Inspiring Athletes Enter Hall of Fame
June 9, 2011:
Monday, October 4, 2010
Extraordinary individuals who competed and lived as champions. Nicole Casapulla Mora '00 (basketball), Tom Maudlin '56 (football), Chuck Shea '57 ( football) and Ken Welsh '91 (basketball) returned to campus for their induction into the 2010 Menlo College Hall of Fame. Mike Preaseau '54 (basketball ) and Sabre Bowden '90 (basketball) could not attend. Keith Spataro, Athletic Director stated, "The Hall of Fame Induction is one of the highlights of my year, I never miss it."
Former assistant coach Ann Tafolla presented Casapulla Mora, describing her pure grit, her combination of perseverance and passion, and relating the time when she played through a torn ACL to take Menlo's inaugural women's basketball team to post season play. Nicole graciously accepted her award, "To the College, friends and family, I'm extremely grateful and completely honored."
Rink Babka '59 presented Preaseau, Maudlin and Shea from the mid-50's; each had tremendous athletic achievements. Preaseau was a high scoring hoopster who went on to play with Bill Russell at USF. Maudlin quarterbacked in three other leagues besides Menlo College, including USC, the US Marine Corps and finally the LA Rams. Shea has the distinction of having excelled in five sports while at Menlo, winning the first Don W. Baer Award as Menlo's most outstanding athlete. Maudlin remarked that "Menlo is where I grew up," which seemed to be the prevailing opinion of the group. Shea fondly remembers Judge Russell for sending "a card on my birthday every year."
Former basketball coach Pat McClennan described what it takes to be in the Hall of Fame. These athletes are competitors who say "find the most competitive game, give me the rules, give me the goal" Then they train, toughen and discipline their individual skills. "Drive on individual skills, feed on discipline," meaning that commitment, and mental toughness define these competitors.
With that introduction, Ken Welsh '91 delivered a poignant speech. He so wished that Sabre Bowden could be there with him, but he was unable to come. Welsh stated that "Basketball was my identity—I needed to win, needed to succeed...we relied on each other. We took some misfits and made it a family. It's been such an amazing trip that allowed me to grow, to compete, to grow in my life." He directed his remarks to current Menlo athletes: "Do it to the best of your ability; do it with pride and dignity; do it at the level you're at and don't be embarrassed." Welsh admitted that he was more of a winner and competitor than a teammate, but he left the audience with some great advice: "Take the Menlo tradition, take your own spirit…never give up, then you can hold your head high."
The room was heavy with emotion and pride for these champs. Menlo College is a great place to come back to whether it is ten, twenty or fifty-five years later.