Whitworth College will induct two outstanding former athletes and a highly successful team as the Class of 2004 into its Heritage Gallery Hall of Fame on Saturday morning, October 2nd. Football All-American Wayne Buchert and basketball All-American Nate Dunham will join the 1965 men's cross country team as this year's class.
Wayne Buchert was one of two Pirate players named to the initial NAIA All-American football team in 1954, culminating an outstanding career as a halfback at Whitworth. During his senior season in 1954 Buchert was also named AP Little All-American, All-Pacific Coast and All-Evergreen Conference after leading the Pirates to a perfect 8-0 season. He was also awarded the Snyder Inspiration Award by his teammates that season. As a junior in 1953 he was named All-Evergreen Conference and All-Pacific Coast after the Pirates finished with a record of 7-1. Even as a sophomore in 1952 Buchert was selected Second Team All-Evergreen Conference when the Pirates went 4-3-1. Upon graduation in 1955, Buchert went on to play football for the Marine Corps. He worked for the Immigration and Naturalization Service for more than 20 years. Throughout his life, Buchert continued to excel as an amateur athlete, winning various golf, tennis and horseshoe tournaments in California and Washington. Buchert passed away in December of 1988 after a courageous battle with bone cancer.
Nate Dunham concluded his Whitworth College career as the final NAIA basketball All-American in school history. By the time his career was over, Dunham had scored 1,551 points, grabbed 678 rebounds and made 61.2% of his shots from the field, still a Whitworth record. As a senior Dunham led the Pirates to a 26-5 record, an NCIC championship and to the brink of the NAIA Division II national championship, before the team lost in overtime to Albertson College. Dunham was named an NAIA Division II First Team All-American, as well as the Northwest Conference of Independent Colleges Player of the Year after averaging 16.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. As a junior he led Whitworth to a record of 18-10, including a victory over NCAA Division I Eastern Washington University. He was selected to the All-NCIC First Team when he averaged 17.2 points and 7.4 rebounds per contest. He started all 26 games as a sophomore, average 12.2 points and 4.5 rebounds. Even as a freshman he played in every game and averaged nine points and four rebounds. In addition to teaching and coaching after college, Dunham continued to excel in basketball by leading his team to victories in three Open Division championships at Spokane Hoopfest (1998, 2000, 2002), the largest three on three basketball tournament in the United States.
The 1965 men's cross country team at Whitworth College remains one of the most talented and successful teams in Pirate athletics history in any sport. The Pirates rolled to meet victories over virtually every college program in the northwest, losing only to Washington State University and the University of Washington during the season. Whitworth easily won the NAIA District championship by placing four runners in the top five final finishers. Monte Moore finished second, Len Long was third, Loren McKnight was fourth, Jerry Leonard was fifth and Lanny Clegg was 15th for a total of 29 points. Running in subfreezing temperatures at the NAIA championships in Omaha, Nebraska, the Pirates earned a national runner-up finish to Fort Hayes State (Texas). Len Long (11th place), Jerry Leonard (12th) and Monte Moore (15th) all earned NAIA All-American honors. The members of the 1965 men's cross country team are: Lanny Clegg (an entrepreneur with more than 20 years in construction contracting in Spokane, Washington), Wayne Henning (a farmer in Thornton, Washington), Denny Lemmon (a teacher and coach in Germany), Jerry Leonard (an independent manufacturers' representative for sporting goods in Wilton, California), Len Long (a teacher and coach in Spokane), Loren McKnight (an engineer with 27 years as a commander in the Naval Reserve in San Diego, California), Loren Minnick (formerly a teacher and business consultant, now a photographer in Portland, Oregon), Monte Moore (a teacher and coach in Spokane) and Jerry Tighe (a teacher and coach in Vancouver, British Columbia). The team was coached by Arnie Pelluer and assisted by Tom Riddle.
The Whitworth Heritage Gallery, sponsored by the Crimson Club, recognizes and celebrates former Pirate coaches, athletes, staff and community contributors who have excelled in their field, either at Whitworth or beyond Whitworth, while representing the highest ideals of the school. The first class was inducted in 1990. Previous inductees include former football player and coach Sam Adams; Paul Merkel and the 1960 NAIA championship baseball team; and Ray Washburn, a member of the championship team who went on to star with the St. Louis Cardinals. There are currently 49 individuals and four teams enshrined in the Whitworth Heritage Gallery.
The induction will take place in Whitworth's Hixon Union Building prior to the football game vs. Eastern Oregon on October 2nd. It is open to the public. The cost of the luncheon is $5 and prior reservations must be made by calling the Whitworth Athletics Department (777-3224).