GCU Inducts Three Into Athletics Hall of Fame
GCU honored three new inductees into its athletics Hall of Fame at the 2010 Homecoming Hall of Fame Dinner, Friday, January 29. The honorees included former baseball star Tim Salmon, ex-men’s basketball coach Ben Lindsey and the 1996 NCAA Division II national champion men’s soccer team.
Major League Baseball fans affectionately know Salmon as “King Fish.” A 14-year veteran of the Los Angeles Angels, he is considered one of the greatest players in the franchise’s history. The former right fielder and World Series champion also is recognized for hitting it out of the park for the families he supports through his many humanitarian projects, which earned him an honorary doctor of public service degree from GCU in 2006.
Like most baseball players, Salmon’s journey began as a Little Leaguer in Long Beach, Calif. While he was a student at GCU in the mid-1980s, he set numerous baseball records, met his future wife, Marci, and began a spiritual relationship with his Savior. In 2009, he received his Bachelor of Science degree in applied management from GCU, completing the degree program that he started as a freshman in 1986.
After three record-setting seasons at Brazell Stadium, Salmon made his major league debut on Aug. 21, 1992. He has received many honors for his efforts both on and off of the playing field. He was Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year (1992), American League Rookie of the Year (1995), and Major League Baseball Comeback Player of the Year (2002). He was also named to the Topps Rookie All Stars (1993) and won a “Silver Slugger Award” from Major League Baseball (1995). He is in the “Top 10” in more than 20 statistical categories in Angels baseball history and is the all-time home run king for both the Angels and the Antelopes.
Lindsey served as the head coach of the men’s basketball program at Grand Canyon College from 1965 through 1981. In 16 seasons, he guided GCC to an overall won-loss record of 317-137. Two of Lindsey’s teams finished the season with NAIA national championships (1975 and 1978, with both teams having identical 30-3 records).From 1973 through 1980, Grand Canyon solidified its reputation as one of the best basketball schools in the country. In that seven-year span, the ‘Lopes compiled an amazing 184-29 record. Grand Canyon made seven NAIA National Championship tournament appearances in the 13 years in which it was eligible to participate in the post-season and qualified for the NAIA District playoffs in 11 of 13 seasons of eligibility under Lindsey.His Grand Canyon team’s run to the 1978 national title featured an 88-82 five-overtime win over Central State in the NAIA quarterfinals which, at that time, was the longest postseason collegiate basketball game ever.
The 317 wins under Lindsey are more than any other basketball coach in the storied history of Grand Canyon athletics. He was honored twice by the Arizona Press Club as Arizona “Coach of the Year” (1975, 1978) and was also the National Basketball Coaches Association District VII Coach of the Year in ’75 and ’78 as well. He served USA Men’s Basketball as an Olympic Festival Coach in 1978. In addition to his coaching success, Ben enjoyed Grand Canyon as a student-athlete, participating in baseball and basketball during his undergraduate study.
Lindsey still is prominent among the lists of record performances on the basketball court. He still holds the GCU record for most field goals made in a single game (18) and is in the Grand Canyon Basketball top five all-time for career rebounds (fifth, 827), single-season rebounds (fifth, 342 in 1959-60) and single-season scoring average (fifth, 23.2 points per game in 1961-62). His 44-point performance on Feb. 17, 1962 vs. LaVerne College is the second highest single-game point total in school history.
1996 NCAA Division II national champion men’s soccer team
Grand Canyon University’s only NCAA national championship team, the 1996 ‘Lopes finished the season with a record of 12-4-5, and hosted and won the NCAA Division II championship on the GCU campus. GCU defeated Seattle Pacific University 2-1 (three overtimes) in the quarterfinals, Lynn University (Fla.) 1-0 in the semifinal and Oakland University (Mich.) by a 3-1 margin in the final. The ‘Lopes were the top seed from the West Region and were co-coached by Petar Draksin and Peter Duah.