St. Petersburg, Fla. -- Five outstanding former student-athletes will be inducted into the GTE Academic All-America Hall of Fame at ceremonies at the Mahaffey Theater here today. This year's 11th class will be inducted by NBC sportscaster Dick Enberg, spokesman for the GTE Academic All-America program and host for the ceremonies.
The inductees are Dr. Leigh Curl (University of Connecticut, class of 1985), a four-year starter in basketball and two-year team captain; Bernie Kosar (University of Miami, class of 1985), who led Miami to its first national championship in football and played 12 seasons in the NFL; Jack Mildren (University of Oklahoma, class of 1972), an All-America quarterback and MVP of the 1972 Sugar Bowl; and Jack Sikma (Illinois Wesleyan, class of 1977), a seven-time NBA All-Star.
Also entering the Hall of Fame as an honorary inductee will be Marv Levy (Coe College, class of 1950). Levy coached the Buffalo Bills for 12 seasons, leading them to four straight Super Bowls. (See complete inductee profiles below).
GTE, in conjunction with the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), established the Hall of Fame in 1988 to honor former college scholar-athletes who have excelled in their professions and have made substantial contributions to their communities. There are now 53 members of the Hall of Fame, including this year's class
To be eligible, an individual must have been a GTE Academic All-America Team member while in school and have graduated from college at least 10 years ago. The 1998 inductees were selected from a group of 70 individuals who were nominated by a 90-member voting board representing CoSIDA's 1,800 members.
"GTE established the Hall of Fame to recognize the importance of academic preparation as a foundation for life," said Glen S. Gilbert, GTE's vice president - advertising and social responsibility. "All of this year's inductees are winners because they placed a tremendous value on succeeding first as student-athletes and then went on to distinguish themselves in community service and career success as well."
"All of this year's inductees are tremendous role models," said Enberg. "The class of 1998 will help elevate the level of excellence established by the previous group of former student-athletes who make the Hall of Fame induction such a prestigious honor."
"This group of former student-athletes perfectly represents the types of individuals we had in mind when the Hall of Fame was created. They will uphold the continued tradition of this outstanding event," said Pete Kowalski, president of CoSIDA.
Each Hall of Fame award will be presented by someone who has been a major influence in the life of the inductee: Dr. Ted Taigen (for Curl), an academic advisor for basketball players at the University of Connecticut; Bernie Kosar, Sr. (for Kosar, Jr.), currently a business executive in Ohio; Drew Mildren (for Mildren), a high school senior in his father's home state of Oklahoma; Dennie Bridges (for Sikma), the head basketball coach at Illinois Wesleyan for the last 33 years; and Bill Polian (for Levy), who served as GM of the Bills during most of Levy's tenure as head coach.
DR. LEIGH CURL (University of Connecticut, Basketball, Class of 1985) -- Curl graduated Summa Cum Laude and was her class valedictorian. She started all four years, the last two as team captain, and became the third women's basketball player in school history to score 1,000 points. She currently ranks 10th in career points and fifth in rebounds at UConn. A two-time Academic All-America, Curl also was a two-time Big East Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year and received her graduate degree from Johns Hopkins Medical School. Presently, she is serving as assistant professor and assistant director of sports medicine and shoulder surgery for University Sports Medicine at the University of Maryland Medical System, where she is also head team physician for the University of Maryland. She has performed volunteer work as team physician for USA Basketball, Johns Hopkins University, St. John's University and the New York City public schools recreation program, and is a member of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
BERNIE KOSAR (University of Miami, Football, Class of 1985) -- In his freshman year of 1983, Kosar was the starting quarterback for the Hurricanes' team which won the school's first-ever national championship. In the 1984 Orange Bowl, he threw for 300 yards and was named MVP, leading Miami to a 31-30 upset victory over Nebraska in one of college football's all-time great games. He graduated from Miami in three years with a degree in finance/economics and made first team Academic All-America in 1984. Drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 1985 supplemental draft, Kosar went on to play for 12 years in the NFL. He led the Browns to the AFC title game three times and was a member of the Super Bowl XXVIII champion Dallas Cowboys. He is currently a sales and marketing executive in the Miami area. Since the establishment of the Bernie J. Kosar Charitable Trust in 1991, he has given more than $600,000 in scholarships and donations to children's charities in Florida, Ohio and Texas.
JACK MILDREN (University of Oklahoma, Football, Class of 1972) -- The first in the long line of many great Oklahoma wishbone quarterbacks, Mildren rushed for more than 1,100 yards in 1971, still a school record for quarterbacks. He was named All-America in 1971, finishing fifth in voting for the Heisman Trophy and was named MVP of the 1972 Sugar Bowl by scoring three touchdowns and leading Oklahoma to 40-22 win over Auburn. He played three years in the NFL before completely devoting his business career to the oil industry. Mildren was elected lieutenant governor of Oklahoma in 1990, where he helped create thousands of new jobs and was named minority business person of the year. Currently, he invests in and manages oil and gas activities. His charity work includes contributions to Leadership Oklahoma, Boy Scouts and the Oklahoma Institute of Mental Retardation.
JACK SIKMA (Illinois Wesleyan, Basketball, Class of 1977) -- A two-time Academic All-America, Sikma graduated with a degree in accounting and was a first team All-America as a senior and three-time conference MVP. He still holds Illinois Wesleyan all-time records in scoring and rebounding and was the eighth player chosen in the first round of the 1977 NBA draft by the Seattle Supersonics. He played 14 years in the NBA with Seattle and Milwaukee, winning an NBA championship with the Sonics in 1979. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie team and made the All-Star team seven times. Sikma still ranks first on the Sonics' all-time list for rebounds (7,729) and is second in points (12,034). Presently he serves as president of Sikma Enterprises, a developer of golf courses and restaurants in the Seattle area. He is also honorary chairman of the Northwest Children's Fund Golf Tournament and Ultimate Sports Auction, which benefits Evergreen Hospital Hospice and Home Health Care.
MARV LEVY (Coe College, Class of 1950) -- Levy graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in economics/pre-law and he lettered in track, football and basketball. He received his Master's Degree from Harvard, and following graduation he coached track, basketball and football at various schools before becoming head coach for the Montreal Alouettes of Canadian Football League (CFL) in 1973. He won two Grey Cup titles in the CFL, was named Coach of the Year in 1974 and was head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs for five years before taking over the Buffalo Bills in 1986. He piloted the Bills to four straight Super Bowls following the 1990-93 seasons, was named AFC Coach of the Year in 1993 and retired following the 1997 season. He still serves as a spokesman for Literacy Volunteers and the United Way and is honorary chairman of the Coe College fund-raising campaign.