Class of 2003
Comstock-Schultz & Gilman Added to Hall
Two of the greatest high school basketball coaches ever in the Inland Northwest, a former NFL standout and an Olympic bronze medallist joined the 1945-46 men's basketball team as the 2003 class of inductees in the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame. The four individuals and team were be inducted on Sept. 27, 2003.
The list was headlined by a pair of highly-successful high school basketball coaches who also played at EWU. The late Wayne Gilman won 522 games as a high school head coach, and played at Eastern from 1966-69. His Ferris High School team won the State AAA title in 1994, and had runner-up state finishes in 1988, 1993, 1999 and 2001.
Lisa Comstock-Schultz was a record-breaking guard at Eastern from 1982-85, then went on to a productive coaching career at nearby Lakeside High School. She led the Eagles to 252 wins in just 12 seasons -- an average of 21 victories per season with a winning percentage of .821. Lakeside won State 2A titles in 1998 and 2001.
The other two individual inductees were Wanda Jewell and Bob Picard.
Jewell was a bronze medallist in women's smallbore standard rifle at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. A collegiate All-American at Eastern in the mid-1970's, Jewell has since gone on to become Director of Operations for USA Shooting as the team prepares for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. In November of 2002 she was selected as USA Shooting Coach of the Year.
Picard twice earned NAIA All-America honors as an Eastern receiver from 1968-72, and also lettered in basketball in 1973. He set Eastern's career record with 166 pass receptions, including a single-game record of 13. He went on to play in 54 games in four seasons in the NFL with Philadelphia and Detroit, mostly as a special teams standout.
The 1945-46 basketball team is the second team to be inducted after the 1967 football squad was the inaugural team to be inducted two years earlier. The Savages, led by head coach Red Reese and player Irv Leifer -- both inaugural individual members of Eastern's Hall-of-Fame -- won a school record 31 games to finish 31-4. Included was a 27-game winning streak versus collegiate competition as Eastern won two games in the NAIA Tournament before falling to Pepperdine 46-42 in the quarterfinals. Leifer was chosen to the All-Tournament team, and the following season, earned the Chuck Taylor MVP Award at the tourney.
Comstock was first team All-Mountain West Conference as a junior
and senior in the 1983-84 and 1984-85 seasons on teams that had a
collective 41-14 record and 23-5 conference mark (second both
seasons). She still holds Eastern's career assists (658), steals
(212) and free throw percentage (.769, 310-of-403) records while
playing from 1982-85. She scored 1,336 points in her career to rank
third in Eastern history. She also holds three single season
records and two single game marks. She played one season of
professional basketball in Wuppertal, Germany, where she led the
team in assists and averaged 18 points per game. She returned to
EWU to earn her bachelor's degree in recreation management in 1988,
and a degree in physical education the following year. She began
her coaching career as an assistant at her alma mater -- West
Valley High School in Spokane before becoming a head coach at
Lakeside High School in the 1991-92 school year. Now going by her
married name of Lisa Schultz, as a head coach she directed Lakeside
to girls' State 2A titles in 1998 and 2001. In 2001 her team
finished 26-0 after rallying from a 22-point deficit to defeat
defending champion Ephrata 63-61 in the championship game. Her
first Lakeside team finished 0-14 in league play and 4-16 overall,
but in her third season the Eagles qualified for State to start a
string of 10-straight trips. Lakeside won eight trophies (top eight
finish) in those 10 trips, with two titles to go along with
finishes of third (twice), fifth, sixth and seventh (twice). In
2002 Lakeside finished third and was 25-1, and in 2003 the Eagles
were 21-4 and placed fifth. In her 12 seasons at the helm, Lakeside
was 252-55 for a winning percentage of .821, including a 50-game
winning streak snapped during the 2001-02 season. Under Schultz,
Lakeside had a string of nine-straight Great Northern League
titles, as well as nine consecutive Northeast District titles.
Those nine teams all won at least 21 games.
With a 522-276 record in 32 years as a high school basketball coach, Gilman became a legendary figure at Ferris High School in Spokane. After arriving at Ferris in 1984, his teams were 347-113 in 18 seasons and placed in the top eight in the State Tournament 10 times out of 12 tournament berths. Ferris won the State AAA title in 1994, and had runner-up State finishes in 1988, 1993, 1999 and in his final season in 2001 when the team finished 25-4. The Saxons were also third in 1991 and 1996, fourth in 1986, fifth in 1985, and eighth in 1998. His teams won nine Greater Spokane League titles, eight district championships, three regional titles and he was selected as GSL Coach of the Year five times. In 1994 he was selected as Junior Coach of the Year by the Spokane Sportswriters and Broadcasters, and in 2000 was awarded the "Certificate of Achievement." When he was selected as head coach at Ferris, the Saxons previously had five coaches in six years. "I plan to be here a long time," Gilman said. "That's my intention." Selected as the State's basketball coach of the year in 1993, he was president of the Washington State Basketball Coaches Association from 1992-94. As a cross country coach, his Ferris girls squad won a state title in 1991 and was runner-up in 1990. Before coming to Ferris, he coached five years in Moses Lake and nine years in Oregon where he also won a State basketball title. As a basketball letterwinner at Eastern from 1966-69, he averaged 6.9 points in 85 career games, and added 74 assists as a junior and senior. He averaged 11.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game as a sophomore. He was team captain in 1968 and was selected as most inspirational in 1969. He received his bachelor's degree from Eastern in 1969 and obtained his master's degree from Oregon State University. He also graduated from Mary Walker High School in Springdale, Wash. Gilman passed away on April 25, 2001, after a 16-month battle with cancer.
Jewell won a bronze medal in women's smallbore standard rifle at
the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, Calif. In 1978 she became the
first person -- male or female -- to win two individual gold medals
at the World Shooting Championships. In 1974, she was selected to
the National Rifle Association's collegiate All-America team after
winning a national intercollegiate title in conventional individual
competition that included a perfect score in three-position
conventional shooting. She also won numerous medals, including
gold, at the Pan American Games. In all, she represented the USA in
two Olympic Games, five World Championships and three Pan American
Games. A 1976 graduate of Eastern, she was a two-time Inland Empire
Female Athlete of the Year in the mid 1970's. Her competitive
career spanned 24 years, but she also has contributed to the sport
as a coach and administrator. Currently she serves as Director of
Operations for USA Shooting based in Colorado Springs, Colo., as
the team prepares for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.
In November of 2002 she was selected as USA Shooting Coach of the
Year. In August of 2002 she became national rifle coach for USA
Shooting -- the first female to coach a national rifle team
anywhere in the world. In 2001 her American rifle athletes won
seven World Cup medals, and in 2002 American athletes won two World
Cup medals, four Olympic quotas and two world championships. "A big
part of success in coaching is providing the right opportunities
for the athletes," Jewell said. "All I did was get them plane
tickets and make sure they got to the events. They were able to do
Picard was a two-time NAIA All-American in football for Eastern, and went on to play four years in the National Football League. Originally from Omak, Wash., Picard lettered in football for Eastern in 1968, 1969, 1971 and 1972, and also lettered in basketball in 1973. He still holds Eastern's career receiving record with 166, and ranks fourth with 2,373 yards (14.3 per catch) and sixth in touchdown receptions with 19. As a senior in 1972 he earned first team NAIA All-America honors when he caught 52 passes for 679 yards and four touchdowns. As a junior he earned second team All-America honors with 53 catches for 787 yards and eight scores. He also had 531 yards as a freshman in 1968 -- the first of three seasons he led the Evergreen Conference in receiving yards. He holds Eastern's single game record with 13 catches against Puget Sound on Nov. 16, 1968 in six inches of snow. Eastern was 15-24 in his four years on the team, including a 5-5 record his junior season. In basketball, he played in 22 games in the 1972-73 season and averaged 2.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game while making 35 percent of his field goal attempts (23-of-66) and 69 percent of his free throws (16-of-23). He also played five games in the 1970-71 season, averaging 4.0 points and 4.2 rebounds. In his 27-game career he averaged 3.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists (42 total), while making 37 percent of his field goals (32-of-83) and 61 percent of his free throws (20-of-33). Eastern was 17-11 his first year on the squad, and 15-10 in the 1971-73 season. He was drafted in the sixth round of the NFL draft by Philadelphia, and played three full seasons (1973-74-75) for the Eagles. He was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the 1976 expansion draft and attended training camp in Eastern's hometown of Cheney, Wash., but he didn't make the squad. However, in a pre-season game on Aug. 23, 1976, he caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Jim Zorn. He returned to Philadelphia that year and played four games for the Eagles, then went to Detroit where he closed his career by playing the final eight games of the season. Although he didn't catch a regular season pass in the NFL, he played in 54 career games as a special team standout. Wrote one Philadelphia sportswriter: "Of all the Philadelphia Eagles, the easiest one to find in the lockerroom is Bobby Picard. He's the one covered with all the blood. Number 82 in your program, but No. 1 in the kamikaze ranks. The guy who looks like a walking transfusion." Picard was one of the 13 wide receivers/tight ends on Eastern's "100 for 100" All-Time Football Team released in June 2008 by the EWU Athletic Department. The overall "100 for 100" squad consisted of 100 of the top players in school history to help commemorate the 100th year of football at Eastern. Players were honored on Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame Day on Sept. 27, 2008, in conjunction with EWU's Big Sky Conference football game with Idaho State.
Eastern set the current school record for victories as the team finished 31-4. In the NAIA Tournament, Eastern took an early 22-1 lead in its first game and defeated Louisiana Tech (66-44). The Savages defeated Southeastern Oklahoma (45-37) to advance to the NAIA's version of the "Elite Eight" before falling to Pepperdine 46-42 in the quarterfinals.
The Savages were led by head coach Red Reese and player Irv Leifer -- both inaugural members of Eastern's Hall-of-Fame. Leifer was chosen to the All-Tournament team, and the following season, earned the Chuck Taylor MVP Award at the tourney. The product of the tiny farm town of St. John, Wash., led the Eagles with an average of 14.0 points per game in the 1945-46 season, and eventually became an inaugural member of the NAIA Hall of Fame.
Reese went on to win 473 games in 31 seasons as basketball coach, with 12 conference titles and berths in three NAIA Tournaments. He also served as athletic director, head football coach and track coach while he was at Eastern, and coached in almost 1,000 athletic events from the 1930's to 1960's.
Eastern lost its first game of the 1945-46 season to Fort Wright College 42-36, but then the Savages redeemed themselves a week later with a 40-23 win over the same team. That started a 27-game winning streak against collegiate competition, including the Eastern's first 15 league games en route to winning the Washington Intercollegiate Conference title.
Although Eastern lost to Central Washington 69-58 to end the regular season, the Savages received one of 32 invitations to the NAIA Tournament (then called the NAIB -- National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball).
The 1945-46 season was just the second year the tournament took place following the conclusion of World War II. In 1945, just 16 teams were invited as the United States began to return to normalcy.
While some schools lagged behind, Reese's squad in 1945-46 made both a triumphant and resounding return. The squad had an average margin of victory of 22.4 points per game, which still stands as a school record today. Included was a 98-32 victory over Gonzaga to set another record with a winning margin of 66 points, and that was followed by an 84-42 pasting of the Bulldogs. Eastern had a pair of 40-point victories against three other opponents, including Whitworth (76-32 and 81-23), Seattle (74-33 and 92-47) and Pacific Lutheran (62-22 and 85-37).
For Eastern's players in 1945-46, basketball was a welcome relief after 10 of the team's 11 players -- plus Reese -- served in the military during World War II.
One of the team's players was Clyde "Chic" Sale, who was a 17-year-old freshman out of Spokane's Central Valley High School. Twice during his first year in Cheney he received his draft notice, and both times then-Eastern President Walter W. Isle was able to defer Sale's appointment until after the season was over.
Sale remembers that two other players -- Leifer and Gablehouse -- were "in the thick of things" during the war with Germany and Japan.
Sale, who still evaluates basketball officials for the West Coast Conference, remembers rooming with Gablehouse and receiving a warning -- "Don't ever touch me while I'm asleep." Sale said Gablehouse once had a Japanese solider jump in his foxhole while he was sleeping, and as a result, Gablehouse feared he would attack anybody who ever touched him while he was asleep. Upon his return from the war, Gablehouse joined Leifer on the All-Winco squad while ranking third in the league with an average of 12.3 points per game.
The only player to not serve during the war was Jack "Rabbit" Roffler, a senior point guard and team captain in the 1945-46 season. Despite being deemed "unfit" for military service because of poor hearing, he was one of the fastest and most athletic players the region had ever seen, and averaged more than 10 points per game in 1946 as an All-WINCO selection. In fact, the Bellingham Herald reported that "Roffler is the swiftest thing we have seen on the court in years," and the NAIA Tournament program called him a "dribbling and driving lay-in artist."
Roffler went on to play professional basketball for the Springfield Squires and Tacoma Mountaineers before settling in Port Townsend, Wash., where he taught from 1948 until retirement. He spent 25 years as a basketball official, earning the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Meritorious Service Award in 1976 and worked eight state tournaments.
Interestingly, Sale had a similar career as an official. He spent 52 years as a football official and more than 30 as a basketball official, and also received the WIAA Meritorious Service Award. Recently, he received notification that he was selected to be a charter member of the Washington Officials Association Hall of Fame.
Several Eastern players started their education and playing careers at Eastern, had them postponed by the war while they served the country and then finally returned. As a result, several didn't get the opportunity to play on the 1945-46 squad because of service to their nation.
One of those was John Lothspeich, who played in the 1941-42 and 1942-43 seasons, and then again in 1946-47 and 1947-48. He played in two NAIA Tournaments (1943 and 1947) as both teams advanced to the quarterfinals. Lothspeich, whose brother Bill played for the 1942-43 squad, went on to retire in 1978 as Eastern's University Relations Director.
Others who played before and after the 1945-46 squad's impressive run were George Hering (1941-42, 1946-47 and 1947-48), Joe Gruber (1944-45 and 1947-48) and Dick McLaren (1943-44, 1946-47, 1947-48).
During the '45-46 team's long winning streak, Eastern also served as host for the second-straight year for the second annual State B High School Tournament. Reese was in charge of the tourney, but Eastern's players also assisted with such assignments as locker rooms, floor supervisor, trainer, laundry, property room, program sales and as team sponsors.
Hank Coplen, who would become the long-time director of the State B Tournament in Spokane, helped with housing and as a scorer. Serving as a timer was former Eastern football player and coach Bill Diedrick Sr., whose son Bill Diedrick Jr., would become an All-America quarterback at Eastern and is now offensive coordinator at Notre Dame.
Head Coach: Red
Manager: Ernest Schmidt
Elmer Burnham - Pine City, Wash.
James "Lefty" Clark - Twisp, Wash.
Quentin Clark - Spokane, Wash./Central Valley
Stan Evers - Cusick, Wash.
Art Fiker - Omak, Wash.
George Gablehouse - Selah, Wash.
Pat Glendenning - Wenatchee, Wash.
Irv Leifer - St. John, Wash.
Les Perfect - Twisp, Wash.
Jack Roffler - Pine City, Wash.
Clyde "Chic" Sale - Spokane, Wash./Central Valley
1945-46 Eastern Men's Basketball Team - Front Row (left to right): Jack Roffler, James Clark, Stan Evers, Elmer Burnham, Irv Leifer. Back Row: Quentin Clark, Clyde "Chic" Sale, Art Fiker, Pat Glendenning, Les Perfect, George Gablehouse.
In the NAIA Tournament, Eastern took an early 22-1 lead in its first game and defeated Louisiana Tech (66-44). The Savages defeated Southeastern Oklahoma (45-37) to advance to the NAIA's version of the "Elite Eight" before falling to Pepperdine 46-42 (pictured above) in the quarterfinals.
Irv Leifer was chosen to the All-Tournament team at the 1946 NAIA Tournament to earn All-America recognition, and the following season, earned the Chuck Taylor MVP Award at the tourney. The product of the tiny farm town of St. John, Wash., led the Eagles with an average of 14.0 points per game in the 1945-46 season, and eventually became an inaugural member of the NAIA Hall of Fame.