20Hall of Fame Swanson-Brian Swanson speaks at the Cal Poly Pomona Athletics Hall of Fame induction February 29, 2020.

A deeper look into the prestigious CPP Athletics Hall of Fame

By Arturo Aguirre, March 16, 2021

Since its inaugural launch in 1986 and relaunch in 2014, the CPP Athletics Hall of Fame has honored many former student-athletes, coaches and staff who’ve shined the brightest in athletic success during their tenures as a Bronco.

The CPP Athletics Hall of Fame currently celebrates 69 inductees, whose plaques are on display inside the hallways of Kellogg Arena. With its most recent ceremony held in 2020, the Athletics Department hosts this ceremony every two years. For the upcoming 2022 event, the department hopes to make the ceremony a bigger spectacle, despite the possibility of it being a virtual ceremony.

Nominations can be submitted at any time by fans, administrators, former teammates, or coaches. In every submission, a candidate is categorized based on meeting criteria in categories, ranging from primary, veteran, academic, administration/coach and team, before it reaches the voting stage. The Hall of Fame committee consist of administration from the Athletics Department.

According to the Athletics Department, they receive the most nominations six months before the ceremony.

Assistant Athletic Director for Communications Tyler Lobe, a member of the Hall of Fame committee since 2018, is responsible for providing statistics about candidates. He expressed feeling gratitude evaluating and sharing the records made by former student-athletes.

“Just going back and looking at the seasons stats from each season and seeing these names of all these great previous Cal Poly Pomona student-athletes, it was fun to go through,” said Lobe. “It has given me a better understanding of our history here.”

Brian Swanson speaks at the 2020 CPP Athletics Hall of Fame induction. (Courtesy of Tom Zasadzinski)

Despite the career stat lines and accolades, another key factor that gives the title, “Hall of Famer” a more distinguished sound, is character. For some inductees, it wasn’t their skills on the fields and courts that won them the prestigious title, but their leadership, determination and their representation of the campus.

Committee member Ruem Malasarn, having been the assistant athletics director for sports performances since 2000, feels that having a strong character as a student-athlete can help a candidate’s case for induction.

“Having been around for over two decades, I get to include in my awareness of the person’s personality and their influence in leadership and how they affected the team where maybe the numbers didn’t necessarily reflect that piece of it,” said Malasarn.

Once the committee reviews the nominations thoroughly based on the number of candidates, the committee votes and finalizes the next class for the Hall of Fame on the top four candidates who

receive the most points. Athletics Director Brian Swanson delivers the news to the newly inductees via phone call.

The 2020 Hall of Fame inductees, Violet Palmer, Tara Lance, Ellen Migasi and Dennis Nespor. (Courtesy of Tom Zasadzinski)

The ceremony is normally held in February or during Homecoming week. The inductees receive a warm welcome into the Hall of Fame with gifts including a golden plaque with their photo and their accomplishments engraved and hung up alongside other inductees. The Athletics Department also provides them with a life-size banner of themselves in an action shot, medals and other accessories during the ceremony.

“To see the excitement of these athletes coming back to campus, in some cases after decades of not being back here, seeing them with their family, seeing them with their kids and seeing how proud everyone is of them … the energy is awesome,” said Malasarn.

The next CPP Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony set to be in announced in 2022.

“Every day I’m in there, someone is standing there reading those plaques when you walk by, because it just pops when you walk into Kellogg Arena and it’s just a really fabulous display,” said Swanson.

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