Las Vegas • Missy Marlowe grew up in Salt Lake City, and is remembered for her gymnastics exploits while wearing the University of Utah’s colors.
Now, Marlowe will live on on in Pac-12 Conference lore.
Marlowe, who graduated in 1993 and now resides in Holladay, was one of 12 inductees into the Pac-12 Hall of Honor on Friday during the men’s basketball tournament. Only men’s basketball figures had been part of the Hall of Honor before this year.
“I didn’t really realize the impact of it,” Marlowe said about initially being informed of the honor by Utah athletic director Chris Hill. “Once I kind of learned it was one person from each school — not a few of us or a few men and a few women — and they didn’t break it down at all and it was just one athlete, that’s very humbling and just amazing. I’m so grateful for Utah to just remember me that way.”
Marlowe, a 12-time all-American and a five-time NCAA individual champion, competed on two national championship teams. She won the Western Athletic Conference Female Athlete of the Year in 1992, and later that year became the first gymnast to win the Honda Broderick Cup recognizing the nation’s best college female athlete.
“I will always be a Ute at heart,” Marlowe said. “That school did so much for me. It was more rewarding than you could ever even dream of. I grew up around the U, so that team were my heroes more so than our national teams or our Olympic teams.
“I watched Mary Lou Retton when her and Kathy Johnson and Julianne McNamara when those guys, who are very good friends of mine, won the Olympics. But the athletes that I really watched and admired were the Lady Utes. Those were the women that inspired me.”
Marlowe competed for the United States during the 1988 Summer Olympics, and she had a distinguished club career. However, she described gymnastics at the elite level as often “turbulent” and “cutthroat.” She said coming to Utah was the first time having a team behind her and a support system helping her toward the goal of winning a national title.
“Probably the most amazing memory is just the fan base,” Marlowe said. “Everyone nowadays says ‘wow you guys get 15,000 fans to a meet,’ and I say ‘we did that 25 years ago.’ When I was there, we were getting 14,000 and 15,000 at our competitions. It’s incredible.
“You come out of club gymnastics and you have a few people in the audience watching. Your family is there. There might be six or seven people that are there for you. Stepping onto the floor in an arena where there is 10,000 or more screaming fans is something that’s kind of hard to describe and it takes some getting used to. But it’s amazing.”
One of Marlowe’s daughters will compete next year in the Pac-12 for California. Marlowe already has started to struggle with some split allegiances, but calls it a win-win situation. On top of that, Marlowe hosted Cal’s associate head coach Elisabeth Crandall-Howell on a recruiting visit to Utah when Marlowe was still a student. Crandall-Howell ended up going to BYU.
Marlowe joins Arizona basketball standout Michael Wright, Arizona State women’s golf coach Linda Vollstedt, California swimmer Matt Biondi, Colorado pentathlete Bill Toomey, Oregon middle-distance runner Andrew Wheating, Oregon State women’s basketball player Carol Menken-Schaudt, Stanford beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings, UCLA decathlete Rafer Johnson, USC women’s basketball player Cheryl Miller, Washington football player Sonny Sixkiller and Washington State discus thrower Laura Lavine in the Hall of Honor.