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Bruce Gradkowski Among Seven Inductees to University of Toledo Varsity T Hall of Fame

Courtesy: Toledo Athletics
Release: 01/04/2012
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Courtesy: Cincinnati Bengals
Bruce Gradkowski played for the Rockets from 2011-05.
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        TOLEDO, OH - The University of Toledo Varsity 'T' Hall of Fame announced its 2012 inductees today. Included in the Class of 2012 are six former student-athletes and one former head coach. Inductees include Tia Davis (women's basketball, 1999-2003), Jay Gast (men's basketball, 1981-85), Bruce Gradkowski (football, 2001-05), Todd France (football, 1998-2001), Nick Kaczur (football, 2001-04), DeSeana Williams (women's volleyball, 1990-93) and Chuck Stobart (football coach, 1977-81).

        The 2012 class will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at the induction banquet on Friday, Feb. 24 at Savage Arena. Social hour for the event begins at 6:00 p.m. and dinner will follow at 7:00 p.m. 

        Also at the banquet the Varsity 'T' Hall of Fame will present the Distinguished Service Award to UT College of Business professor Clint Longenecker, a longtime UT Athletics supporter, and posthumously to former faculty athletics representative Dr. Alice Skeens, who passed away in November.

        The 2012 Varsity 'T' Hall of Fame class will also be introduced at halftime of both the men's and women's basketball games on Saturday, Feb. 25. The UT women host Northern Illinois at 4:30 p.m., while the men take on Western Michigan at 7:00.

        Tickets for the Varsity 'T' Hall of Fame induction dinner can be purchased by calling the Athletic Development Office at 419-530-5347. Tickets for Rocket basketball games can be purchased at the UT Athletic Ticket Office or by calling (419) 530-GOLD.

        The 2012 Varsity 'T' Hall of Fame inductees are as follows:

Tia Davis, Women's Basketball (1999-2003)

Tia Davis was a three-year starter for the Rockets, earning first-team All-MAC honors as a senior in 2002-03. Davis, who ranks 16th all-time in scoring at UT with 1,099 points, missed the final 10 games of the 2002-03 season with a knee injury. She finished the year averaging 18.1 and 7.0 rebounds. As a sophomore, Davis averaged 9.9 points and 5.2 rebounds. She also helped lead UT to a MAC Tournament Championship, earning All-Tournament honors, and trip to the NCAA Tournament that season. As a junior, Davis averaged 11.2 points and 5.0 rebounds.

Todd France, Football (1998-2001)

One of the greatest placekicker in UT history, Todd France was known for both his accuracy and distance on his field goals. A three-time All-MAC kicker, France made 56-of-81 field goals and 152-of-154 extra points. He holds school records for longest field goal (55 yards vs. Western Michigan in 2001) and extra point percentage (98.7%), and his second in career field goals (59), career field goals attempted (84) and field goals in a season (18). He made five field goals in one game vs. Eastern Illinois in 2000, one shy of the school record. France made second-team All-MAC as a sophomore in 1999, making 18-of-26 field goals with a long of 51 yards. He earned first-team All-MAC honors as a junior, nailing 15-of-19 kicks and making all 49 extra points. As a senior he earned honorable mention All-MAC, making 12-of-17 kicks and 44-of-45 extra points. France may go down in history as the player who converted one of the wildest plays ever pulled off by a Rocket-the famous "nerd up the middle" play in which France scored a 16-yard TD on a fake field goal to put UT ahead in a 41-36 victory over Marshall in the 2001 MAC Championship Game. France may also have been one of the smartest players ever to don the Midnight Blue and Gold. He was a two-time Academic All-American who graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. Since his days ended at UT, France has played six seasons of professional football, including brief stints in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles.

Jay Gast, Men's Basketball (1981-85)

Jay Gast won four letters at UT from 1981-85.  As a senior, he was team captain and led the Rockets in scoring (17.1 ppg.) while shooting 52.0 percent from the field and 80.5 percent from the line. He also grabbed 4.6 rebounds and passed for 120 assists. As a junior, Gast averaged 12.4 points and shot 60.0 percent from the field (fifth-best mark in school history) and 83.5 percent from the line. Gast led the team in steals as a sophomore, junior, and senior and is currently 14th on the all-time scoring list. He is a 21-year veteran of the Toledo Police Dept. and has been a detective for 17 years. In addition, he has been a color analyst for BCSN for two years, broadcasting UT men's and women's basketball and high school basketball games.

Bruce Gradkowski, Football (2001-2005)

Bruce Gradkowski was the starting quarterback from the Rockets from 2003-05 and set 27 school passing records. During his three years at the helm, Gradkowski led UT to a 26-11 record, a MAC Championship, two MAC West Division titles and two bowl games. Gradkowski is the Rockets' career leader in passing yard (9,225), passing completions (766) and TD passes (85), just to name a few. As a sophomore in 2003, Gradkowski completed a school-record 71.2 percent of passes for 3,210 yards and a UT-record 29 TDs. Among the Rockets' eight wins that season was a 35-31 victory over No. 9 Pittsburgh. In 2004, Gradkowski set the school record with 3,518 passing yards, completing 70.2 percent of his passes and throwing for 27 scores. He memorably played the second half of the 2004 MAC Championship game with a broken throwing hand. Nevertheless, he threw three TDs in the final 30 minutes, leading the Rockets to a 35-27 comeback victory over Miami. In 2005, Gradkowski tied his own record with 29 TD throws and led UT to a 45-13 romp over UTEP in the GMAC Bowl. since his graduation from the UT College of Business in 2005, Gradkowski has played six seasons in the NFL for Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Oakland and Cincinnati.

Nick Kaczur, Football (2001-04)

Nick Kaczur was one of only two Rocket football players to ever make All-MAC four times (the other was Barry Church). A starter at left tackle in all 51 games his four-year career, Kaczur made second-team All-MAC as a freshman in 2001, then earned first-team honors in 2002, 2003 and 2004. He played on MAC Championship teams in 2001 and 2004, and bowl teams in 2001, 2002 and 2004. Kaczur blocked for current NFL stars Chester Taylor (2001) and Bruce Gradkowski (2003-04).  In his senior season, Kaczur was a Lombardi Award candidate for the nation's best lineman, linebacker or tight end, and an Outland Trophy candidate for the nation's best interior lineman. He played in the 2005 East-West Shrine Game and the 2005 Hula Bowl. He was drafted in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft by New England, and played six seasons with the Patriots as a starting right tackle. He played in the 2008 Super Bowl with the Pats and was named to their All-Decade Team at right tackle. Kaczur earned his degree in recreation & leisure from UT in 2005.

Chuck Stobart, Football Coach (1977-81)

Chuck Stobart was the head football coach from 1977-81, compiling a 25-30-1 overall record. Stobart is recognized as rebuilding the Rocket program in th late 70's. He was named MAC "Coach of the Year" in 1979 and 1981. In 1981, he led UT to a 9-3 record the MAC Championship and a memorable 27-25 victory over San Jose State in the California Bowl. He later became head coach at Utah (1982-84) and Memphis (1989-94), and also served as the offensive coordinator at Pittsburgh, Arizona, USC and Ohio State.

DeSeana Williams, Women's Volleyball (1990-1993)

A three-time All-MAC selection, DeSeana Williams is the only Rocket to ever be selected first-team All-MAC (1992).  Voted MAC Freshman of the Year in 1990 (the only Rocket ever to receive this honor) Williams also earned herself a spot on the second-team All-MAC teams in 1991 and 1993. She was one of only three Rockets to earn a spot on the MAC All-Tournament Team. She is ranked second in school history in kills per game in a season (4.19), career kills per game (3.78) and career digs per game (3.63); third for career kills (1,491); and fifth in most kills in a season (411 in 1992) and digs in a season (3.74).

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