On Saturday, Oct. 1, the ASU Athletic Heritage Committee
inducted 10 new members into its prestigious Hall of Fame.
The 2011 class included student-athletes Adam Archuleta (Football), Mike Benjamin (Baseball), Lucy Casarez (Softball), Kurt Nimphius (Men's Basketball), Grace Park (Women's Golf), Townsend Saunders (Wrestling), Marvel Smith (Football), Stacey Tullock (Soccer), Molly Tuter (Women's Basketball) and Fernando Vina (Baseball).
The group was honored at halftime of the Oregon State football game that night. On Friday evening, September 30, the inductees were formally inducted into the Hall in a ceremony at Wells Fargo Arena. The two football inductees - Adam Archuleta and Marvel Smith - gave speeches that were both heartfelt and moving. Here is a transcript of those speeches.
Adam Archuleta LB 1997-2000
"First and foremost I want to thank Don Bocchi, the heritage committee for nominating me, selecting me and inducting me, along with all of these other great athletes into the ASU Sports Hall of Fame. This is a special, special award for me and a special night. I've had a lot of different awards and accolades in my career but this is going to go down as one of the best. My story has been told countless times, I'm sure everybody has heard some version of it. Ever since I was a little kid and I was sitting on that couch with my dad watching that football game I knew what I wanted to do with my life. But even though I knew what the picture looked like, the end result, there were many details, many pieces of the puzzle that are missing. Tonight I want to tell the story of those pieces because even though this is a great individual honor, for myself and everybody else, it couldn't have happened without the supporting cast. Everybody that came into my life at the perfect moment in order to complete that picture.
I first want to thank my family. My mom, my dad, and my sister for raising me in a family where no dream was impossible, nothing was unreachable. You provided the example that hard work, determination, no handouts, that everything that we wanted to achieve we had to go out and fight for it, that it wasn't going to come easy. I want to thank you for that. I want to say thank you to my mom for every single Friday and Saturday during my senior year in high school for making me cut out those press clippings, putting together my highlight tape and making painful call after painful call to college coaches across the country explaining to them that I was ready, willing and able to accept a scholarship to their school. But the call always ended up the exact same way, 'you know what son its probably best if you look at you other options.' There weren't any other options, but if it wasn't for my mom making me do that I would have never gotten the call from Vincent D'Aliesio, the graduate assistant who was at ASU, who called me and said he saw my tape and had given it to the linebacker coach Lyle Setencich and they wanted me to come in to try to convince me that playing linebacker at 190 pounds was the route for me, not junior college. So, I came here for that meeting very skeptical. We walked into the defensive staff room, he didn't say much but he put on a tape and on that tape I saw a linebacker. A 5'11", 200-pound linebacker who was running around making play after play, lighting people up. When the tape was over he looked at me and said, 'Do you think you can do that?' I said of course. Of course that linebacker was Pat Tillman. Pat was the biggest reason why I came to ASU because he showed me that not only could a 5'11", 200 pound linebacker play football in the Pac-10, he could do a damn good job doing it. So, I want to thank Vince D'Aliesio for finding me, Lyle Setencich for seeing something in me that no other coach could see and Pat Tillman for the example, for laying down those footsteps for me to walk in.
I want to thank my coaching staff at ASU, especially Phil Snow, my defensive coordinator, and Johnny Barr, my linebacker coach, for not only teaching me how to play the game, but for being hard on me, not giving me anything; not letting me take anything for granted, for benching me after my sophomore year after I couldn't cut it. I learned a lot from those coaches. I want to give a special thanks to the late Bruce Snyder, who quite honestly I didn't appreciate as much until after I had left, after I had seen great coaches, leaders, men, that I began to appreciate what kind of impact Coach Snyder had on me. The way he led, the way he carried himself, the way he spoke whether it be one on one or in front of a thousand people, when he said something you listened. There aren't many men that are cut from the same cloth as Coach Snyder and I appreciate him.
I want to thank my longtime trainer Jay Schroeder, who out of everybody was the toughest. I still remember that first meeting when we met, it wasn't really a meeting. It was actually about a two-and-a-half-hour verbal assault on my self-confidence. I remembered two phrases: the first one, 'I trained sophomores in Texas that would destroy you' and the second one, which was a little bit more important, 'the desire to prepare to succeed is more important than the desire to succeed.' That's what it is all about. That's what separates greatness from mediocrity. That's what the difference between success and failure is, and we lived that every single day in that gym. He made me prove to him and everybody else that what I said I wanted, I was willing to do all the work to get there. He was tough and I appreciate year after year him being tough on me.
Football has been my life. I've done a lot, I've seen a lot, because of this game, I've accomplished a lot and although they weren't around during my football career, I want to say thank you to my beautiful wife and amazing son. Even though I had the time of my life playing football, it doesn't compare to the feeling I get and the gratification for being apart of this family and seeing the both of you. People ask me all the time, is Jett going to follow in his dad's footsteps, and this is my answer. I hope that he lives a blessed life, a life with great parents who provide the environment for him to dream, succeed and become inspired. I hope he has a blessed life where people come into his life at the perfect time to mentor him, to guide him and to be tough on him; to teach him that he has to work for everything, nothing is going to be handed to him. Most importantly, I hope that he has the chance someday to stand at a base of a mountain where the top is so high that he can't see the top and instead of turning around and looking for a smaller mountain to hop over, he takes that step knowing that it's not going to happen the next day, but someday he's going to reach that top. And when he does, just like his dad did, he looks back at his journey, all of the peaks and valleys, and he appreciates that more than the actual top of the mountain. That's what it's all about for me and that's what ASU represents for me was my journey. The journey is what makes all of us who we are. It's not the result, it's not the awards, it's not the accolades, it's the journey that forges us and builds us and our character.
That's going to be about it as far as thank yous. I know there are so many more people out there, but because of time I wanted to keep it to the people who are pretty specific to my success and my story here at ASU. I want to thank all of my teammates that I played with, everybody that busted their butt to go out there on Saturday's with a common goal and win. You built those memories with me. To all those coaches that have been huge influences on my life. I want to thank everybody here, all the fans. Believe me, I listen when I am on the field of battle and I hear you cheer. Fans are so important, so important to us, that's why we're out there, so thank you for continuing to support Sun Devil Athletics. Everybody who has supported myself and everybody that is here on this stage tonight, you are as important as everybody. Congratulations to everybody sitting behind me and God Bless."
Marvel Smith OL 1997-1999
"I'd like to start by thanking God. I know I would not have been able to achieve anything without His blessings. I'd like to thank the ASU Hall of Fame Committee, to even be considered for an honor like this is amazing to me. I'm sorry I always have a hard time speaking in front of big groups. When we were upstairs on the fifth floor, it didn't seem like there were this many people. There were a lot of people that were so instrumental in me being able to achieve everything that I was. I'd like to thank my parents, my dad unfortunately passed last year, he is unable to be here and my mom is sick as well, so she is unable to be here, but I would not be standing here before you guys if it weren't for them. My mom affected me in so many ways in my life and one statement that she told me has stuck with me and driven everything I have done so far to this point. I grew up in Oakland, Calif. It was really rough and I got caught up in a lot of things I probably shouldn't have and she made it a point to let me know that I would never become anything if I continued down that same road and that has affected everything that I have done, still to this day. I always fall back to that statement whenever I feel like anything is hard or when people doubted me throughout my whole life. There were always doubters and I always felt like I had to prove people wrong. I grew up really rough and I was essentially raised by my older brothers, because my dad left when I was eight and he was never there. My older brother James was my father figure. He taught me everything that I needed at a young age and I feel like I owe a whole lot to him and all my brothers and sisters in general.
When I was 12 years old, it was a blessing, no doubt about it, that through the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization I met my mentor, Frank Paré. I can't even mention how many times he has helped me through so many tough obstacles, just making tough decisions or helping me to see where I screwed up. He gave me a better perspective. He was the first person I met at that age that helped me to be able to see that coming from my environment you could be successful outside of it being illegal. He will always be a huge part of my life and I'm truly grateful for everything he's done and will do. I'd definitely like to thank my lovely wife, Kelly. She's been there for me through my whole career, through everything, all the ups and downs. I couldn't imagine being successful at anything without her having my back like she has and my two young kids who make life what it is every single day. I want to thank my in-laws for coming out tonight, my sister-in-law and my niece. My father-in-law and I have a special relationship. He didn't miss one home game that I ever had in my professional career and to have that type of support is unmatched. I've never had anything like that at any level in my playing career at all. Thank you very much for all of your support on every single game, regardless of whether I had...I don't want to say I'm conceded, but I didn't really have too many bad games.
Playing at ASU was a life changing experience, no doubt about it. Coach Bruce Snyder, I wish he was here to be able to see us, me and Adam [Archuleta]. He had such an impact on my life and I didn't realize it at the time until I was gone from here. He had a motto, 'one at a time' and that was huge in my life. Coming from Oakland, I wanted everything right then, I didn't know how to work to get anything. As small as 'one at a time' was, I took it to heart in every single thing that I did then and now. It helped me build focus and take things one at a time, whether or not it was a certain game, a certain player. I was able to develop game plans for each individual or each individual team on the field, and it helped me off the field tremendously to be able to calm down and focus on exactly what I had to do. Which is another reason why I was so amazed when Don [Bocchi] gave me a call asking me if I would accept being inducted into the ASU Hall of Fame. It blew my mind; I was thinking he called the wrong person. I've had achievements in my career, but for my playing career I almost felt like I wasn't achieving anything. I made the Pro Bowl, the Super Bowl and just to get drafted was a dream of mine, but I knew exactly what I had to do to achieve those things. So when I did it, I didn't feel like I accomplished something because I knew all I had to do was the right things the right way and this would come to me. To be recognized with such an honor like this, it is still hard for me to put in perspective because this obviously means I've achieved something. My whole time, the only thing I really felt like I had achieved was making it out of a situation where you are definitely not dealt cards to be successful at anything.
Being here at ASU, I played with some of the best guys and had the most fun of my career playing at ASU. It was family out there. To be able to be on the field with J.R. Redmond, Ché Britton, a player like Adam [Archuleta], across the board the offensive line I played with; all five of us played in the NFL and started on whatever team we were on. It was amazing to be able to play with those guys and I would not have been the player on or off the field without them in my life. I never reflected back on the past, ever, but with this induction I was forced to reflect on how I got here and all the things I went through. I was blessed to have the right people around me at the right time to help me make the right decisions. All of you guys will always be a big part of my life. Professionally, it was up and down so much, it was a job more so than having fun like it was in college. From that, I think I'll have one of the best friends that I got from that, Kendall Simmons, one of my former linemates and his lovely wife were able to make it out. I appreciate you guys being here.
Lastly, I was surprised when we were walking down here and saw Ariko Iso. She was so instrumental in my time in Pittsburgh because I had injuries and she was the one that worked with me through it. She's currently the head trainer at Oregon State and it's just lucky for her to be here this weekend. She was so instrumental in keeping me on the field because I had so many different injuries and we were one-on-one early in the morning before anyone was even there trying to work, just to be able to get me healthy enough to be able to play that week and then the following week; every single week. It was 6 a.m. Riko's abs of steel or something. I want to thank everybody. This is definitely an honor I will cherish forever. Thank you and congratulations to all the other inductees."