5 former NAU athletes earn Hall of Fame induction

HOF athletes NAU

Five former Northern Arizona University student-athletes will be inducted into the Northern Arizona University Athletics Hall of Fame during ceremonies this fall.

The five, including a current NAU assistant professor, will be inducted during the 26th annual Hall of Fame weekend that will feature a banquet Sept. 15 and a halftime ceremony during the NAU-Dixie State College game Sept. 16.

The 2006 class includes Paul Farney (basketball, 1937-40), Rex Mirich (football, 1959-63), Valerie Simmons-Carter (diving, 1984-87), Yael Stuart (women’s tennis, 1995-98) and Dave Tocheri (track and field and cross country, 1969-72).

Farney, a three-time All-Border Conference selection, served as captain for the team his junior and senior seasons. Farney led the team in scoring in each of his four seasons, setting a then-conference record of 276 points for an average of 17.3 per game. He was a charter inductee into the Arizona Basketball Hall of Fame in 1966, earning selection to the Silver Anniversary honor team.

Mirich, a native of Florence, Ariz., was a two-time NAIA All-American (1962, 1963) and four-year letter winner (1959-63). He was named All-America at defensive tackle in 1962 and offensive tackle in 1963. Upon graduation, he played for the Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos and New England Patriots over his seven-year AFL and NFL career.

Carter, who was the first NCAA diving qualifier in school history, qualified two times for the NCAA Championships, finishing a career-best 17th. She was the school record holder in the one- and three-meter boards, capturing Pac-West titles in the one-meter and three-meter boards in 1986. She currently holds the fourth-best mark in the three meter (289.30) after holding the school record for 12 years. Carter is an assistant clinical professor in NAU’s Rehabilitation Sciences department.

Stuart, who hails from British Columbia, played number one singles and doubles all four years (1995-98) as a Lumberjack. She was an All-Big Sky first team selection all four years, while leading the team to Big Sky titles in 1997 and 1998. She was named the 1998 Big Sky most valuable player. She posted a 56-28 career record and went 16-6 as a senior.

Tocheri, who also lives in British Columbia, was a member of the 1971 Big Sky Championship team. In 1969 he placed seventh at the NAIA Cross Country Championships on a team that placed ninth overall. He also earned NAIA All-America honors. In 1972, he placed 10th at the NCAA Championships and earned NCAA All-America honors.