Sports News

Jul 24, 2012 7:00 PM by Scott Breen - Q2 Sports

Ryan Johnson leads Hall of Fame inductees

BOZEMAN - One of the great Bobcat weekends re-claims center stage for one night this September, when three All-Americas, a Big Sky MVP and the college football's top student-athlete from 2001 comprise the 2012 Wendy's Bobcat Hall of Fame induction class.

The 2012 induction ceremonies are scheduled for Sept. 14 at MSU's Strand Union Building Ballroom. Former football All-Americas Charlie Jackson and Bob Biastoch, 2001 Division I Academic All-America of the Year Ryan Johnson, 2002 Big Sky Women's Basketball MVP Jessica Blake, All-America pole vaulter Shannon Agee Jones, and the 2002 Big Sky Champion men's cross country earn MSU Athletics' ultimate honor this fall.

Just one decade ago, the heroics of Johnson and the '02 men's cross country squad, along with the MSU men's and women's basketball programs, produced one of the most memorable weekends in Bobcat history. On Nov. 23, 2002, the MSU football team beat the Grizzlies 10-7 in Missoula to claim a share of the Big Sky Championship and vault the team into the Division I-AA Playoffs. Johnson's gritty 132-yard rushing effort was central to that stunning win, which preceded by 24 hours a Bobcat men's win at Washington. One day later, MSU's men's cross country team finished 11th in the NCAA Championships, still one of the crowning moments in Bobcat history, and that evening the MSU women topped Washington State at home.

While that late fall weekend in 2002 represents the Bobcat glory days to some, an earlier generation celebrated MSU's football success of the late 1950s as the finest era in school history. During Jackson's four years as a starting lineman and linebacker at Montana State, rolled up a 31-6-1 record, which included the 1956 National Championship. Jackson's senior season, 1959, a group of young players led by heralded recruit Bob Biastoch arrived. Both Jackson and Biastoch earned honorable mention All-America honors at MSU.

Agee Jones and Blake represented a wave of incredibly accomplished female student-athletes that began claiming national acclaim.

Cost of the event is $25 per person, $47 for two, and the evening begins on Sept. 14 with a social at 6 pm and dinner at 7 pm. Biographical sketches of the inductees follow:

Bob Biastoch, FB, 1959-61: After completing one of the legendary careers in Montana prep history to that point at Butte High School, where he was an all-state and honorable mention high school All-America, Bob Biastoch joined the Bobcat varsity in 1959, playing alongside another Butte High legend, Sonny Holland, and fellow Wendy's Bobcat Hall of Fame inductee Charlie Jackson. Biastoch started all three seasons at Montana State, earning honorable mention mid-bracket All-America honors in 1959 and '60. He was recognized as a tackle that blended power and speed in MSU's option-based attack. Hometown: Butte, MT Pronounced: BYE-uh-stock

Jessica Blake, WBB, 2000-02: Jessica Blake was the quintessential student-athlete. On the court, she was named the Big Sky's Most Valuable Player in 2002 after dominating the league as a post player. She was also MSU's team MVP in 2002 and its most improved player in 2001. Off the court she was an NCAA Postgraduate Scholar, the NCAA/Montana Woman of the Year, a Big Sky Conference Scholar Athlete recipient,; and a CoSIDA District VII Second-Team honoree. The Ricks College transfer capped her career leading the Bobcats to the 2002 Big Sky Conference regular-season title, and MSU posted a 22-5 Big Sky record during her two-year tenure in Bozeman. Hometown: Shelley, ID

Charlie Jackson, FB, 1956-59: Arriving at Montana State sight unseen from Bainbridge Naval Base, Charlie Jackson became Montana State's first full-time African American student-athlete (joining fellow Hall of Famer Larry Chanay, who joined the basketball team later that fall). Jackson was an undersized but lightning-quick lineman who immediately moved into a starting role at guard. The emergence of freshmen linemen Jackson and Sonny Holland solidified the explosive offense that Montana State rode to the Rocky Mountain Conference and NAIA titles. Jackson entered the next three seasons listed as the team's second guard, but finished his career as a four-year starter and two-time mid-bracket honorable mention All-America. Hometown: Winchester, VA

Ryan Johnson, FB, 1998-2002: Within college athletics, no honor stands as more prestigious than Academic All-America. Ryan Johnson was not just a three-time Academic All-America, he was the 2001 Academic All-America of the Year in all of Division I football. Johnson was also a record-setting running back for the Bobcats, compiling more rushing yards than anyone in school history. Included in his career total of 3,646 rushing yards are the top rushing season (1,537 yards in 2001) and three of the top four rushing games in school history. Johnson was also an NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship winner. Johnson presently practices physical therapy in Bozeman and is an MSU faculty member. Hometown: Fort Collins, CO

Shannon Agee Jones, WT&F, 2000-02: A significant part of Montana State's women's pole vault dynasty, Shannon Agee Jones transferred to Montana State from Kansas and immediately began crafting her legacy. The Helena native finished third in the Big Sky Indoor Championships in as a sophomore in 2000, and second outdoors. She won both Big Sky titles a year later, and finished fourth indoors in 2002 and second outdoors. During her first two indoor seasons she saved her best for last, earning All-America honors in 2000 and '01. She earned All-Academic honors from the US Track and Field Coaches Association in 2002. Her husband Zach Jones was a standout on the MSU track and field squad, as well. Hometown: Helena, MT Pronounced: AY-jee

2002 Big Sky Champion Men's Cross Country Team: Among Montana State's legendary athletic teams, the 2002 men's cross country squad stands as among the best. Among more than 300 Division schools that compete in cross country, the 2002 Bobcats finished 11th in the nation, powered by All-America Lyle Weese
Team members: Casey Jermyn, Lyle Weese, Kevin Murphy, Jeremy Wolf, Jonathan Gibson, Matt Holcom, Kevin Clary, Ned Miller; Coach: Dale Kennedy Pronounced: jer-MINE, HOLE-come


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