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After period of dormancy, LCC Hall of Fame is back

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The guiding hand of Lower Columbia College athletics for a quarter-century and a pair of former standout athletes are the newest inductees into the LCC Athletic Hall of Fame.

Former LCC athletic director Gary Earnest, men’s basketball star Michael Quinney and standout volleyball and women’s basketball player DeAnne Nelson will be inducted during a free public reception at 3 p.m. Saturday in the LCC Student Center. In addition, the inductees will be introduced during halftime of the men’s and women’s basketball games against Grays Harbor in Truman Myklebust Gym.

Refreshments will be served, and family, friends and fans are urged to attend.

The LCC Athletics Hall of Fame is making its comeback after a 15-year hiatus.

“Inductions into the Hall of Fame were stopped for whatever reason before I was hired here,” LCC athletic director Kirc Roland said. “It wasn’t a real priority with the prior college administration, but our new president and vice president feel it’s important to get it going. I happen to agree, and we used prior protocol in selecting the current inductees.”

Roland consulted with LCC’s current coaches and will form a committee to make future selections.

“We’re also going to be looking at team selections,” he said. “We’ll probably also hold the event during basketball season.”

Here’s a look at this year’s honorees:

Gary Earnest (1972-97): Hired by LCC in 1972, Earnest wore many hats on campus before retiring in 1997.

Earnest was hired as the school’s intramural activities coordinator, physical education instructor and basketball coach, and later became the placement officer who helped students find jobs in the community. He was also the Student Center manager and became athletic director in 1978.

In 10 seasons as the LCC men’s basketball coach, Earnest had a 204-89 record. He won five division titles, had two runner-up finishes and a pair of fourth-place finishes in the conference championships. He was also named the division Coach of the Year five times.

During Earnest’s tenure as athletic director, LCC captured 13 conference championships in various team sports. He was instrumental in establishing women’s athletics at LCC, oversaw the development of David Story Field and Truman Myklebust Gymnasium, and was a leader in hosting basketball and baseball conference championship events.

One of Earnest’s pet projects was bolstering the LCC Booster Club, which funds scholarships to LCC athletes. He was responsible for hiring numerous successful coaches at LCC, including current men’s basketball coach Jim Roffler, and former coaches including Tim Mackin, Kelly Smith, Steve Farrington, Mike Polis and Lisa Kihl.

Earnest served for 20 years as an NWAACC commissioner. In 1992, he received the Dutch Treibwasser Award as the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges’ outstanding athletic administrator of the year. Five years later, Earnest was inducted into the NWAACC Hall of Fame.

“It’s fair to say if he wasn’t the best athletic director in the conference, he was definitely one of the best,” former NWAACC Executive Director Dick McClain said at the time of Earnest’s NWAACC Hall of Fame induction. “He’s one of the outstanding tournament directors who had excellent organizational skills, and left nothing un-turned in the financial and logistical aspects of the tournament.”

Since retiring, Earnest has remained true to the program by volunteering as an announcer on LCC television and radio broadcasts.

DeAnne Nelson (1977-79): A fierce competitor, Nelson was a standout with the Lady Devils as both a player and coach after graduating from Mark Morris.

The daughter of LCC Hall of Famer LeRoy Nelson was a two-time all-Western Division volleyball player and twice earned all-division kudos in basketball. In addition, she was a two-time team Most Valuable Player in basketball, where she averaged 16.6 points per game.

After graduation, Nelson played women’s basketball at Eastern Washington University, where she continues to remain ranked in the top 10 all-time in four statistical categories. She’s ranked eighth in single-season assists (126) and career assists (240), ninth in career free throw percentage (97 of 141, .688 percent) and third in single-season turnovers (167).

Nelson returned to LCC and served as head volleyball coach and women’s assistant basketball coach from 1982-83, and was the women’s head basketball coach for the 1992-93 campaign. In between coaching stints at LCC, she served as an assistant coach at Gonzaga and Boise State universities.

Michael Quinney (1994-96): A graduate of Fremont High in Oakland, the smooth-shooting, lightning-quick Quinney wasted little time establishing himself as one of the best in LCC history.

In 53 games at LCC, the 5-foot-10 Quinney established a team record for 3-pointers made (155), and became one of only 10 players in Red Devil history to score more than 1,000 points. His 1,163 career points ranks sixth in school history. Quinney is ranked ninth in scoring average (18.5) and assists (191).

After graduation, Quinney played two seasons at San Jose State University where he also wrote his name into the record book while earning all-Western Athletic Conference kudos as a senior. He averaged 13 points, 3.4 assists and 2.8 rebounds in two campaigns at SJSU, and holds the school record for 3-pointers attempted in a game with 17.

Quinney is ranked fourth in career made 3-pointers (123 of 336 in 54 games), and is third and fourth on the single-season list for three-pointers attempted with 63 and 60.

After leaving SJSU, Quinney played two seasons of professional basketball for Aix-Maurienne of the French Pro-B League, and one season for the Omonia team in Cyprus. He later returned to his home town to serve as boys basketball coach for three seasons (2007-2010) at Oakland Tech, and currently works for HSBC Camps in Boise, where he founded the Twilight Hoops Program.

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