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Butte Sports Hall of Fame introduces 2019 class

Posted at 3:10 PM, Feb 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-05 23:44:05-05

BUTTE — The 2019 Butte Sports Hall of Fame class was introduced by chairman Bill Foley at the Butte Civic Center on Tuesday.

This class included nine individuals and four teams from the Mining City’s rich sports history. Among some of the individuals going in are former University of Montana football assistant coach Tom Hauck, Griz baseball player Tom Pomroy Sr., who will join his son in the Hall, and Montana Tech golfing alum Krystal Ackerman-Carlson.

Those 13 new inductees and teams will receive their official green jackets on June 14 at the induction ceremony.

“It’s a great honor. You look at the background of all the people inducted and people are going in this year, they’ve done a lot of great things,” said 2019 inductee Barry Sullivan. “I know most of the individuals going in pretty good, some I don’t, but it’s nice to get to know them, meet them for the first time. … It’s great.”

A full list and biography of each new inductee can be found below. (Courtesy: Bill Foley)

Krystal (Ackerman) Carlson

Krystal (Ackerman) Carlson was an outstanding three-sport athlete at Butte High School. From the fall of 1991 through the spring of 1995, Carlson earned 11 varsity letters for the Bulldogs.

She lettered four times in basketball and golf and three times in volleyball. She was a member of the 1994 Butte High state championship volleyball team. As a senior, in 1994, Carlson averaged 16.0 points per game, earning first-team All-State honors. In her four-years playing varsity, Ackerman scored 352 points, averaging 10.3 points per game. That ranks No. 7 on the school’s all-time list. She is one of 11 players in school history to score 300 or more career points.

As a junior and senior, Ackerman earned All-State honors by placing in the top 15 at the Class AA State Golf tournament. She went on to play golf at Montana Tech. Carlson is also a two-time women’s club champion at the Butte Country Club.

In grade school, Carlson won a state title in the Elks Hoop Shoot.

Tom Hauck

Butte native Tom Hauck is a legendary assistant football coach at Rocky Mountain College and then the University of Montana. He helped send 12 players to the National Football league.

Before that, Hauck was a star athlete at Butte High and the University of Montana. Hauck picked up eight varsity letters at Butte High (three in football, two in basketball and three in track.) As a linebacker and center, Hauck helped lead Butte High to State Championship Game in 1959. He was named All-State at linebacker following his season campaign that year. He also was a standout in basketball and track for the Bulldogs.

Tom started three seasons for the Grizzlies. He was named a preseason All-American by Street and Smith Magazine in 1963. Future NFL Hall of Famer linebacker Dick Butkus was the only other linebacker mentioned by the magazine.

After graduating from the University with a degree in mathematics, Tom served as an army officer in Vietnam.  Upon discharge, he began a very long career as coach in Big Sky Country. That included being part of the Montana Grizzlies 2001 NCAA 1-AA national championship team. Tom has also coached wrestling as well as track and field. He still helps out instructing in field events for both boys’ and girls’ at a school associated with Missoula Loyola-Sacred Heart.

Both as a player and as coach, Tom was known for sportsmanship and integrity.

Walter “Walt” Lonner

From the mid-1940s to the late 1950s, Walt was involved in many sports, including baseball, football and speedskating. His passion was track and field, especially the sprints. At Butte High, he earned three letters in track. In dual meets he usually scored points in seven events. At the state meet in 1952, his senior year, he became the fifth Butte sprinter to win the 100- and 220-yard dashes.

Lonner, who also letter in football at Butte High, also placed second in the long jump and anchored the 4 x 220-yard relay. He missed being the meet’s high-point man by 1.5 points. Weeks earlier, in a special race in Naranche stadium arranged by coach Swede Dahlberg, he eclipsed the Butte record of 10.1 in the 100 posted in 1933 by famed Bob O’Malley. As a Grizzly, he lettered all four years. In his senior year and team captain, he posted times of 9.7, 21.0, and 47.5 in the 100-, 220-, and 440-yard dashes, respectively. His best mark in the long jump was 23 feet.

At the 1956 Skyline Conference track and field championships in Denver, Lonner won the 220 and soon after repeated that win at the Montana AAU championships, setting a new state record of 21.4. Representing Montana at the National AAU Championship Meet in Bakersfield, California, an Olympics trial venue, he competed in the 200-meter dash, making it to the semi-finals. In that meet he competed with the best sprinters in the nation, including the eventual gold, silver, and bronze medalists in the 1956 Melbourne Games. While a USAF officer (1956-59), he was on the Air Defense Command track team that competed in the 1959 All-Air Force Track meet in Oxnard, California.

Kathy (Bender) Means 

Part of the fearless diving Bender family, Kathy (Bender) Means won more than 200 first-place medals in swimming, diving, synchronized swimming and gymnastics. Ranked among the top 10 divers in the nation, Means was named a high school All-American in swimming and diving.

Means, a 1969 graduate of Butte Central, competed in international swim meets in Canada, while also competing in Northwest events in Rapid City, Spokane, Jamestown and Seattle. Along with her sister, Pam, Kathy went to Arizona to train for the Olympic diving team. However, her dream ended because scholarships were not offered to women in those days.

She was named the AAU Montana “Swimmer of the Year” in 1966. In 1967, she received the Girl Athlete of the Year by the Missoula Alumni Association of the University of Montana.  She held numerous state swimming records and, at one point, Means and her sister, Pam, held every Montana state diving record.

In September of 1969, Means received the prestigious Little Sullivan Award for Outstanding Athlete of the Year by the Montana AAU. She was elected by a unanimous vote.

In 1970, Kathy was awarded first place in all-around intercollegiate gymnastics for Montana.

Tom Pomroy Sr.

Tom Pomroy was a great all-around athlete, competing on the state level from the 1950s through the 1990s. He excelled in baseball, football, track and handball.

Pomroy was the ace pitcher on the 1951 Butte Miners American Legion Baseball team that placed second at the state tournament. Pomroy lost only one game that season, and that came in a relief appearance in the state championship game. Following the season, he had a tryout with the Chicago Cubs. Pomroy pitched the Miners Union team to the 1953 Copper League championship, and he pitched for the University of Montana. In 1954, he compiled an undefeated record on the mound as the Grizzlies won the Skyline Conference Western Division title.

On the track, Pomroy placed fourth in the 440-yard dash at the state meet in 1952. He also ran for Butte High’s 440-yard relay team at state that year.

Pomroy also on multiple City Golden Masters titles in handball. He teamed with his son, Tom Pomroy Jr., to win multiple City Doubles titles.

Tom Pomroy Jr. was inducted into the Butte Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.

Paul Riley

Paul Riley is a tremendous all-around athlete, known for his skills from the speedskating rink, to the football field, to the track, to the golf course, to the racquetball court.

Riley started two seasons at defensive back for Butte High’s football teams that advanced to the State Championship Game in 1974 and 1975. As a senior in 1975, Paul was named first-team all-conference at safety and return specialist. He was named second-team All-State at safety. Riley  went on to play football at Montana Tech, where he was named first-team All-Conference and first team All-District 12 at receiver in 1977. He received an All-NAIA honorable mention at receiver that same year.

On the track, Riley contributed for Butte High by qualifying for the Class AA State meet in the 100-yard dash in 1976. He was also a member of Butte High’s second-place team in the 440-yard relay.

Riley, who played Legion Baseball in Butte, is an accomplished golfer and racquetball player. His many golf accomplishments include placing ninth at the Montana State Mid-Amateur in Bozeman in 1994. Along with Rick Lyons and Dave Cashell, Riley won the Gene Cook Cup at the 1995 Montana State Mid-Amateur at the Butte Country Club. He also won the 1984 long-drive championship at the Montana State Amateur in Great Falls in 1984.

In the racquetball court, Riley won multiple state championships. From 1980 through 2000, he was a nationally sponsored player by Pro Kennex. Riley also ran several marathons from 2000 to 2010.

Bob Rowling

Bob Rowling was a longtime official and parks and recreation director for Butte-Silver Bow. Known as “Rollo,” Rowling served as the Recreation Director for 45 years, retiring in 2012. He was a football and basketball official at the high school and college ranks for half a century.

Rowling worked many high school football and basketball championship games. He was one of the few officials in the state who has served as an official in both a high school football and basketball state championship game. He also was an official for the Montana East-West Shrine Game, and he served as an official in the Frontier Conference and Big Sky Conference. Rowling refereed four straight NCAA I-AA national championship games.

After 50 years of service as an official, Rowling was honored in 2010 as the recipient of the National Football Foundation Montana Chapter contributor as an official. In addition, Rowling was a softball official and tournament director for many years. He was honored as the Montana Officials District/Regional Delegate for many years. He also served as the State Commissioner of the American Softball Association for many years.

Rowling was instrumental in the development of the Corette Pool at Stodden Park in 1968. Rowling oversaw the management of the pool for 38 years. He was also a leader for upgrades to the Highland View Golf Course and the creation of the Copper Mountain Sports Complex.

Jason Street 

Jason Street was a three-time state champion wrestler at Butte High School. He was a member of three state championship Bulldog teams and one team that placed second. Street was also a member of the 1991 Class AA state champion Butte High football team.

In 1992, Street earned first-team All-Conference honors as punter, linebacker and kick returner. He won 11 varsity letters during his career at Butte High — four each in wrestling and track, and three in football.

It was wrestling where Street was a legend. After placing second at 145 pounds as a freshman, Street won the 152-pound state title as a sophomore in 1991. He won the 171-pound title with a 39-1 record in 1992. As a senior in 1993, Street again competed at 171 pounds, where he wrestled all season. He moved up to 189 pounds to help out the team at the end of the season, and he won the 189-pound title and finished the season with a 38-0 record.

Street earned a scholarship to Fresno State. He placed second in the WACC tournament in 1995 before winning the WACC title in 1996, qualifying for the NCAA Tournament both seasons. In 1997 he suffered a season-ending injury at the WACC tournament. Street transferred to the University of Oklahoma for his senior season, and he once again qualified for the NCAA Tournament.

Barry Sullivan

Barry Sullivan was a great all-around athlete at Butte High in the 1970s, competing in football, basketball and track. Sullivan was a two-year starting quarterback for the Bulldogs and received the Swede Dahlberg Award in 1978.

In his senior year, Sullivan was a captain of the Bulldogs’ 1977 undefeated state championship football team. The 1977 team was selected as the top Butte High football team of the 20th Century. Sullivan was selected first-team All-State quarterback and played in the Montana East-West Shrine game.

In basketball, Sullivan played for the Bulldogs in 1977 and 1978. He was the club’s second-leading scorer in 1978, tallying 280 points for an average of 10.3 points per game. Sullivan was also a member of the Butte High track team, participating in pole vault, long jump, and hurdles. He was also a standout pitcher for the Butte Miners and leading home run hitter.

Following graduation from Butte High, Sullivan played football at Montana State from 1979 to 1982. He was the Bobcat starting quarterback for more than three years and led the Bobcats to the Big Sky Conference championship in 1979.  Sullivan received all-conference honors in 1980. Sullivan played quarterback in four Bobcat-Grizzly games.

When Sullivan completed his career at MSU, he was ranked No. 1 for the Bobcats in the following categories: most career pass completions; highest career pass completion percentage; highest pass completion percentage in a single season; most passing yards in a single season by a freshman; and most total yards in a single season by a freshman.  He also was ranked No. 2 in career passing yards and No. 3 in career total offensive yards.  He still ranks in the top 10 for the Bobcats in all but two of these categories.

Sullivan was a member of Butte’s 1972 Little League All-Star team that won the state championship and advanced to the regional tournament in San Bernardino, California.

1979 Montana Tech football team

This Frontier Champion football team is largely credited with bringing back large crowds to Montana Tech football games. The Orediggers had not won a conference title since 1970.

Coach Bill Connor’s Orediggers went 5-2-1 overall and didn’t lose a game in the Frontier Conference. Their only losses came to NCAA Division II programs.  The Orediggers produced 17 All-Conference selections and All-American running back Steve Housler. One of the most prominent notes on the team is their 46-8 drubbing of eventual Big Sky Conference member Eastern Washington to finish the season.

The 1979 Orediggers were inducted into the Digger Athletics Hall of Fame in 2018.

1981 Montana Tech volleyball team

The Orediggers captured Montana Tech’s first women’s Frontier Conference championship in any sport. Head coach Jo Buysse’s Orediggers finished the season with a 20-7 record, competing against many future NCAA Division I and Division II opponents. The Orediggers reached the AIAW Region IX Tournament.

Four of the 13 Oredigger players were selected All-Conference following the season. Six members of the team were recruited to play basketball and went on to contribute significantly on the volleyball court as well.

Mavis (Mollberg) Bentley and Krystal (Becker) Lawson served as captains on the 1981 Orediggers. Other members of the team were Mary Yakawich, Jamie Connell, Mary (Theis) West, Cathy (Gallagher) Brannon, Carla (Slick) Danielson, Julie Hoklin, Kristi (Hoklin) Syvrud, Shelly (Linz) Davis, Cindy (Seymour) Kmetz, Robin (Roehl) Main, and Gloria (Dubiel) Jensen. Linda Schoenstedt assisted Buysse, who was inducted into the Digger Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013.

The 1981 team was inducted into the Digger Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017.

1989-90 Butte High wrestling team

Coach Jim Street’s Bulldogs added to their Montana record with their 11th straight Class AA State title in front of 6,300 fans Feb. 10 at MetraPark Arena in Billings. Three Bulldogs won individual state titles as Butte High racked up 192 ½ points to edge hometown Billings Skyview by five and a half points. Great Falls High placed third in the thrilling tournament with 173 points.

In all, Butte High saw nine wrestlers place in the top four at State.

Senior Jaime Harris, at 112 pounds, won his first state title after placing third at state two times. Despite suffering a broken jaw two weeks earlier, junior Keith Haberman claimed a championship 152 pounds. Junior Mark Struznik won at 160 ponds, overcoming four previous losses to Dave Roberts before knocking off the Helena High wrestler 6-4 in the title match.

Junior Brian Bolton (125 pounds), sophomore Robin Moodry (130) and freshman Jason Street (145) placed second at State. Junior J.P. Gordon (135) and Freshman Brent Choquette (105) placed third, and senior Vince Bolton (119) took fourth.

1993-94 Butte High volleyball team

Coach John Ries’ Bulldogs captured the only volleyball title by beating Billings Skyview 3-1 March 12 in the championship game of the Class AA State tournament at Butte High’s gym (Now called the Ross J. Richardson Gymnasium). The title-match victory concluded a 17-8 season for the Bulldogs.

Butte High entered the State tournament as the top-ranked team after completing a 9-3 run through the Western AA. Butte High knocked off Bozeman 15-5, 15-11, 15-8 to open the tournament. They then beat Billings West 15-8, 15-12, 11-14, 4-15, 15-10 in a thrilling semifinal victory Friday night. The Bulldogs concluded the championship with a 15-8, 11-15, 15-10, 15-11 win over Skyview.

Following the season, seniors Laura Belknap and Jennifer O’Neill and juniors Jami Hope and Jamie Wolstein were named first-team All-State.  Seniors Gayle Clark and Heather Little took home second-team All-State honors.

Other members of the state champion Bulldogs were senior Holli Sumpter, juniors Karin Jolley and Sarah Rhoads and Krystal Ackerman, sophomore Dawn Callaghan and freshman Anna Fabatz.