Pair of past Dinos honoured

By Sean Nyilassy

Receiving recognition for excelling in any aspect of anything is always an honour. In sports there’s the player of the year, all-star team, championship trophies, while the list goes on, the hall of fame is one place where athletes are honoured for as long as time itself will allow.

While virtually every named sport has one, what’s strange about halls of fame is the fact that athletes aren’t inducted until well after their legacy is over. Should one not be inducted when they retire, or when they break that untouchable record?

Anyway, the University of Calgary Athletic Hall of Fame is now home to two more names that will be frozen in time for Dinos far into the future to look upon with hopes to sometime see their name down below. Jodi Evans and Lutz Keller were drafted to our own hall of fame Wed., Apr. 6.

Evans was a Dinos women’s basketball legend renowned for her all-round excellence from 1987-1991. She is “incredibly flattered” to receive the award and join a list of such great athletes. She found her experience as a Dino advantageous throughout life.

“It’s one of those things I realize more in retrospect, how beneficial it was,” she commented.

While her mother was not a basketball know-it-all, she was very supportive and helped inspire Evans to succeed. But Evans takes a different view of varsity athletics than most that makes the balance between training and studying much easier.

“A lot of things you need in school are what you need in athletics,” she wisely bestowed. “Most think the two are competitive, I think they’re complementary.”

And it shows. On the court, she was an integral part of a successful team that saw four consecutive Canada West Championship titles beginning in 1988. That year, the Dinos earned silver medals at national championships.

The following season, the ladies of basketball began an undefeated streak on Oct. 28, 1988 that would make Mohammed Ali jealous. It lasted through Mar. 10, 1990, spanning an awkwardly sensual 69 games. That season, at the 1989 CIS Women’s Basketball Championship, Evans helped earn the first and only national title the Dinos women’s basketball team has received.

The 1990 national championship saw our ladies slip to a respectable second, continuing the downward spiral to a still incredibly stellar third in 1991.

Individually, Evans earned Canada West All-Star distinctions four times during her five-year career as a Dino. And the results showed as she continued to improve during her university career.

In her final Dinos season, 1990-1991, she led CW in scoring, assists and rebounds, earning her the prestigious triple-crown. In addition, she was named CW and CIS Player of the Year. On top of that, she was recognized by the Calgary media as Calgary Female Athlete of the Year and by the U of C as University of Calgary Female Athlete of the Year.

Along with Dinos competition, Evans competed on the Canadian national women’s team from 1988-1996, completing every kid’s dream when she played for Team Canada at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia.

On an academic level, Evans graduated from the Faculty of Management while landing herself a spot on the Dean’s List. She continued her education, earning a PhD in Management Studies at Oxford University, England and now resides in Vancouver.

Keller’s time as a Dino was a little longer ago than the youthful Evans. He was named to the hall of fame for his athletic excellence during the early 1970s in not only football, but wrestling as well. He, too, believes it is a grand accolade to have his name glorified at the U of C.

“It’s a great honour to know my name will be on the wall,” he noted. “And when my grandchildren attend, I’ll still be with them.”

And, while that may not be as far off for Keller than the rest of us, he still easily remembers the coaches’ that kept him motivated through the years. He also remembers the travel he enjoyed so much, as well as how difficult school and athletics were to balance.

“It’s a challenge, but if you’re up to it, it can be very rewarding,” he assured.

But despite the challenges, Keller was a killer athlete. In football, he played both sides of the ball on the offensive and defensive lines. He was recognized for his skills in each position by being named a conference all-star offensive lineman in 1970 and a conference defensive lineman in 1971.

Despite a severe knee injury during his final varsity football game that should have ended his wrestling career, Keller battled on. He was named Canada West Heavyweight Champion three times during the 1971-73 seasons. On a non-varsity level, he earned the Canadian Open title three times from 1970-72 in his weight division.

By the time Keller earned his BA in economics with a mathematics minor, he had been named University of Calgary Male Athlete of the Year twice–in 1971 and 1973.

Evans’ and Keller’s names are added to a list of 11 previous inductees to the U of C Athletic Hall of Fame. These names will continue to inspire young Dinos as they strive to help the list grow.


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