Pepperdine greats inducted into Athletics Hall of Fame

Eight Waves legends from a variety of sports, and one national championship squad, were inducted into the Pepperdine University Athletics Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills earlier this month. They joined 86 individuals and 12 teams that have already been enshrined since 1980.

The inductees included Simon Aspelin (tennis), Marv Dunphy (men’s volleyball coach), Dana Jones (basketball), Janna Kovacevich (tennis), Sasha Poljak (water polo), Steve Smith and Randy Wolf (baseball), Lindsey Wright (golf) and the 2005 men’s volleyball team, which won a national title.

Inductees must have “competed, coached or rendered an extraordinary service to Pepperdine University Athletics.” The school’s Hall of Fame Committee made the final decision about this year’s inductees. Simon Aspelin was an All-American all four years in Malibu. He helped the Waves win four West Coast Conference titles. Professionally, he won the doubles title at the 2007 U.S. Open, and a silver medal in doubles at the 2008 Olympics.

Longtime men’s volleyball coach Marv Dunphy has won 507 matches and four NCAA championships in his 27 seasons as Pepperdine’s head coach. He was the 2005 National Coach of the Year and a three-time MPSF Coach of the Year. He guided the U.S. National team to a gold medal in the 1988 Olympics and has coached in four other Olympics. Dunphy is a member of the Volleyball Hall of Fame and the AVCA Hall of Fame.

“It is an honor to be inducted, especially going in with this class,” Dunphy said. “The good part is that it is a time for me to acknowledge and thank people who have helped along the way. The bad part is the perception that an honor like this is bestowed at the end of your career, and that is not the case.”

Dana Jones was the 1991 WCC Freshman of the Year and the 1993 WCC Player of the Year. He ranks second on Pepperdine’s career scoring list and first in rebounds and steals. Jones helped the Waves win three WCC regular-season titles and played on three NCAA Tournament teams.

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“This is home for me,” Jones said. “I loved my teammates, the coaching staff and the battles we had on the court. I could go on and on. I had a great experience here.”

Janna Kovacevich was the first women’s tennis four-time All-American in WCC history. She ranks first in Waves history for dual singles wins and made the semifinals of the 1991 NCAA doubles tournament.

Sasha Poljak was a three-time All-American. He ranks second on the school’s career men’s water polo scoring list.

Steve Smith helped the Waves make a pair of NCAA West Regional appearances. He was drafted by the San Diego Padres, and won a World Series ring with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008 for being the team’s third base coach.

Randy Wolf was the WCC Freshman of the Year in 1995 and the WCC Pitcher of the Year in 1997. He has the most career strikeouts and shutouts in school history. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies, pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers and now plays for the Milwaukee Brewers.

“When I was a kid, I dreamed about going to Pepperdine, and playing baseball there,” Wolf said. “I never thought that years later I would have made it into the Pepperdine Hall of Fame.”

Lindsey Wright was a four-time All-American. She won the 2000 and 2002 WCC Championships. She holds the school record for career scoring average and now competes on the PGA Tour.

The 2005 men’s volleyball team won the program’s fifth national championship. Sean Rooney was named the National Player of the Year, Jonathan Winder was the National Freshman of the Year and Marv Dunphy was the National Coach of the Year.

“That team was pretty darn good,” Dunphy said. “They had size, really talented volleyball players and could score points.”

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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