Three standout student-athletes, along with a legendary baseball coach are the newest inductees into the Lower Columbia College Athletic Hall of Fame.
Robert Key, Michelle (Wiitala) Roy, Bill Waag and Kelly Smith will be honored during the Celebration of Athletic Excellence on Feb. 3 at Myklebust Gymnasium. In addition, LCC Foundation benefactor Jeane Wirkkala Moksness will be honored with the naming of the LCC Fitness Center lobby The Jeane Wirkkala Moksness Lobby.
In addition to the induction and naming ceremonies, there will be a reception, silent auction, and dinner. All proceeds will benefit the Lower Columbia College Foundation’s Athletic Excellence Fund which provides scholarships for student-athletes and program support.
For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Lower Columbia College Foundation office at 360-442-2130.
Here’s a look at this year’s inductees:
(Class of 1986)
A basketball and baseball standout at LCC, Key made a name for himself as a three-sport star at Portland’s Marshall High School. Prior to graduation at Marshall, he was named to the all-Portland Interscholastic League in three sports, earned all-state accolades in basketball, and was named Marshall’s Male Student-Athlete of the Year in 1984.
Key made a smooth transition to LCC, where he was a two-time all-NWAACC player in basketball and a one-time honoree in baseball, while serving as team captain in both sports. In two hardwood campaigns, he made 48 percent of his shots and averaged 18.5 points per game. In baseball, Key was a standout infielder known for his defense and speed on the basepaths.
Key later transferred to Western Oregon University, where he was a two-time all-District 2 standout in basketball and baseball. He later received his Bachelor of Science degree from Portland State University in 1993, and later joined the PSU staff as an instructor in circuit and weight training.
Key has been coaching football, basketball and baseball for the past 20 years, ranging from youth ages 6-17 to men’s basketball at the collegiate level. A three-time recipient of the E. Paul McCall Award as the top coach in the PIL, he’s the head basketball coach, and assistant football and baseball coach at Portland’s Grant High School.
Kelly Smith (1995-2012) In his 18 seasons at the helm of the Red Devils’ baseball team, Smith guided his troops to five NWAC championships and five runner-up finishes while compiling a 634-173 record.
A 1975 graduate of Mark Morris, Smith played baseball at Western Washington and Washington State universities. During the 1980 season at WSU, Smith was named to the all-Pac-10 North and all-District/Region first-teams. He also wrote his name into the Cougars’ record book, where he’s ranked second all-time in single-season on-base percentage (.522), seventh in batting average (.418) and runs scored (69), and 10th in stolen bases (30).
After graduation, he was drafted in the 13th round of the 1980 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft by San Francisco. After four seasons and reaching the Class AAA level, he left his playing career to become an assistant coach at Portland State University and a scout for the Oakland A’s.
In 1995, Smith returned to Longview to coach at LCC, where his first three teams (1995-96-97) claimed NWAACC championships. He also guided teams to titles in 2005 and ’10. Smith’s five titles ranks him third in conference history behind former Yakima Valley coaches Bill Faller (11) and Chuck “Bobo” Brayton (9), and is tied for second in title game appearances with 10, trailing Faller with 15.
Besides his countless hours of work manicuring David Story Field into the showcase which is the permanent home of the NWAC Championships, Smith pioneered a no-excuse study table program for his student-athletes which has since been adopted across all sports at LCC.
Michelle (Wiitala) Roy (Class of 1982) A multi-sport athlete at Naselle High, Roy earned first-team all-state accolades in basketball, where she’s the second-leading scorer in Comets’ history with 1,414 points. In addition, her 100-meter time of 12.7 seconds set in 1978 is still a school record.
As a freshman at LCC in 1981, Roy helped the Red Devils to a 25-5 record and a third-place finish at the NWAACC Championships. She made one of the most famous shots in school history during the tournament when she netted a running hook shot with no time left to lift the Red Devils to the third-place trophy. After a standout sophomore campaign at LCC, Roy transferred to Gonzaga University where she played two seasons for the Bulldogs.
Roy is a teacher at Skyridge Middle School in Camas, and is married with two children.
Bill Waag (Class of 1978) One of the great shortstops in the history of LCC baseball, Waag joined the Red Devils after earning all-state accolades at North Kitsap High in Poulsbo. One of his teammates on the 1977 team was future LCC Hall of Famer and current manager of the Colorado Rockies, Bud Black.
Waag helped the Red Devils to a pair of NWAACC tournament appearances, including a runner-up finish in 1978 when he was named to the All-NWAACC team. Prior to his sophomore campaign, Waag was drafted by Pittsburgh in the fourth round of the 1978 Major League Baseball January Amateur Draft. He delayed signing his contract until after the season, and spent four campaigns in the minor leagues before leaving baseball.
He later attended Western Washington University and the University of Portland, where he earned his teaching credentials. Waag has worked as a teacher and principal for the last 31 years, mostly in Toledo. He was also inducted into the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.