SPOKANE, Wash. -- On September 26th Whitworth University will induct former football All-American Wayne Ralph, track and field coach Arnie Tyler, Sr., and track All-American Kristin (Shields) Hinton as the 20th class into the Whitworth Heritage Gallery Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will take place at the Whitworth Hixon Union Building’s multi-purpose room, beginning at 8:30 am.
Two-time All-American Wayne Ralph had the two most prolific pass receiving seasons in Northwest small college history. As a junior in 1985, Ralph caught 101 passes for 1,111 yards and seven touchdowns, setting NAIA records for total passes caught in a season and receptions per game (11.2). He was named a First Team NAIA All-American and a Kodak Division II First Team All-American. The following season Ralph broke his own records with 105 receptions, 11.7 per game, for 1,204 yards. He set school records at the time with 20 receptions for 219 yards in the season opener at Willamette. He was named First Team All-American for the second straight season. His 248 career receptions remain a Northwest small college record. He finished his career with 248 catches, 2,793 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns. Nobody in Whitworth history has come close to his 17 career 100-yard receiving games. Following his Whitworth career Ralph was offered a contract by the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League, but instead chose to join the military where he had a distinguished and highly decorated 10-year career. Following his time in the military, Ralph has worked as an educator and coach at the secondary level.
Kristen (Shields) Hinton exemplified Whitworth University’s highest standards, both in the pursuit of athletics and academics. She graduated in 2004 as an NCAA champion in the 100-meter dash and with the President’s Cup after finishing her academic career with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Over the course of her four seasons at Whitworth, Shields won the Northwest Conference 100 meters three times and anchored the 400 relay to victory in each of her four seasons. As a senior she was the conference’s Women’s Athlete of the Meet after sweeping the 100 and 200 meters and leading the 400 relay to its fourth straight conference title. Shields earned her first NCAA Division III All-American finish as a junior in 2003 with a fourth place finish in the 100. The following season she was national champion in that event, while also earning All-American honors in the 200. Her time of 11.81 in the 100 led the nation that season and she also posted a wind-aided 11.70. Following her senior season, Shields first was named the College Division Track and Field / Cross Country Academic All-American of the Year by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Later she was selected as the College Division Academic All-American of the Year for all sports. She has gone on to a successful career teaching high school math.
Arnie Tyler might have done more with less than any coach in Whitworth history. As the men’s track and field coach from 1976 through 1981, and both the men’s and women’s coach from 1982 through 1991, he led four Whitworth student-athletes to individual NAIA national championships and coached 25 All-America performances - all without the benefit of an on-campus track. Doug Larson won the NAIA decathlon in 1981, Tommy Stewart was the national triple jump champion in 1983, Barb Lashinski won the javelin in 1987, and Nathan Whelham also won the javelin in 1990. Other multiple-time All-Americans included Kari Jacobson in the heptathlon and the 400 hurdles; Tim Jacobson in the hammer and discus; Arnie Tyler, Jr. in the hammer and Jeff Rahn, who still holds Whitworth’s record in the 1,500 meters. At the time of his Whitworth retirement, every women’s track and field record at Whitworth was held by an athlete he coached. He went on to assist with the highly-successful Mead High School team until moving to Yakima in 2000, where he continues to help coach at the high school level.
The class of 2009 will join a group of 64 individuals and seven teams already enshrined in the Heritage Gallery. The class of 2009, along with all current Heritage Gallery members attending the induction, will be recognized at halftime of the Whitworth - Chapman football game on September 26th.
The Whitworth Heritage Gallery Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Crimson Club and the first class was inducted in 1990.