Arizona State Athletics Hall of Fame inductees react after being honored

Anthony Robles was very proud to compete for the Arizona State wrestling team because he is an Arizona guy through and through. He is a product of Mesa High School who returned to school in a coaching role after his college career ended. Being in the next class of the ASU Hall of Fame is therefore particularly rewarding.

The school recently announced that nine athletes and two coaches will be among the next group of inductees at the festivities to be held in conjunction with the Oct. 8 game against Washington at Sun Devil Stadium. A lunch will be held the day before to honor the group.

It will be the first group of individuals honored in three years with the coronavirus pandemic bringing a brief hiatus.

“It means a lot to me. It’s truly an honor,” said Robles, who wrestled at ASU from 2007-2011, winning an NCAA title in 2011 at 125 pounds with a 36-0 record. “When you start, you just look to get better every day, see how far you can go. You never think I could be honored like that, so it’s really humbling. To be honored by the school that I go to. grew up watching, continued. There is nothing better.

Joining Robles will be footballer Terrell Suggs, basketball player Briann January, golfer Anna Nordqvist, swimmer Caitlin Andrew and track stars Ryan Whiting and Jessica Pressley.

Arizona State's Terrell Suggs in a game against Arizona on November 29, 2002.

Suggs may be the most recognizable name on the roster due to the sport he played and his success with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, but Pressley and Whiting, like Robles, were national champions in their respective specialty. , shot put. The two helped build a foundation of success in the throwing events at ASU that have continued to this day with pitchers contributing to the top 10 spots in the most recent NCAA men’s and women’s championships.

Whiting, a Pennsylvania native who now lives in the area full-time and coaches other athletes, said the announcement didn’t take him entirely by surprise.

“I had someone I competed with who was inducted a few years ago, so it wasn’t a total surprise, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting,” he said. “I’m proud to be part of the throwing heritage here.”

Also added to the Hall of Distinction are longtime women’s basketball coach Charli Turner Thorne and former assistant football coach and administrator Don Bocchi.

March 3, 2022;  Tempe, Arizona, USA;  Arizona State University Women's Basketball Head Coach Charli Turner Thorne listens to Athletic Director Ray Anderson at Desert Financial Arena.

For Turner Thorne, who stepped down in March to end a 25-year run at the helm of the program, the honor is particularly gratifying as the class of athletes involves one of his former players in January.

“I’m really honored to have been a little surprised that they did it so quickly, which makes it all the more humbling,” Turner Thorne said. “I wish I was there for her (January) and now we can go celebrate together. It’s also wonderful because I’ve seen all these other athletes come through and what they’ve done. It’s really an impressive class.”

Bocchi served Arizona State for nearly 40 years, beginning his time at ASU as an assistant football coach in 1985. He served as president of the Sun Angel Foundation from 1993, then served as retired as Senior Associate Athletic Director in 2021. He remembers wandering the hallway of what is now the Desert Financial Arena reading the plaques of athletes from years past whose pictures hang there.

“When you come to a place, you really only think about what you can do to make it a better place, to move it forward,” he said. “You never think of an honor like this. To be part of this group of people is truly humbling.”

The school established its Hall of Fame in 1975 to honor the school’s most decorated athletes in all sports. They are eligible to be inducted into the Hall of Fame 10 years after graduation from their senior class. The Hall of Distinction, recognizing the outstanding contributions of coaches and administrators, became part of the festivities in 1982.

Contact the reporter at [email protected] or 602 444-4783. Follow her on Twitter @MGardnerSports.

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