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The Hall Calls Eight

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Published
October 15, 2007
By
Gary Pine
AZUSA, Calif. –- An Olympian, a major league baseball player, an All-American and a teacher are among the eighth class of inductees who will be installed into the Azusa Pacific University Sports Hall of Fame during ceremonies Saturday, Oct. 20, in the Turner Campus Center at Azusa Pacific.

In all, 8 former Cougar standouts will be honored for their exceptional athletic performance during their collegiate careers at Azusa Pacific. The 2007 class of inductees include: Kojo Asamoah (men’s soccer), Lynsee Bock (women’s soccer/softball), Phil Boyce (football), Steve Connor (football), Dennis Dickens (men’s basketball), Wayne Edwards (baseball), Jack Nance (men’s track & field) and Fatimat (Yusuf) Olukoju (women’s track & field).

“This is a diverse and talented group of former student-athletes who certainly played above the crowd when they were Cougars,” said Craig Wallace, Executive Director of Alumni Relations at Azusa Pacific and a member of the 11-person hall of fame selection committee. “In their own way they not only excelled with God-honoring performances, but they also brought unique notoriety upon themselves individually and to the university for their competitive play and distinctive accomplishments.”

The induction ceremony, which begins at 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 20, is open to the public. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children ages 5 to 12, and can be purchased through the Azusa Pacific Alumni Relations Office at 626-812-3097 or by on-line registration.

Over 75 former Cougar standouts have been inducted into the Azusa Pacific Sports Hall of Fame since its inception in 1991. Among the criteria used to select each class of inductees are: 1) athletic achievement during college and/or professional careers, 2) at least 2 seasons of competition at Azusa Pacific, 3) a 10-year waiting period from the time of his/her final season of competition at Azusa Pacific.

2007 AZUSA PACIFIC SPORTS HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES

Kojo Asamoah -- Men’s Soccer
Originally from Ghana, Asamoah (1979-82) was Azusa Pacific’s first-ever 100-point scorer in men’s soccer and is the only 4-time NAIA All-District honoree in program history. In 1982, he received NAIA All-American honorable mention after concluding a career in which he set the school career-record for most assists (23) and tied the school career-record for goals (43). He led the Cougars to their best 4-year period to date, guiding Azusa Pacific to a combined 41-30-6 record. He led the Cougars in scoring 3 of his 4 seasons, including his 1979 freshman campaign when he was named National Christian College All-Western Region. Statistically, his finest season came in 1980 when led the 11-5-5 Cougars with 37 points (14 goals, 9 assists). Today, Asamoah lives in Walnut, Calif., and is a chemist.

Lynsee Bock -- Women’s Soccer & Softball
Arguably the finest 2-sport female athlete in Azusa Pacific history, Bock (1994-97) earned All-Golden State Athletic Conference first team recognition in both soccer and softball. In fact, in 1996 she was named the GSAC softball player of the year which she followed in the fall with the honor of NAIA All-American honorable mention in soccer. In 2 seasons of soccer, she scored 57 points, the second-best 2-year total in program history. In softball, she led the Cougars to their first-ever NAIA championship tournaments in 1995 and 1996. She set 5 school records, including most career home runs (13). She batted. 348 with 47 stolen bases for her Cougar career.

Phil Boyce -- Football
Phil Boyce (1973-76) was one of the finest wide receivers in the annals of Cougar football, set program career standards for touchdown receptions (17), all-purpose yards (2,913) and punt (35) and kickoff returns (33). In his 30-game Cougar career, he became only the second receiver ever to record over 100 receptions and 1,600 receiving yards. As a 1975 junior he led Azusa Pacific to its first-ever winning season (7-3) with team highs of 42 receptions for 681 yards. A native of Covina, Calif., today Boyce lives in Jacksonville, Fla., where he is a senior vice-president for Baptist Health System.

Steve Connor -- Football
Steve Connor was a fierce lineman on some of the best defenses in Azusa Pacific history, and as a result he twice earned NAIA All-America recognition, collecting first-team honors during his 1983 senior campaign when he led the team with 9 quarterback sacks. During his 1982 junior season, he was a key member of a Cougar defense that yielded just 57.5 rushing yards a game. Originally from Wheaton, Ill., Connor played 2 seasons at Northern Illinois University before opting to leave NIU and hitchhiking to Southern California to continue his football career at Azusa Pacific. Today, he lives with his wife, Michelle (Barker ’84) and their children in Bloomington, Ind., where he is the director of Sports Outreach International.

Dennis Dickens -- Men’s Basketball
There may not have been a more prolific scorer over the course of an Azusa Pacific career than Dickens (1967-70), a 6-foot-6 forward out of Laguna Beach High who during his 4 seasons at Azusa Pacific set school records for most points in a season (825) and career (2,199). In all, the 1970 NAIA All-American honorable mention pick broke 8 school records during his 128-game collegiate career. Dickens was a 2-time NAIA All-District honoree. He became the second Cougar ever to score at least 40 points in a game (40 vs. Los Angeles Baptist College), and he went on to average 17.2 points and 6.2 rebounds for his career. He led the Cougars to a 78-22 (.780) over his final 3 years. Dickens was the first Cougar ever drafted into the National Basketball Association, going to the San Diego Rockets (now Houston Rockets) as the first pick of the 17th round in 1970. Today Dickens lives in Capistrano Beach, Calif., with his wife Colleen. He is the vice president of customer service for California Pacific Homes in Irvine.

Wayne Edwards -- Baseball
Edwards (1983-85) arrived as a rail-thin, walk-on pitcher in the fall of 1982 with a distant hope of making the Cougar baseball team. Three-and-a-half years later he left the university with a professional baseball contract in hand, in time making it to the “show” where he played 3 seasons with the Chicago White Sox. A member of 2 of the finest Cougar teams in program history, Edwards fashioned a 22-18 record in 3 seasons as a Cougar. He was a driving force in leading Azusa Pacific to the 1984 NAIA championship game after going 5-1 with 1.62 ERA over the final 6 weeks of the season. He was a tenth-round draft pick of the White Sox in 1985 and made his first major league appearance in 1989. Primarily used as a set-up man for the White Sox, Edwards was 5-5 with a 3.37 ERA during his 62-game major league career. Today he lives in Canyon Country, Calif., with his wife Linda (Kading ’86) and their children. He is a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Jack Nance -- Men’s Track & Field
Azusa Pacific has a long line of distinguished decathletes of track & field and among them is Nance (1987-89), a 2-time NAIA decathlon national champion and 7-time All-American. A transfer out of Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College, Nance won the NAIA decathlon crown in 1987 and came back to successfully defend his title at the 1988 championships in front of the home crowd when Azusa Pacific hosted its first-ever NAIA championship event. During the 1988 meet, Nance set the school record in the high jump (7’ 1”) while leading the Cougars to their sixth straight national championship. Today Jack lives in Upland, Calif., with his wife, Jennifer (Parker, a former Cougar trackster), and their children. He is a counselor at Lone Hill Middle School in San Dimas, Calif.

Fatimat Olukoju -- Women’s Track & Field
Olukoju is Azusa Pacific’s first-ever female Olympian, representing her home country of Nigeria at the 1996 Atlanta Games during her senior year at Azusa Pacific. She earned a silver medal running a leg on Nigeria’s 4x400-meter relay that finished second to the United States team. As a collegian, she was a 7-time NAIA champion for the Cougars winning the indoor and outdoor 200 and 400 meters. She set the NAIA 400 records for both the indoor (53.05) and outdoor (51.44) championships while collecting 10 All-America honors in the process. She went to compete internationally until 2007. She was a 7-time African champion in the 400 and won gold medals at the Commonwealth and African games. Today, Fatimat lives San Dimas, Calif., with her husband Ade (1999), an Azusa Pacific Sports Hall of Fame member, and their 2 children.