Dixie State adds to hall of fame

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The Dixie State University Athletics Hall of Fame got a little bit bigger this weekend; there were four inductees introduced last week.

Ralph Brinton (football), Barry Sims (football), Brandon Lyon (baseball), and the 2000 women’s soccer team were formally inducted into the DSU athletics Hall of Fame during a ceremony on Feb. 11 in the Cox Auditorium. 

Brinton, 75, was one of Dixie State’s first standout football players. Brinton played for DSU in 1956-57 under Hall of Fame coach Sark Arslanian, who also attended the ceremony. 

Brinton was a two-way player, meaning he played both offense and defense, which is rare in todays’ college football world. Following the 1957 season, Brinton was named an NCAA All-American, only the second player in DSU history to do so. Brinton would go on to play football at Utah State University where he met his wife, Bonnie. 

During the ceremony, Brinton spoke of his experience at then Dixie Junior College and how the university has grown tremendously. 

“It’s very different from how it was way back when.” Brinton said. “We used to ride a flat-bed truck to the rodeo grounds where we would practice. This place has come a long way.” 

The next inductee was Barry Sims, a 12-year National Football League veteran as an offensive lineman and Dixie State player from 1995 to 1997. 

Sims led Dixie State to two consecutive Rotary Bowl victories before transferring to the University of Utah, where he was named the team’s “Most Improved Player” in 1996 and received All-WAC honors as a left tackle.

Sims went undrafted in the 1999 NFL and subsequently signed on to play for the Scottish Claymores of the NFL European League. After his season in Scotland, Sims was signed as a free agent by the Oakland Raiders. 

Five games into the 1999 season, the Raiders called on Sims to make his first career start. The Raiders faced the Buffalo Bills, and at left tackle, Sims was matched up against all-pro, NFL Hall of Famer and NFL all-time leader in sacks Bruce Smith. Sims battled Smith throughout the game and the Raiders came up victorious, and quarterback Rich Gannon was never touched by Smith, proving that Sims could hold his own. 

In Sims’ fifth season, he became the Raiders full-time starter at left tackle, where he went on to become a perennial power house in the league, stopping defensive ends at all costs on his way to winning the Raiders “Commitment to Excellence Award.”  Sims started and played in 67 consecutive games, becoming the Raiders longest tenured player and team captain. 

“Dixie State is where I got my start.” Sims said. “I fell in love with the Bay Area and haven’t really been back [to St. George] since. This was a good reason to return.”

Sims went on to stay in the Bay Area and signed with the San Fransisco 49ers in 2008 where he filled in for injured starter Joe Staley before retiring from professional football in 2010. During Sims’ NFL career, he played in 181 games, won two AFC championships, and started in Super Bowl XXXVII. 

The next inductee was Brandon Lyon, who pitched for two seasons at Dixie State in 1999 and 2000. Lyon would go on to pitch 21 complete games in 29 starts, compiling an outstanding ERA (earned run average) of 1.59 and striking out 245 batters, both school records. 

Following his sophomore season, Lyon was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays. He made his MLB debut on Aug. 1, 2001, starting for the Jays. Over the next 12 years, Lyon would go on to pitch for seven different MLB clubs (Toronto, Boston, Arizona, Detroit, Houston, New York Mets, Los Angeles). 

Lyon is currently an MLB free-agent but he says his pitching career is more than likely over. Lyon and his wife Sara now live in the St. George area. 

“I can’t get enough of this place,” Lyon said. “I love it here, I couldn’t think of another place I’d rather build my family.” 

Lyon’s offseason home has been here his entire career, a career that saw 42 wins, 465 strikeouts and 79 saves. 

The final inductees of the 2015 Hall of Fame is one of the most storied teams in DSU athletics history: the 2000 women’s soccer team.

The DSU women’s soccer team of 2000 was coached by Rob Dahl, who accepted the award during the ceremony before making the whole team come up on stage. 

This team was the first women’s team at Dixie State to ever win a national championship, going 18-1-1 and besting Monroe Community College in a double-overtime thriller. 

Annalisa Banks scored twice in the game before Karrie Broderick won the game with a sudden-death goal in double overtime. Tennille Bennett, Shaylee Hogge and Banks were all named to the all-tournament team, and coach Dahl was named the nation’s Coach of the Year. 

The St. George City Council even declared Dec. 7, 2000 “Dixie State College Women’s Soccer Day.” 

Team members: Morgan Kunz (Bracken); Tiffany Ellis (Anderson); Amanda Hafen (Halligan);  Bennett (Vance); Amy Gustaveson (Zollinger); Banks (Noe); Stephanie Conrad; Lindsay Johnson (Brown); Candice Barwick (Fowler); Angela Profancik; Lisa Stevens (Stubbs); Lindsay Mulliner (Little); Krista Davis (Funk); Jennifer Henry (Fielding); Karrie Broderick; Hogge (Wilson); Chaysie Call (Christensen); Kat Huddleston; Denise Lindley; LynDee Russell (Barney); Alisha Provstgaard along with assistant coaches Trent Chapman, Kiley Heideman and Dahl.