Honoring the Legacy of Broncho Athletes
THIS FALL, THE UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL OKLAHOMA INDUCTED seven individuals and two national championship teams into the UCO Athletics Hall of Fame at the annual banquet. The banquet highlights past student-athletes who have record-making athletic careers. These athletes are recognized not only for the athletic accolades they earned, but for how they impacted UCO Athletics with their leadership and drive. This year’s inductees include Shawn Bateman, Ashley Beckley, Kacie Edwards, Dustin Finn, Mike Kirk, Steve Leemhuis and Jim Stone. UCO also welcomed into the Hall of Fame the 1991-92 and 1992-93 wrestling teams that won NCAA Division II national championships. These athletes are still representing the
Bronze and the Blue today, and their accolades are just a small part of their Broncho Pride.
Shawn Bateman, Wrestling
Bateman wrestled at Central from 1992-97 and ended with a 77-25 record, including the 1996 150-pound national championship. Bateman won his first regional title in 1995, and finished national runner-up at 150 pounds. In 1995-96, Bateman won his second consecutive regional championship and went on to a national title. From 1996-97, Bateman was ranked No. 1 in the country in his weight division before sustaining career-ending injuries. Bateman continued serving Broncho Wrestling as an assistant coach – leading the Bronchos to national titles in 2002 and 2003.
Ashley Beckley, Basketball
Beckley played on the UCO Women’s Basketball team from 2007-11, leading the Bronchos to the NCAA Division II National Tournament in each of her four seasons. Beckley wasn’t just known for her success in basketball, but also for the fearless leader she was on and off the court. Beckley earned her Second Team All-Lone Star Conference (LSC) North Division her sophomore year. The following year, she earned a First Team All-LSC North honor, as well as an All-Region selection. Beckley assisted her team in a 22-8 record and a third-straight national tournament. She set a single-season record for points at a total of 623. Beckley ended her career as UCO’s leader in free throws made (479) and ranked second in points (1,627).
Kacie Edwards, Softball
Edwards played softball for the Bronchos from 2010-13. She was a two-time All-LSC North selection and earned NCAA DII Player of the Year honors in 2011. She was also Central’s first All-MIAA recipient in softball in 2013. Edwards led the Bronchos to the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship – the first women’s team national title in school history. In 2012, Edwards tore her ACL in the final game of the regular season, but in a triumphant return, slammed a home run in her first atbat and had a two-run double in the seventh, leading Central to victory. Edwards finished her career with school records for at-bats (676), hits (268), doubles (56), homers (55) and runs batted in (225).
Dustin Finn, Football/Wrestling
Finn is one of very few athletes to compete in multiple collegiate sports. In 2005-06, he played football as a reserve defensive lineman. In 2006-07, he was on the football team’s defensive line and joined the wrestling team in the second semester. After switching to the offensive line in 2008-09, Finn led the team to the LSC North Division title and was named LSC North Division Offensive Lineman of the year. He also won a second-straight Midwest Regional title and finished runner-up at the NCAA Division II finals. In his final year at UCO, Finn only competed in wrestling. He was the Midwest Regional runner-up and placed third in the NCAA Division II tournament. He finished 28-6 with 10 falls, beat the defending NCAA Division I National Champion and was runner-up for LSC Male Athlete of the Year.
Mike Kirk, Lifetime Achievement
In fall 1987, Kirk started his career as Central’s sports information director, and since then, has promoted the accomplishments of thousands of Broncho student-athletes. Kirk has won more than 50 publication awards for creating media guides, posters, game notes and other promotional materials. In 2012, Kirk was inducted into the Oklahoma Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Collegiate Sports Information Directors of America Hall of Fame in 2018. He worked in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta as the press information officer for wrestling.
Steve Leemhuis, Football
Leemhuis played football at Central from 1973-76 and was a First Team All-OIC, First Team All-District 9, and Honorable Mention NAIA All-American. He also earned First Team All-District 9 honors and First Team All-American honors in 1976. An offensive lineman, Leemhuis helped Central to a 23-19-1 record in four seasons.
Jim Stone, Football
Stone played football for Central from 1973-76. Stone racked up 126 tackles as a linebacker his sophomore year while earning Second Team All-OIC honors. In 1975, Stone was a First Team All-OIC and an Honorable Mention All-American. In 1976, Stone wrapped up his career with First Team All-District 9 honors, 161 tackles and two fumble recoveries. Stone still ranks third in single-season tackles (161 in 1976) sixth in career tackles (359), fourth in single-season assisted tackles (107 in 1976) and fourth in career-assisted tackles (273).
1991-92 Wrestling Team
The 1991-92 UCO Wrestling team won the first of four consecutive national titles for the Bronchos and the first NCAA title. This was the start of a new winning era for the Bronchos. UCO went 14-1 in duals that year and capped the season with the school’s first-ever NCAA Division II National Championship. The Bronchos qualified nine individuals for the NCAA Division II Championships. Wayne Cole, Keith Cunningham, Todd Drake, Ryan Martin, Howard Moore and Travis Moman all won regional titles, while Chance Skidgel, Randy Zellner and Brooks Levonitis earned wildcard berths after finishing second. The 1991-92 UCO Wrestling team crowned three champions, added three other All-Americans and finished with 91.5 points to claim its ninth national championship.
1992-93 Wrestling Team
The 1992-93 wrestling team continued the streak. Going only 7-4 with losses to Division I powers Iowa, North Carolina State, Oklahoma and Missouri. Central hosted the Midwest Regional and won by a 45-point margin while crowning eight champions. They would go on to the NCAA Division Championships, where UCO crowned three champions and two runner-up finishes.