Wearing red tennis shoes and a jacket displaying a golf-themed comic strip, former BYU quarterback Jim McMahon made his entrance into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony Tuesday night, accompanied by the Roy High School fight song.
McMahon joined golfer Billy Casper, University of Utah and Weber State football coach Ron McBride, Ute tight end Marv Fleming and BYU volleyball player Michele Fellows Lewis in class of 2013 at EnergySolutions Arena.
In an unscripted, poignant acceptance speech, McMahon described his honor as unlikely “for a guy who never wanted to come to Utah.”
McMahon’s family moved from northern California to Roy for his junior year of high school and he stayed in Utah through five seasons at BYU. Addressing former BYU coach LaVell Edwards, McMahon said, “I knew we had our run-ins, but we had some fun too.”
McMahon also recited the names of key coaches at every level, pointing to his father, Jim McMahon Sr., as the most influential of all.
Casper is experiencing even greater appreciation of his career now that he’s 82, and he’s enjoying it. “If I’d been receiving the recognition at the time I was performing, I would have never accepted it the way I’m accepting it now,” he said. “Wherever I go in the world, it’s just overwhelming.”
McBride is credited with establishing a foundation that enabled Utah coaches Urban Meyer and Kyle Whittingham to succeed. The Ute program is “what I always thought it could be,” McBride said.
Fleming appeared in five of the first eight Super Bowls and won four of them with Green Bay and Miami.
The starting tight end for the Dolphins’ unbeaten team in 1972, Fleming played in an era when tight ends were utilized mostly as blockers. That was fine with him. He remembers “hearing the ball-carrier run past you,” he said. “To me, that was better than a catch.”
Lewis became part of an unprecedented dual honor, following last October’s induction of her husband, former BYU tight end Chad Lewis. She led the Cougar volleyball team to its only NCAA Final Four appearance in 1993, spurred by a 25-match winning streak.