Jim Tranquada

As one of the founders of intercollegiate athletics in Southern California, Occidental College has a long and distinguished history that includes scores of Olympic athletes, world record holders, and national champions in a wide range of sports.


But it has never had an official athletics hall of fame - until now.

Occidental has begun accepting nominations for the first class of inductees into the Occidental College Athletics Hall of Fame, which will be announced as part of the college's 125th anniversary celebration next fall.

Homecoming and the 114th meeting of Occidental and Pomona College - Southern California's oldest college rivalry - will provide an appropriate backdrop for a gala Oct. 26, 2012 Hall of Fame dinner and ceremony.

"Occidental has halls of fame for some individual sports, including football, track and field, and baseball, but not a college-wide organization," says associate vice president and executive athletic director Jamie Hoffman. "Oxy's 125th anniversary is a wonderful opportunity to create a hall that encompasses all Oxy sports and all outstanding Oxy athletes, coaches, and teams."

Competition for induction in the inaugural class will be fierce, given such obvious candidates as Dr. Sammy Lee '43, two-time Olympic gold medalist in diving; Jack Kemp '57, the all-pro quarterback for the Buffalo Bills; Pat Yeomans '38, the 1935 U.S. girls' tennis champion; Dean Cromwell, Class of 1902, winner of 12 national collegiate titles as USC's track and field coach; and Maxine McMasters Mitchell '45, the four-time Olympic fencer.

"For a small, selective liberal arts college that doesn't offer athletic scholarships, it is a remarkable record of achievement, particularly when you consider that Jack Kemp is just as well known for his public service as for his career with the Bills, or that Dr. Lee earned his living as a medical doctor, not an athlete," Hoffman said. "We're proud of the fact that Occidental is known for producing true scholar-athletes."

Hall of Fame nominees can be individual athletes, coaches, and teams, as well as those individuals who have provided extraordinary service to Occidental athletics. Athletes and teams must be at least 10 years removed from the college to be eligible for consideration. An eight-member selection committee will be appointed to sift through the nominees.

A full description of the nomination and selection process, as well as an online nomination form, can be found here.