BYU announces 2012 Hall of Fame inductees

PROVO, Utah—The BYU Athletic Department will induct five former athletes into the BYU Hall of Fame Thursday in a ceremony in the Cougar Room at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The program will begin at 7 p.m.

The 2012 inductees include football players Gordon Gravelle (1967-1971) and John Tait (1993, 1996-1998), cross country athlete Elizabeth Jackson (1996-2000), men’s gymnast Cortney Bramwell (1997-2000) and men’s volleyball player Hector Lebron (1997-2001).

The inductees will be honored during halftime of the BYU vs. Hawai’i football game Friday evening and will be available for interviews immediately following their halftime appearance.

“Each year we have the opportunity to pay tribute to the finest student-athletes and coaches in BYU’s storied past,” said BYU director of athletics Tom Holmoe. “We are proud to honor the 2012 Hall of Fame class for their achievements in athletics and in the classroom, and for being great ambassadors of the university.”

Since its inception in 1975, more than 175 athletes, coaches and administrators have been inducted into the BYU Athletic Hall of Fame. Among the criteria to be considered for induction are All-American status, university graduation, professional accomplishments and community service. Hall of Fame induction is one of the most prestigious honors given by the BYU Athletic Department.

Cortney Bramwell

Cortney Bramwell came to BYU as one of Utah’s premier gymnasts. He left as one of the most decorated male athletes of his time.

Bramwell, who was a member of the final men’s gymnastics team at BYU in 2000, was one of the most successful gymnasts at BYU. Along with fellow teammate Guard Young, he was one of the first BYU gymnasts to win an NCAA individual event title. He qualified for the NCAA Championships each of his four years and was a two-time individual national champion on the still rings his junior and senior years.

As a freshman, he qualified for the NCAA Championships and posted BYU’s best score on the still rings with a 9.850. That score was .100 points away from the school record.

His sophomore year he was named an All-American for his performance on the still rings where he finished third at the NCAA Championships scoring a 9.725. He was also the NCAA West Region Champion on the still rings with a score of 9.875.

His junior year saw him build on his success of the previous year by going undefeated on the still rings in conference competition. At the NCAA Championships, he won an individual title in the still rings with a score of 9.925 and was named an All-American. He scored a 9.9 or higher in all nine meets on the season and finished with a 9.93 average. That year he set a BYU record scoring a perfect 10.0 on the still rings.

As a senior, he repeated as an NCAA individual champion in the still rings with a score of 9.825 to receive his third All-America award. He finished the season undefeated in conference events and won the still rings at the MPSF Championships scoring a perfect 10.0.  

Prior to coming to BYU, he finished sixth on the still rings at the 1994 Junior Olympic Nationals. While at BYU he competed in the 1998 John Hancock U.S. Gymnastics Championships and finished fourth overall in the still rings.

After graduating in 2001, Bramwell has been actively involved in the Idaho youth gymnastics, trampoline, and power-tumbling community working with kids and athletes from ages 3-18. He currently works for Danik Gymnastics as the boy’s team head coach and program director. He is the oldest of four siblings.

Gordon Gravelle

An accomplished football player on and off the field, Gordon Gravelle became one of the most prolific offensive tackles in BYU history. Born in Oakland, Calif., Gravelle developed into a top recruit while playing guard at Ygnacio Valley High in Concord, Calif. Graduating from BYU in 1972 in business administration, Gravelle went on to have a successful career in both football and home building and real estate development.

A member of BYU’s football program from 1967-1971, Gravelle started for three years under head coach Tom Hudspeth. He married his wife Molly prior to the start of the 1970 season. Before his senior year, Hudspeth said of Gravelle, “He is the best offensive lineman to play for me in my seven years at BYU, and his potential in the game seems unlimited.”

During his senior year, Gravelle went on to earn many accolades and awards. He was the WAC Lineman of the Year, and was named to the 1971 All-WAC First Team and 1971 Playboy All-American team. Gravelle played in both the 1971 East-West Shrine Game and the 1971 Senior Bowl. As one of the top offensive linemen available in the NFL draft, Gravelle also competed in the 1972 Chicago Charities College All-Star Game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Gravelle earned three All-America Second-Team Awards in 1971 from the Associated Press, Universal Sports and the Newspaper International Association. Gravelle was later named to the WAC 15-Year All-Star team in 1977.

After leaving BYU, Gravelle continued his playing career in the NFL. Drafted as the 38th overall pick in the second round of the 1972 NFL draft, Gravelle went on to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1972 through 1976. Following his rookie season, he was named to the All-NFL Rookie team. Gravelle became the Steelers’ starting right tackle and two-time Super Bowl Champion protecting quarterback Terry Bradshaw in Super Bowl IX and Super Bowl X.

Following his time as a Steeler, Gravelle went on to play for the New York Giants from 1977–1979 and finished his career as a member of the Los Angeles Rams in 1979. Gravelle also played in Super Bowl XIV as a member of the Rams, losing to his former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Over the course of his NFL career, Gravelle started a total 68 of 96 career games.

Following his retirement from the NFL in 1979, Gravelle became involved in the real estate industry. He is currently the president of Suncrest Homes, a Northern California homebuilding and real estate development company, and has successfully planned and managed various housing projects. Gravelle also earned an MBA from Duquesne University and currently lives with his wife Molly in Northern California. Together they have two children and five grandchildren.

Elizabeth Jackson

Elizabeth Jackson made sure she had the same socks, the same ribbon and the same fruit punch at every race her freshman year. And the superstitions proved helpful to this two-sport athlete who was a nine-time All-American in cross country and track and field at BYU.

Jackson came to BYU as a state mile and cross country champion at East High in Salt Lake City, Utah.

She immediately made an impact on the cross country team her freshman year and was named Western Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year. She also earned her first All-America honor and was named All-WAC for a third-place finish at the WAC Championships.

Jackson’s success continued throughout the rest of her college career. During the next three seasons, Jackson earned three more All-America accolades along with being named an Academic All-American, Mountain West Conference Champion and MWC Cross Country Athlete of the Year. She also helped lead the team to two of the four all-time BYU cross country National Championships.

In track and field, Jackson was a five-time All-American and the first NCAA National Champion at BYU in the women’s steeplechase her senior year.

After leaving BYU with a bachelor’s degree in business management, Jackson kept running and traveled around the world as a professional track athlete.  Throughout her professional career she won four individual U.S. National titles, was ranked No. 1 in the United States in 2001, 2002 and 2005, and was selected to the World Team in 2005.

In 2009, Jackson started her own SEO firm and is now a web developer and SEO expert. She enjoys serving in the temple and speaks at numerous youth firesides and events.  She also has seven nieces and nephews whom she loves to spend time with.

Hector Lebron

As a member of the BYU men’s volleyball team from 1997-2001, Hector Lebron led the Cougars to two National Championships and set a number of BYU assist records along the way.

A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Lebron competed at Colegio San Ignacio High where he earned Athlete of the Year honors his senior year and attracted the attention of many colleges, including BYU.

During his freshman year at BYU, Lebron compiled 1,128 assists and was named to the AVCA All-Freshman Team. During a game against Pepperdine, he had 115 assists for the second-most in BYU history for assists in one game.

With a successful freshman season under his belt, Lebron split time his sophomore year with fellow teammate and setter, Christ Pitzak. Together, the two of them led BYU to a 16-6 record and prepared the team for one of its best seasons yet in 1999.

Lebron made a name for himself his junior year, leading BYU to its first-ever men’s volleyball National Championship. His 1,505 assists on the season still ranks third in the record books for single-season individual assists. He also earned Second-Team AVCA All-America honors and was named to the All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation team.

After a redshirt year in 2000, Lebron came back stronger than ever to lead the Cougars to one more National Championship in 2001. Alongside his 1,235 assists, Lebron was named First-Team All-American, Volleyball Magazine’s National Player of the Year, First-Team All-MPSF and was also named to the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team.

It was the icing on the cake to a prolific career, becoming second on the all-time assists leader board at BYU with 4,378 assists.

After graduating from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Lebron went on to play for the Puerto Rican national volleyball team. He was named the best setter in the Puerto Rico Superior League, named to the all-tournament team of the league and won a National Championship with the Patriotas de Laves team in 2002.

After ending his volleyball career, Lebron went to law school and is currently an attorney as the Senior Associate at Ferraivoli, LLC. He now assists people with pro bono legal work. He is very close to his family and is engaged to be married in December 2012 to his long-time girlfriend Nivia B. Gonzalez Lopez.

John Tait

Former offensive lineman John Tait started off his BYU football career strong by being named to the Freshman All-America team. His sophomore year, Tait earned All-WAC First Team Selection honors, as well as a College Sports News All-America Honorable Mention. He was awarded the National Offensive Lineman of the Year, Football News First Team All-America and All-WAC First Team his junior year. By the end of his three year career, Tait started in all 37 games he played and helped lead BYU to a 29-11 record during that time.

After three great years at BYU Tait played 10 seasons in the NFL. He spent his first five years with the Kansas City Chiefs, who drafted him fourteenth overall in 1999. Then he signed with the Chicago Bears in 2004 where he played for the rest of his career. In 2006, Tait was given the Brian Piccolo Award, which is given to a Bears player who “best exemplifies the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and sense of humor of the late Brian Piccolo.” During his professional tenure, Tait played in 148 games and started in 139 of them, earned two Pro Bowl selections and competed in Super Bowl XLI.

After retiring from the NFL, Tait decided to go back to school to complete his bachelor’s degree. In May 2012, he graduated from Columbia College in Chicago in film and video. As a student, he won three awards for three different student films he entered into the Columbia College Take 1 film festival.

Tait is a father of three and recently moved his family to California. He has worked with several charities and community groups during the last 10 years. He established the John Tait Foundation, which helps raise money and awareness for special needs children. He also worked with other groups in the Kansas City and Chicago areas, including the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education, First Downs for Down Syndrome and the La Rabida Children’s Hopsital. In 2005, he was the recipient of the SEDOL Foundation Heart of Gold Award for his work with children and young adults with disabilities. The NFL also recognized Tait’s willingness to serve by nominating him for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2004, the most prestigious NFL honor recognizing a player for his community service activities as well as his excellence on the field.