(Editor's note: University of Montana press release)
MISSOULA-- The University of Montana department of athletics proudly announced the induction of four legends into the Grizzly Sports Hall of Fame, and also named the department's next recipient of the Grizzly Lifetime Honors Award on Friday.
Record-setting quarterback Brian Ah Yat, all-American decathlete Adam Bork, Big Sky MVP Skyla Sisco of the Lady Griz, and championship-winning Grizzly basketball player and coach Wayne Tinkle will all be inducted in the Grizzly Sports Hall of Fame class of 2021.
Gary Hughes, a 35-year athletic department veteran, former ticket office manager, associate athletic director, and servant to the UM and Missoula communities will also be just the third-ever recipient of the Grizzly Lifetime Honors Award.
"I want to congratulate the 2021 class of Grizzly Sports Hall of Fame inductees and their families," said UM director of athletics Kent Haslam [gogriz.com].
"This is a tremendous class of Hall of Famers who made an undeniable impact on the University of Montana both in and out of competition. We look forward to celebrating this outstanding group and recognizing their achievements."
The Grizzly Sports Hall of Fame was founded in 1993 to pay tribute and give lasting recognition to those student-athletes, coaches, and teams who have made exceptional contributions and brought recognition, honor, and distinction to the University of Montana in the field of Intercollegiate Athletics, and who have continued to demonstrate in their lives the values imparted by their experience. Induction into the Hall of Fame represents the highest athletic honor the University can bestow.
Established in 2018, the Grizzly Lifetime Honors Award pays tribute and gives recognition to supporters of Grizzly Athletics who are not eligible for the Grizzly Hall of Fame, which includes athletes and coaches only.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held in the Adams Center on the University of Montana campus in Missoula on Oct. 29, with the class of 2021 celebrated on the field during the Grizzlies' football game against Southern Utah on Oct. 30. Ticket information will be announced in the near future.
GRIZZLY SPORTS HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2021
Brian Ah Yat
After taking the reins at quarterback from future College Football Hall of Famer Dave Dickenson in 1996, Brian Ah Yat kept right on producing for the Grizzlies, leading Montana to the 1996 National Championship game and two Big Sky Conference championships. A four-year letterman, Ah Yat also helped the Griz to three Division I-AA playoff appearances as a starter. He went on to be a two-time Big Sky Offensive MVP (1996 and 1998) after leading the league in total offense both seasons. He was also a two-time first-team All-Big Sky pick and was a second-team selection in 1997. He was a three-time Steve Carlson team MVP and three-time All-American. To this day, he remains No. 2 at UM and in the Big Sky's top-25 for total offense with a career 9,320 yards in 36 regular-season games, an average of 259.89 yards per game. His 1996 season total offense output (3,744 yards in 11 games) is still No. 21 in Big Sky history. His 560 passing yards in 1996 versus Eastern Washington still stands as a school record and is the sixth-best game in Big Sky history. He remains third in school history for most wins for a starting QB at 29 and has thrown the second-most touchdowns of any QB in UM history too, with 89 during his career. Since graduating from Montana, Ah Yat went on to play three seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the CFL (1999-2002) and two seasons for the Hawaii Hammerheads and Chicago Rush of the IPFL (Indoor Professional Football League). He currently serves as the offensive coordinator and QB's coach at Damien Memorial High School in Honolulu.
Quoting Ah Yat: "I'm pretty speechless, shocked at all of these emotions. Never thought about this, ever. So, it's a great surprise, and I'm very humbled and blessed to have been inducted," said Ah Yat. "I've been reminiscing about all the good times at Montana lately and just feeling so blessed and fortunate to have attended such a great University. I never thought of being inducted into the Hall of Fame in my wildest dreams. "My first year starting in '96 was with a very special class of seniors that will probably go down in Montana history is one of the most successful classes, and they just brought me in under their wings. It really made it easy for me to jump in there, especially having to fill in for Dave. So, Coach (Mick) Dennehy, Coach (Bret) Pease, and a special group of guys that I'll always remember."
Track & Field, 1998-2002.
One of the most highly ranked track athletes in UM history and a long-time servant as an assistant coach, Adam Bork was a two-time NCAA Division I All-American and the 2002 Big Sky Conference champion in the decathlon. He placed tenth out of all D-I athletes at the 2001 NCAA Championship meet with 7,229 points and sixth in 2002 with a personal-best 7,699 points. That PR of 7,699 puts him fifth in Big Sky Conference history, just 289 points behind legendary Olympian Dan O'Brian. During his stellar career he set UM records in both the indoor and outdoor pole vault and in the decathlon. Post-graduation, the Bigfork native competed in the 2002 USA outdoor track and field championships and the 2004 USA indoor championships. He recently resigned as an assistant coach for the UM track and field program after nearly 15 years of service.
Quoting Bork: "This means a lot to me. So much of my life - more than half of my life - has been spent at the University of Montana, between competing and coaching, it has kind of been a second home to me," said Bork. "I walked those halls for years and years, and I've seen some of the athletes that are in the Hall of Fame. I'm not really sure that I'm of the same caliber as some of them. So, to get recognition at that level, which was completely unexpected, means a lot. I'm incredibly grateful."
Lady Griz Basketball, 1994-98
Skyla Sisco was a four-time letter winner from Malta, Mont., and stared on stellar Lady Griz teams that went 99-22 overall and 56-4 in the Big Sky during her career. During her career, Sisco led Montana to four Big Sky titles and four NCAA tournaments, advancing to the second round of the tourney in 1995 with an upset win over No. 5-seed San Diego State. As a senior in 1998, he was voted the Big Sky MVP, was an honorable mention All-American and was selected as the NCAA Woman of the Year for the State of Montana. She was also one of only five players to be a four-time All-Big Sky selection and was recognized on the Big Sky's "25 Greatest Female Athletes" at No. 18. Sisco played in 114 games in her career and finished with 1,238 career points, raking her 15th all-time. She is tied for second in Lady Griz history in career assists (587), and fourth in career steals (235) and in career free throws made (336). After graduating, she had a brief stint in the WNBA with a training camp invite from the Phoenix Mercury but was cut before the season started. She then played professionally overseas before returning to Montana and becoming a basketball official. She now lives in Missoula and is a restauranteur.
Quoting Sisco: "When I got the call, I was just utterly shocked. It was so long ago it feels almost like a different lifetime. So, to be recognized 20 years later just makes you feel so appreciated, knowing that people still care," said Sisco. "I have an immense feeling of gratitude and a feeling of awe looking at the other Hall of Famers, and knowing my name is always going to be associated with them is just surreal. The idea that I'm leaving a legacy or that anyone even cared what I did 20 years ago is truly amazing."
Head Basketball Coach 2006-14, Player 1986-89
As a player at Montana, Wayne Tinkle was a three-time all-Big Sky pick. He is ranked fourth in school history in career rebounds with 836 and tenth in career points with 1,500. He was the team's Carl Dragstedt Award (MVP) winner in 1988 and 1989, led UM in rebounding three years in '87, '88, and '89, and in scoring in '88 and '89. After his time at UM, he went on to play professionally for 12 seasons (1990-2001) in Sweden, Spain, Italy, and Greece and was an All-Star in the CBA. In eight seasons as UM's basketball coach he went 158-91 and posted four 20-win seasons, with his 158 wins stacking up as the second-most in school history. He's the only coach to take Montana to the NCAA tourney three times (2010, 12, and 13). He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Montana in health and human performance in 2005. Since leaving Montana, Tinkle has led Oregon State for seven seasons, winning the Pac-12 tournament championship and advancing the Beavers to the NCAA Elite 8 in 2021 after OSU was picked to finish last in the preseason poll. Tinkle is married to the former Lisa McLeod, who was a standout basketball player at Montana and was inducted into the Grizzly Sports Hall of Fame in 2011. They have two daughters, Joslyn and Elle, and one son, Tres. Joslyn played in three basketball Final Fours during her four-year career at Stanford and recently joined the coaching staff of Montana's Lady Griz. Elle played basketball at Gonzaga and helped lead the Bulldogs to the Sweet 16 in 2015. Tres played at Oregon State and became the program's all-time leading scorer with 2,233 points.
Quoting Tinkle: "When I got that call, the hair stood up on my skin. The University of Montana, it just means so much to my family and I. It was such a huge part of our growth as people as students and athletes. It will forever have a huge place in our hearts," said Tinkle. "This is an incredible honor and a real privilege. It's such a storied program, not just in men's basketball, but really the entire athletic department. So, to be enshrined with some incredible athletes is a real thrill. I'm not much for individual awards or accolades, but this is going to be a very proud moment for me personally and for my family."
Grizzly Athletics 1966-2000
Hughes began his career at the University of Montana in 1966 as the ticket manager for Grizzly Athletics. After wearing many hats in many capacities, he retired 35 years later at the turn of the millennium as Montana's Associate Athletic Director for Internal Operations. Over the years, his guidance and influence touched every aspect of Grizzly Athletics in his roles as leader of the Century Club, game program manager, food and beverage director, merchandise director, and event staff. If you attended a Grizzly sporting event in his 35-year run, your experience was made better by Hughes and his staff. After retiring from UM in 2000, he began a 17-year career as the public relations officer at First Security Bank in Missoula. He also worked two different Olympic games, managing venues and events for the 1996 summer games in Atlanta and the 2002 winter games in Salt Lake City. He has also served as an invaluable member of the Missoula community, spending countless hours volunteering for organizations such as the Kiwanis Club of Missoula, the Montana Special Olympics, the Montana High School Association, and the Destination Missoula Sports Commission. For his efforts, Hughes has been presented with several community service awards, including the KPAX Sports Awards – "Ed Chinske Award" in 1998, an honorary UM alumni membership in 2000, the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce "George Award" in 2015, the Sentinel Kiwanis "Bob Small Award" in 2016, and First Security Bank's "Hal Fraser Award" in 2017. Hughes is just the third-ever recipient of the Grizzly Lifetime Honors Award, with long-time UM equipment manager Steve Hackney the inaugural recipient in 2018 and former team doctor Robert "Doc" Curry receiving the award in 2019. He and his wife Judy have been married for over 50 years and have six children, 12 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Quoting Hughes: "It's wonderful. I worked with the athletic department for 35 years and in supporting roles ever since. I went to the website last night, and looked at (Steve) Hackney and (Dr. Robert) Curry, who I just had dinner with. So, it's an incredible honor, especially following people like them," said Hughes. "I woke up this morning at one o'clock, and I don't think I went to sleep until five. I just had years of history going through my mind constantly, the great times, some of the rough times, and just how great grizzly athletics has been to me and our family. "I spent 35 years there. I mean, it was just a dream job that I never knew I'd have. I was never an athlete, even in high school, but I ended up working for athletics in my career and it became the love of my life. So, it's just a huge, huge, huge honor to be included and, from now on, to be in a bit of history of the Grizzly Athletic program."