2017 – Stacy Dragila
Stacy Dragila is an Idaho State University graduate who made her mark on the sport of pole vaulting at the 2000 Olympic Games by winning the first ever women’s gold medal in the sport. She was born and raised in California, where she was introduced to track and field, but it wasn’t until she was recruited to be on Idaho State University’s team that she tried pole vaulting. Stacy has returned to Holt Arena for several years as one of our guest Olympians. She was selected for the Spirit of the Games award for her inspiring commitment to teaching and support of young athletes.
2016 – Dave Nielsen
Dave Nielsen is a key player in the vital relationship between Simplot Games and Idaho State University. He has been the Head Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Coach at ISU since 1985. A very successful coach on many levels, Dave most notably coached 2000 Pole Vault Gold Medalist Stacy Dragila. He has been involved with the growth of Simplot Games for over 33 years. That growth has not just been in the number of participants, but also in the technology used to run the event. (Ask him about heating and seeding with index cards in 1984.) We couldn’t make this work without his expertise, encouragement and help. Watch for him at the Games; he will be everywhere.
2015 – Ross Ruchti
Ross began his Simplot Games experience in 1980 as a race event timer. He eventually began assisting with all field events. He enjoyed the High Jump and would bring his teenage son with him to assist. He became the Head Official for that event, eventually becoming the Head Official for all field events. Ross was an original member of the Simplot Games Board of Directors, and after many years of service ultimately became Chairman of the Board. Ross’s commitment to Simplot Games helped move us from a small, regional event to what you see today.
2013 – Carol Lish
The success of the Simplot Games is in large part due to Carol’s 30-year leadership. Since it’s humble beginning in 1979 Carol worked hard to make it bigger and better. Rather than maintain a small track meet, she built it incrementally each year by commanding a loyal army of volunteers and by loving the kids she was serving. After her retirement from Simplot Games in 2008, she volunteers every year helping stuff packets for the athletes and coaches. You can also see her enjoying the Games every 3rd weekend of February. We are thrilled to present her the Spirit of the Games.
2012 – Andre Phillips
At the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Andre Phillips earned Gold in the Mens 400m Hurdles. Since then, Andre has excelled in the academic world by helping young people achieve their dreams through education; he now serves as the Assistant Principal at Franklin High School in Stockton, California. A 2009 National Track & Field Hall of Fame inductee, Andre was recognized for his dedication to education, his passion for supporting young athletes, and his enthusiastic commitment to the Simplot Games.
2011 – John and Donna Dye
John and Donna Dye founded DyeStat, the Internet Home of High School Track and Field, in 1995. Through their presence, dedication, and enthusiasm, their coverage on DyeStat has elevated the Simplot Games to new heights within the national high school track and field community, and beyond.
2010 – Coach Tony Wells (1943-2012)
Tony Wells, coach of the Colorado Flyers Track Club, has been a dominant presence over the years at the Simplot Games. Tony has brought athletes to compete at every Simplot Games since the beginning. Tony’s accomplishments as a coach have resulted in many Simplot Champions and successful collegiate athletes. Coach Wells demonstrates the Spirit of the Games by his dedication to young athletes and his long commitment to the Simplot Games.
2009 – Olympian Dick Fosbury
Dick Fosbury, Honorary Chairman of the Simplot Games, revolutionized the high jump event in Mexico City Olympics 1968 when he introduced the Fosbury Flop and won Gold. This first recipient of the Spirit of the Games Award is honored for his dedication, influence and tireless hours of service to the Simplot Games.