BYU inducted six new members into the Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday night. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- Friday night was an evening of reminiscing and recognizing the accomplishments of four All-Americans, a hall-of-fame coach and a founding member of the Cougar Club at BYU’s Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Elaine Michaelis (w. volleyball), Raymond Beckham (administration), Tiffany Lott Hogan (track and field), Amy Christiansen Palmer (track and field), Shawn Knight (football) and Byron Shefchik (swimming) were all officially inducted into BYU’s Athletic Hall of Fame, joining dozens of other BYU athletes, coaches and administrators who have been recognized since the first induction ceremony in 1975.
“They’re not just good, they’re heroes,” said Tom Holmoe, directors of athletics. “Tonight we were able to witness the integrity and humility that goes with being champions. They are the cream of the crop, part of the great tradition that is BYU athletics.”
The evening began with a reception in the President’s Loge of LaVell Edwards Stadium, followed by a banquet and ceremony hosted by the Cougar Club. Dressed in tuxedos and formal gowns, each inductee was presented to the Hall of Fame by a coach, friend or family member.
Janette Hales Beckham began the evening introducing her husband, Raymond Beckham, a founding member of the Cougar Club, the first full-time Sports Information Director at BYU and a major fund-raising force behind the building of LaVell Edwards Stadium, the George Albert Smith Fieldhouse and the Marriott Center.
She explained that although he may not dye his hair blue, he is the definition of a die-hard BYU fan. That’s not the only reason he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, however.
“[Beckham]’s best quality, more than a fan or even a builder, is his ability to be a booster,” his wife said. “He is a booster of people. I believe his life will bring honor to this award.”
Beckham quickly turned aside all compliments and said he felt like Max Hall trying to give credit to his offensive line after a game.
“I’ve had some great men and women work with me,” he said. “I have gotten much more from BYU than I have ever given.”
Tiffany Lott Hogan, All-American heptathlon athlete and Olympian, was then introduced by longtime friend and coach, Craig Poole. After going through an impressive list of accolades, he teased that along with her athletic talent, she also had a knack for keeping him on his toes.
“My hair is gray,” Poole said. “Many of the things that contributed to that began with [Hogan]. She was a tremendous representative of BYU and our track and field program. We are proud of her in every way.”
Hogan expressed that she couldn’t have done anything without her family, coaches, teammates and God.
“They never let me quit what I had started,” she said. “They taught me to push myself beyond what I thought I could do.”
Newel B. Knight, father of Shawn Knight, a member of the 1984 national champion football team and first round draft pick in 1987, introduced his son as not only a great football player, but a man dedicated to education, family and service.
His son said that it was just a culmination of little things.
“I think the path to excellence for all of us is just doing a little bit more – that last little thing,” Knight said. “Over the course of days and weeks and years, it adds up to thousands of little things. That’s what takes us from being good to great.”
Elaine Michaelis, 44-year coach and early-advocate of women’s athletics nationwide, was introduced by former BYU Women’s Athletics administrator, Lu Wallace.
“She has the distinction of never having coached a losing season,” Wallace said. “As a student athlete, coach, mentor friend and administrator, Elaine left her mark at BYU and what a historical legacy she left.”
“It’s been a wonderful time for me,” Michaelis added to her friend’s remarks. “I love BYU and I have truly been blessed to be able to coach and be an administrator in the physical education and athletic programs. We’ve had a lot of fun over the years and may that association continue as we support the Cougars.”
Tapio Kuusela recalled all of the close calls that Amy Christiansen Palmer, Olympic hammer thrower, made him and her other supporters suffer through.
Palmer laughed in response, thanking her husband, Rick, for always being her “biggest athletic supporter.”
Tim Powers, BYU’s head swimming coach, introduced Byron Shefchik as a walk-on with, what he thought, little potential. After recounting Shefchik’s countless awards and medals, he admitted his mistake.
“He turned out to be a very good thing for BYU,” he said.
ABOUT THE INDUCTEES
Elaine Michaelis spent 44 years with BYU athletics as a volleyball coach. She had 886 wins and won numerous coaching awards from organizations like the Western Athletic Conference, US Olympic Committee, NCAA, American Volleyball Coaches Association, and Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference and International Association of Coaching. She personally helped developed the female athletic program at BYU and across the nation.
She was inducted in the Utah Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 and is the namesake for the volleyball court in the George Albert Smith Fieldhouse. Under her watch, 18 players earned 51 All-America awards and six earned major national player honors.
Michaelis coached volleyball, among other sports, at BYU from 1961 to 2002. When she retired from coaching, she was ranked No. 2 all-time in Division 1 volleyball victories and with the most wins by a female coach in collegiate volleyball at any level, even without counting her first eight seasons, which had no records kept.
Michaelis served simultaneously as both a head coach and the Cougars’ top administrator for seven seasons. Consistently ranked among the top-10 women’s programs in the country, women’s athletics at BYU thrived under her direction from 1995 to 2004.
She worked to not only influence the students, but intercollegiate volleyball as a whole – serving as NAGWS and NCAA clinician, chair of the AIAW Volleyball Committee and chair of the Volleyball Rules Committee. She was also a member of AIAW’s Executive Committee and chair of the AIAW National Ethics and Eligibility Committee, where she worked to further opportunities for women in the athletic community.
Raymond E. Beckham was the first person to hold the title of BYU Sports Information Director starting in 1949, served as the chief statistician for football and basketball for seven years, was a member of the Athletic Council for 15 years and was the Alumni Director for 10 years.
Beckham also had a direct influence on the fundraising campaigns for what are now LaVell Edwards Stadium, the Marriott Center and the Smith Fieldhouse.
With Dr. Roger Parkinson, Beckham co-founded the Cougar Club in 1963 and has been a member every year since, including this year as a Legacy member. Beckham was also a member of the search committee culminating in the hiring of head football coach Tom Hudspeth and director of athletics Floyd Millet.
Beckham is a Professor Emeritus of Communications and taught advertising and public relations for 21 years; served as the director of development and public services for five years each; founded the Aspen Grove Family Camp and worked for the travel studies department, evening school and the New York City Internship Program.
BYU has awarded Beckham with the Man of the Year Award, the Presidential Medal and the Alumni Distinguished Service Award. He has also earned Provo’s Abraham O. Smoot Outstanding Citizen Award, Rotary Club’s Service-Above-Self Award, Scouting’s Silver Beaver award, the Red Cross Clara Barton award and the Sons of Utah Pioneers “Modern Pioneer” award.
In his business and professional career, he is a retired vice president of corporate communications for Nu Skin International, Inc., former chairman and board member of Deseret Federal Savings and Loan and former president of National Resources and Deseret Villages.
Beckham joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the age of 19 while serving in the U.S. Coast Guard and hasn’t quit serving since. His Church service includes that of stake president, bishop, member of the high council, scoutmaster, mission president, regional representative of the Twelve, member of the adult curriculum committee, chairman of the home teaching committee, member of the Melchizedek Priesthood committee, minority committee, temple sealer and member of the Provo Temple Presidency. He also served nine years as a full-time missionary in the Church Public Affairs Department, the last four of which were on the Church Olympic Committee for the 2002 Winter Games.
Shawn Knight was a defensive tackle from 1983 to 1987, when the New Orleans Saints drafted him in the first round as the 11th pick overall.
As a sophomore, he was part of the 1984 national champion Cougars. His junior year he was second on the team with 11.5 quarterback hurries and 2.5 sacks, and his senior year he led the team with 16 sacks and was second on the team with eight quarterback hurries.
He was voted to the All-America Third Team by The Associated Press, received All-America honorable mention by United Press International, and was a member of the All-Western Athletic Conference First Team. He also was a participant in the Senior Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game.
His first year playing professional football with the Saints landed Knight on the 1987 NFL All-Rookie Team. He also played for the Denver Broncos, St. Louis Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings.
Knight also later played for the Sacramento Surge of the World League of American Football, where he was named to the 1991 All-World Team of the WLAF.
After his football days slowed, Knight got his master’s degree and began a physical therapy practice. Eventually he worked into medical sales and is currently living in Park City with his four children.
Tiffany Lott Hogan
Tiffany Lott Hogan was an All-American in track and field and later an Olympian.
In high school, Hogan won seven state titles, was a three-time winner of the heptathlon at the Great Southwest track meet and three-time All-American, competed in the USA Jr. National track meet three times and won the 100m hurdles and javelin at the National Junior Olympic track meet.
At BYU, she set school, collegiate and world records, was a 10-time All-American, NCAA National Champion in the 55m hurdles, two-time NCAA Champion in heptathlon, National Champion in heptathlon at USA Junior Championships, and competed in the World Junior Championships for the heptathlon and World University Games for the Javelin.
Off the field, Hogan was presented with numerous awards including Female Athlete of the Year by Track & Field Magazine, the Dale Rex Memorial Award at BYU, Female Athlete of the Year (Utah) by the Girl and Women in Sports Foundation and Collegiate Female Athlete of the Year (Utah) by the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Graduating from BYU won two USA Indoor National titles, set and reset world records for the pentathlon, was named the Pan American Champion in the heptathlon and competed and placed in numerous other national competitions.
She went on to compete in Athens where she placed 20th in the heptathlon and was later inducted into the Utah Summer Games Hall of Honor.
Amy Christiansen Palmer
Amy Christiansen Palmer was an All-American athlete at BYU as well as an Olympian.
She won 10 Utah State titles in high school.
At BYU Palmer won the Western Athletic Conference shot put three times, placed eighth and fifth in the NCAA shot put, won the USA Junior shot put, placed 11th in the World Junior shot put, placed sixth in the shot put at USA Outdoors and was ranked No. 6 in the U.S. in shot put by Track & Field News.
She placed second in the NCAA hammer throw, second in the USA Outdoors hammer throw, third in the Commonwealth Games hammer throw and was ranked first nationally and fourth internationally in the hammer throw by Track & Field News.
Palmer also set the American record in the hammer throw and placed second at the Goodwill Games.
In 2000, she placed second at the Olympic trials in Sacramento and went on to compete in the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, where she placed eighth. She later carried the Olympic torch, was named the Tooele County Citizen of the Year in 2000 and 2001 and again competed in the Olympic Trials in 2004.
Shefchik was a five-time All-American and a three-time Academic All-American. He was a two-time Western Athletic Conference Champion in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, Richards Building pool record holder in the 200 breaststroke and 400 medley relay and also finished fourth at NCAA Championships in the 200 breaststroke.
In his first college swim meet, Shefchik took first place in the breaststroke over the defending Western Athletic Conference champion.
He came in third at the World University Games, bringing home the bronze medal in spite of a sprained foot and infection.
His senior year he was awarded the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and early in the season made the hard cuts for the NCAA in the 200 breaststroke. He was ranked first nationally during the remainder of the season.
Shefchik got his MBA in 2000, the same year he had the opportunity to compete in the Olympic Trials.