2018 WCC Hall of Honor Induction Day
10 new members enter the hall during "Decade in the Desert" celebration
By John Crumpacker, #WCChoops Columnist
PREVIOUS WCC HALL OF HONOR PROFILES: Randy Wolf, Pepperdine | Miles Batty, BYU & Nicole Karr, Portland | Brian Quinn, Loyola Marymount | Ken Earle, Pacific | Mandy Bible, Saint Mary’s | Cameron Rast, Santa Clara | Suzanne Enos, San Francisco | Chris Enger, San Diego | Ronny Turiaf, Gonzaga
As a man naturally high on life, Ronny Turiaf was an ebullient presence as he attended Saturday’s induction ceremony into the West Coast Conference’s Hall of Honor Class of 2018.
The former Gonzaga basketball star joined nine others in the Hall of Honor class, including three others who played basketball at their respective schools – Brian Quinn of Loyola Marymount, Chris Enger at San Diego and Suzanne Enos O’Meara at San Francisco.
The outgoing Turiaf met a host of people gathered in a ballroom at the Orleans Hotel & Casino for brunch in what was an opportunity to share stories and memories.
“I’m very humbled,’’ Turiaf said. “It got me a little emotional talking about the journey that got me here. It got me choked up (thinking about) my family and my Zags family, because they’re the ones that got me here.’’
A world traveler in the truest sense of the word (he’s been to as many as 80 countries and has no fixed address), Turiaf said he’ll remain in the U.S. for a month before heading off to Vietnam, where he’ll meet up with his father, Georges Louis, and check off one more experience from his expansive bucket list.
“We’ll have some father-son bonding,’’ he said. “I’m very grateful to experience that.’’
Now that his NBA career is over, Turiaf likes being a fan, specifically a Gonzaga fan.
“I like that with this (Zags) team, you can really feel they are playing for each other,’’ he said. “It’s by committee. Everyone is bringing something to the table. That’s a cool thing to see. I’m enjoying being a fan, where things happen organically. I enjoy watching the game for pure pleasure. I’m always looking at the plays because I may coach someday. Why not?’’
Another effusive presence at the Hall of Honor ceremony was Enos O’Meara, who has the distinction of being the first female student to be awarded an athletic scholarship at USF, in 1976. Aside from a successful career with the Dons in basketball and volleyball, Enos O’Meara also met her husband-to-be on the court at Memorial Gym in a 2-on-2 pickup game.
“I am so proud of the special part of history I’m a part of on the Hilltop,’’ she said.
Enger also had some distinctions going for her during her time at San Diego, they being leading the NCAA in blocks per game, helping the Toreros win a WCC championship and going to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
“When I played, I intimidated players on the court,’’ the 6-foot-4 Enger said. “Now I’m intimidating middle-schoolers.’’
In her role as a teacher, understand.
“This has been an awesome epilogue to my basketball story. Thank you.’’
Quinn, 76, had a long career as a coach, teacher and administrator following his days as a two-sport athlete at LMU, where he played basketball and baseball.
“For me, it was all about friendships and relationships,’’ he said. “I loved, absolutely loved, working with the students. Relationships were what was so important to me.’’
Quinn was athletic director at LMU during the heady days of basketball with coach Paul Westhead and star players Bo Kimble and the late Hank Gathers. It was a time that Quinn called “joy and agony.’’
Turiaf, Enger, Quinn and Enos O’Meara, along with the other members of the Hall of Honor Class of 2018, were recognized on court during men’s quarterfinal games of the conference tournament on Saturday.
John Crumpacker spent more than three decades working at the San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle. During his career he has covered the full gamut of sports from prep to professionals. Most recently, Crumpacker served as the beat writer for Cal through the end of the 2013-14 season. In addition to covering 10 Olympic Games, Crumpacker served as the beat writer for the San Francisco 49ers. He is a two-time winner of the Track & Field Writers of America annual writing award and has several APSE Top 10 writing awards. Crumpacker has been covering #WCChoops since the 2014-15 season.