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Legendary football coaches Sonny Holland, Don Read headline 2024 Big Sky Conference Hall of Fame class

Posted at 12:28 PM, Apr 18, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-19 11:50:01-04

(Editor's note: Big Sky Conference news release)

FARMINGTON, Utah — The Big Sky Conference announced its 2024 Hall of Fame class on Thursday, with eight members comprising the league’s third class overall. The 2024 Hall of Fame class features individuals from seven different institutions, with three legendary head coaches headlining this year’s group.

The 2024 class will be officially inducted on Saturday, July 20 starting at 6:30 p.m. PT, as part of the Big Sky Football Kickoff Weekend at the Northern Quest Resort & Casino in Spokane, Washington. Tickets for the gala, which sold out last year after reaching full capacity, can be purchased here. Each ticket is $80, plus fees, which includes admission to the gala, a commemorative poster, and a meal. Purchasers will get to choose from among three options for their meal.

“Our Hall of Fame Gala has quickly become a signature annual event on the Big Sky calendar,” Commissioner Tom Wistrcill said. “These eight individuals helped to elevate the Big Sky into what it is today, and they made a lasting impact on their sport, school, and community. We look forward to celebrating their legacies and inducting them into our Hall of Fame once again before a packed audience as part of the Big Sky Football Kickoff Weekend in Spokane this summer.”

The Big Sky Hall of Fame now features 36 members, with the first class being honored in 2022, also as part of the league’s Football Kickoff Weekend in Spokane.

Beginning in 2023, the Big Sky’s partnership with Baron Championship Rings supplied all honorees with specialized Hall of Fame rings following their induction. This year will be no different, as all eight inductees for the 2024 class will receive complimentary rings as well.

Hall of Fame Eligibility Criteria

  • An alumnus/alumna is eligible only if he/she has participated in two (2) full seasons of competition at a Big Sky member institution and should have made outstanding contributions or offered extraordinary service to athletics at the institutional, conference and national level.
  • An alumnus/alumna is eligible at any time beginning five (5) years after completing their collegiate eligibility.
  • Coaches who have made outstanding contributions or offered extraordinary service to Big Sky athletics shall be eligible for recognition into the Hall of Fame after service of five (5) full years.
  • Coaches must have completed their tenure as coach or have been out of the conference for at least five (5) years.
  • Administrators who have made outstanding contributions or offered extraordinary service to Big Sky athletics shall be eligible for recognition into the Hall of Fame after service of three (3) full years and are immediately eligible.

The 2024 Hall of Fame class was selected by a committee of 14 members, which included representatives from all 10 full-time Big Sky institutions, as well as an additional athletic director, senior women’s administrator, a conference office representative, and an at-large committee member among the group of 14 voters.
2024 Big Sky Hall of Fame Class (Alphabetical Order)

Natalie Doma, Women’s Basketball, Idaho State (2004-08)
Lindsay Haupt, Volleyball, Sacramento State (2004-07)
Sonny Holland, Football Head Coach, Montana State (1971-77)
Bill Kollar, Football, Montana State (1971-73)
Orlando Lightfoot, Men’s Basketball, Idaho (1991-94)
Erik Meyer, Football, Eastern Washington (2002-05)
Dick Motta, Men’s Basketball Head Coach, Weber State (1960-68)
Don Read, Football Head Coach, Montana (1986-95)

Natalie Doma – Idaho State

Women’s Basketball, 2004-08

Natalie Doma played women’s basketball at Idaho State from 2004-08… Led the Bengals to a 2007 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament appearance against Stanford, scoring 32 points in the loss… Also led the Bengals to a pair of WNIT appearances in 2006 and 2008… Named the Big Sky MVP during the 2006-07 season… Named the Big Sky Freshman of the Year in 2004-05… Earned all-conference first-team selections in her final three seasons at Idaho State… Won Big Sky Player of the Week honors 13 times during her career… Doma scored 2,296 points and hauled in 1,174 rebounds as a Bengal, which are both school records and topped the Big Sky at the time… Recorded 26 double-doubles during the 2007-08 season and totaled 64 in her career… As part of the Big Sky’s 50th Anniversary celebration in the 2013-14 school year, Doma was selected as No. 5 on the league’s list of 50 Greatest Female Athletes.

Lindsay Haupt – Sacramento State

Volleyball, 2004-07

Lindsay Haupt played volleyball at Sacramento State from 2004-07… Led the Hornets to Big Sky Tournament titles in all four years of her career, as well as three league regular-season championships… Haupt was a two-time Big Sky MVP for the Hornets, winning the honor in the 2005 and 2007 seasons… Also was a two-time Big Sky Tournament MVP, taking the honors in the 2005 and 2006 tournaments… Named the Big Sky Freshman of the Year in 2004… Earned all-conference first team honors three times during her career and was an all-tournament selection three times as well... As a middle blocker, Haupt finished her career with 1,359 kills and 616 blocks, while hitting .332… The 1,359 career kills are the most by any Hornet middle blocker in the program’s Div. I era… As part of the Big Sky’s 50th Anniversary celebration in the 2013-14 school year, Haupt was selected as No. 19 on the league’s list of 50 Greatest Female Athletes.

Allyn “Sonny” Holland – Montana State

Football Head Coach, 1971-77

Allyn “Sonny” Holland was the head football coach at Montana State from 1971-77… Holland became the first coach to lead a Big Sky football program to a national championship when the Bobcats captured the Div. II crown in 1976… Holland led Montana State to a pair of Big Sky championships in 1972 and 1976, while earning another as an assistant coach in 1964… Holland was a two-time Big Sky Coach of the Year, winning the award in 1972 and 1976… Holland won 27 league games as a head coach, which were the most in conference history at the time of his retirement… During his head coaching tenure, his teams produced nine future NFL players and a dozen All-Americans… In the years before the Big Sky’s formation, Holland was a three-time Mid-Bracket All-America player for the Bobcats from 1957-59… As a freshman started at offensive guard and linebacker, he helped lead the team to the 1956 National Championship… His number 52 jersey was the first to ever be retired by Montana State.

Bill Kollar – Montana State

Football, 1971-73

Bill Kollar played football at Montana State from 1971-73… Inducted as a member of the College Football Hall of Fame in 2023… He was a First Team All-Big Sky honoree in 1971, 1972 and 1973, becoming the first lineman and second defensive player in league history to earn first team all-conference honors three times… Had 107 tackles, one sack, three pass breakups, three fumble recoveries in 1973, which was MSU’s first recording of defensive stats… Was a First Team All-America honoree in 1973 and a Second Team All-America recipient in 1972… Won MVP honors at the 1974 Senior Bowl, becoming the first defensive player ever to do so… Drafted 24th overall in the 1974 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals and was a member of the 1974 NFL All-Rookie Team… Coached in Super Bowl XXXIII with Falcons, Super Bowl XXXVI with Rams, and was part of Denver’s Super 50 Championship coaching staff.

Orlando Lightfoot – Idaho

Men’s Basketball, 1991-94

Orlando Lightfoot played basketball at Idaho from 1991-94… Lightfoot is a two-time Big Sky MVP, winning in 1993 and 1994… Named the Big Sky Newcomer of the Year in 1992 and was a Big Sky All-Conference First Team selection all three seasons with the Vandals… Lightfoot led the Vandals to a Big Sky title in 1993 after a 24-8 record, while compiling a 60-32 mark for his career at Idaho… Lightfoot is the all-time leading scorer for both the Vandals and the Big Sky Conference, after racking up 2,102 points while in Moscow… Lightfoot holds three of Idaho’s top four single-season scoring performances, with the top mark of 715 points in 1993… He also holds four of Idaho’s top six single-game performances, which includes a 50-point outburst against Gonzaga in 1993 – the only 50-point game in school history… Ranks as the only player in Idaho history to average more than 20 points per game in a career, after posting a 23.1 average. Lightfoot enjoyed a solid career playing professionally in Europe from 1994-2007, where he earned spots in numerous all-star games and all-league teams.

Eric Meyer – Eastern Washington

Football, 2002-05

Eric Meyer played football at Eastern Washington from 2002-05… Meyer won the Walter Payton Award in 2005, which is given to the top offensive player in the FCS… Meyer was named the Big Sky MVP in 2004 and 2005, while earning all-conference first team honors in both seasons… Meyer passed for 10,261 yards and 84 touchdowns in 42 career games with the Eagles, becoming just the 17th player in FCS history to pass for more than 10,000 yards in his career… Meyer set eight career records during his playing career at Eastern Washington, with five single-season marks and one single-game record with the Eagles… Meyer threw for 4,003 yards in 2005, which was a single-season record for the Eagles at the time and marked just the 12th player in FCS history to throw over 4,000 yards in a single season… In his final two seasons at Eastern Washington, Meyer was 11-3 in the Big Sky and 16-9 overall as the Eagles won a share of the league championship each year and advanced to the FCS Playoffs in both seasons… As part of the Big Sky’s 50th Anniversary celebration in the 2013-14 school year, Meyer was selected as No. 12 on the league’s list of 50 Greatest Male Athletes.

Dick Motta – Weber State

Men’s Basketball Head Coach, 1960-68

Dick Motta was the head men’s basketball coach at Weber State from 1960-68… Motta coached Weber State to the first NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament appearance for a school in 1968… Led the Wildcats to three Big Sky championships in 1965, 1966 and 1968… Named the Big Sky Coach of the Year in 1965… Currently ranks third in Big Sky history for career winning percentage at .772… Posted a 120-33 record in six Div. I years with Weber State, while holding a 164-50 record overall in his eight seasons in Ogden… Helped transition Weber State from a junior college to the NCAA… Motta went on to have a 25-year career as an NBA head coach, first with the Chicago Bulls where he was named the NBA Coach of the Year in 1971… Motta also coached the Washington Bullets to the 1978 NBA Championship… Won 935 games in the NBA, which currently ranks 12th in the league’s history.

Don Read – Montana 

Football Head Coach, 1986-95

Don Read was the head football coach at Montana from 1986-95… Read led Montana to its first National Championship in 1995, while taking the Grizzlies to a pair of semifinalist finishes in 1989 and 1994… Read was named the 1995 AFCA 1-AA Coach of the Year and was a three-time Big Sky Coach of the Year in 1989, 1993 and 1995… Read led the Grizzlies to two Big Sky titles in 1993 and 1995… Ranked as Montana’s all-time winningest coach from 1995 to 2018… Won 85 games overall and 54 in conference play as Montana’s head coach… Led Montana to the 1-AA playoffs in five of his 10 seasons… Mentored Walter Payton Award winner and Big Sky Hall of Famer Dave Dickenson at quarterback… Before his career at Montana, coached at Portland State and was named the Div. II Coach of the Year after leading the Vikings to the league title in 1984… Also served as Director of Athletics at Montana from 2004-05.