Kotsay with Former President Clinton

Mark Kotsay being congratulated by Former President Bill Clinton at the White House following the National Championship win in 1995.

Athletics Recognized

Six Inductees to Be Added to Titan Athletics Hall of Fame

May 29, 2007

By Mel Franks

A pair of national baseball players of the year, an Olympic gold-medal winning point guard, the only cornerback who could cover Jerry Rice, college softball’s one-time winningest coach and a distance runner who overcame multiple medical conditions to win numerous titles comprise the second class of inductees into Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Athletics Hall of Fame.

Mark Kotsay, Phil Nevin, Leon Wood, Mark Collins, Judi Garman and Heather Killeen-Frisone will be inducted on Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Titan Student Union. 

Mark Kotsay led the Titans to the 1995 NCAA baseball championship in the middle season of a remarkable 3-year collegiate career. The combination outfielder and relief pitcher was selected College Player of the Decade (1990s) by Baseball America and is a member of the 50th anniversary all-time College World Series team. In 1995 he won the Golden Spikes Award as the nation’s top amateur player, the Smith Award as the nation’s top player and was selected national co-player of the year by Collegiate Baseball. He was the Most Outstanding Player of the 1995 CWS and won first-team All-American honors in both 1995 and 1996, adding an Olympic bronze medal to the latter season.  The Titans went 149-41 in his three seasons as he batted .404, a school career record.  He was a first-round draft choice of the Florida Marlins and earned a World Series Championship ring in 1997. He currently is in his eleventh major league season with the Oakland A’s.

Phil Nevin is the most accomplished two-sport male athlete in CSUF’s history. He won the Golden Spikes Award and was Baseball America’s player of the year in 1992 when he led the Titans to a runner-up finish in the College World Series. He was selected Most Outstanding Player of the CWS the same week he was the first player selected in the major league draft, going to the Houston Astros. The third baseman and shortstop also was a member of the U.S. Olympic team. Nevin also was the punter and placekicker for the football team during the 1989 through 1991 seasons. He was selected a freshman All-American placekicker in 1989 by Sporting News after making 15 of 21 field goals (all of his misses were from 48 yards or more). He averaged 40.1 yards as a punter in 1990 and 40.9 yards in 1991. In three seasons he was 69-for-69 in extra points and kicked a pair of 54-yard field goals. Nevin played 12 seasons (1995-2006) in the major leagues with seven teams and hit 208 home runs while batting .270. His best season was 2001 with San Diego when he hit 41 home runs and drove in 126 runs while batting .306.

Leon Wood led the U.S. men’s basketball team to gold in 1984, playing point guard for Coach Bob Knight. Earlier that year he earned first-team All-American honors from Sporting News along with Michael Jordan, Akeem Olajuwon, Sam Perkins and Wayman Tisdale. Wood held the Cal State Fullerton career record for points (1,876) until this past season when Bobby Brown passed him.  He still holds the mark for assists (744) and led the nation in 1982-83 with 319, which was the NCAA record at that time. Wood was a first-round draft choice of the Philadelphia 76ers and played six seasons in the National Basketball Association, where he has been a referee for the past 10 seasons — only the second former NBA player to become an NBA official. In 1991-92, he served as a Titan volunteer coach while rehabilitating a foot injury. He was inducted into the Orange County Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.

Mark Collins was an integral part of the 1982-85 glory years of Titan football, when he started for four seasons at cornerback, the team won a pair of Pacific Coast Athletic Association championships and played in the California Bowl in Fresno. Collins was the PCAA Defensive Player of the Year in 1985 and holds the school career record with 20 pass interceptions. As a senior, he began returning punts and averaged 22 yards on seven attempts including an 81-yard TD. Collins was a second-round draft choice of the New York Giants in 1986 and played 13 seasons in the National Football League, including Super Bowls XXI and XXV with the Giants and XXXII with Green Bay. He earned All-Pro status and, in 2001, was selected to the all-time New York Giants team selected by the St. Petersburg Times. Coach Bill Parcells said, “Mark Collins is the only cornerback who could cover Jerry Rice.” Collins has built several successful businesses and currently is a part-time broadcaster.

Judi Garman built the Titan softball program literally from the ground up and was the nation’s winningest collegiate coach when she retired after the 1999 season with a 913-376-4 (.708) record in 20 seasons. The Titans advanced to post-season play in each of their first 17 seasons and made eight appearances in the national finals, winning the Women’s College World Series and NCAA championship in 1986. Five times the Titans finished in second or third place. In 1993, Garman was inducted into the National Softball Coaches Hall of Fame. In addition, Garman’s business acumen rivaled her coaching expertise. She was a master at fund raising and the Titans annually host the premier mid-season collegiate tournament, now known as the Judi Garman Classic. A native of Canada, she still is in great demand internationally as a coach and clinician and has a long relationship with the Italian national team.

 Heather Killeen-Frisone was NCAA Woman of the Year for California and among ten finalists for the 1995 NCAA National Woman of the Year Award. She was the first woman to win the 3,000, 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters in the same Big West Conference championships — in 1995 — and placed eleventh in the 10,000 at the NCAA Championships. Having earlier become the first Fullerton female runner to earn Div. I All-American honors in cross country, Killeen-Frisone placed 31st overall and 18th among American citizens (top 25 get honor) in 1994.  She also earned Academic All-America honors and was CSUF’s Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year in both 1994 and 1995. She overcame epilepsy as a youth, and at CSUF, a hip injury, an ovarian cyst and a slight heart murmur.  She is a mother and teacher and is married to former Titan distance runner Steve Frisone, who still holds the school record in the 1,500 meters with his time of 3:48.98 in 1994.

The inaugural hall of fame class was inducted in 2005 and consisted of Greg Bunch (basketball), Coach Augie Garrido (baseball), Tami Elliott-Harrison (gymnastics), Nancy Dunkle (basketball), Eugenia-Miller Rycraw (basketball), Tim Wallach (baseball) and Susan Lefebvre-Wyman (softball).

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