UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | June 18, 2024

Dixie legends honored during banquet: Athletic Hall of Fame welcomes newest class

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People filled the Gardner Center Ballroom Saturday to witness legends being inducted into the Dixie State University Athletic Hall of Fame.

Dixie Athletic Director Jason Boothe, President Stephen Nadauld and John Potter, DSU athletics media relations coordinator, made these hall of famers feel right at home.

“I can go anywhere in the western United States and everyone knows where Dixie is,” Nadauld said. “I couldn’t be more proud to say that we’re Dixie State University in St. George, Utah, with one of the finest programs and one of the finest athletic programs anywhere in the western United States.”

Dave Rose, former men’s head basketball coach; Linda Huddleston, former women’s head soccer coach; Ken Jolley, official scorer and timekeeper; and the Dixie State 1963 football team received their plaques and were inducted into the Dixie State Hall of Fame.

Rose took six of his seven teams to top-20 rankings. He earned three conference titles and was awarded Scenic West Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1993. Among 40-plus coaches who took over a program in 2005, Rose had the best winning percentage of .760 and had the most wins of 209 games. He is the only coach to achieve at least 20 wins in each of his first eight seasons, and he is now the head coach at Brigham Young University.

Rose wasn’t able to attend the ceremony due to a surgery to remove cancerous spots Sept. 9. His daughter Chanel was able to represent him.

She said those who were coached by Rose loved to play for him because Rose would do anything for the team, and the team would do anything for him.

She also said Rose led the team to such success that the fans would send him letters requesting closer games because blowouts weren’t as exciting.

Huddleston was awarded for her record as coach at DSU. Her squads went 145-62-12 with a .662 winning percentage. She guided her 2003 team to the NJCAA National Championship, and she was named the NSCAA West Region and NJCAA Coach of the Year that same year. Two years after Dixie transitioned into a NCAA Division II program, Huddleston led her team to a Pacific West Conference Championship. She coached 17 All-American players, and her teams consistently had above a 3.25 grade point average. She is now coaching her grandchild’s soccer team.

“I’d like to thank the Dixie State athletics for this recognition; however, I feel like I’m really accepting this for the program and for my assistant coaches and for my players who played at Dixie State,” Huddleston said. “They’re the ones who deserve recognition.”

Jolley was awarded as a dedicated scorer and timekeeper for Dixie. He held the position for more than 2,000 games and served 30 years in the press box for football, basketball and baseball games. Jolley’s first game was a football game in 1983, and his last game was a Dixie baseball game this spring. He has witnessed two national basketball championships and one baseball championship.

“Thirty years (and) over 2,000 games as an official scorer and timekeeper—there’s really not much you can say about that,” Potter said. “That’s impressive and definitely Hall of Fame-worthy.” 

The undefeated 1963 football team will be forever immortalized at Dixie State. This team was the only team that has ever gone undefeated in Dixie State history. Although the team didn’t win the national championship, Sark Arslanian, head coach and Dixie Hall of Fame member, guided the team to a No. 6 overall ranking in the nation. It was one of the highest honors to be nationally ranked.

Arslanian will turn 90 years old this year, and he said some of his players have passed away, but he can’t go to heaven without his team, and every team needs a quarterback.

“Is there football in heaven?” Arslanian said. “When I get up there, I want a full squad, and I’m not going up there until I have a quarterback.”

Arslanian was awarded the dedication of the Dixie State University football field Saturday during the first football game of the season at halftime.

“I don’t know how long I’m going to make it, but I’d like a plot set aside (by the end zone) and I’d like to be buried there,” Arslanian said.