Ten Loyola Marymount University athletes, coaches and contributors — four of them from perhaps the Lions’ most memorable team of recent years — are among the 92 members installed in the West Coast Conference Hall of Honor.
Beginning in 2009, one representative from each WCC member school has been selected for the Hall of Honor. Each represents “our schools’ long-standing commitment to developing student-athletes by fostering an environment of athletic and academic excellence,” said WCC senior associate commissioner Connie Hurlbut.
Loyola Marymount’s selections include three players — Hank Gathers, Bo Kimble and Jeff Fryer — and head coach Paul Westhead from the 1989-90 LMU that reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The Lions averaged a record 122 points a game and captured the attention and hearts of the nation for their spirited run after Gathers collapsed and died of a heart ailment during the WCC Tournament.
Another LMU men’s basketball star, Rick Adelman, played in the NBA and later became one of the league’s all-time winningest coaches. LMU’s other representatives in the WCC Hall of Honor include Sarah Noriega (2011), women’s volleyball; Billy Bean, baseball; Edit Pakay, women's cross country and tennis; Kate Murray, women’s basketball; and Brian Quinn, (2018), administrator.
The selections are announced in January, and new members are honored during the conference annual men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in March. A closer look at LMU’s Hall of Honor representatives, in chronological order:
Hank Gathers (2009): The Philadelphia native and USC transfer led the country in scoring as a junior in 1989 (32 points per game), and was All-American as a senior when the Lions’ reached the Elite Eight. During LMU’s WCC semifinal, he collapsed on court, was taken to the hospital, and died several hours later, having suffered from a heart muscle disorder. The remainder of the tournament was cancelled.
Bo Kimble (2010): Another Philadelphia native, USC transfer and All-American, Kimble (the 1990 WCC player of the year) assumed leadership of the Lions in the wake of Gathers’ death, averaging 35 points a game for the year, and shooting free throws left-handed in memory of his close friend Gathers. He later played professionally in the NBA.
Sarah Noriega (2011): An all-state high school star from Kansas, Noriega led LMU to three straight WCC women’s volleyball championships, setting an NCAA record for “kills”: in a 4-set match (47 vs. San Diego). She was named 1997 WCC player of the year, 1997-98 LMU female athlete of the year, and an All-American, and played on the U.S. national team for many years, including the 2000 Olympics.
Billy Bean (2012): A member of Santa Ana High School’s CIF-SS 3-A championship baseball team, Bean (no relation to the Oakland A’s general manager of “Moneyball” fame) was fleet-footed outfielder who turned down a Yankees’ contract to help LMU reach the 1986 College World Series. The team captain hit .355, was named an All-American, set several school career records, and played in the majors for seven seasons.
Edit Pakay (2013): Born in Budapest, Hungary, Pakay was among the best junior tennis players in the world before starring in the fall and spring for the Lions’ cross country and tennis teams. Twice All-WCC in singles, she helped lead LMU to the 2002 WCC tennis championship, barely six months after she won the 2001 WCC cross country individual title, and was LMU’s female athlete of the year in 2002.
Jeff Fryer (2014): The 6-2 guard from Corona del Mar averaged 22 points a game for the 1989-90 Lions, scoring 41 in their second-round 149-115 NCAA Tournament win over Michigan that advanced LMU to the Sweet Sixteen. Fryer led the conference three times in 3-point field goals, and the NCAA as a sophomore in 1988.
Rick Adelman (2015): The former Pius X High School star from Lynwood was an All-WCC choice in 1968 and a seventh-round pick of the San Diego Rockets. After a seven-year playing career, he coached in community colleges and as an NBA assistant until he was named head coach of the Portland Trailblazers in 1988, leading them to the NBA finals in 1990 and 1992. His teams won 1,791 games in a 23-year career, placing Adelman ninth all-time among NBA coaches.
Kate Murray (2016): A graduate of Jesuit HS in Portland, Murray starred for LMU’s women’s basketball team from 2000-04, leading the Lions in her senior season to a program record 24 wins, the conference title and the team’s first NCAA Tournament berth, and became the only LMU player to be named WCC player of the year. A three-time All-WCC selection, she was named to the Dean's List each semester, and became the first female to win both the LMU Athlete and LMU Student-Athlete of the Year awards (2003-04).
Paul Westhead (2017): Former coach of the 1980 Los Angeles Lakers’ world championship team, Westhead had coached La Salle in the 1970s before returning to the college ranks with LMU in 1985, compiling a 105-48 record in five seasons and installing an up-tempo style that developed the Lions into the country’s highest-scoring offense and NCAA Tournament bids for three straight seasons (1988-90).
Brian Quinn (2018): A graduate of St. Bernard High School in nearby Playa del Rey, Quinn played baseball and basketball at LMU in the early 1960s, where he was basketball team MVP and baseball team captain. After a career in teaching and school administration, he returned to his alma mater as athletic director (1985-98), and spent several more years as a fundraiser for the university.