Six new members inducted into ETSU Athletics Hall of Fame
Rex Kuramoto accepts a plaque from ETSU Athletic Director Dave Mullins
Rex Kuramoto accepts a plaque from ETSU Athletic Director Dave Mullins

Friday, October 29, 2004

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 29, 2004) -The East Tennessee State University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics inducted six members into the ETSU Hall of Fame tonight in a ceremony held on the campus in Johnson City.  The 2004 class includes former athletes who have excelled both on and off the field.

The new inductees include Greg Dennis (men's basketball), Gary Robinette (Baseball), Nicole Hopson Riddle (women's basketball), Kevin Johnson (men's track and field), Yasunobu "Rex" Kuramoto (men's golf) and Yaser Zaatini (men's tennis). The guest speaker at tonight's induction was scheduled to be former Memphis, UCLA and UAB head men's basketball coach Gene Bartow.


Inductee Bios


Greg Dennis, 1993


Greg Dennis' ETSU basketball career still stands atop the Bucs' record books today. His 2,204 career points ranks first all-time at ETSU, while his 808 field goals made and 505 free throws made rank him first in their respective categories. He also ranks second on the all-time list with 174 career blocks. The 1992 Southern Conference Championship Tournament MVP, Dennis was a member of the all-tournament team in 1988, 1989 and 1990. After finishing his career in a Buccaneer uniform, Dennis went on to play professional basketball both in the United States and overseas until 2000 when he returned to the United States where he currently works for AIG Financial Advisors. Still active in the local traveling basketball league, Dennis spends his spare time continuing to play basketball, hunting and fishing near his home in Charleston, W.Va.  Greg is married to wife Veronica and they have one daughter, Courtney.


Nicole Hopson Riddle, 1991


            A 1991 graduate of ETSU who earned her master's degree in Criminal Justice in 2003, Nicole Hopson Riddle collected 1,805 points from 1987 to 1991 and ranks 4th on the all-time scoring list for the ETSU women's basketball program. The Lady Bucs co-captain for three seasons, Riddle was named All-Southern Conference three times and was selected as the SoCon Athlete of the Year in 1991. In addition, Hopson was selected to the SoCon's prestigious All-Decade Team in 1992-93, which included just five players and celebrated the conference's 10th anniversary of women's athletics. She was a two-time SoCon All-Tournament team selection, and she helped lead the Lady Bucs to the Southern Conference Tournament finals in 1991. A Dean's List and Academic Honor Roll student in 1989, 1990 and 1991, Hopson was recipient of both the SoCon and NCAA Post Graduate Scholarship. She has been employed by Frontier Health since 1992. She and her husband Randy Riddle have two children, Seth and Hannah.


Kevin Johnson, 1984


A four-time All-American in Track and Field from 1980 to 1983, and a two-time All-American in Cross Country in 1982 and 1983, Kevin Johnson is one of the great runners to have competed for ETSU Hall of Fame head coach Dave Walker. Johnson won Southern Conference indoor titles in the 800 meters in 1980 and the 1,000 meters in 1981. In addition, his efforts in the outdoor championships were equally impressive. He brought home back-to-back championships in the 1,500 meters in 1982 and 1983, and repeated as the champion in the 3,000 steeplechase in 1981 and 1982. In addition, he brought home an 800-meter title in 1982 during the outdoor championships. Today, Johnson makes his home in Vancouver, Wash., along with his wife Cynthia Ann. They have three children, Sean, Kyle and Brennen.


Rex Kuramoto, 1990


One of the founding players supporting the rebirth of men's golf at ETSU during the late 1980s, Yasunobu "Rex" Kuramoto was a two-time All-American, earning those honors in 1989 and 1990, and was honored as the 1990 Southern Conference Player of the Year. In addition, Kuramoto won the 1990 individual medalist honors at the Southern Conference Championships, and was named All-SoCon in 1988, 1989 and 1990. A fierce competitor who won the Tennessee Amateur and the Rice Planters Championships, Kuramoto is one of the most celebrated golfers to have ever competed for ETSU. Kuramoto went on to enjoy a long professional career, beginning on the European Tour during the 1991 and 1992 seasons, before joining the Japan Tour from 1993-2000. His professional career continues even today. Currently, Rex and wife Miho make their home in Kissimmee, Florida.


Gary Robinette, 1980


            A 1980 graduate of ETSU, Gary Robinette was a standout performer for the Buccaneer baseball squad in both 1979 and 1980, winning first-team All-Southern Conference honors in both years and being named the SoCon Player of the Year during his final season in Johnson City. He led the Southern Conference in both home runs (10) and RBIs (53) in 1980, but more importantly, that same season he helped propel the Bucs to a 39-7-1 season, a SoCon Championship, and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. The memorable 1980 season included a nation-best 25-game winning streak and a No. 22 national ranking. Robinette was a first-team Academic All-American in both 1979 and 1980, and he earned Honorable Mention All-America honors by Baseball America. He was drafted in the 14th round by the Chicago White Sox following his collegiate career, and played professionally until 1981. Today, Robinette lives in Columbus, Ga., and is employed by Swift Denim as the company's information technology director. He and his wife Teresa have two children, Clay and Morgan.


Yaser Zaatini, 1993


            A 1993 graduate of ETSU who earned his degree in communications, Yaser Zaatini was the first individual from ETSU to compete in the NCAA Championships and is the only four-time Southern Conference tennis champion in No. 1 singles. In 1992, he was ranked as high as fourth in the nation in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings, the highest ever for a Buccaneer tennis player. Zaatini is also a two-time All-American (1992, 1993), the only All-American in ETSU tennis history. After graduation Zaatini became a member of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). He made appearances in the 1994 and 1995 Davis Cup tournaments, representing his home country of Venezuela. Today, Zaatini is in his third year as the head coach of the men's tennis program and is already off to a great start. Last year his team went 20-6 overall and was undefeated in SoCon play, winning both the regular season and championship titles, and earning Zaatini SoCon Coach of the Year honors. Zaatini resides in Johnson City, Tenn. with his wife Gloria and their two sons, Yaser and Sebastian.


Guest Speaker Bio:


Gene Bartow, one of the most knowledgeable and successful talents in the basketball world, joined the NBA ranks on October 26, 2001 as a Special Advisor to the Memphis Grizzlies. Entering his fourth season with the team, Bartow is an advisor on basketball and team related matters such as scouting college and professional basketball talent, acting as an ambassador in the community and selling as many season tickets and sponsorships as possible.

Bartow's resume includes 34 years of coaching success at six universities, compiling 647 collegiate wins over his career. He coached at Memphis State University from 1970-1974, advancing the Tigers to the '73 NCAA national championship game and consecutive Missouri Valley Conference titles in the '71-'72 and '72-'73 seasons. He led teams at Memphis State, UCLA and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) to a pair of NCAA Final Four appearances, three regional finals, twelve appearances in the NCAA tournament, and nine appearances in the NIT tournament including two NIT Final Fours.

In addition, Bartow earned National Coach of the Year honors in 1973 and has been named to five Halls of Fame. Bartow also has the arena at the UAB campus and the St. Charles Missouri high school gym, where his team won the Missouri State championships, named in his honor.

After his retirement from coaching, Bartow continued to serve as the athletic director at UAB. He held this position from 1977-2000.

Gene and his wife, Ruth, have three children and six grandchildren. Their son, Murry, is head coach at East Tennessee State.



ETSU Hall of Fame Members


Class of 2002
P.J. Leddy - Track
Jay Baumgardner - Golf
Jim Brown - Basketball
Mike Hulbert - Golf
Donnie Cook - Football
Gloria Parmentier - Riffle
Jay Shoop - Trainer
Joe Shipley - Baseball
Willie Malone - Basketball
Dr. Janice Shelton - Coach/Administrator
John Walton - Football


Class of 2000
Pierre Arnold - Tennis
Richard Arnold - Basketball
Marsha Barnes - Basketball
Pat Carter - Football
LeRoy Gray - Football
Kimberley Harrell - Track & Field, Volleyball
Doug Linebarger - Football
Charley Matlock - Football, Tennis, Basketball
Bobby Snyder - Basketball
Brenda J. Waggoner - Basketball, Volleyball


Class of 1998
Angie Barker - Track & Field
Charlie Bayless - Basketball, Football
Gene Derrick - Basketball, Tennis
Dr. Burgin Dossett, Jr. - Team Physician
Thane Gash - Football
Atlee Hammaker - Baseball, Basketball
Mark Finucane - Cross Country

Billy Pike - Tennis


Class of 1997
Willie Bush - Football
Ray Flynn - Track & Field, Cross Country
Mark Hutsell - Football
Mike Kretzer - Basketball
Adrian Leek - Track & Field, Cross Country
Dr. Connie Mynatt-Axamethy - Administrator
Bob Tranbarger - Football
Dave Walker - Cross Country and Track & Field Coach
Tommy Woods - Basketball
Pete Zannis - Tennis


Class of 1987
Dr. Harold Stout - Baseball, Baseball Coach
Gary McGinnis - Basketball
John C. Oakes - Basketball, Tennis
Dr. Roy Van Pangle - Basketball
L.T. Roberts - Football Coach


Class of 1986
John Robert Bell - Football Coach
Julian Crocker - Football and Track & Field Coach
Gene Quarles - Baseball, Basketball, Football
Burleigh Davis - Baseball, Football
Kent Osborne - Track & Field


Class of 1984
Gilbert "Buddy" Hartsell - Tennis, Tennis Coach
Dr. Howell H. Sherrod - Tennis, Team Physician
Earl Sams - Baseball, Basketball, Football
C.E. "Pete" Wilson - Football
Russell "Rusty" Woy - Basketball


Class of 1983
Mickey Banyas - Football
Poole - Basketball, Football, Tennis
Don R. Marshall - Football
Jerry Robertson - Athletic Trainer


Class of 1982
James Goodson - Baseball
Edward Leedy - Cross Country, Track & Field
Larry Graham - Football
Harley "Skeeter" Swift - Basketball
Robert Wadkins - Golf


Class of 1981
J. Madison Brooks - Basketball Coach, Athletics Director
Edward Painter - Football
Ronald Quillen - Football
Star Wood - Football Coach


Class of 1980
Ollan Cassell - Track & Field
Tom Chilton - Basketball
Cornelius "Neil" Cusack - Cross Country, Track & Field
J.C. Sneed - Golf


Class of 1979
A.R. "Cap" Isbell - Football, Basketball, Baseball
Dr. Gene McMurray - Football Coach
Walter "Buck" Van Huss - High School Basketball Coach
Dianna Timberlake Zimmerman - Rifle


Class of 1978
Jimmy "Wink" Baker - Football
Charlie Fleming - Football
Larry Hinson - Golf
Kermit Quillen - Football, Basketball, Baseball
Jack Vest - Football


Class of 1977
Patrick Hauser - Football, Track & Field
Jim Mooney - Baseball, Baseball Coach
Ron Overbay - Football
Robert Rovere - Track & Field


Class of 1976
Dean Bailey - Football, Basketball
Edwin Kennedy - Football, Basketball, Baseball
Walter Massengill - Football
Hal Morrison - Football, Basketball, Golf Coach
A.L. "John" Treadway - High School Basketball Coach
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