POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Idaho State University welcomed six Bengals into the Sports Hall of Fame during a Saturday ceremony.
Athletes Steven “Tazz” Anderson (Football, 1981-1984), Shawn Beals (Football, 1984-1987), Kathy U'ilani Goods (Volleyball, 1992-1995) and Heather (Hunt) Jones (Soccer, 2000-2003) were enshrined with Coach Dave Nielsen (Track & Field coach, 1985-2016) and longtime athletic booster Michael Joseph Byrne.
"What does it mean? I’m wowed," Goods said. "I’m, you know, just like everyone else, I’m honored. I’m humbled."
Those emotions were shared by nearly every member of the class. After the ceremony, each reflected on how they were shaped by their time in Pocatello.
"It truly caps a career that sometimes I never thought I’d have," Anderson said of his induction.
A two-time captain of ISU’s football team, "Tazz" left Pocatello with a national championship and lifelong nickname.
"Somebody said earlier how this defines your life and that defined my life," he said.
Shawn Beals, still the holder of the Bengal record for receiving yards in a game, said ISU prepared him for the next step. In Beals' case, that was the NFL.
"I was the smallest school in camp and no one knew my name. But by the end of the camp with the Dolphins, I was the only receiver that made that football team," He said. "And it was some really big receivers that came from big colleges."
For several of the inductees, Idaho was not home. Coming from Hawaii, attending a smaller college was something that scared Kathy U'ilani Goods at first. Now as a coach, she encourages it.
"Don’t sleep the smaller school," she said, "that’s what I tell them."
The Idaho State record for most soccer games played belongs to Heather Jones, who said a team effort is to thank for her induction.
"It’s my teammates and I hope that they all feel that they are honored with this as well because it takes not just me, it takes a whole team to be successful," she said.
Coach Dave Nielsen was no stranger to success. Nielsen spent more than 30 years as a track & field coach at ISU. Though he molded Olympians and developing a ranking system for the sport, he was recognized Saturday for being a difference-maker in women’s athletics.
"In 1984, the women’s hammer and weight throw weren’t women’s events, that was a obscurity," he said. "And the AD said, ‘Why are you teaching that? That’s not a women’s sport.’ I said ‘Well, it should be,’ and that’s how that got started."
During his four decades in Pocatello, Nielsen said one thing that really changed was the funding of athletics. And that's part of the reason Michael Joseph Byrne was the only non-athlete to be honored on Saturday.
Byrne, a Lifetime Achievement inductee, has been a booster for the school for over 20 years and initiated the "Thanks A Million Babe" campaign, which raised $1 million for new football tuft, according to the school.
Though he never laced up, Byrne was always inspired by the athletes.
"While I never was athletic, I think from my first days out of school, I wanted to support those people," Byrne said.
All six inductees will be honored during the men’s basketball game on Saturday night.