I began a BYU sports fan summertime pet project. The goal was to decide which BYU player gets to stake their claim at being the all-time best to ever wear that number across all the sports, male and female.
As a disclaimer, I must admit that I am weaker in my knowledge of some sports. However, I tried to make adjustments for this knowledge deficit by researching and investigating individual accolades awarded to athletes in all sports with assigned numbers. If you feel injustice has occurred. I'm genuinely eager to listen to arguments via the comment section.
For all parts of the series, click here.
#16 Ronney Jenkins
The #16 features only one excellent player. Ronney Jenkins was a stud running back.
#17 Aleisha Cramer Rose
The greatest BYU women's soccer player of all-time. She played in 92 games in the white and blue and scored 28 goals and notched 47 a school record assists. A 4-time All-American and a 2-time Hermann Trophy finalist. The Cougars made the NCAA tournament all four years she played with a Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight run.
She is the 3rd youngest player to ever be called up to the USA National Team where she made 11 caps (9 starts) with 2 assists. Poised to be a fixture of USA Women's soccer for the next 15 years, Rose made the decision to not play for the National Team in order to avoid playing on Sundays.
Futi Tavana was a dominate middle blocker who was a 3-time All-American, twice making the First Team.
Andy Boyce was Ty Detmer's go to target. Very good player.
#18 Lindsi Lisonbee Cutshall
Lindsi Lisonbee Cutshall held it down as a central defender for the BYU women's soccer. During her magical senior season, she was named a Hermann Trophy finalist on the strength of allowing only 13 goals (4 in WCC play) all season. Named WCC Player of the Year and First Team All-American as her team made a run to the Elite Eight.
Eric Drage was the first BYU receiver to reach 3,000 yards, another Ty Detmer target.
#19 Jennifer Hamson
The Greatest BYU Female Athlete of All-Time. Hamson was named 2-time First Team All-American in volleyball. She wore #5 in Hoops were she was an All-American Honorable Mention.
She took her teams to the Sweet Sixteen in Hoops and a National Runner-up in V-Ball. Was WCC Player of the Year in both sports.
#20 Dick Nemelka
Nemelka, an All-American, was a scoring threat to the tune of 24 PPG on BYU's 1966 NIT Championship team. He also played one season professionally for the ABA's Utah Stars, who won the 1971 ABA Championship.
The #20 also features a trio of reliable production football players from RB/WR Reno Mahe, TE Daniel Coats, and RB Brian McKenzie.
#21 Rick Aguilera
Rick Aguilera was a two-time World Series Champion and 3 time AL All-Star who tallied up a monster 318 saves despite only serving as a closer in 8 of his 16 MLB seasons. He was a starting pitcher in his early career and a middle reliever in his closing seasons. Those 318 saves were 8th all-time when he retired, but that has sense moved him down to 19th all time as baseball has remained loyal to closing pitchers staying closers.
His role was gigantic in what many call the greatest World Series of All Time when he helped the Minnesota Twins win games 1 and 2 where Aguilera recorded saves, and in game 6 where Aguilera was credited with the win. As for what happened for the Twins in game 7, I would ask you to defer below to #24.
Aguilera's time at the Y was marked by his teams making the NCAA West Regional twice, while Aguilera was making the transition from a left infielder to a pitcher where he showed some promise.
Russell Larson put in an incredible Junior and Senior years and has the distinction of being the only player to ever average a least 1 point, rebound, assist, block, and steal in a single season twice. (Brandon Davies pulled off the same feat his junior year, and was 1 block away from repeating the accomplishment his senior year.) Larson's junior season, he average 19.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.4 steals. As a senior, he averaged 17.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.1 steals. He was a two time 1st team All-WAC performer.
Jamaal Williams has an opportunity to hold all the BYU rushing records if he can have a solid senior campaign in 2016, which we hope happens. My favorite Jamaal Williams stat: through 3 seasons, Jamaal has never lost a fumble.
Tim McTyer was one of the best shutdown corners the school has ever seen. His pass defense was critical to the terrific 1996 team that went 14-1 and had a three-year NFL career.
#22 Danny Ainge
National Player of the Year. Greatest Player with the Greatest Shot in BYU Basketball history. Enough said.
#23 Vai Sikahema
One of the most popular athletes in school history, Via Sikahema made a living return footballs. He had an 83-yard punt return for TD against SMU in the 1980 Miracle Bowl. Plus, a monster game in 1984 against Tulsa that featured a kickoff return for TD AND a punt return for TD. He went on to make two Pro Bowls in the NFL, and has the coolest endzone celebration of all-time.
Steve Craig was a vital performer in BYU's 1981 Elite Eight run; he also has married Marie Osmond twice.
#24 Jack Morris
Behind Don Larsen's perfect game, Jack Morris' game 7 performance in the 1991 World Series is the best pitching performance the Fall Classic has ever seen. The 36-year-old Morris tossed 10 innings, 126 pitches, striking out 8, walking 2, and giving up 7 hits on his way to a complete game shutout. Morris also won game 1 in that series and was named the World Series MVP.
In 1984, Morris was the Detroit Tigers Game 1 and Game 4 starter. He went 2-0 pitching a 2-run complete game in each outing as the Tigers won the World Series. Jack again won a World Series in 1992 with the Toronto Blue Jays where he was the Game 1 starter. Was rostered again on the 1993 World Series Champion Blue Jays team.
Morris led the majors in wins twice, and was the American League strikeout king once. He also tossed a no-hitter during his career. Morris' time in Provo saw him be honored twice with All-Conference distinction.
Jeff Chatman had a monster senior season where he averaged 19.6 points and 7.6 boards. He is 8th All-Time in points scored. Named to the All-WAC team 3 times, twice on the 2nd team, and the other on the 1st team. A fan favorite, Chatman continues to endear himself to the Cougar faithful as he is a good follow on twitter (@JeffChat).
#25 Terry Tebbs
Terry Tebbs played basketball for the Y in 1953-56. He was named 1st team All-Conference twice. Standing at 5'9" Tebbs also has an unique honor of being named to the "Little All-American" team. A career 14.8 ppg, including a senior year 19.5 ppg. The little man would marry 1954 Miss Nevada Janice Babcock.
Doug Howard wore #25 with BYU hoops, though he was #12 playing 1st base for BYU Baseball. Howard was drafted by the NBA's Chicago Bulls and MLB's California Angels. He chose baseball where he made it to the majors for 5 seasons. He was named a 1st Team All-American in 1969.
Howard's college hoops career led to two appearances on the 2nd team All-Conference Team.
Gary Batchelor was 2nd team All-Conference as a senior for BYU basketball.
Quinn Gooch played safety at BYU. He would hit people hard. He has 107 career tackles with 3 INTs and 3 forced fumbles.
In the world of fun fact, here is a picture from the 1977-78 BYU Basketball Media Guide, that shows a young Dan Ainge from Oregon wearing the number 25 just above Head Coach Frank Arnold. I don't know the story behind this, as he did end up wearing #22 that season, but it is possible that this picture is enough evidence to make #25 Ainge's as well.
That being said, it is clear that the #25 is there for the taking for any incoming freshman.
Back with more number crunching in a few days.