EDMOND – The University of Central Oklahoma Athletics Hall of Fame announced Monday its Class of 2018 with six individuals and two teams entering the prestigious group of Broncho greats.
Shawn Fleming (wrestling), Jim Seward (men’s basketball coach), Lisa Hansen (soccer), Brian Melchiori (wrestling), Booker T. Washington (lifetime achievement), and Willie Henderson (football) will all enter the Hall of Fame later this year alongside the 1980-81 and 1981-82 UCO wrestling teams.
UCO will host the 2018 Hall of Fame Banquet in the Nigh University Center Oct. 5 with a dinner and reception preceding the induction ceremony. More information about the banquet, including ticket purchasing options, will be made available this fall.
Fleming wrestled for the Bronchos from 1987-90 and was a three-time NAIA All-American, finishing seventh in 1987, before earning a national runner-up finish in 1988. He capped his career off by winning a national championship in 1989 also helping the Bronchos win the team title. Fleming is fifth on the UCO’s all-time wins list (120), second on the career technical falls list (19) and also second for single season tech. falls (nine). He wrestled for two national championship teams (1987 & 1989).
Seward coached the men’s basketball team from 1987-2002 and changed the game while leading the run-n-gun Bronchos to 261 wins in his 15 seasons at the helm. He coached nine All-Americans (honored 26 times), had nine top-20 teams, eight NCAA Tournament appearances, and coached two national players of the year including Central’s only NBA player in fellow Hall of Famer Eddie Robinson. The Bronchos made the Elite Eight under Seward in 1992 and were Lone Star Conference Champions in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, and 1998, with coach earning LSC Coach of the Year honors four times over that span.
Hansen, now Lisa Tolin, was a four-year letter winner for the Broncho soccer team who led UCO through a dominating stretch during its early years on the pitch. She earned Second Team All-Lone Star Conference honors as a freshman in 1999, before earning First Team All-LSC in each of the next three seasons. In her senior campaign (2002), she earned All-Region honors as well. The Bronchos went 69-17-1 while Hansen wore the Bronze & Blue, and most impressively, as a defender she helped UCO to a 0.81 goals allowed average in her career including a dominating 0.39 average her senior season.
Melchiori wrestled for the Bronchos for two seasons, 1993-95, and didn’t waste any time becoming one in a long list of great grapplers at Central. He went 29-11 with 13 falls in the 1993-94 season, when he won a national championship at 126 pounds, earned the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler award, and led the Bronchos to a third-straight national title. He followed that with a 41-5 senior campaign, again winning the 126-pound national championship and leading the Bronchos to a fourth-straight title. His 41 wins are still the fifth-most in one season in school history. Melchiori won 70 matches in two seasons at Central including an 8-0 mark in the NCAA Division II national tournament.
Washington, who played basketball for the Bronchos from 1959-61, carries the distinct honor and recognition as being the first African-American student-athlete to graduate from Central when he received his bachelor’s degree in Education in 1961. He would go on to teach for Oklahoma City Public Schools for 20 years. He spent eight more years as a part-time instructor and is currently still working with OKCPS in a substitute-teacher role. Washington has also worked with the Stampede Club as well as the ‘First Generation of African Americans to Attend UCO’ organization. He also received the Outstanding Alumni Award this past spring from Central’s African-American Faculty/Staff Association.
Henderson was a four-year letterman for the Broncho football team and won 30 games in his time at Central, including most notably the 1982 NAIA National Championship. He had six catches for 135 yards as the Bronchos won their second national title. Henderson had an outstanding three-game playoff run (14 receptions, 323 yards, four touchdowns) during his junior season. Henderson was a three-time All-District Nine wide receiver. He ended his career with 105 receptions for 2,300 yards. He ranks 12th on the Broncho all-time list in catches, and still, after 35 years, ranks third in all-time yards.
The 1980-81 wrestling team is undoubtedly the greatest team to ever compete at Central and is arguably the most dominant collegiate wrestling team of all time. The Bronchos set an NAIA record with six individual national champions that season, a record that still stands today and can hold true across any level of NCAA wrestling. Dennis Kendrick, Todd Osborn, Ronnie James, Alan Maddox, Benny Coleman, and Bill Ameen were all crowned champs as the Bronchos ran away with its second wrestling national championship.
The 81-82 team made it a back-to-back reign for the Bronchos. James and Ameen won titles again and Central had four others earn All-American honors in Darren Huff, Joe Starzenski, Mike Clark, and Coleman.
The UCO Athletics Hall of Fame was founded in 1990 and consists of nearly 150 former student-athletes, coaches, and supporters of Broncho athletics.
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