2014 Seawolf Hall of Fame: Molle, Bullock, Strabel

Doyle Woody
UAA forward Peter Bullock puts a shot up against Lincoln defender Cory Rayhorn in 2002.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News archive 2002
Eric Strabel of UAA celebrates his second-place finish in the men's 20-kilometer freestyle race at the 2002 NCAA Skiing Championships at Kincaid Park.
Erik Hill / Anchorage Daily News archive 2002
Tim Molle was a high-scoring defenseman and a 1984 NCAA Division II All-American for the UAA hockey team who went on to play professionally.
Courtesy UAA

Peter Bullock was a double-double explosion in the paint, consistently delivering points and rebounds, and buoying the UAA men’s basketball team for four seasons on the way to becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer.

Tim Molle was a hulking, multi-dimensional defenseman, furnishing scoring at one end of the ice and preventing opposing forwards from the same at the other end, and helped a fledgling Division II hockey program springboard toward Division I.

And Eric Strabel proved a force all over the calendar, catapulting the cross-country running team to its first appearance at the NCAA Division II nationals and three times marking himself an All-American nordic skier.

Those athletes rated as first-class, and now they rate as the 2014 Class for the Seawolf Hall of Fame.

UAA on Tuesday announced the latest additions to its athletic Hall of Fame, which grew to 45 members – athletes, coaches, administrators and staff -- since it was established in 2001.

Bullock, Molle and Strabel will be inducted in a ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 12 at the school’s soon-to-open Alaska Airlines Center.

The men were selected by a committee of UAA staff, coaches, boosters, volunteers and faculty.

After leaving UAA, all three men continued to make their mark.

Bullock, 31, lives in Norway with his wife Mia and infant son Peter Jr., and he works in the shipping industry while continuing to play professionally. He’s still got game -- last season, he averaged 21.1 points per game and 7.9 rebounds per game.

Molle, 54, played six seasons in the American Hockey League or International Hockey League, one step below the NHL, played extensively for the Anchorage Aces and coached youth hockey. Molle, an Anchorage firefighter, and his wife Roberta have three children – Dustin, Bryant and Candace all played Division I college hockey, and Dustin and Bryant play professionally in the ECHL.

Strabel, 32, is a ski coach with the vaunted Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center and a real estate agent, and already a mountain running legend. Strabel has three times won Mount Marathon, the storied race up and down the 3,022-foot peak in Seward on the Fourth of July.

In 2013, Strabel crushed Bill Spencer’s Mount Marathon record, which stood for 32 years. He’s also a two-time champion of the Crow Pass Crossing backcountry marathon and the course record-holder at the daunting Matanuska Peak Challenge. He’s set to marry Denali Foldager in the summer of 2015.

Bullock, speaking from Norway, said he was honored to be added to a select, elite group at his hometown university.

“For me, it’s more of an award for the community and my family than for myself because there are so many people in Anchorage who had a role in this,’’ he said.

Before Bullock’s first season began at UAA, he recalled, there was some discussion whether he would red-shirt his freshman season. He said that possibility, along with the competitiveness fueled in an athletic family, gave him incentive to improve his skills. When the season opener arrived, Bullock was in the starting lineup.

“In my family, you compete to the highest level and figure out a way to be successful,’’ Bullock said.

Current UAA head coach Rusty Osborne, a Seawolves assistant during Bullock’s career, said the 6-foot-6 Bullock was remarkably well-rounded.

“He was talented enough to play a lot of minutes early in his career, and that talent manifested itself into even more minutes as an upperclassman,’’ Osborne said. “He could score and he could rebound. He was probably our leading guy is steals all four years and he wasn’t a bad passer. He would pass out of a double-team to an open guy.’’

One of Bullock’s career highlights – and this from a guy who was UAA’s Athlete of the Year as a senior in 2004 -- was leading the Great Alaska Shootout in scoring and rebounding one year. He remains UAA’s all-time leading scorer (1,902 points), generated a school-record 48 double-doubles in his school-record 107 games started, and is second in career rebounds and steals, as well as third in blocks.

As a junior and senior, Bullock was All-West Region and he spearheaded UAA’s drive to the NCAAs as a senior.

The low-key Strabel said he was taken aback when he learned he would be inducted because he considers the athletes in the Hall of Fame the elite of the elite.

“It was a big surprise,’’ Strabel said. “I never really considered what I did in college that noteworthy.’’

Strabel, who graduated from Colony High in Palmer, helped UAA’s cross-country running team as a sophomore in 2001 reach the NCAAs for the first time in program history. Michael Friess, the head coach of UAA’s cross country teams and track and field squads, said Strabel was instrumental in the foundation and growth of the cross country team.

“He was very mentally tough, focused and diligent about training, always meticulous and very much a team athlete,’’ Friess said.

As a nordic skier, Strabel was a two-time All-American as a sophomore – he finished second in the 20-kilometer freestyle – and an All-American again as a senior. He also helped coach at UAA, where he earned a degree in civil engineering.

Molle, who has been with the Anchorage Fire Department for 24 years, said he was surprised to be honored because he had been nominated twice before to no avail.

“I’m excited and humbled at the same time,’’ he said.

Molle arrived at UAA from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1981 as hockey program founder and coach Brush Christiansen entered the Division II team’s third season. Molle recalled that when Christiansen traveled to recruit Molle out of junior hockey, the coach showed Molle a copy of UAA’s media guide.

The 6-foot-5, 225-pound blueliner perused the mug shots of various Seawolves and liked what he saw: “They all looked like they were in a work-release program.’’

In Molle’s sophomore season of 1982-83, the Seawolves won their final 12 games. They won their first 17 games his junior year for a 29-game winning streak that remains a program record. In 78 career games, he scored 21 goals and furnished 61 assists for 82 points, elite production from the blue line.

Molle turned pro late in his junior season in 1984 after it was discovered UAA was ineligible for the NCAA Division II tournament because the school’s swim team in previous years lacked enough swimmers to qualify as a sport. Molle signed with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.

UAA hockey moved to Division I the season after Molle’s departure.

Molle sandwiched his college career with junior hockey before it and six seasons of high-level pro hockey after it, but considers his three seasons at UAA the most joy he got from the game.

“That was still the most fun out of those three phases of hockey,’’ he said.

Reach reporter Doyle Woody at dwoody@adn.com