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USA Judo Announces Inaugural Class of Hall of Fame Inductees

Sept. 26, 2008, 2:45 p.m. (ET)

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) - USA Judo is pleased to announce that the first 13 members of the USA Judo Hall of Fame were recognized Thursday evening at the Penrose House in Colorado Springs.

Among the 2008 inductees were former Senator Ben "Nighthorse" Campbell, captain of the 1964 Olympic Team; four-time Olympians and former World Champions Mike Swain and Jimmy Pedro; 1964 Olympic Team Coach Yosh Uchida; and former Pan American Judo Union Sports Director Frank Fullerton.

Inductees also will be recognized during the finals of the U.S. Open Championships at 5 p.m. on Saturday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

"Tonight we have the honor of recognizing not just people who have contributed great things to the sport of judo, but also great friends as well," USA Judo President Dr. Ron Tripp (Norman, Okla.) said at the reception.  "This Hall of Fame has been a goal of ours for a long time and now we finally have the opportunity to bring that dream to fruition."

A complete list of the inductees is as follows:

Athletes

Kevin Asano

The first judo player from Hawaii to compete at the Olympic Games, Asano won a silver medal in the 60kg division at the 1988 Olympic Games following his bronze at the 1987 World Championships.  A graduate of San Jose State University, Asano remains involved in the sport as the president of Hawaii Judo.

Bob Berland

The first U.S. judo player ever to advance to the finals of the Olympic Games, Berland won a silver medal in the 86kg division in 1984 after winning bronze at the 1983 World Championships.  A two-time Olympian who also competed in 1988, Berland currently works with the Chicago 2016 committee to help bring the Olympic Games to his hometown of Chicago.

Jim Bregman

Bregman competed as a member of the first U.S. Olympic Judo Team in 1964 when he made history as being the first U.S. player to win an Olympic medal, taking bronze in the 80kg division.

Allen Coage

Coage became the second U.S. athlete, and the first African-American, to win an Olympic medal in the sport of judo when he earned a bronze in the +95kg division at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.

A six-time National Champion and two-time Pan American Games Champion, Coage later became a World Wrestling Federation celebrity in the late 1980s as "Bad News Brown."  Coage passed away in 2007.

Ed Liddie

Liddie won a bronze medal in the 60kg division during his 1984 Olympic appearance and would go on to coach four Olympic Teams from 1996 to 2008.  As the coach for the Olympic Training Center judo team in Colorado Springs, Liddie's athletes secured 13 Olympic slots during the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Games.  Liddie is currently the USA Judo Director of Athlete Performance.      

Jason Morris

One of only four U.S. judo players to compete on four Olympic Teams, Morris won a silver medal in the 78kg division during his second Olympic Games in 1992 which he followed with a bronze medal at the 1993 World Championships.  After his retirement in 1996, Morris made an impressive comeback to qualify for his fourth Olympic Team in 2000 at the age of 33.  After the Sydney Games, Morris turned his focus to coaching full-time, leading both his home program at the USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center in Glenville, N.Y. as well as serving as a coach of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team.

Jimmy Pedro

Pedro began his career as a 20-year-old who won a bronze medal at the 1991 World Championships before competing on the first of his four U.S. Olympic Teams.  Pedro won his first Olympic medal in the 71kg division in 1996 and became only the third U.S. player to win a World Championship in 1999.  After placing fifth at the 2000 Games, Pedro retired from the sport, but still had unfinished business to do.  Inspired by his trip to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, Pedro returned from retirement and became the first U.S. player ever to win two Olympic medals when he earned a bronze in Athens.  Pedro now runs his own program - USA Judo National Team FORCE - in Wakefield, Mass. where he coached three athletes to Olympic berths in 2008 and is the head of the USA Judo Elite U-23 Team.

Mike Swain

Swain qualified for his first of four Olympic Teams in 1980, but was unable to compete when the United States boycotted the Games in Moscow.  Swain would go on to compete at the 1984 and 1988 Games, winning bronze in 1988 on the heels of his 1987 World title.  Swain came out of retirement to compete in his fourth Olympic Games in 1992 before turning his focus to running Swain Mats which has since become one of the largest suppliers of martial arts mats in the world.  Swain also is a coach of his alma mater - San Jose State University and was inducted into the Pan American Judo Union Hall of Fame in May.

Lynn Roethke

In 1988 Roethke competed on the first women's U.S. Olympic Team for Judo, winning a silver medal in the demonstration event as a 61kg player after winning a World silver medal the previous year.  Roethke, who also competed at the 1992 Games, is still the only U.S. woman to advance to the finals of an Olympic Games.  Roethke currently serves as a coach at Club Olympia Judo in Wisconsin. 

Margaret Castro-Gomez

An 11-time National Champion, Castro-Gomez had won three World medals by the time she competed on her first Olympic Team in 1988.  As a member of the first U.S. women's team to compete at the Olympic Games when women's judo was introduced as a demonstration event, Castro-Gomez won a bronze medal in the +72kg division.

Coach

 

Yosh Uchida

Uchida may have graduated from San Jose State University in 1947, but he has remained a fixture in the both the San Jose and international judo communities for more than 60 years.  After graduation, Uchida continued to coach at San Jose and organized the first Collegiate Judo National Championships in 1962 - two years before being named as the head coach of the first U.S. Olympic Judo Team in 1964.  Most recently, Uchida was the president of USA Judo from 1996-2000 and remains the head coach of the USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University.  In 1986, Uchida received one of the highest honors an individual can receive in Japan - the Order of the Sacred Treasure with Golden Rays by Emperor Hirohito of Japan.

Distinguished Americans

 

Ben "Nighthorse" Campbell

A graduate of San Jose State University where he trained under Sensei Uchida, Campbell competed in the 1964 Olympic Games as a member of the first U.S. Olympic Judo Team.  After moving to Colorado in 1977, Campbell won his first Congressional campaign in 1986 and would go on to become a Colorado Senator from 1992-2004.

Frank Fullerton

Fullerton, the Pan American Judo Union Sports Director, has been one of the most influential people in the international community for several decades.  During his distinguished career, Fullerton, a seventh-degree black belt and international referee, was the first president of USA Judo from 1978-1996, a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee Board of Directors and a delegate to the International Judo Federation.  Prior to his death earlier this year, Fullerton received many honors for his work in the sport of judo, including his receipt of the John Osako, Henry Stone and Adrea Bregman Memorial Awards and recognition as the Black Belt Magazine Man of the Year. In addition, Fullerton was named the 1976 Texas Man of the Year and was inducted into the PJU Hall of Fame in 2006.  Earlier that year, Dr. Fullerton received the New York Athletic Club's Lifetime Achievement Award.   

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