Cota, Harrington, Knight headline UO Hall inductees

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EUGENE – The winningest quarterback in Oregon history, the MVP of the school’s first Rose Bowl team in 37 years, a creative visionary who not only has made an unprecedented impact on his alma mater but marketing on a global scale, Oregon’s first NCAA cross country team champions in school history, as well as an All-America softball player who helped fuel the program’s first Women’s College World Series appearance ever are among the headliners to be inducted into the University of Oregon’s 21st Athletics Hall of Fame class during the weekend of the Ducks’ Sept. 22 home football game vs. Arizona.

Five individuals, in addition to three men’s cross country teams that captured NCAA championships in 1971, 1973 and ’74, will formally join the elite collection of the university’s former athletics standouts at a Sept. 21 banquet in Matthew Knight Arena, before being introduced at halftime of the Ducks’ Pac-12 conference-opening football game the next day against the Wildcats.

Selected to the university’s 2012 Athletics Hall of Fame are 1994 football MVP Chad Cota, quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist Joey Harrington, creative innovator and university benefactor Philip Knight, men’s basketball All-American Hugh Latham, softball All-American Kim Manning Strahm, and a trio of men’s cross country teams that helped solidify Oregon’s foundation as the nation’s collegiate distance running mecca.

Cota paced a “Gang Green” defense which led Oregon to a Rose Bowl appearance against Penn State; Harrington led the Ducks to their highest season-ending national finish (2nd) in school history at the conclusion of the 2001 season; Knight not only co-founded the world’s leading athletic shoe and apparel manufacturer – Nke – but whose creative ingenuity has made an impact at every level of sports today; Latham was a multi-sport athlete who became only the University’s second first-team men’s basketball All-American in school history in the early 1920s; and Strahm, who played as many as six different positions during a collegiate softball career that saw her earn All-America acclaim on the field and in the classroom.

To be eligible for induction into Oregon’s Athletics Hall-of-Fame, former athletes, coaches and administrators associated with the University must have departed the University for a minimum of 10 years.

Knight, who has previously been inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the World Retail Hall of Fame, will be honored by the Ducks as an individual who has made “extraordinary contributions toward the success of the U of O athletics programs.”

The inductees will join the previous 172 elite individuals and 21 teams who have been selected as part of the school’s athletics showcase that originated in 1992.