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Saint Leo SID named to conference hall

Walt Riddle's second stint at Saint Leo was nowhere near as crowded or hectic as his first.

As the school's first sports information director in 1989-90, Riddle shared a cramped office with then-softball coach Ray Carver and part-time soccer coach Fran Reidy. Then Carver was fired, Riddle moved on to the Sunshine State Conference administrative offices and Reidy, Riddle's close friend, worked his way up the ladder to become Saint Leo's athletic director.

"You don't need much room," Riddle said, adding that his return to Saint Leo as SID in 2001 has been "just as much fun."

At Saint Leo, Riddle is a media coordinator and planner for athletic functions. But his 1991-2001 tenure as Sunshine State Conference assistant commissioner got him elected to the conference's hall of fame. Riddle, 66, is among 11 Class of 2004-05 inductees.

Riddle gave thanks to outgoing commissioner Don Landry, also inducted this year, "who gave me the opportunity for doing what I like doing."

Riddle was instrumental in helping the conference administration evolve. He once served as the SID for nine schools, set up the computerized system for keeping track of statistics and records, and chaired the hall of fame committee.

Also, Riddle helped produce the conference's television package with Sunshine Network, gave seminars on sports information and was a mentor. Four of his proteges _ Tim Carpenter, Aaron Barter, Tom O'Brien and Dean Watson _ became SIDs.

Riddle said he returned to Saint Leo "because of my friendship with Mr. Reidy. You surround yourself with good people and good things happen."

Reidy, a men's soccer coach and SID at Saint Leo when Riddle moved to the conference office in Orlando, helped Riddle with computers and Riddle helped Reidy improve his writing.

"It starts with mutual respect," Reidy said. "We know what the other one's good at."

Riddle, a sports writer for newspapers in Florida and Virginia before becoming an SID, plans to retire after the next academic year. His one wish is to witness Saint Leo win its first conference championship.

In the interim, Riddle will be in charge as Saint Leo hosts two major events in 2005-06, the conference men's and women's basketball tournaments and the NCAA Division II Southern Region cross country meet.

Among his proudest moments were "start-ing seminars for young people who wanted to get into this business," and "having the opportunity to work every day with Fran Reidy and (Saint Leo president) Dr. (Arthur) Kirk, and being around a great bunch of coaches.

"Everybody on the staff is family. Everybody helps everybody."

SUNSHINE STATE CONFERENCE HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES

Saint Leo sports information director and former assistant conference commissioner Walt Riddle is among 11 inductees in the 2004-05 class. That increases hall membership to 100. Riddle, 66, is one of four administrators headed into the hall, which was founded in 1991.

ADMINISTRATORS

Walt Riddle, SSC assistant commissioner (1991-2001): between two stints as Saint Leo's SID (1989-90 and 2001-present) Riddle helped modernize the Orlando-based conference office with computer generated programs, served as SID for all schools, chaired hall of fame committee and helped produce television package with Sunshine Network.

Wayne Koehler, Florida Southern, sports information director (1983-95, 1999-2002): helped establish conference-wide communication; worked at alma mater for 22 years.

Don Landry, Commissioner (1994-2004): During Landry's 10-year reign the SSC won 25 national titles in 14 sports. The additions of Lynn (1997) and Nova Southeastern (2002) increased conference membership to nine schools.

Sister Jeanne O'Laughlin, Barry president (1981-2004): Founded school's athletic department and has overseen five national championships and 28 SSC titles; helped raise more than $200-million for the school.

ATHLETES

Herbert Bende, Barry, men's tennis (1996-99): Captained Buccaneers teams that won three straight SSC titles and two Division II national runner-up finishes; SSC player of the year in 1997.

Shelly Davis, Florida Southern, softball (1992-96): The four-time All-American and 1996 SSC female athlete of the year led Moccasins to 1993 nationals, two regional titles and holds numerous school batting records.

Dylan Lewis, Florida Tech, men's soccer (1988-91): Named Adidas/ISAA Player of the Year in 1991, the defender backstopped the Panthers' national championships in 1998 and 1991.

Ulf Lilius, Tampa, men's soccer (1992-94): Midfielder was MVP of the Division II nationals in 1994, Tampa's championship season; SSC player of the year in 1994.

Shanna Nagy-Klauk, Florida Southern, women's golf (1996-99): Two-time Division II individual champ and national player of the year (1996 and 1998), four-time All-American; led Mocs to national runner-up spots in 1998 and '99.

Mike Valdes, Tampa, baseball (1996-99): Pitched Spartans to national title in 1998 when he was named Division II player of the year and SSC Male Athlete of the Year; two-time All-American went 37-11 with 276 strikeouts.

Cindy Yuan-Suger, Barry, volleyball (1995-99): A three-time All-American and only one in SSC to be named volleyball player of the year three times; SSC female athlete of the year in 1997 when Barry reached national final.

SAINT LEO MEMBERS

NameSportClass

Sam Koledukmen's soccer 2001-02

Bob Tewksbury baseball 1997-98

Bib Gibree baseball 1995-96

Phil Ross baseball 1992-93

Norm Kaye base. coach/AD 1991-92

Dr. Thomas B. Southardfounder1991-92

_ Compiled by Steve Lee.

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