Jon and Deanne Vochatzer will enter the Cal Aggie Athletics Hall of Fame together during induction ceremonies on June 1. (Neil Michel, Axiom Photo)
April 4, 2013
DAVIS, Calif. -
The husband-and-wife coaching tandem of Jon and Deanne Vochatzer leads a class of seven new inductees to the Cal Aggie Athletics Hall of Fame, it was announced by director of athletics Terry Tumey. The CAAHOF honors outstanding achievements and distinction in Aggie intercollegiate athletics. The slate of inductees is selected by the CAAHOF Advisory Board then granted final approval by Chancellor Linda P. B. Katehi.
Alphabetically, the student-athlete induction class consists of golfer Louie Bishop, water polo player Katherine O'Rourke (Shroyer), football's Dave Roberts, women's basketball player Kari Sivesind (Montero) and baseball's Robby Tulk.
Additionally, former UC Davis football and soccer standout Rolf Benirschke will receive the Aggie Legacy Award for outstanding achievements in an athletics-related field since leaving the university. Jane Arp was selected as the recipient of the Special Recognition Award for volunteer contributions to the athletics department.
The Vochatzers combined for nearly a half-century of coaching for the UC Davis track and field teams, bringing prominence to the athletics program both with the success of their Aggie student-athletes and with their contributions on the international scene. Both coaches retired after the 2010 season.
Jon Vochatzer arrived at UC Davis in the 1979-80 school year, taking over the Aggie reins from John Pappa (another CAAHOF enshrinee) while also serving as an assistant football coach. In 30 total seasons, he earned 12 West Region Division II Coach of the Year honors - six indoors and six for the outdoor season. Vochatzer also mentored 80 NCAA All-Americans, including nine national champions, while guiding the program to four top-10 NCAA finishes and 14 conference championships.
Deanne Vochatzer coached at UC Davis in 1989, then returned to the program in 1992 after a successful stint at Cal Poly. She won 19 total Coach of the Year awards: 10 for the conference, eight for the West Region, plus the 1999 NCAA Division II Coach of the Year nod. Vochatzer also mentored 67 individuals and 11 relay squads that earned All-America honors. One of Vochatzer's relay teams, her 4x400 squad in 1999, boasted NCAA Woman of the Year winners Jamila Demby and Tanisha Silas, plus 2001 finalist Kameelah Elarms.
Both Vochatzers achieved note on the international scene. Deanne was selected as the head women's coach for the U.S. Olympic team at the 1996 Centennial Games in Atlanta. She also served two years at the helm at the World University Games, as director of competition at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials, and on staffs at the Olympic Festival from 1982 through 1994. Her overall contributions as an organizer earned her two USATF honors: the Joe Robichaux Award in 2001 and the Special Service Award in 2005. Vochatzer's overall coaching career garnered her induction into the USTFCCCA Hall of Fame in 2002. Jon served on the American coaching staff for the 1996 Olympic Festival, the 1997 World University Games and the 1999 World Outdoor Championships; and held staff positions for the 1996 Olympic team's development committee and the 2000 Olympic Trials.
Louie Bishop led UC Davis golf during the university's reclassification period, becoming the first Aggie to win PING Division I All-America honors as a senior in 2007. He set school records for career and season stroke average, and won three tournaments. Bishop was equally accomplished in the classroom, garnering CoSIDA Academic All-America third-team accolades and the university's W.P. Lindley Award as the outstanding scholar-athlete of the year. In 2007, he became the first UC Davis golfer to become a finalist for the Byron Nelson Award for academics, athletics and leadership.
Katherine O'Rourke Shroyer scored 154 goals as a center and defender for the Aggie women's water program from 2004-07. Relatively unheralded out of high school, she emerged into the team's leading scorer in her final two seasons, earning All-America third-team distinction as a junior and honorable mention as a senior. In 2006, O'Rourke became just the second UC Davis player to win Western Water Polo Association Player of the Year honors, propelling the team to its first-ever appearance at the NCAA Championships, which took place at the still-new Schaal Aquatics Center. She later became the second Aggie water polo player to capture the Hubert Heitman Award as the top female student-athlete of the year, joining former teammate and CAAHOF enshrinee Tiffany Hodgens.
An offensive tackle from 1970-72, Dave Roberts owns the distinction as the first player in UC Davis football history to earn first-team All-America honors, making the coaches association's top squad as a senior. He also won UPI Little All-Coast honors in his final two seasons, helping the Aggies to the first of what would eventually be 20 straight conference championships. Roberts added first-team All-Far Western Conference distinction and was selected as one of two tackles on the program's "All-Decade" team for the 1970s.
Kari Sivesind Montero starred as a wing during head coach Jorja Hoehn's streak of seven straight NCAA postseason appearances. She set a school record for 232 assists and continues to rank among the program's all-time career leaders in points, assists and blocks. As a senior, Sivesind was selected as the Northern California Athletic Conference Player of the Year while her academics and leadership earned her the W.P. Lindley Award. Her defensive contributions helped UC Davis lead the nation in scoring defense in her final seasons of 1995 and 1996, while her offensive versatility led to her distinction as the only Aggie to record a "triple double" in a game.
Robby Tulk started 201 of the Aggie baseball team's 211 games in center field during his career from 2001 through 2004. Entering this season, he continues to hold school records for career games played and doubles, while ranking second all-time in at-bats, hits and runs. A lifetime .324 hitter and .497 slugger, Tulk twice captured first-team All-California Collegiate Athletic Association and second-team All-Region honors. In 2004, he was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 25th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Former UC Davis football and soccer standout Rolf Benirschke earned the NFL's "Man of the Year" award in 1983. (Photo courtesy of San Diego Chargers)
Rolf Benirschke, formerly a soccer and football standout for UC Davis in the mid-1970s, went on to become one of the great inspirational stories of the sporting world during and after his professional career with the San Diego Chargers. On the field, he kicked for 10 years and set a club record of 766 points. Perhaps more remarkable, however, was that the 1977 zoology graduate played most of his career after undergoing emergency abdominal surgery that resulted in the removal of large portions of his large intestine. Even in January of 1982, after he had kicked the winning overtime field goal in the AFC Divisional Playoff game in Miami, Benirschke was still battling his illness. He was hospitalized again mere weeks after the conference championship to endure additional surgery.
Off the field, Benirschke's career is one of advocacy and philanthropy. He founded the Great Comebacks program, which later became a community for those living with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and other similar conditions. He also began the Legacy Golf Invitational as a benefit for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America and other charities. Benirschke's undergraduate studies continued to play a major role in his life. He founded Kicks for Critters to aid what is now known as the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research.
Benirschke received the NFL's Man of the Year (now known as the Walter Payton Man of the Year) and NFL Player Association's Byron "Whizzer" White Man of the Year awards in 1983. He also earned spots in the Chargers Hall of Fame and on the team's 50th Anniversary team. Benirschke has authored three books: an autobiography plus two collections of inspirational stories of those who have rebounded from ostomy surgery.
Jane Arp, wife of former assistant football coach Fred Arp, volunteered her services as a photographer for UC Davis football for some four decades, never missing a home or road game. Through her lens, she literally documented multiple generations of players; her images appeared in the annual highlight film and later the team's historical website, created and maintained by Fred and Jane's son Ben. Additionally, the Arps have provided unwavering financial support to the athletics department, varying from hundreds of pieces of sports memorabilia for the Aggie Auction fundraisers to sizable planned gifts to support future improvements at Aggie Stadium.
Both the Aggie Legacy Award and the Special Recognition are part of the CAAHOF awards program. The winners are selected by the same advisory committee that chooses the Hall of Fame inductees; however, the recipients are not considered inductees into the CAAHOF.
The CAAHOF Inductions and Student-Athlete Awards Banquet will take place at Freeborn Hall on June 1, 2013. Invitations are expected to be distributed near the end of April. However, tickets are available for purchase by the public. Contact the athletics development office at (530) 754-2583.