#OregonAthletics: 2021 Oregon Hall Of Fame Inductees Announced

EUGENE – Some of the most well-known student-athletes and coaches in recent history have been selected for the Oregon Athletics Hall of Fame class of 2021. Among the six inductees are three national champions from track and field and three individuals who helped raise the profile of women’s athletics at the University of Oregon.

The University’s 30th Hall of Fame class features NCAA track and field medalists Matthew Centrowitz, Melissa Gergel and Scott McGee, forward Arianne Boyer and head coach Jody Runge from the one of the most successful eras in women’s basketball history and volleyball’s all-time leader in points, Sonja Newcombe.

“The 2021 Hall of Fame class really embodies the highest level of excellence in college athletics,” said director of athletics Rob Mullens. “These individuals won national acclaim and are also student-athletes and coaches who broke barriers while elevating their programs and Oregon Athletics.”

To be eligible for induction into the Oregon Athletics Hall of Fame, which originated in 1992, former athletes, coaches, administrators and teams associated with the school’s intercollegiate athletics success must have departed the University a minimum of 10 years earlier.

The 2021 honorees will officially join the exclusive club of 217 athletes and 29 teams previously selected at the Hall of Fame banquet, the date of which will be determined later this year.

Arianne Boyer, Women’s Basketball, 1993-97

Arianne Boyer was just the fifth Duck in program history to score 1,500 career points and was just the third All-American at Oregon. The forward from Vancouver, Wash., helped Oregon advance to four straight NCAA Tournaments from 1994-97. She was a Pac-10 All-Freshman selection her first season in Eugene after averaging 7.6 points per game. As a sophomore, Boyer increased her production to 14.0 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. She earned her first All-Pac-10 first team honor as a junior in 1995-96 when she averaged 16.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. As a senior in 1996-97, Boyer was an Associated Press honorable mention All-American and earned her second-straight All-Pac-10 first team award after averaging 15.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. That season, she helped lead the Ducks to a second-place finish in the Pac-10 as the Ducks were 22-7 overall and 14-4 in league play. Boyer finished her career ranked fifth in both points (1,501) and rebounds (850) at Oregon. Her totals currently rank 10th in scoring and ninth in rebounds. Boyer also still stands among the school’s career top 10 in free throws made with 400 (fourth) and double-doubles with 28 (ninth). For her career, Boyer averaged 13.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game and shot 51.7 percent from the field. She was honored with the University’s 1997 Jackson Award, which is given to the outstanding senior female student-athlete of the year.

Matthew Centrowitz, Men’s Track & Field/Cross Country, 2007-11

Winning the 2011 NCAA championship in the 1,500 meters was just the beginning for Matthew Centrowitz, who went on to win Olympic gold in the event at the 2016 Rio games and is a five-time U.S. 1,500 meter champion. In his first full season of running for the Ducks, Centrowitz helped Oregon win a pair of national titles. He was the Ducks’ No. 4 runner and finished 45th overall as Oregon won its second-straight NCAA Cross Country championship in 2008. Centrowitz then helped the Ducks win their first ever NCAA Indoor Track and Field national championships with a sixth-place finish in the mile at the 2009 meet. Later that spring, he won the first of three consecutive Pac-10 1,500 meter titles. The 2010 outdoor season was the best yet for Centrowitz. Not only did he defend his conference 1,500 crown, but he joined teammates Andrew Wheating and A.J. Acosta in Oregon’s 1-2-3 sweep of the 1,500 at the NCAA Championships. His final season as a Duck established his place among track and field’s luminaries. He dominated the 1,500 not only at the college level, but among all U.S. runners in 2011. That season produced his third league crown at 1,500 meters before Centrowitz won his first individual NCAA title. His collegiate win in 3:42.54 spurred an unforgettable summer. Wearing his Oregon singlet at the U.S. Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Centrowitz executed a near-perfect race plan in the 1,500 meter final to  become the first Duck undergraduate to win a USA title since Steve Prefontaine in 1971 (three miles). Later that summer, Centrowitz broke the school’s 1,500 meter record by running 3:34.46 in a Diamond League meet in Monaco. He finished the 2011 season with a bronze medal finish at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, in the process becoming the youngest American ever to medal in the 1,500 meters after running 3:36.08. Centrowitz turned pro later that fall. He finished his career as a seven-time All-American and still ranks second in school history at 1,500 meters.

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Melissa Gergel, Women’s Track & Field, 2008-11

Melissa Gergel persevered through rain, wind and thunder and lightning that caused lengthy weather delays late into an Iowa summer night to become just the second women’s pole vault national champion in school history. Competing in her final meet as a senior at the 2011 NCAA meet, Gergel had first attempt clearances at 13-feet, 1.5-inches and 13-5.25 before needing a clutch third attempt clearance at 14-1.25 to stay alive in the competition. She then made a first attempt bar at 14-3.25 and a second attempt at 14-5.25 before winning the national title in an NCAA Championship meet record 14-7.25. That mark still ranks second in Oregon history. The seven-time All-American is the school pole vault record holder indoors with a clearance at 14-7.25 that came in a runner-up finish at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships where Oregon won the Indoor national title for the first time in school history. Including her national title, Gergel had six top-10 finishes combined at the indoor and outdoor NCAA Championships. She also became just the second Pac-10 women’s pole vault champion in school history after winning as a sophomore in 2009, one of her three career top-three finishes at the conference meet. Gergel went on to compete in both the 2012 and 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials. She was also fourth in the pole vault at the 2011 USA Championships, matching her personal best clearance at 14-7.25.

Scott McGee, Men’s Track & Field, 1988-91

One of only two NCAA champions in the hammer throw for Oregon, Scott McGee was a three-time All-American in the event and still ranks third all-time on the UO career list. McGee first broke onto the national hammer scene with a runner-up performance as a sophomore at the 1989 Pac-10 Championships and followed that with a sixth-place throw at the NCAA Championships to earn his first All-America honor. McGee won his national title in the hammer at the 1990 NCAA meet with a throw of 217-8. He also won the Pac-10 title that season with a mark of 225-1. As a senior, McGee defended his conference crown (214-7) before finishing as the national runner-up at the 1991 NCAA Championships with an impressive throw of 224-4. His personal best of 225-10, which came in a dual meet against Washington State, still ranks third all-time at Oregon. Since his graduation in 1991, only one Duck has thrown the hammer farther than McGee. His efforts helped Oregon to three consecutive top-five finishes at the NCAA Championships (1989-91) and the 1990 Pac-10 team title.

Sonja Newcombe, Volleyball, 2006-10

Sonja Newcombe not only excelled in every facet of the game, but made those who played around her better. Oregon’s career leader in points with 1,852 can still be found on many of the school’s match, season and career lists. The 2009 second team All-American helped lead Oregon to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances during her career. In 2007, the Ducks were 22-11 and advanced to the NCAA’s Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1984. Oregon made it back-to-back Sweet Sixteen appearances in 2008. That team went 25-9 overall and 11-7 in the Pac-10 to finish fourth, which at the time matched the Ducks’ best conference showing in program history. One of the most memorable efforts for Newcombe, a two-time all-Pac-10 first team selection (2008-09), was a 36-kill game in a five-set come-from-behind win at Washington in 2009. Not only are her 36 kills the school single-match record in rally scoring, which has been used since 2001, but that total ranks fifth overall, which includes the old scoring system where matches were longer. Newcombe also ranks second in rally scoring and fifth overall in career kills with 1,580 and eighth in career digs with 1,233. In her first season as a Duck, Newcombe was named to the 2006 Pac-12 All-Freshman team. A professional volleyball player for 10 years, Newcombe has represented the United States as a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team that won gold at the 2017 Pan American Games and silver at the 2014 Pan American Games and the 2014 Montreaux Volley Masters Tourney.

Jody Runge, Women’s Basketball Coach, 1994-2001

Oregon made eight-straight NCAA Tournament appearances under Jody Runge from 1994-2001 and won back-to-back Pac-10 championships in 1998-99 and 1999-2000. Runge finished her tenure as one of the most successful coaches in school history. She won 160 games with 73 losses in eight seasons. Her 160 wins are the third-most in program history. Runge had an impressive 100-44 conference record. She was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year in her first season, 1993-94, when she took a team that went 9-18 the year before and led the Ducks to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 20-9 record. She was also named the 1999 Pac-10 Coach of the Year after guiding Oregon to a 25-6 record, which included a 15-3 conference mark and a share of the first Pac-10 title in school history. A year later, the Ducks were 23-8 and won their first outright Pac-10 crown. In her eight seasons, Oregon never finished lower than fourth in the Pac-10. Under Runge’s tutelage, four Ducks earned All-America honorable mention honors – Shaquala Williams (twice), Sally Crowe, Arianne Boyer and Natalie Hughes – and 11 garnered all-Pac-10 first team recognition. Boyer became just the fifth 1,500-point scorer in program history. Runge also coached the first two WNBA Draft choices in program history, Jenny Mowe and Angelina Wolvert in 2001. Runge’s teams were successful in the classroom as well. The Ducks accumulated 18 Pac-10 All-Academic first and second team awards during Runge’s time at Oregon. She also helped home attendance grow exponentially. The Ducks averaged nearly 6,000 fans a game in 1999-2000 and set a record at the time when 9,738 watched Oregon defeat No. 21 Oregon State 69-60 at McArthur Court on March 8, 1996.