The 25th Class Features Gary Ambrosier, Jerome Biffle, Tonya Beaber Hanks, Pauline Carochi, Manuel Gonzales, Robert Plank, Mark Randall, Sam Pagano, Mike Provenzano and the 1979 Evergreen Girls’ Volleyball Team
AURORA -- The latest class of the Colorado High School Activities Association Hall of Fame, the 25th in the history of the organization, features a broad range of inductees including three former student participants, a long-time official, a trio of highly successful coaches, a longtime music educator, a veteran speech and student leadership advisor and a star-studded girls’ volleyball team from 1979.
The CHSAA Silver Anniversary Hall of Fame Class includes student-participants Jerome Biffle (Denver East), Tonya Beaber (Deer Trail) and Mark Randall (Cherry Creek). They are joined by three coaches, including current Granada coach Manuel Gonzales, former Fairview coach Sam Pagano and former Cheyenne Mountain coach Mike Provenzano. Long-time Sterling-area administrator and official Bob Plank, Grand Junction music educator Gary Ambrosier, along with Canon City speech coach and student leadership advisor Pauline Carochi, and the 1979 Evergreen girls’ volleyball team round out the 10 inductees that make of the Class of 2013.
"The 25th anniversary class of any hall of fame has to be special. I think that this Silver Anniversary group meets any standard of ‘special.’ Earning a place in the CHSAA Hall of Fame is an honor so few receive. Yet each class represents the thousands upon thousands of participants, coaches, administrators, officials and significant contributors that give so much to the state’s high school athletics and activities. The Class of 2013 reveals the breadth and depth that Colorado high school athletics and activities represent in our member schools,” CHSAA Commissioner Paul Angelico said in making the announcement.
“As we look to our second quarter century of honoring those people who have make up high school athletics and activities, it is important to note the impact that each of these inductees, like those that came before them, had had in their respective areas of the state. The 25th class of the CHSAA Hall of Fame is representative of everyone that has participated, coached, promoted, administered or promoted high school sports in our state. This class is high school athletics and activities,” CHSAA Hall of Fame administrator Bert Borgmann said.
The Class of 2013 will be inducted during a ceremony on Wednesday, January 29, 2014, at the Red Lion Hotel Denver Southeast (I‑225 and Parker). Individual tickets may be purchased for $45 each by contacting the CHSAA. The festivities get underway at 6:30 p.m. Seating is limited.
The selection of the three student participants to the CHSAA Hall of Fame puts the total number of participants in the hall at 56. There are now 59 coaches, 27 administrators, 15 officials and six significant service contributors enshrined in the CHSAA Hall of Fame that began in 1989. There are also three teams in the hall. The Hall of Fame now features 166 inductees.
Biographies of the newest additions to the hall:
Gary Ambrosier (Mesa County Schools) – One of the state’s top music educators, Gary Ambrosier has served as a teacher, music supervisor, judge, judge trainer and event site host for more than 40 years. His list of awards and responsibilities with the Colorado Music Educators Association and Colorado Bandmasters Association is vast. Ambrosier was the president of both organizations and implemented innovative programs during his tenures. He is highly sought after as a clinician in-state and across the Rocky Mountain West. He was the 2009 recipient of the CHSAA’s Distinguished Service Award. He worked as a music teacher in Bayfield, Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction, in addition to Rudyard, MI. Ambrosier has earned numerous awards for his music education work, as well his volunteerism in community projects. He is receiving the NFHS Outstanding Educator Award for Colorado this year.
Tonya Beaber Hanks (Deer Trail HS) – One of Colorado’s top small school athletes, Tonya Beaber’s prep career included participation in volleyball, basketball, track, spirit and student council. She was her class valedictorian, was a member of the National Honor Society and won numerous academic awards during high school. Tonya guided her volleyball and basketball teams to state titles in 1986, the first ever at Deer Trail High School. During her four year career, though, Deer Trail was a regular visitor to the state playoffs. A four-year letter winner in all three sports, Beaber was the 1988 Steinmark Award Runner-up, made the all-state team three times in volleyball and basketball and was a place winner in track in long jump, triple, jump, shot and discus. The Colorado native went on to play at Western Nebraska. The Colorado State Board of Education recognized her in 1988 for her perfect attendance through 13 years of schooling. She is currently an assistant basketball coach at Strasburg and has coached at Elbert.
Jerome Biffle (Denver East HS) – Jerome Biffle was one of the nation’s top student-athletes, playing football and running track for Denver East High School. A three-time all-state track star, Biffle went on to win a Gold Medal at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. He participated in football and track for Angels. As a halfback in the vaunted “single wing” offense under the guidance of legendary coach Adolph “Pat” Panek CHSAA HOF 1991/NFHS HOF 1996), he helped East to an undefeated 1945 season in city play. He was the first black athlete at the University of Denver, enrolling after a four-year stint in the US Army. Biffle went on to become a golf coach at East was a school counselor there from 1962-1992. He also was an assistant track coach at EHS. He, along with Jesse Owens, was inducted into the Drake Relays Hall of Fame in 1959. Biffle passed away in 2008.
Pauline Carochi (Canon City HS) – Pauline Carochi has been at Canon City High School for 37 years. During that time, she was the school’s speech coach (37 yrs.), Student Council Sponsor (22) and Newspaper sponsor (30). She was nominated by the Colorado Speech “Community,” not just the CHSAA Speech Committee. Thirteen of her students have won state championships, including two that won national championships, and hundreds more have qualified to the state meet. She was a member of the CHSAA Speech Committee for more than 12 years and chaired the state speech tournament five times. She has been recognized many times in speech for her work, including being inducted into the National Forensics League Hall of Fame (2010) and receiving the Sharon Wilch Lifetime Achievement Award.
Evergreen Volleyball 1979 – The third team to be recognized by the CHSAA Hall of Fame, the 1979 Evergreen High School team is recognized as THE team in the string of 8 state titles out of 10 from 1976 to 1986 by athletes who were members of those teams. Coached by CHSAA Hall of Famer Lo Hunter (1996) and featuring another Hall of Famer in Tanya Haave (1993), this team was part of a string of 182 consecutive wins from 1978-1986.
Manuel Gonzales (Granada HS) – Manuel Gonzales has coached three sports – football, basketball and baseball – for 40 years and he is still on the sidelines today. His teams have won three football titles (1979, 1988, 2006), two basketball titles (1989, 1991) and three baseball crowns (1991, 1995, 2009). He has been named Coach of the Year numerous times in each sport and has had his teams finish as runners up in the state championships several times. Gonzales was inducted in to the Colorado High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame (2002) and the National High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame (2006). He was recognized by the Colorado Dugout Club in 2009 for his contributions to high school baseball.
Sam Pagano (Fairview) – Sam Pagano was football coach at Fairview for 25 years, from 1969-1984. His teams went 164-58-4 and won state titles in 1978, 1979, 1987. He was Colorado’s Coach of the Year in 1978 and 1979. In 1978, Pagano won the Colorado High School Coaches Association’s Ed Lesar Award as the Outstanding Teacher/Coach in the state. He headed the Colorado High School Coaches Association from 1974-75 and served as the head coach of the Colorado All-State Game. He inducted into the Pueblo Sports Hall of Fame in 1978. Pagano ran the Mile High Football Clinic, a camp he started in 1975 until 2012. During his career, he has also coached professional football in Europe. His son, Chuck, is head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, while another son, John, is the San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator.
Bob Plank (Sterling) – One of the top officials in the state of Colorado, Bob Plank officiated 32 years in football and basketball. He earned numerous awards in basketball, including the inaugural Al Schalge Award for professionalism and service to the sport of basketball. Plus, he called a number of championship games. In football, he was a noted on field official who called many playoff and state championship games. He spent 33 years as a teacher, coach and administrator for Sterling and Fleming. His avocation was officiating and he regularly wrote articles on rules, rule changes and sportsmanship and took those topics on local radio. He was an instructor of officiating and rules for Northeastern Junior College, Western State and Adams State colleges. He is a member of the IAABO Board #4 Honorary for Officials and a member of the Colorado High School Football Officials Association Hall of Fame.
Mike Provenzano (Cheyenne Mountain HS) – Mike Provenzano’s teams won three state championships at Palmer High (1992, 1993, 1998) and another at Cheyenne Mountain High in 2004. Provenzano spent 30 years as the Palmer coach (1968-1999) and nine at Cheyenne Mountain. His Palmer teams made 18 consecutive state ice hockey Final Four appearances and were second three times. At CMHS, his teams played in the state tourney nine times. Provenzano’s teams compiled a 267-159-9 mark at Palmer and 127-41-6 at Cheyenne Mountain for an overall prep coaching record of 394-200-15.Twenty of the last 21 years as coach, Provenzano’s teams were in the CHSAA Frozen Four. Provenzano was named the Colorado Coach of the Year six times, including 1984, 1987, 1992, 1998, 2004 and 2009. Provenzano was the first president of the Colorado Ice Hockey Association.
Mark Randall (Cherry Creek HS) – Mark Randall is no stranger to followers of Colorado basketball. He was a McDonald’s and Parade All-American (1986) and went on to star at the University of Kansas where his team won a NCAA title (1990). A first round pick of the Chicago Bulls, he played for the Pistons, Timberwolves and Nuggets, as well. He is currently the Nuggets Community Ambassador and is active among Colorado’s youth basketball community. Randall led his 1986 Cherry Creek team to the state championship game before losing to George Washington. He played on the US National Team (1990) that won the FIBA Championships that year. In his role as Nuggets Community Ambassador, Randall speaks to over 30,000 students a year about the importance of education, making good choices, and respecting peers, teachers and parents.
In addition to the induction of the Hall of Fame class, the Association will honor one person with its Distinguished Service Award and a Colorado organization or corporation with its Colorado Tradition Award. The Colorado Tradition Award is special recognition that goes to an organization that has distinguished itself through its support and loyalty to CHSAA, its mission and students. The CHSAA Distinguished Service Award is presented to persons whose efforts are in support of, rather than the focus of, an activity.
The seven new members join our past inductees. Find a complete database here.
Members of the CHSAA Hall of Fame Selection Committee include: Dick Katte (chair, Denver Christian); Larry Bull (CCSD); Dina Fuqua (Vanguard); Judy Hildner (Pueblo Chieftain, Retired); Virginia Lorbeer (CHSAA HOF); Bob Marken (CHSCA), Mary Kay Mauro (CHSAA.tv/CET Productions), Dale Oliver (Hi-Plains), Jodi Reinhard (Standley Lake); Denny Squibb (Fruita Monument); CHSAA staff liaison is Assistant Commissioner Bert Borgmann.