(Inducted Oct. 3, 1997)
1947 FOOTBALL TEAM
(Basketball, Soccer, Volleyball, and Field Hocky, 1977-82)
Diane Bankson was arguably the first outstanding multi-sport female athlete in the modern era at Pacific Lutheran University. From 1977 through 1981, Bankson earned letters in five separate sports. In softball, Bankson was a three-year letter winner and honorable mention all-conference honoree in 1981. In no other sport did she play more than one year at the varsity level. She competed in basketball during the 1977-78 season, earning the team's Most Improved Player award. In volleyball, she played at the varsity level in 1979. She also showed her outstanding athletic ability in two different fall season sports. As a member of the 1980 field hockey team, Bankson helped lead the Lutes to the conference championship and a berth at the national tournament. A year later, when field hockey was replaced by soccer, she earned the Most Improved Player award and helped the team to a 14-3 record and the Northwest Conference title. Bankson later served two years as the coach of Pacific Lutheran's junior varsity women's basketball team.
(Men's Swimming, 1974-78)
Ron Barnard was the first Pacific Lutheran male swimmer to win an NAIA national title, taking the 200 backstroke during his freshman season. Before he was done, Barnard would write his name throughout the school record book on the way to earning All-America honors 10 separate times from 1975-78. The backstroke was Barnard's strength, and the lanky swimmer became one of the NAIA's dominant forces in that event through the mid and late 1970s. In the 100 backstroke, Barnard won a national title in 1978, finished second in 1975, and placed third the other two years. In the 200 backstroke, he was first in 1975, second in 1976 and third in 1978. In 1977, Barnard placed fourth in the 400 individual medley. Twice he swam on relay teams that finished in the top five at nationals. Barnard's time of 1:56.54 in the 200 backstroke has held up as the Pacific Lutheran school record since 1975, despite rule changes that have made the backstroke faster since Barnard's time. Barnard has five of PLU's top 10 times in the 200 backstroke and three of the top 10 in the 100 backstroke. In addition, Barnard swam on the 1976 unit that set and still holds the school record in the 400 medley relay.
(Football and Golf, 1971-75)
Mark Clinton made his athletic mark at Pacific Lutheran in two sports. As a golfer, the long-hitting Clinton took medalist honors at the 1973 and 1975 Northwest Conference championship tournaments, and also won the District 1 title in 1974. In addition, Clinton was medalist in 1973, ‘74 and ‘75 of the Northwest Small College Classic, at the time one of the major tournaments in the Pacific Northwest. An all-conference and all-district performer, Clinton helped the Lutes to three conference championships, two district titles and a pair of national tournament appearances. Clinton was similarly successful as a football player. His finest year came in 1974 when, as a senior end, he earned all-conference, all-district, all-Little Northwest and honorable mention All-America honors. Selected as Pacific Lutheran's co-Most Valuable Offensive Player, Clinton led Pacific Northwest college division teams with 41 catches for 808 yards and nine touchdowns in nine games. With 58 points, he was the 1974 Northwest college division scoring leader. That season, he had 100-plus receiving yards in four games, including a career-best nine receptions for 199 yards and three touchdowns against College of Idaho. As a junior, Clinton earned first team all-district and second team all-conference honors after a season featuring 34 receptions for 481 yards and three touchdowns. Clinton had 10 catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman. In his career, he had 85 catches for 1,437 yards, an average of 16.9 yards per catch. Clinton was a starting defensive back as a sophomore. Perhaps more than his number of catches, Clinton was known for his competitiveness and determination between the lines. Following both his junior and senior years, he earned Pacific Lutheran football's Second Effort Award. He was named the Jack Hewins Senior Athlete Award winner for Pacific Lutheran men's sports in 1975.
Tommy Gilmer was a jack-of-all-trades for four Pacific Lutheran College football teams, serving with distinction as quarterback, fullback, safety, punter and kick returner at various times while lettering four straight years. As a right-handed quarterback, Gilmer completed 142 of 303 passes for 1,907 yards, with 17 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. The majority of those stats came in his first three seasons when he was the starting signal caller. He completed 51 percent of his passes for 699 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore and a year later had his best season with 714 passing yards, ranking him among the national leaders. Both years he earned first team all-conference, all-Northwest and all-West Coast honors, as well as honorable mention Little All-American accord. As a senior fullback he led the team in receptions, was the third-leading rusher, and earned his teammates' selection as the Inspirational Award winner. On the defensive side of the ball, Gilmer had 10 career interceptions, including a single-season best of four during his sophomore season. As a left-footed punter, Gilmer averaged 34.3 yards on 100 career punts, and his 41.6 yards per punt in 1957 is still a Pacific Lutheran single-season record. He also drop kicked points after touchdown. Gilmer had outstanding numbers returning opposing kicks, averaging 18.8 yards on 28 kickoff returns and 12.4 yards on 38 punt returns. In addition to his football exploits, Gilmer also had an outstanding Pacific Lutheran track & field career in the hurdles, jumps and relays.
(Women's Swimming, 1983-86)
Kirsten Olson earned NAIA first team All-America honors each of her four seasons at Pacific Lutheran University. From 1983 through 1985, Olson was one of the NAIA's premiere competitors in the individual medley and butterfly. Three separate times she earned All-America honors in the 200 and 400 IM, and twice she accomplished the feat in the 100 IM. She came onto the national scene with a flurry in 1983, placing in the top six and earning All-America honors in five individual events and two relays. Her finest year may have been the 1983-84 season when, as a sophomore, she earned All-America honors in five events. Olson won national titles in the 200 individual medley and the 200 butterfly and finished second in the 100 butterfly, third in the 400 individual medley and fifth in the 100 individual medley. Besides winning the two individual national titles, Olson swam on four Pacific Lutheran national title relay units, including the 800 freestyle and 400 medley teams as a senior in 1986. Olson is listed on the Pacific Lutheran swimming all-time top 10 list in several events, including third in the 200 butterfly, and in 1985 was a member of the 800 freestyle relay team that set and still holds the school record.
When Blair Taylor took a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown against Linfield in 1938, he not only notched a school record that still stands, but gave a glimpse of the greatness that he exhibited during his Pacific Lutheran College football career. Taylor, who earned All-Washington Intercollegiate Conference honors in 1940, was quarterback of the great PLC teams in 1939 and 1940. In that era, the quarterback served primarily as a runner and blocker, and Taylor used his great speed to score numerous touchdowns, several on laterals following pass completions. He helped lead those teams to a 15-1 overall record, including an 8-0-0 record in 1940, the only undefeated season in the storied history of Pacific Lutheran football. His touchdown on a lateral gave PLC its first score in the legendary 1940 game against Gonzaga, leading to a comeback 16-13 win and the unbeaten record. The Gladiators, as they were known then, shared the 1939 Washington Intercollegiate Conference championship with Eastern Washington and won the WIC title outright in 1940. Coaching great Cliff Olson, for whom he played, named Taylor as the quarterback of his all-time Lutes team. Olson called him the best quick-kick punter in Pacific Lutheran football annals, and Taylor was also an accomplished point after touchdown kicker. In addition, Taylor was a sprinter and hurdler and four-year letter winner for the PLC track & field squad.
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