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Capilano University Blues Unveils Inaugural Hall of Fame

Now that North Vancouver College has grown into a university, 15 people are being honored for making their athletics program shine

When it comes to sports, Capilano University has a lot to celebrate.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the school’s athletics program, the Blues are recognizing 15 individuals in the inaugural Hall of Fame.

The list of winners was first unveiled at a banquet in April, and their names will be immortalized on the walls of CapU’s athletics building when the completed Hall of Fame is unveiled at an alumni event on September 7.

The Blues program’s inaugural class of outstanding contributors includes athletes, coaches and “builders,” people who have been instrumental in growing the school’s athletics community.

There has been a desire to have a Hall of Fame for some time, and the program’s 50th anniversary provided the impetus to finally make it a reality, said Brent Mutis, spokesman for the CapU Blues.

“I think the first division really celebrates excellence over the first 50 years of Blues athletics,” he said.

CapU has achieved notable success in basketball, volleyball and even badminton, but it is football that the school is most known for.

“Obviously there have been a lot of achievements in football over the years – I think 11 national championships between men’s and women’s football,” Mutis said.

Six of the inaugural inductees come from the football program. Included in these ranks are cousins ​​Diana Elligott (née Artuso) and Melissa Artuso. Both are two-time national champions and played on the same winning team in 1997.

Artuso was named the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Women’s Soccer National Player of the Year in ’96 and ’97 and was inducted into the CCAA Hall of Fame in 2017.

With 48 goals in 35 games, Elligott is Blues women’s soccer’s all-time leading scorer and was named BC’s top female athlete in ’98.

After watching CapU grow from a local university to the multi-campus university it is today, it was exciting news to be in the inaugural class of Hall of Famers, Elligott said.

“And then also to hear that I was going to be inducted with my cousin, it’s pretty cool. We’ve had a fantastic year together. And it’s just nice to be appreciated for something that you didn’t ask for,” she said.

For Artuso, returning to school brought back memories of all the relationships she built there – the friends from football and beyond.

“It was a really good experience, one I will remember forever. I really enjoyed it,” she said. “So it’s pretty amazing to get that recognition because it’s going to be there as long as the university exists.”

Playing at CapU was also a stepping stone for Elligott into competitive football, when he played for Whitecaps FC. Artuso credits much of her early career success to the late Doug Abercrombie, who will also be inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

“We were blessed to have Doug Abercrombie as our coach,” she said. “He was always an advocate and pushed us forward.”

As coach of the women’s soccer team, Abercrombie led the team to five national championship victories. He is an inductee into the CCAA National Hall of Fame and a two-time BCCAA Coach of the Year.

Star athletes, coaches and athletic program builders in first Hall of Fame class

Here are the other inductees into the Blues Hall of Fame:

Soccer player Corey Birza is the men’s all-time leading scorer with 63 goals in 84 games, and was named provincial and national collegiate player of the year in 2007.

Badminton star Kiran Bogavelli is a two-time national singles champion and three-time provincial singles champion, and serves as a player and coach for the Blues. He is also Player of the Year twice at provincial and national level.

Choyal Brown is the Blues’ all-time leading scorer in basketball. He ranks fourth in all-time conference scoring with 1,278 points in 67 games (19.1 points per game).

Jennifer Dickson (née Knight) was the women’s volleyball MVP at the national championship tournament hosted by CapU in 2007. She ranks second in all-time kills for the Blues with 836 and third in digs with 910.

Women’s basketball player Jenna Ralston was the 2012 BC College Female Athlete of the Year, PACWEST Player of the Year and a two-time provincial conference all-star.

CapU men’s rugby’s first and only coach, Bob Bagshaw, led the Blues to six provincial titles from 1975 to 1980.

Paul Dailly coached the men’s soccer team for 16 years, from 2002 to 2018, and led the team to two national championship victories. He was named Coach of the Year twice nationally and seven times provincially, the most of any coach ever at CapU.

Wayne Desjardins is a three-time BCCAA Coach of the Year and the only Blues women’s volleyball coach to ever win a medal at the national championships. His players were recognized as conference all-stars 33 times.

In the builder category, former teacher Nicholas Collins is an avid football fan and active philanthropist for various CapU scholarship initiatives.

Joe Iacobellis won two CCAA Quarter Century Soccer Supremacy Awards for the nation’s top men’s and women’s soccer teams between 1974 and 1999. Iacobellis, both athletic director and coach of the year at the national level, has introduced several athletic programs to the school.

Jeri Krogseth was CapU’s first collegiate golf coach and led several funding initiatives for student-athlete scholarships. She has also contributed to various scholarships.

Greg Sharpe was the first women’s basketball coach and helped develop the program from infancy to conference champions. In addition to leading the team to two provincial titles, he chaired the Sportsplex community funding drive in 1990 and 1991.

Showcasing current student-athletes the success of the school over the years is something CapU places a lot of emphasis on, Mutis said.

“It’s important to show that the university is serious and wants to celebrate excellence and give students something to aim for during their careers,” he said.