Make it an even 100. Over its distinguished history in intercollegiate athletics, Pepperdine University has maintained a proud tradition of coaches and athletes who have represented the university with excellence, dozens of whom have been honored by induction into the school’s Hall of Fame. The Pepperdine Athletic Department welcomed four more individuals into the Hall at a ceremony recently held at the Woodland Hills Marriott.
Tom Asbury, Jennifer (Evans) Lilley, Dan Haren and Dane Suttle joined a group of 96 other all-time greats who made a significant impact upon Pepperdine and its athletic program. It was an evening of gratitude, respect and humility for the four recipients.
“This year’s induction class is truly impressive, representing a wide range of accomplishments both during their days at Pepperdine and thereafter,” said Steve Potts, Director of Athletics. “On this occasion, we recognize their achievements and significant contributions to the storied history and tradition of Pepperdine athletics.”
Asbury coached the Pepperdine men’s basketball team for 18 years. He first served as an assistant to Coach Jim Harrick (Hall of Fame Class of 2011) from 1980-88 and then as head coach of the Waves in two different stints (1989-94, 2009- 11) before retiring last year. His accomplishments include winning three regular-season West Coast Conference titles, three WCC Tournament championships, four 20-win seasons and a league-record 38 consecutive wins between 1991 and 1993.
“I spent 18 years here. My family was raised here. It’s a huge part of my life,” Asbury said. “It’s a great institution and I am really honored to be a part of it and be part of the Hall of Fame.”
Former players such as Doug Christie and current Pepperdine Coach Marty Wilson were in attendance to honor their coach.
“I’m blown away because I think back about how long our relationship has gone. It’s been over 30 years,” said Wilson, who was recruited to play for Asbury as well as coach by his side. “I’ve said this since day one. I owe him the world for all that he has done for me. This night is icing on the cake.”
Jennifer (Evans) Lilley became the first women’s soccer player ever to be inducted into the Waves Hall of Fame. She graduated in 1997 after achieving 22 Pepperdine single-game, season or career records, 16 of which still stand today. Lilley’s records include 20 goals in a season (1993) and 54 for her career.
“The night was overwhelming. I am very honored to be recognized by my university,” Lilley said. “Pepperdine gave me so much. It was everything I could have asked for in a school and a soccer program.”
Haren left his mark on the Pepperdine baseball program not only in his records and success as a pitcher but in forging a career path for future Waves to follow and emulate. An All- American at Pepperdine in 2001, Haren is a three-time All- Star in Major League Baseball and a current starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels.
He ranks third in strikeouts (277), third in innings pitched (354.2) and fourth in wins (29) at Pepperdine.
“I can’t believe it has come to me being in the Hall of Fame,” Haren said. “It was the perfect scenario for me. I made a lot of great friends. I learned how life works and how baseball works. Those things are so valuable. Everything came together and made me the person and baseball player I am today.”
Dane Suttle is the all-time leading scorer in Pepperdine men’s basketball history with 1,701 points. Twenty-nine years later, his accomplishments remain the standard for the Waves. Suttle averaged 23.4 points per game his senior year in 1983 and played two seasons for the Kansas City Kings in the NBA.
“From the bottom of my heart Pepperdine will always be number one in all the success I had,” Suttle said. “With my family and with my teammates it was the best feeling I ever had in my life.”
Suttle became an integral part of the success of the Waves in the early 1980s and his presence was felt thereafter.
“It’s exciting. To see Dane go in and get the reception that he got from some of his former teammates just shows the respect that they and we all have for him,” Wilson said. “He was the pioneer for guys in Southern California who wanted to come to Pepperdine. He was one of our greatest players.”
The Pepperdine Athletics Hall of Fame was established in 1980. Fourteen teams and now 100 individuals have been recognized for their accomplishments.