily Star and Tucson Citizen Coach of the Year in 1986 and 1991. Coached state championship golf teams in 1981 and 2004 and finished runner-up in 2006, 2006, 2008 and 2011. Was selected Boys Coach of the Year in 2013.

Frank Garcia - Lettered in football and basketball at Salpointe Catholic High School. Selected All-City Football in 1974 and participated in the 1975 All-Star football game. 20 years later was inducted into the Salpointe Sports Hall of Fame. Punter for the UofA football team and spent three games with the Chicago Blitz. In 1983 Frank got his break with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was All-Pro that year.

Lacey Nymeyer John - Mountain View High graduate who stayed local to attend the University of Arizona, starring on the swimming and diving team from 2004-2009. Was 2009 NCAA Women's Athlete of the Year and won silver medal in the 400m free relay at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Owns five world championships, two NCAA championships and has set American, NCAA, U.S. Open and World Records. Still holds Wildcat records in the 100 and 200 freestyle. Was twice named the Pac-10 "Swimmer of the Year" during her time at UA.

Ray Kosanke - Led the Tucson High Badgers to an undefeated season in 1962. Named All-City and All-State while being selected a Dell Magazine High School All-American. Finished second at the state track meet in discus, setting a Tucson High record. Played basketball at Stanford University before playing pro in Belgium.

Rick McConnell - Started varsity basketball for Sahuaro High three years in high school, while starting at shortstop leading the Cougars to the state championship in 1973 and 1974. Was on the 1976 University of Arizona national championship baseball team. Spent time as a basketball coach at Sahuaro, leading the Cougars to their second state championship. Hired as boy's basketball coach at Mesa's Dobson High School where he remains today.

Sandy Marten Novak - Grew up in Chicago before moving to Tucson in 1987 where she was hired to coach track and volleyball. Girls track teams won regional championships in all but one of her 10 years as head coach at Sahuaro. Volleyball teams won 10 regional championships and were state runner-up in 4A twice and 5A once. Posted 402-112 record in volleyball, not including postseason or tournaments. Coached the boys volleyball program in the inaugural season of 1997. Team finished in the final four six of the 16 years while winning state in 2009. Has a 201-62 record not including tournaments.

Oscar Reyes Romero - Attended Tucson High from 1974-1978 playing baseball for Ray Adkins and Tom Lundy. Spent two years at Pima C.C. before transferring to the University of Texas at El Paso. He was the head golf coach at Tucson High from 1988-2011 and has coached baseball since 1983. Was named Arizona Daily Star coach of the year in 1990, 1997, 2002 and 2013. Won his 400th varsity game as a head coach on April 18, 2014.

Tee Thelma Taylor - Graduated from Catalina High in 1957 and attended the University of Arizona. Developed a training program for the Dallas Skydivers and became instructor, jumpmaster and safety officer. Was the 9th woman to earn the U.S. Expert License. Consistently won state and regional competitions and qualified for the national meet in 1963, winning the style event. This helped earn a spot on the international team that competed in Germany in 1964 where she set a world record in the style event, while placing second in the accuracy event. Was inducted into the National Skydiving hall of fame in 2011.


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