In June 2021, the Naval Academy Athletic Association announced a program to honor Navy sports “legends” in the newly built Ron Terwilliger ‘63 Center for Student-Athletes. Inside the Center, the Class of 1965’s “Navy Legends Exhibit” celebrates past Navy student-athletes who excelled in their respective sport at the Naval Academy. Each Class was requested to submit five athletes the class considered an “athletic legend” to add to the ’65 Exhibit in the Center.
Since starting this project in the summer of ‘22, your Class Officer’s have worked hard to identify and recognize our ‘78 “Sports Legends” in time for you to view the Navy Legends Exhibit during our 45th Reunion. We are now proud to announce that our Class “Legends” are on display at the Ron Terwilliger Center for Student Athletes. (See this link for more on the Terwilliger Center – An Inside Look: The Ron Terwilliger Center for Student Athletes (navalacademytourism.com).
In choosing our Class Sports Legends we first looked at our classmates who were Captains of their teams, those elected to the USNA Sports Hall of Fame (HoF) and then those “legends” from club sports including Boxing, Hockey, Water Polo etc. When we reached out to our Team Captains and “HoF” members, we found their stories to be fascinating. While these stories may have been known to their teammates, it was a fantastic experience to learn stories we had not heard before. In one example, a roommate of one of our ‘78 Sports Legends did not know the details of our legend’s story as he did not spend any time talking about himself, but always about the team! This speaks to the humility that our Class has shown both in their time in the Yard in sports, as well as in their military and civilian careers. On our Class Website Class of 78 Athletics – USNA 1978 we list those in the NAAA Hall of Fame, our Sports Captains and Letterman. Additionally we will be posting the ‘78 Sport’s Legends on our website.
We are extremely pleased to announce we were able to get 12 athletes into the display. Here are our ‘78 Sports Legends. You can see and read their stories when you visit the Terwilliger Center:
Mark Boensel – Water Polo
Mike Clendening – Soccer
Andy Cuca – 150# Football
Joseph Andre Gattuso Jr – Football
Prentiss Hall – Baseball
Alan Hammond – Pistol
Steve Howell – Squash
Timothy McGee – Sailing
Brent Obenour – Pistol
Walter T Robinson – Tennis
Chet Seto – Squash
John Sturges III – Football
We would also like to note that we received a lot of inputs from our Class about other great stories of classmates who had impactful sports careers, and in the process of getting to know those classmates, they felt that others deserved the recognition.
Thanks to everyone who provided nominations and stories to help us pull this together. When you are in the Yard, get over to the Terwilliger Center (Bay side of Rickett’s Hall) and see not only our ’78 Sports Legends, but the story of all of us as Student Athletes!
Finally, let me recognize Rusty Cone, one of our Board Trustees, who did the hard work of researching, contacting and interviewing nominees, as well as writing up the detailed sports Bios we submitted to NAAA. It was quite a challenge to get 12 Bios written, submitted and approved. Bravo Zulu, Rusty!
President, USNA Class of 1978