Denny Almquist

DENNY ALMQUIST, whose nickname is Swede, taught for 44 years and coached for 39 years at the high school level in northern and southern Idaho as well as Montana. He was one of nine children born to Harry and Marge Amlquist

Swede graduated from Mullan High in 1960 where he won the school’s Outstanding Athlete Award as a senior. He walked on as a freshman on the University of Idaho football team and started all three freshmen games (at the time, freshmen could not participate at the varsity level). He earned a varsity letter as a sophomore playing offensive guard and defensive tackle, playing in two-third of each game.

He started his final two seasons at UI on the offensive and defensive lines under coach Dee Andros. In his junior year, he was the only UI player to earn All-Coast honors. As a senior, he earned lineman of the week honors in UI’s 14-12 upset win over Arizona. He was a Look Magazine honorable mention All-American selection. The team went 5-4 for its first winning record since 1938.

Following his UI career, Almquist was selected in the 11th round of the NFL draft by San Francisco, but was later released. He was then picked up by Saskatchewan in the middle of the CFL season where he played for a year. He then returned to UI to finish his education so he could get his credentials to teach and coach.

Almquist started his coaching career as an assistant coach in football, basketball and golf in 1966 at Wallace High, and then became assistant football and track coach at Twin Falls High. In 1975, he became head coach for the Bruins and spent three years there. He was named the A-1 Football Coach of the Year for District 4 in 1971.

Almquist then moved to Missoula and was a 7-8th grade basketball coach for two seasons at Hellgate Elementary before he became head football coach at Big Sky High School, which opened that year in 1980. He was head coach for three season and was assistant girls’ track coach for 30 years in the throwing events where he had numerous conference and state champions. He retired in 2010.

Among his lifetime honors, Almquist was named by the Shoshone News Press as one of the Silver Valley’s Legend of Sports.

Almquist and his wife Mary Gay, have been married for 48 years and they have two children, Guy (Heather) and Katie (Nate Laslovich), and eight grandchildren. Coaching and teaching runs in the family as between Almquist, his wife, his children and their spouses, five of the six have or are in the education field and three have been head coaches at the high school level.

Among Almquist’s many hobbies are golf, racquetball, hunting, fishing, reloading, target shooting, horseback riding in the mountains, and following his children and grandchildren.

John Shelt

JOHN SHELT graduated from Kellogg High in 1963 where he was a standout in both football and track, but he also excelled in baseball. As a halfback in football, he scored six touchdowns as a sophomore, 16 as a junior and broke the school record with 19 touchdowns as a senior. He averaged more than 100 yards per game rushing as a junior and 174 yards a game as a senior. His personal best was 220 yards in a game against Clarkston.

He was a first-team all-state selection his final two years and also chosen to the Coeur d’Alene Press All-North Idaho Team both seasons.

In track, he specialized in the 120-yard high hurdles and the 220-yard low hurdles. At state meets, he placed fourth as a sophomore and second in both his junior and senior years in the 120-yard hurdles, and was fourth his senior year at the 220 hurdles. He went undefeated in high hurdles in regular season meets both his junior and senior seasons. He also participated in the high jump as state as a senior.

He played two seasons of basketball at Kellogg and averaged nine points a game as a junior.

Shelt showed off his athleticism in baseball as well where he played in Little League, Babe Ruth and American Legion. He was a shortstop, first baseman and a pitcher. In American Legion, he hit 320 and went 5-2 on the mound in his first season and then hit .410 and went 6-3 pitching during his second year. He impressed the pro scouts enough to earn an offer to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates Class A farm team in Lewiston, Idaho.

Instead, he chose to attend the University of Idaho on a football scholarship where he played running back on the freshman team, where he scored a touchdown and on two two-point conversions in a win over the Washington State freshman squad. He moved to defense as a sophomore where he started two seasons. He played cornerback as a sophomore and moved to linebacker as a junior. He recorded five interceptions and was second on the team in tackles his junior year.

With the Vietnam War making headlines during 1967, Shelt changed his focus to his education and didn’t play football his final year. He had been involved with Advanced ROTC at UI and upon graduation, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army. He spent 13 months in Korea as a tank platoon leader during the Vietnam War.

After the war, he lived in Spokane but eventually moved to Kennewick where he settled down and was married. He also became active in coaching youth baseball teams for eight years. He also was involved with the Kennewick Booster Club.

Shelt and his wife Janyce have four children, including Jason Shelt, who is the second all-time leading tackler in UI history.

Sherriden May

SHERRIDEN MAY played running back at Idaho during 1991-94 and is the school’s second all-time leading rusher behind Joel Thomas with 3,748 yards. He averaged 113.6 yards per game rushing, which is the top mark in UI history by more than 16 yards. He has a school-best 22 games with at least 100 yards rushing and his 689 carries is second on UI’s all-time list.

Not bad for someone who only played the position for three seasons at UI.

May came to Idaho as a defensive back and started at safety during his first season at UI. Vandal head coach John L. Smith then made good on a promise and allowed May to try out at running back as a sophomore, but Smith fully expected to put May back on defense. It didn’t take long for May to change Smith’s mind and by the second game of his sophomore season, May was UI’s starting running back.

May was the first player to ever lead the Big Sky in rushing for three consecutive years. He finished his career as the I-AA all-time leader in touchdowns with 61 and was second in career scoring with 366 points.

He finished his sophomore year with 1,111 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns and won the Big Sky rushing title. He repeated that feat as a junior when he went for 1,267 yards and 22 touchdown. He also averaged 172.2 all-purpose yards.

He topped those marks his senior year when he rushed for 1,370 yards, which ranks second on UI’s all-time list (the 1,267 yards as a junior is fourth on the list and his sophomore total stands 12th). He rushed for 100-plus yards in nine of UI’s 11 games that season.

As a senior, he was selected to three I-AA All-America squads, including the Sports Network, Associated Press, and American Football Coaches Association.

May is just one of seven Vandals to earn at least three first-team all-conference selections.

Following his outstanding career as a Vandal, May went undrafted but signed a free-agent contract with the New York Jets. He played in five games his rookie season with one start, and then was in eight games the following season.

After his NFL career ended, he became involved with personal training and in 1998, he played in the semi-pro league for the Puget Sound Jets. He then worked a year in the car business before he entered the mortgage business in 2001, where he still works today in Tacoma. May has 13-year-old twins Isaiah and Isabel and has been involved in a long-term relationship with Dimi Hartman, and her three children Dylan, Connor and Austin. In his spare time, May still enjoys working, out, spending time with family and friends, and traveling.

Sam Merriman

Sam Merriman is arguably one of the best defensive football players ever to step on the field at the University of Idaho. He was a key part of UI’s football rise in power during the early 1980s. He played his first two seasons under coach Jerry Davitch and then his final two years under Dennis Erickson.

Merriman was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, where he was heavily involved in sports, including rodeo. He also made his mark on the football field and appeared to be headed to Northern Arizona University until a coach change saw him wind up at Idaho instead.

Merriman played linebacker at Idaho during 1979-83. He was a four-year starter and led the team in tackles his final three seasons. He earned all-conference honors all four seasons, including first-team all Big Sky his senior year. He was the team’s defensive MVP both his junior and senior seasons.

Merriman is the program’s all-time leading tackler with 519, which is 58 more than any other UI player. He had at least 111 tackles in every season, including 145 as a junior, which is the fourth-highest total in UI history. He is also tied for the all-time lead in career fumble recoveries with seven.

His most memorable game as a Vandal came in UI’s first NCAA Division I-AA playoff game, which was in 1982 at home against Montana when he made three consecutive goal-line tackles late in the fourth quarter when Montana had the ball inside the Idaho 2 to preserve the UI win.

Merriman played in the East-West Shrine Game and caught the attention of the Seattle Seahawks, who drafted him in the seventh round in the 1983 draft. He made his mark as an outstanding player on special teams for five seasons. He was penciled in as a starter during his sixth season, but suffered a career-ending knee injury in the second preseason game.

Merriman now resides in Tucson, Ariz., where he helps with area rodeos, a passion he has had since his youth.

Robert W. Maker

Robert W. Maker, 96

Robert W. Maker, of Corvallis, Mont., passed away Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. He was born Jan. 22, 1921, in Framingham, Mass. He was one of two children born to Clifford and Mildred Maker. His sister was Marion Copland. Robert’s wife, Berneice, passed away on June 28, 2005.

He is survived by his son, Robert and his wife, Julie of Anchorage, Alaska; cousins Rosalba Norton and Donald Maker of Warwick, R.I.; sisterin- law Evelyn Rappath of Prescott, Ariz.; niece Jane Buechele of Grafton, Iowa; grandchildren Paul, Chet and Robin; 12 greatgrandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. He graduated from Framingham High School, Mass., in 1938.

He went to Northeastern University on a hockey scholarship. Robert joined the Army Air Corps in 1942 and was commissioned a 2nd Lt. as a bombardier. He had more than 500 combat hours in the south pacific with the 43rd bomb group. Robert received the Air Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Following World War II, he completed his education at Boston University where he earned all American honors in hockey. He was selected for the 1948 Olympic Hockey team, but did not choose to go because of his coaching responsibilities at Framingham High School. He was recalled into service as a navigator for the air lift from McChord AFB, Wash., to Korea, then later stationed at Mather AFB, Calif.

He met Berneice at Mather, where she was director of nurses. The couple were married Jan. 19, 1951. He was assigned to Fairchild AFB, Wash. He returned to Korea joining the 117th bomb group. Robert was a teacher and coach at Kettle Falls High School, Wash., Publicity Director for the Spokane Indians Baseball Club, Sports Editor of the Coeur d’Alene Press and Sports Information Director for the University of Idaho.

He helped found the Idaho Sports Banquet and the Idaho Hall of Fame. He was an active member of the Bitterroot Chapter of Trout Unlimited and a 65-year member of the American Legion. Robert and Berneice retired in Corvallis where he tied flies and fished his beloved Bitterroot River. He was still floating the river at 75 years old. His handle is “Biterroot Bob.” A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 2, 2017, at Faith Lutheran Church in Hamilton, Mont. Urn placement will take place at Corvallis Cemetery in Corvallis. Military honors will be presented with the U.S. Air Force and the Corvallis American Legion. Arrangements are under the care of the Daly-Leach Chapel in Hamilton. The family suggests memorials to the American Cancer Society or Faith Lutheran Church.

Heather M. Owen

Heather M. Owen’s athletics career took her around the globe, however, the Idaho native still lights up when asked about her home state. Born in 1976, Owen grew up in Moscow, Idaho and is proud to have competed for the Russell Elementary School Rams, the Moscow Junior High School Cubs, and the Moscow High School Bears. During her time as a Moscow Bear (1991-1994), Owen participated in volleyball, basketball, and track and field. The Moscow High School volleyball team placed third in the A-2 State Championship during Owen’s senior year, the basketball team won the A-2 State Championship three consecutive years (1992-1994), and the track and field team won the A-2 State Championship in 1992. Owen earned a number of individual honors during her time as a Moscow Bear, including,

  • National Honor Society member
  • Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) All-American (1993, 1994)
  • Idaho’s Gatorade Player of the Year (1993, 1994)
  • Idaho High School A-2 Player of the Year (1993, 1994)
  • Converse’s Idaho Player of the Year (1994)
  • Kodak All-America Team (1994)
  • Second Team Parade Magazine All-American (1994)
  • Second Team All-American by Street & Smith’s (1994)
  • Third Team USA Today All-American (1994)
  • Earned seven titles at Idaho State Track and Field Championships (1992-1994)

o Shot Put, Discus, High Jump, and 400 Meter Relay Team Champion (1992)

o Shot Put and Discus Champion (1993)

o Shot Put Champion (1994)

  • Remains the Idaho State record holder in the shot put (48’1) and the Moscow

High School record holder in the discus (140’).

  • Gatorade Circle of Champions Track and Field Idaho Athlete of the Year (1994)

Upon graduation from Moscow High School in 1994, Owen began her career at Stanford University (1994- 1998), where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Sociology. During her time on the Farm, Owen played four years on the women’s basketball team and earned Pacific-10 (Pac- 10) Conference All-Academic honors, as well as, Stanford Athletics Department Honor Roll recognition. Owen’s teams won four Pac-10 Conference Championships while appearing in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament all four years, including three Final Four appearances. During her collegiate career, Owen also competed for USA Basketball on the West Olympic Festival Team (1995) and the U.S. Select Team (1996). After graduation from Stanford, Owen was drafted by the Portland Power of the American Basketball League (ABL) (1998); played a season in Rennes, France for Avenir de Rennes of the French Federation of Basketball (1999); and spent two seasons with the Washington Mystics of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) (1999, 2000). Owen retired from professional basketball in 2001, earned her Juris Doctor (JD) from Santa Clara University School of Law in 2003, and is currently the Senior Associate Athletics Director, Development, at Stanford University. Owen credits her family for their unwavering support and guidance through the many ups and downs and life lessons imparted through sport. Her late father, Glenn, was her strongest advocate and ally; her mother, Sandra, is her biggest fan and attended the majority of her athletics contests (all while raising a family and working fulltime); and her brother, Drew, refused to cut her any slack and taught her that anything is possible. Owen is honored and humbled by her selection to the Idaho Sports Hall of Fame, and wishes to thank all those who shared in the journey (family, teammates, coaches, staff, and fans).


Maralee Foss

Maralee was born July 7, 1937 in Harrison, Idaho, thirty-five minutes after her twin sister, Charleda. After attending most of her school years in Coeur d’Alene, she graduated from Coeur d’Alene Hight School in 1956 as valedictorian. Her total sports experience outside of P.E. classes consisted of one play day at the University of Idaho, due to the generosity of a parent taking six girls to the event. After high school Maralee headed to Brigham Young University where she and her sister completed their Bachelor of Science Degrees in three years. Maralee obtained her Master’s Degree in 1970. While at BYU she earned National DGWS ratings in volleyball and basketball, allowing her to get a great deal of experience officiating ball games. The twins also had the unique experience of officiating the Utah State “hop-scotch” tournament. Both Charleda and Maralee were fortunate on the volleyball teams that demonstrated the first three-hit volleyball games ever played, at the national AAHPERD Convention in Salt Lake City. They were also lucky to be chosen as the demonstration officials for the first women’s roving player basketball game. Maralee’s years at North Idaho College. She did very little coaching until she started teaching at Rogers High in Spokane, WA, where she coached girls tennis. She set up and played exchange games of volleyball and basketball with CHS, where her sister taught. In the fall of 1969, Maralee was hired at NIC to teach PE First Aid, and start the Women’s Varsity Sports Program. NIC joined the Pine League, consisting of Eastern Washington State College (EWU), Gonzaga University, Whitworth College, and Spokane Community College. Her officiating background helped a great deal, because when she wasn’t coaching she had to officiate. While at NIC, Maralee coached volleyball, basketball, tennis, and gave softball a try. Softball didn’t work because the State of Idaho was playing slow-pitch and colleges were playing fast-pitch softball, thus no college competition. NIC’s women’s basketball team won the 1972 Pine League Championship against a four year school, and qualified for the Regional Basketball Tournament in Tacoma, Washington Her tennis teams won the 1978 and 1979 Region 18 NJCAA Tournament and Maralee was named Tennis Coach of the Year both seasons. NIC Women’s Tennis players also attended three NJCAA National Tennis Tournaments 1978-1980. She ended her career at NIC as the Department Chairperson of the Physical Education Department. In addition to coaching, officiating high school and college sports, Maralee served on the Spokane Board of Officials, served on the Kootenai Family YMCA Board, was a First Responder Instructor, and Instructor trainer for the American Red Cross. She, along with her sister, coordinated and ran the Coeur d’Alene girls Softball program for ten years. Maralee was honored by NIC with the Outstanding Faculty Achievement Award in 1988, a Certificate of Honor for service from the YMCA in 1990 and in 1993 receiving the Sterling Silver Award for Employee of the Month. Also in 1993 she was inducted into the Idaho New Agenda Hall of Fame; served a two year term on the IAHPERD Board as the District One Representative, and represented Idaho as the IAHPERD Delegate to the AAHPERD National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. Along with her sister, Maralee was honored as a North Idaho Sports Pioneer in 2008. Now retired, Maralee spends her time playing golf, wishing she could play like she used to. She has only one Nine Hole Club Championship and no “hole in one”, but she is still out there, hitting short and straight down the middle, just like a little old lady who is almost eighty!!

Charelda Foss

Charleda was born on July 7, 1937 in Harrison, Idaho, thirty-five minutes before her twin sister. The family moved to Coeur d’Alene and purchased five acres and three city lots on the east side of Coeur d’Alene. Except for two years during World War II, “Char” attended CDA schools and graduated from CHS in 1956. There were no sports opportunities for girls at the time. The family had a minifarm which provided the opportunity to “love to work”; milking cows included. Char and Maralee were involved with 4-H for several years. Char attended Brigham Young University, graduating in the spring of 1959, with a Bachelor of Science degree; then earned her Masters degree in 1971. Again the only sports offered were intramurals. The twins did learn how to officiate volleyball and basketball and received DGWS National ratings in these sports. Utah had a large sports program for girls, so they had an opportunity to officiate a lot of church and intramural games. BYU had three sports days a year, with BYU hosting basketball, Utah hosting volleyball and Utah State hosting softball; all limited to one day each. After teaching and working in city recreation, Char returned to CDA in 1961 and applied for a job in CDA City Recreation. She was hired by Red Halpern to start a girls softball program, to lifeguard, teach swimming and tennis. The area was so ready some of the girls lied about their age so they could play softball. She also organized the first Idaho State women’s Slow Pitch Softball Tournament held in Coeur d’Alene in 1966. This was a great time in Char’s life. The twins ran the program for ten years. Charleda taught at North Central, then Ferris High school in Spokane, Washington, where she coached golf. She taught at CHS from 1966 to 1970. Maralee was at Rogers High School from 1964 to 1969 so they scheduled Volleyball and Basketball games with each school. Charleda also put together a golf team that was undefeated playing against the existing Spokane girls golf teams. She also scheduled Volleyball games against Lakeland High school under Alice Devers. This was the only opportunity to play that the Coeur d’Alene girls had. From 1970 to 1973 Char taught at Borah HS in Boise, ID and coached volleyball, basketball, field hockey and gymnastics. Teachers in the area exchanged softball games for fun. Sports were just beginning and were at a very elementary level. While at Borah HS, she was also the traveling basketball official for Boise State University. The rest of Char’s career was in Coeur d’Alene at the Junior and Senior High school. Char held the very first Volleyball “officials” training clinic in Northern Idaho, under the DGWS national rules. She was also asked to coach the first girls basketball team for one year in 1973-74, which met and played in a grade school gym. Volleyball was just beginning; it was a bump-bump-bump game. Charleda spent a lot of time officiating college and high school volleyball and basketball. She also started a very fun, elective class at CHS in Advanced First Aid. She retired in 1997. One of her greatest accomplishments was starting and watching the growth of girls softball in the area. Charleda was inducted into the Idaho New Agenda Hall of Fame in 1992 for outstanding service to girl and women’s sports; received an NIC Outstanding Educator Award for 1996-1997 for commitment, dedication and outstanding contributions to education, was honored as a Viking Legend from CHS in 2004 and was named a North Idaho Sports Pioneer in 2008. Char’s hobby has become golf. After winning the Nine Hole Club Championship six times, she decided it was time to move up to the Eighteen Hole league. She is proud of her three holes in one.

Tom Hennessey

Born in Boise, Idaho in 1964, Tom was the son of Tom and Alice Hennessey. He has two sisters and grew up in Boise attending Boise High School. Tom was an accomplished ski racer as a youth winning the Idaho State Championships twice and the Pacific Northwest Championship s once. While at Boise High, Tom wrestled, played baseball and football. He was named First Team All State his junior and senior year. Tom attended the University of Idaho from 1982 to 1987 on a football scholarship majoring in Animal Science. He was a four year starter at linebacker . As a junior and senior, he was named First Team Linebacker in the Big Sky Conference, as well as Defensive Play er of the year as a junior. As a two time team captain, he set the career interception record and single season tackle record, which still stands. Upon graduation, Tom worked in Boise in the insurance industry. In 1994 he went to work for Simplot Livestock as a cattle buyer. He was with Simplot for 14 years, the last 6 years as the hea d cattle buyer. From 2008 to present, Tom is self-employed as a cattle buyer/feeder. Tom lives in Mountain Home with his wife, Shana. He has two sons, Tom and Jake. Tom, who also graduated from the University of Idaho and was a team captain, lives in Boise with his new wife, Haley. Jake graduated from College of Idaho where he played baseball and football. He is currently pursuing his Masters degree from University of Idaho.

Steve Linehan

Linehan was born and raised in Sunnyside, Washington, about three hours southeast of Seattle, in the lower Yakima Valley of eastern Washington. He was a three-year starter at quarterback at Sunnyside High School, where his father was principal. Linehan graduated in 1982 and accepted a scholarship to play college football at the University of Idaho in Moscow. He was a member of Dennis Erickson’s first recruiting class as a collegiate head coach. Linehan’s brothers, Ron and Rick, had played at Idaho in the 1970s, and were team leaders on defense.

Linehan was a quarterback for the Vandals under head coaches Erickson (1982–85) and Keith Gilbertson. He redshirted in 1982 and was the back-up to senior All-American Ken Hobart in 1983. Linehan became the starter in 1984 as a redshirt sophomore, but broke his clavicle early in the second game and missed most of that game and two additional starts. The Vandals struggled to a 2–5 record, then won four straight to finish 6–5 and third in the Big Sky. The season concluded with a 37–0 victory in the rivalry game with Boise State in Bronco Stadium.

Linehan led the Vandals to a 5–1 record as a starter in 1985, then a stress fracture in his right foot required surgery and sidelined him for the season. Idaho won the Big Sky title and had consecutive Division I-AA playoff appearances in 1985 and 1986. Finally healthy for a full season as a fifth-year senior in 1986, Idaho went 8–3 in the regular season and he threw for 2,954 yards, ending his college career with over 7,000 yards. Not selected in the 1987 NFL Draft, Linehan signed a rookie free agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys in 1987, but a shoulder injury quickly ended his playing career when he was cut at the start of his rookie training camp.

Linehan began his coaching career as a volunteer coach at Sunset High School in Portland in 1987. At this time he also was helping a friend with his business, selling class rings for Jostens. Linehan’s college coaching career began in 1989 as the wide receivers coach at his alma mater under first-year head coach John L. Smith. After two seasons in Moscow, Linehan coached a year at UNLV, two at Idaho again as coordinator, five at Washington in Seattle under Jim Lambright, and three at Louisville under Smith.

Linehan took his first NFL job as the offensive coordinator/ wide receivers coach with the Minnesota Vikings in 2002. After three seasons in Minneapolis, Linehan served in a similar capacity with the Miami Dolphins in 2005 under Nick Saban, then was hired as head coach by the St. Louis Rams on January 19, 2006. On January 9, 2009, Linehan interviewed with the San Francisco 49ers as a candidate for the open offensive coordinator position.

Linehan was announced as the offensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions on January 23, 2009, by new head coach Jim Schwartz.

On January 27, 2014, the Dallas Cowboys hired Linehan to call plays for the offense, and was later given the title of passing game coordinator. Incumbent offensive coordinator and play caller Bill Callahan remained on staff, but relinquinshed play calling duties and was given the new title of running game coordinator. Linehan serves as the de facto offensive coordinator by leading offensive meetings and calling plays during games. He was formally promoted to offensive coordinator upon Callahan’s departure at the end of the season. Linehan had previously worked with Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett when they served as assistants on the staff of Nick Saban’s Miami Dolphins in 2005.

Linehan and his wife of over 20 years, Kristen, have three sons: Matthew, Michael, and Marcus. He is of Irish descent and is a devout Catholic. Matthew and Michael both currently play college football at the University of Idaho, as their father and uncles did. Matthew is a quarterback and Michael is a linebacker.