LOGAN, Utah – An induction ceremony and dinner honoring Utah State Athletics’ 16th Hall of Fame Class is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 14, at 6 p.m., at the Riverwoods Conference Center in Logan.
Reservations for the banquet can be made by contacting Sarah Landes, Assistant Director of Development, at (435) 797-0143, or by registering on-line at www.utahstateaggies.com/HOF.html. The cost is $50 per seat, or $400 for a table of eight. The 2018 class will also be recognized in conjunction with Utah State’s home football game against Tennessee Tech on Thursday, Sept. 13, with kickoff scheduled for 6 p.m.
The six inductees include: Tony Brown, an All-American basketball player; Erin Cartwright-Davis, an All-American volleyball player; Charlie Denson, a former Aggie football player and life-long contributor of USU Athletics; Greg Kragen, one of the best Aggie football players along the defensive line in school history; Kevin Nixon, one of the best point guards in Aggie basketball history; and Kendal Smith, an All-American football player.
A total of 109 individuals and three teams have now been inducted into the Utah State Athletics Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was founded in 1993 with 12 initial members, followed by eight members in 1994 and seven in 1995. The addition of any inductees was stopped until 2006, when five more individuals were added, followed by six recipients in 2007 and five in 2008, to go along with the first-ever team inducted. Seven more inductees were added in 2009, followed by six in 2010, five in 2011, plus two more national championship teams, eight in 2012, six inductees in 2013, 2014 and 2015, eight inductees in 2016 and 2017, and six more inductees in 2018.
Located inside the Steve Mothersell Hall of Honor, the Utah State Athletics Hall of Fame gives fans the opportunity to view biographical information and watch videos on each of the inducted members. Both the Hall of Fame and Hall of Honor are located inside the Jim and Carol Laub Athletics-Academics Complex in the north end zone of Maverik Stadium.
Brown, one of the best shooters in Aggie basketball history, earned honorable mention All-America honors from Basketball News following his senior season in 2002, as he averaged 14.9 points, 4.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game. He also earned first-team all-Big West Conference honors following his senior season as he shot 48.9 percent from the field, 45.9 percent from 3-point range and 85.7 percent at the free throw line, and scored in double figures 24 times, including 10 games with 20-plus points. As a senior, he was also named to the Big West Conference All-Tournament team. During his junior campaign, Brown earned second-team all-Big West honors as he averaged 11.7 points, 3.2 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 42.2 percent from the field, 41.0 percent from 3-point range and 84.3 percent at the free throw line. As a junior, Brown scored in double figures 18 times with four 20-point games and made one of the most memorable shots in school history in the finals seconds of regulation against No. 25 Ohio State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to tie the game. USU went on to defeat the Buckeyes in overtime to notch its first NCAA Tournament win in 31 years. Along with being a two-time all-conference selection, Brown was also named to the league’s all-freshman team in 1999 as he averaged 11.0 points and shot 40.5 percent from the field, 36.3 percent from 3-point range and 92.1 percent at the free throw line, which is a single-season school record. Brown, who was named the Big West Conference Player of the Week three times during his career, helped Utah State to a 79-20 (.798) record during his final three seasons, including a 42-8 (.840) mark in league play as USU won two regular season Big West Championships (2000, 2002) and two Big West postseason titles (2000, 2001), while advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 2000 and 2001, and the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) in 2002. During his sophomore season in 2000, USU set a school record with its 28 wins and posted a perfect 16-0 mark in conference play. The Aggies then matched that school record in 2001 by posting another 28-6 record. For his career, Brown ranks 10th all-time in scoring (1,564) and holds the school record for career free throw shooting at 87.0 percent. Brown also ranks second all-time in school history in both 3-pointers made (283) and attempted (686), is third all-time in assists (396), fourth all-time in minutes played (3,841), fifth all-time in games played (127), fifth all-time in steals (146), fifth all-time in games started (112), eighth all-time in field goal attempts (1,127), 11th all-time in three-point shooting (.413) and 11th all-time in double-figure scoring games (75). He scored a career-high 29 points against Pacific during his senior season, one of 18 games overall where he scored 20 or more points, and had three games where he dished out 10 assists. Following his collegiate career, Brown was one of 16 Aggie greats named to USU’s All-Century basketball team in 2005.
Cartwright-Davis, one of just 11 volleyball players in school history to earn All-America honors, was a three-year starter for Utah State and helped the Aggies to the 2001 NCAA Tournament, where they advanced to the second round and finished the year ranked 21st nationally. Following her senior season in 2003, Cartwright-Davis was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-West Region Team, along with earning AVCA honorable mention All-America honors. During her senior season, she hit .299 (490-169-1,074) and averaged 4.45 kills, 2.66 digs, 1.14 blocks, 0.27 service aces and 0.22 assists per set, as those 490 kills were a school record at the time and still ranks as the fourth-most in a single-season in school history, while her 33 solo blocks still ranks third and her .299 hitting percentage ranks eighth. Cartwright-Davis put up similar numbers as a junior, as she hit .310 (458-148-999) and averaged 4.24 kills, 1.68 digs, 1.11 blocks, 0.23 assists and 0.17 service aces per set. Those 458 kills rank as the eighth-most in a single-season in school history, while her .310 hitting percentage that season still ranks as the sixth-best. For her career, Cartwright-Davis recorded double-digit kills 77 times, including 12 matches where she had at least 20 kills. Her career high for kills was 33 against Pacific during her senior season, a match where she also had a career-best 25 digs. Cartwright-Davis also recorded double digits in digs 23 times during her career, and even had double digits in blocks once, with 10 against Oral Roberts during her senior campaign. In all, she posted 23 double-doubles during her career and registered five or more blocks in 36 matches. Cartwright-Davis finished her career ranking second all-time in school history in kills (1,309), attempts (2,999) and total blocks (351), third all-time in hitting percentage (.281), solo blocks (61) and block assists (290), and ninth all-time in digs (690). Currently, she still ranks fourth all-time in school history in hitting percentage, third all-time in solo blocks, fifth all-time in kills, fifth all-time in total blocks, seventh all-time in attempts and eighth all-time in block assists, and is one of just two players in school history to rank among the top-10 all-time at Utah State in all six categories listed above. In all, Cartwright-Davis was a three-time Big West all-conference selection and was twice named academic all-conference, to go along with being named the Big West Conference’s Player of the Week three times.
Denson, who is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Anini Vista Advisors, has been a longtime contributor and advisor to Utah State Athletics as he currently sits on Utah State’s National Advisory Board for Aggie Athletics. A two-year letterwinner at safety on Utah State’s football team in 1976 and 1977, Denson was well-known for his competitive spirit on the field, recording 14 tackles and one interception during his senior campaign. After graduating from USU in 1978, Denson spent more than 30 years with Nike Inc., including as Nike Brand President from 2001-13, as he oversaw all aspects of the Nike brand worldwide. He started with Nike Inc. in 1979 as an Assistant Manager in one of its original retail stores in Portland, Ore. He quickly moved up the ranks and held many positions over the years, including time as vice president of United States and European sales, and as general manager of Nike USA. As president of the Nike Brand, Denson was responsible for leading the strategy of the world’s most distinctive, authentic and connected brand in sports. He oversaw all aspects of the global direction for the company’s consumer categories, including Actions Sports, Basketball, Football (Soccer), Men’s Training, Running, Sportswear and Women’s Training, as well as the Jordan Brand and Nike Golf. An innovator in developing sales and distribution strategies, Denson was a driving force in Nike’s global growth as the company expanded into approximately 190 countries. He pioneered Nike’s growth in China, India and Brazil, in particular. In fiscal year 2012, Nike Brand revenues surpassed $21 billion, a growth of 16 percent. An avid Aggie fan, Denson was instrumental in Utah State’s unveiling of its new athletics brand and identity program in the spring of 2012. The university worked with Nike in collaboration on a 15-month re-branding campaign that was made possible through Denson’s support, as well as the longstanding association between Utah State Athletics and Nike. Denson, who also serves on the board of directors of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Inc. and Funko Inc., received an Honorary Doctorate degree from Utah State University in 2013. Denson is also an annual supporter of the Merlin Olsen Fund.
Kragen, who is regarded as one of the best technicians in Utah State football history, earned first-team all-Pacific Coast Athletic Association (PCAA) honors and was named to the United Press International All-West Coast Second Team as a defensive lineman following his senior season in 1983, as he ranked second on the team with 96 tackles. Kragen, who finished his collegiate career with 223 tackles, was also named the PCAA’s Defensive Player of the Week following USU’s 20-17 home win against BYU during his junior season. During his career, Kragen recorded double digits in tackles five times, including four games as a senior as he had a career-high 15 stops against Utah, to go along with 12 tackles against UNLV, and 10 stops against both BYU and Missouri. Following college, Kragen signed with the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent and spent a total of 13 years in the National Football League with the Denver Broncos (1985-93), Kansas City Chiefs (1994) and Carolina Panthers (1995-97). In all, Kragen played in three Super Bowls (1986, 1987, 1989) and five championship games, four with the Broncos in the AFC and one with the Panthers in the NFC. He was named All-Pro three times (1989, 1991, 1992) and was selected to the 1989 Pro Bowl. Overall, Kragen still ranks 226th all-time in games played in the NFL at 200. Kragen was named to Utah State’s All-Century Football Team in 1993.
Nixon, one of the most versatile guardline performers in Utah State basketball history, earned first-team All-Pacific Coast Athletic Association (PCAA) honors following his senior season in 1988 as he averaged 16.0 points, 5.9 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game, while shooting 50.9 percent (188-of-369) from the floor. Nixon, who was named the team’s Most Valuable Player for the second-straight season as a senior, was also named to the PCAA All-Tournament Team that year after the Aggies won their first-ever PCAA Tournament championship and received the school’s first-ever automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. USU finished the season with a 21-10 record, its most wins in 18 seasons. Nixon also earned second-team honors from the PCAA following his junior season and was named the team’s Most Valuable Player after averaging 18.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.8 steals per game, while shooting 52.5 percent (199-of-379) from the field. In fact, Nixon led USU in assists for three straight seasons (1985-88), as he averaged 3.9 per game during his sophomore season, to go along with leading the team in steals as both a junior and senior. Nixon, who was the first guard in school history to earn first-team all-PCAA honors, concluded his career ranking seventh all-time in scoring with 1,456 points, the most-ever scored by an Aggie guard at the time. Overall, Nixon still ranks 15th all-time at Utah State in scoring, second all-time in assists (428), third in steals (190), third in steals per game (1.7), ninth in free throws attempted (547), ninth in 10-plus point games (77), 10th in minutes played (3,347) and is tied for 15th all-time in games played (114). His 564 points scored as a junior are the 21st-most in school history, as he was just the fourth guard in school history at the time to score 500 points in a season. As a senior, Nixon recorded 78 steals and 182 assists to rank as the second- and fourth-most all-time at Utah State, while his playing average of 36.5 minutes per game still ranks eighth all-time in school history. Nixon’s best-ever scoring game was against UC Irvine during his junior season as he scored a career-high 33 points. To this date, Nixon is still one of just two players in school history to record at least seven steals in one game, is one of just seven Aggies to make at least 13 free throws in one game without missing, and is one of just 10 players at USU to attempt at least eight field goals in one game without a miss. Nixon also holds the school record for steals in a tournament game with four against Vanderbilt in the 1988 NCAA Tournament.
Smith, who is arguably the greatest wide receiver in Utah State football history, earned third-team All-America honors from The Associated Press and was named the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (PCAA) Offensive Player of the Year, along with earning first-team all-PCAA honors, following his senior season in 1988 as he caught 65 passes for 1,196 yards (18.4 ypr) and 11 touchdowns, setting school records for receiving yards and receiving touchdowns at the time. As a senior, Smith also returned 26 kickoffs for 524 yards (20.4 ypr) and 13 punts for 141 yards (10.8 ypr) and one touchdown as he led the team in scoring with 72 points. Smith, who ranked among the top eight players in the nation in all-purpose yards (171.55 ypg) and catches (5.91 pg) during his senior season, also tied an NCAA record by catching a touchdown pass in nine-straight games. Smith also recorded seven 100-yard receiving games during his senior season, including a career-best 208 yards on a career-high-tying 10 receptions against San José State, as those 208 receiving yards are the 12th-most in a game in school history. Smith also earned second-team all-PCAA honors as a junior as he set a then-school record with 67 receptions for 1,048 yards (15.6 ypr) and seven touchdowns, and concluded the season by recording five-straight 100-yard receiving games. As a junior, Smith ranked seventh in the nation in catches (6.09 pg) and 14th in all-purpose yards (145.36 ypg). Smith also returned 18 kickoffs for 317 yards (17.6 ypr) and 26 punts for 293 yards (11.3 ypr) and one touchdown during his junior season. As a sophomore, Smith caught 25 passes for 474 yards (18.9 ypr) and seven touchdowns, while returning 37 kickoffs for 735 yards (19.8 ypr) and 31 punts for 183 yards (5.9 ypr). And as a freshman, Smith caught 12 passes for 225 yards (18.8 ypr), returned 11 punts for 99 yards (9.0 ypr) and one kickoff for three yards. Smith concluded his collegiate career as the most productive receiver in PCAA history with his 2,952 receiving yards and 25 touchdowns, and set then-school records for receiving yards, touchdowns and receptions (169) in a career. Overall, Smith still holds school records in receiving yards, touchdown receptions and punt returns (81), and ranks third all-time in receptions, fourth all-time in all-purpose yards (5,266), sixth all-time in receiving average (17.4 ypr), tied for seventh all-time in total touchdowns (28) and tied for seventh all-time in punt return average (9.3 ypr). Overall, Smith led Utah State in receiving as a sophomore, junior and senior, and led the team in scoring as both a sophomore and senior. He finished his career with 15 games with at least 100 yards receiving, which ranks second all-time in school history. Furthermore, his 11 touchdown receptions as a senior still ranks second all-time in school history, while his 1,196 receiving yards that season ranks fifth. He also holds two of the top receptions numbers in school history as his 67 catches during his junior season are the ninth-most and his 66 receptions as a senior are tied for the 12th-most, and his 18.9 yards per reception average during his sophomore season still ranks 10th all-time at USU. Following his collegiate career, Smith played in both the Blue-Gray All-Star Game and the East-West Shrine Game before being drafted in the seventh round of the 1989 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, where he played for two seasons. Smith was also one of 24 Aggie greats named to USU’s All-Century football team in 1993.
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