Real Salt Lake’s legendary goalkeeper Nick Rimando, NFL great Haloti Ngata and golfer Jay Don Blake will headline the Utah Sports Hall of Fame’s 2020 class, the organization announced Thursday.
The Hall of Fame class will also include water polo’s standout Courtney Young Johnson and track and field star Teri Okelberry Spiers. The five inductees will be honored Sept. 28 in a dinner and ceremony at the Little America Hotel.
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Rimando, a California native, became a face of Utah’s Major League Soccer team and is acclaimed as the best goalkeeper in MLS history. Nicknamed the “Wall of the Wasatch,” Rimando joined Real Salt Lake in 2007, during the team’s third season. By the time he retired in 2019, he had helped deliver an MLS Cup championship and represented RSL as a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team. His is the first RSL team member to make the Utah HOF.
Ngata, a Highland High School graduate, is in the top tier of NFL players produced by the state’s prep football programs, judging by his multiple selections to the All-Pro first team and five straight Pro Bowl honors. He went from the University of Oregon to the Baltimore Ravens as the No. 12 overall draft pick and launched a productive NFL career, earning comparisons to the legendary Merlin Olsen as a defensive lineman from Utah.
Blake, an alumnus of Dixie High School and Utah State, is distinguished as one of the best collegiate golfers ever to play in Utah and as the only homegrown Utahn to win a PGA Tour title in a span of several decades. He’s the only Utah college golfer to win an NCAA individual championship, in 1980.
Johnson, from Skyline High School, earned a silver medal in the first women’s water polo competition ever staged in the Olympics, representing the United States in 2000 in Sydney, Australia. She played for the University of California’s first women’s varsity water polo team.
Spiers, a graduate of Weber High School and Weber State University, starred as a collegiate athlete in the unusual combination of volleyball and track and field. She was WSU’s longtime record-holder in the heptathlon, the triple jump and the 400 hurdles and still owns the school record for the javelin, more than 30 years later.