WHITTIER, Calif. – Every two years, the Whittier College Athletics Department rolls out the red carpet and honors the greatest Poets student-athletes with the Purple & Gold Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. This year, four individuals and six teams will become the newest members of the prestigious club.
The 21st Annual Induction Ceremony will be held on Thursday, October 14, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Norwalk, Calif. The event is set to begin at 6 pm.
The 2010 Class is highlighted by Bill Harris, James Olson, Brenna (Werner) Holcomb, Norman Lytle and the 1914-15 men’s basketball, 1921 football, 1923-24 men’s basketball, 1934 football, 1929 baseball and 1968-69 men’s basketball teams.
Harris was a four-year letterman on the track & field team and earned three varsity letters on the gridiron. He served as a Special Advisor to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports from 1981-87, and has been a 30-year supporter of the 1196 and Purple & Gold Athletic Alumni Booster Club and key contributor of the 1195 and Purple & Gold Golf tournament since its inception. Harris chaired a committee to construct the George Allen Fitness Center, install lights on the Richard Ettinger Tennis Center and facilitated the purchase of uniforms and equipment for the Poets’ football and track & field programs.
In 1999-00, Harris established the Harris-Dezember Challenge to complete the Aubrey Bohnam all-weather track and Wallace ‘Chief’ Newman football field project and was instrumental in the development of the Athletic Department recruitment fund that provided computers and recruiting software for the Poets’ coaching staff. During the “Continuing the Tradition” capital campaign, Harris took the lead in establishing the Whittier College Athletic Endowment Fund, and most recently was a major sponsor of the Memorial Stadium Fund Campaign which successfully installed 250 “prime” VIP seats on the 50 yard line. Harris has been a member of the Whittier College Board of Trustees since 1979, serving in a number of capacities, including Vice Chairman of the Board.
Olson holds four varsity letters (three in baseball, one in basketball) and was a three-time All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference selection. Signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1959, he made his mark on the diamond from 1955 to 1959. His leadership skills were also felt on campus, as he was President of the Junior Class in 1957-58 and President of the Orthogonian Society in 1958-59. Olson was selected to the ‘Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges’ in 1959.
Holcomb was a standout on the hardwood from 1993 to 1997 where she was a three-time offensive Player of the Year, two-time all-conference honoree and graduated with three NCAA Division III records. Her records include most 3-point fields per game (4.9 in 95-96), most 3-point field goals in a season (123 in 95-96) and most consecutive 3-point games (73 from 94-97). In addition to her national recognition, she was named the 1195 Club Outstanding Freshman Athlete of the Year in ‘94 and the President’s Awards for Outstanding Female Scholar-Athlete in ’97.
Lytle made his mark with the Poets football team having earned three varsity letters from 1964 to 1966. In 1965 he was named a first-team All-SCIAC linebacker, Little All-American honorable mention and was featured in Sports Illustrated as an “Up and Comer” in the August 1966 edition.
After graduating from Whittier, Lytle had letters of invitation from the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos for tryouts but was also drafted by the United States Army. He joined the military in August 1968 and graduated from Officer Candidate School in August 1969 and was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in Military Intelligence. Lytle served four years in the Army, one tour of duty in Vietnam, promoted to the rank of Captain and was awarded a “Bronze Star” for Meritorious Service.