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Rokos, Zimmer To Enter Colorado Ski Hall Of Fame

Discussion in 'University of Colorado News and Olympic Sports' started by cmgoods, May 10, 2013.

  1. cmgoods

    cmgoods Olympic Sports Mod Club Member

    Oct 15, 2011
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    CU head coach Richard Rokos has led ski program to seven NCAA Championships.

    Photo Courtesy: CUBuffs.com
    Rokos, Zimmer To Enter Colorado Ski Hall Of Fame

    Release: 05/10/2013 Courtesy: Curtis Snyder, Associate SID

    VAIL – University of Colorado head skiing coach Richard Rokos and longtime Voice of the Buffaloes Larry Zimmer were both selected to be inducted into the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame as part of the 2013 class.

    Rokos, 63, has coached the Buffs for 23 seasons and has brought home seven national championships, including this past season when the Buffaloes matched what only one CU team had done since the sport went coed in 1983 by winning every meeting up to and including the NCAA Championships. The 1995 CU squad also swept the season’s meets, a feat only one other team out of the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association has done since 1983.

    “I am deeply touched and honored to learn of my election into the Hall of Fame,” Rokos said. “The sport of skiing gave me everything I can be thankful for in my life, most of all my friends and associates who share the same passion of skiing that I hold. To be elected to such an elite group leaves me speechless.”

    He is the 11th and longest tenured head coach in CU ski history and on top of his seven national championships he has guided the Buffaloes to 12 RMISA titles, including three of the past four.

    In all, his athletes have won 34 individual NCAA Championships in 15 different seasons and he has coached 194 All-Americans. Under his leadership, the Buffs have won 61 of the 141 meets they have skied in and finished as the runner-up 45 times.

    As with the case of all legendary coaches, his coaching tree is extensive and as of his latest count, more than 60 of his former skiers have become ski coaches at some level, including former CU All-American Andy LeRoy, who has won three national championships at the University of Denver. There have also been more than 25 marriages within the circle of his former athletes.

    He will serve as the United States of America head coach at the World University Games for the eighth time this winter as the program is coming off one of, if not the, most impressive performance by a U.S. Alpine team on foreign soil in history at the last WUG in 2011 in Ezurum, Turkey.

    This past season he was named the United States Collegiate Ski Coaches Association National Alpine Coach of the Year as well as the RMISA Alpine Coach of the Year. In 2006 when the Buffs won his fifth national championship, the was awarded the Top of the Rocky Award as the region’s top collegiate coach (all sports) as selected by the Rocky Mountain News.

    Rokos was born May 25, 1950, in Brno, Czechoslovakia, and he and his wife, the former Helena Konecny, and 18-month-old daughter, Linda, left their communist-bound native homeland in 1980 for Austria. There they spent a year preparing their visas, and officially defected from Czechoslovakia to the United States (Detroit) a year later before calling Colorado their permanent home beginning in 1982. He and Helena are the parents of two grown children, Linda and Thomas, and one grandchild, Stella, who is also an avid skier.

    Long time "Voice of the Buffaloes" Larry Zimmer proved his range as a broadcaster with extensive experience covering skiing at every level.

    Zimmer, 77, has been a long-time supporter of the sport of skiing in Colorado and was a pioneer in covering skiing both on television and radio. While working at KOA (which was also Channel 4 in Denver), Zimmer anchored coverage of the Rocky Mountain Division races, University of Colorado collegiate races, the NCAA Ski Championships, the American Ski Classic in Vail and numerous World Cup events held in the state of Colorado.

    “I’m pleased and a little bit surprised by my induction,” Zimmer said. “Most of the people I worked with on the sport are retired or gone, so to get enough votes to be one of the four honored is a really nice deal.”

    He produced and announced a documentary entitled “Denver’s Olympics” showcasing venues in Innsbruck, Austria, where the 1976 Winter Olympics were to be held after the games were rejected by state of Colorado voters.

    Zimmer covered the first International Special Olympics Winter Games in Steamboat Springs in 1977 and many of the features were used nationally on NBC. He was given a special award by Ethel Kennedy and Eunice Shriver for his coverage of that event.

    He covered World Cup races in 1979 at Lake Placid, N.Y., as a preview of the 1980 Winter Olympics and then worked the 1980 Winter Games for CBS Radio.

    In 1989, he co-anchored national radio coverage of the World Alpine Championships in Vail and anchored syndicated television coverage of the U.S. Challenge of Champions at Winter Park on IPI Sports, which also aired on ESPN. He anchored television coverage of the World Disabled Championships at Winter Park and the Professional Ski Racers Association’s Dual Pro ski races from many venues, also shown on IPI Sports and on ESPN.

    “Nobody was covering skiing on radio and TV,” Zimmer said. “I got started with a cameraman who liked to ski and could ski backwards and film at the same time, and we started a weekly show. One thing led to another and I ended up going to the Olympics and covering the 1989 World Alpine Championships.”

    Until his retirement from KOA, he continued to cover World Cup Events, the NCAA Championships, the U.S. Alpine Championships, the Wells Fargo Cup and the American Ski Classic in Vail.

    He is a five-time winner of the White Stag Award for outstanding journalism, awarded by the Rocky Mountain Division of the U.S. Ski Association, five times. Ski Country USA twice awarded him honors for excellence in ski journalism and he served for two years as the president of the Rocky Mountain Ski Writers Association.

    Zimmer didn’t ski until he moved to Colorado where his wife Brigitte, and his son encouraged him to take lessons, and then he was hooked.

    Aside from his skiing journalism accomplishments, Zimmer won the Chris Schenkel Award in 2009, the same year he was inducted into the Broadcast Professionals of Colorado Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the Colordo Sports Hall of Fame and the University of Colorado Athletic Hall of Fame.

    He began his long-time stint as "Voice of the Buffaloes" in 1971 when he was hired at KOA. Aside from broadcasting numerous CU football and basketball games, he also served as an analyst for the Denver Broncos, the Denver Rockets (ABA predecessor to the Denver Nuggets) and the Colorado Caribous of the North American Soccer League.

    He was named the Colorado Broadcaster of the Year in 1996 and also works as an adjunct sports journalism professor in the CU School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He and his wife also endowed a scholarship for CU titled the Larry & Brigitte Zimmer Sports Announcing Endowment Scholarship.

    Born Nov. 13, 1935 in New Orleans, La., Zimmer attended Louisiana State University before transferring to the University of Missouri, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1957. He then served two years on active duty in the United States Army, earning the rank of 1st Lieutenant and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal. He is married to the former Brigitte Bastian, is the father of two and grandfather of one.

    Rokos and Zimmer are the 14th and 15th inductees with a relationship to the University of Colorado as either a coach. student, staff member or avid supporter of the program. Rokos is the third CU head coach to be inducted, joining Bill Marolt and Bob Beattie.
    from cubuffs.com

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