Flanagan to Join Fort Lewis College Hall of Fame
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  09/03/2003
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

September 3, 2003

DURANGO, COLORADO - The 2003 Fort Lewis College Athletic Hall of Fame Class has been announced. The class consists of five members: cross country runner Bryan Bailey, volleyball player Jessica Copp, former men's basketball player and current head women's basketball coach at the University of New Mexico Don Flanagan, men's basketball player Steve Schutz, and former coach and current professor Chuck Walker.

Flanagan and Walker are being inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame under a new category - the meritorious award. Criteria for the meritorious award include a person making outstanding contributions in the area of athletics at Fort Lewis College; the contributions must be of significant importance; and the person must be of solid character and citizenship.

University of New Mexico head women's basketball coach Don Flanagan (Cambridge, Mass.) has been receiving accolades ever since he arrived at Fort Lewis College in 1967. A four-year member (1967-71) of the men's basketball team and honor roll student at Fort Lewis College, Flanagan played under legendary coach Don Whalen.

After graduating from Fort Lewis College, Flanagan has spent the majority of his career as a coach. From 1978-1994, Flanagan coached girl's basketball at Eldorado High School in Albuquerque, N.M. During his 16 years at Eldorado High School, Flanagan led his team to numerous records, including 14 tournament championships, 15 district championships and 11 state championships. He collected an astounding record of 401-13 (.970). He led his teams on winning streaks of 77, 74, 69, 66 and 60, including nine undefeated seasons and an average of 25 wins each season. As a result, Eldorado High School was named the Albuquerque Sports Hall of Fame Team of the Year in 1987.

Mike Dent, an acquaintance who nominated Flanagan for the award, quoted Muhammad Ali in describing Flanagan. "Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even," said Dent citing the former heavyweight champion. "Don's accomplishments are proof of it!"

Flanagan's honors include being inducted into the Albuquerque Sports Hall of Fame for Lifetime Achievement in 1997, the Region VIII Coach of the Year (1985-94), the 1992 Albuquerque Sports Hall of Fame Coach of the Year, the 1993 and 1994 Bank of America Coach of the Year, the Albuquerque Tribune Coach of the Year six times, and the Albuquerque Journal Coach of the Year six times.

Flanagan took over the University of New Mexico women's program in 1995, accumulating a 168-81 record and becoming the all time leader in wins in school history. He has led the Lobos to a regular season conference championship and two conference tournament championships, six consecutive winning seasons and six post-season appearances, including three appearances at the NCAA Tournament.

Flanagan and his wife, Wahleah, have three children, Sean, Shane, and Brent.

The 2003 Hall of Fame class will be inducted Saturday, October 11th, during Homecoming Weekend. The formal induction will take place at brunch in the ballroom of the College Union Building at 9 a.m. on October 11th. Cost of the meal is $10. The class will also be acknowledged during halftime of the football game which begins at 1 p.m. at Ray Dennison Memorial Field.

Please RSVP by Monday, September 29th to sports information director Sarah Meier via e-mail (meier_s@fortlewis.edu ) or by phone at (970) 247-7441 if you plan to attend the brunch.