CHICAGO – The University of Chicago announced the 17th induction class of its Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday. The five honorees will be formally inducted Friday evening, October 11, 2019, as part of the University's Homecoming celebration.
David Collar (class of 2000) was a three-year starter at goalkeeper for the men's soccer team. He made an immediate impact as a rookie in 1996, earning the starting job and posting a 13-4-2 record with seven shutouts. That UChicago squad made its first-ever postseason appearance and advanced all the way to the NCAA Final Four. Despite missing his junior year due to injury, Collar graduated as the program's all-time leader in minutes, goals against average (1.07) and shutouts (20). His career record stood at 31-19-5. Collar was named Second Team All-Region in 1997, Third Team All-Region in 1999 and Second Team All-UAA in 1999. He received the Stagg Medal at the conclusion of his senior year.
Kate Cortis (class of 2000) was a key component of the UChicago women's soccer team's ascension to national contender status in the late 1990s. The Maroons made four-straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament, won two UAA titles and reached the NCAA Final Four in 1996. A starter up the spine of the defense, Cortis was also a dual threat as a dangerous presence on set pieces. She totaled 12 goals and seven assists in her career. Over her four years, the dominating defense tallied a whopping 45 shutouts and only allowed 0.67 goals per game. Cortis received First Team All-UAA and Second Team All-Region honors in both 1998 and 1999. Her UChicago teams posted a 56-17-8 overall record (.741 winning percentage).
Cindy (Fong) Leeper (class of 1999) led the Maroon volleyball team from her setter position in the mid-to-late 1990s. As the engine of the offense, she was a two-time team MVP and two-time team captain. Her on-court prowess led to First Team All-UAA accolades in 1996 and Second Team All-UAA honors in 1997 and 1998. Fong Leeper still resides atop the school record books with 62 assists in one match versus Carnegie Mellon University in 1998. She also excelled from the service line, accumulating 252 career aces which ranks second in school history. Fong Leeper is fifth all-time in career assists (2,857) and 10th in season assists (980).
Cary Starnal (1986-90) starred as a wrestler and football player for the Maroons. On the mat, Starnal was a three-time UAA Champion at heavyweight and voted the 1988 UAA Most Outstanding Wrestler. He was named team captain as a senior and concluded his career with a sixth-place All-American finish at the 1990 NCAA Championships. On the gridiron, Starnal was a three-year defensive starter who earned All-UAA status in 1988 and 1989. His final three seasons featured 247 tackles, 34 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks. Starnal's 1989 campaign included career-high totals of 109 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. He was a Second Team Football Gazette All-American and Third Team Pizza Hut All-American. His 18 career sacks rank fifth in school history. Starnal was selected as the Stagg Medal winner in 1990.
John Thomas (class of 1924) was characterized as one of the great plunging fullbacks of the early 1920s. He played three seasons of football for legendary UChicago head coach Amos Alonzo Stagg from 1921-23. In his first season, the Maroons defeated Princeton University 9-0, which marked the first time a western team had beaten an eastern powerhouse. Thomas earned three All-Big Ten selections and was a consensus All-American pick in 1922 – one of nine consensus All-Americans in UChicago football history. The Maroons posted an 18-3-1 record with Thomas on the team.
Inductees were selected by a committee composed of University of Chicago faculty, staff, alumni and Athletics Hall of Fame members. Twenty-five individuals were chosen for the inaugural class in 2003. A maximum of five individuals can be selected on an annual basis.
To be eligible for induction into the University of Chicago Athletics Hall of Fame, athletes must have attended the University, competed in an intercollegiate sport, and completed their participation in intercollegiate sports a minimum of 10 years prior to induction. Coaches or administrators must also have ceased service in that capacity at least five years prior to induction.