UAA basketball legend and former NFL player highlight Alaska High School Hall of Fame Class of 2024

The Alaska School Activities Association (ASAA) announced the Class of 2024 of the Alaska High School Hall of Fame on Tuesday. Among the 14 individuals who will be inducted are former Valdez basketball star Carl Arts and former Bartlett football star Zack Bowman. The ceremony honoring the class is at 2 p.m. May 7 at the Special Olympics Alaska Jim Balamaci Training Center in Anchorage.

The Hall was established to identify and permanently honor individuals who displayed “high ethical standards and integrity while achieving excellence in high school athletics and activities,” according to ASAA. It also recognizes those who have made “exemplary contributions.”

Categories include students who participated in athletics, academic activities, and fine arts, as well as contributors who served as coaches, advisors, directors, administrators, officials and adjudicators. Any former student must have graduated at least five years ago to be eligible for induction. This year’s class marks the 19th in the hall’s history and features six athletes, five coaches, two lifetime achievement honorees, and one activities participant.

Athlete inductees

Arts starred in basketball at both Valdez High and the University of Alaska Anchorage starting in the early 2000s. He helped lead the Buccaneers to 3A Alaska state championships as a sophomore and a senior, including a perfect 28-0 record in 2004 before graduating. Arts was elected to the UAA Sports Hall of Fame in 2018, and the program retired his No. 34 jersey. He ranks in the top three of the Seawolves’ all-time scoring and rebounding lists.

“I was always amazed at the passion, humility, resiliency and poise under stress Carl brought to each practice and game,” said Valdez coach Todd Wegner in an ASAA news release.

Bowman starred in football and basketball at Bartlett from 2000-2003, where he was named Gatorade Football Player of the Year and to the Cook Inlet Conference all-league basketball team twice. He helped lead Bartlett to the Division I First National Bowl football state championship as a junior and won the 4A March Madness Alaska basketball state titles in his final two years of high school. Bowman went on to have a standout football career at the University of Nebraska and was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He played eight seasons, started 28 out of 99 games, and recorded 204 total tackles and 13 interceptions in his career.

“Zack is probably the most dynamic football player in the state’s history,” said former Bartlett coach John Jessen. “All he’s accomplished, he did so as an extremely humble person and was always a great teammate.”


Travis Adams starred in basketball and football for Barrow High for all four years before graduating in 2018. On the hardwood, he logged 1,610 points and 584 assists and helped lead the Whalers to three 3A March Madness Alaska state championships, including the program’s first in 2015. On the gridiron, he was on the 2017 First National Bowl Division III state-title-winning team. He went on to play basketball collegiately for UAA; however, a back injury cut his post-high school athletic career short.

“What separated Travis from many other athletes was his unwavering support of his teammates,” said former Barrow coach Jeremy Arnhart. “He was also unafraid to lead, as he was so often called on to do.”

Jordan Clarke starred in track and field as well as football at Bartlett from 2005-2008. He set the state records in the discus (192 feet, 7 inches) and shot put (71-3) and was named the state championship meet’s outstanding male competitor three times. On the gridiron, he played multiple positions, was a two-time team captain and received first-team all-state offensive linemen honors twice. He went on to star collegiately at Arizona State University, where he won multiple NCAA track and field titles before competing professionally on the United States World Team where he won a gold medal at the 2014 Pan American Sports Festival.

“Jordan’s success is not only a reflection of his talent but also a result of his unwavering determination,” said former Bartlett track and field coach John Schmitz.

In the early 2000s, Raymond Douville starred in basketball at Craig High School, where he led the Panthers to the 2003 Class 3A March Madness Alaska state championship. He was an all-conference basketball selection several times and a two-time 3A state all-tournament team honoree in 2002 and 2003.

“Raymond was part of a special team of kids from a small community that played together from elementary school through high school,” said former Craig administrator Doug Rhodes. “They helped put Craig on the map as a force from which to be reckoned.”

Jesstina “Piggy” Pili starred in basketball and volleyball from 2004-2007, where she was on two state tournament volleyball teams and was named to the state all-tournament teams in 2004 and 2006. She led the Whalers to a state title in 2006 and received the tournament’s outstanding hitter honors. On the basketball court, Pili was selected to the all-tournament team at state three times, helped lead Barrow to the 2007 3A March Madness Alaska title, and was named player of the year as a senior

“Piggy emphasizes respecting your opponents regardless, and always sticking together as a team no matter how bumpy the road gets,” said Barrow volleyball coach Aniseko Unutoa.

Activity inductee

Terek Rutherford lettered in Drama, Debate & Forensics all four years at South, leading the Wolverines to two state championships, notching five individual titles and was named the top speaker in Policy & Debate for three consecutive years (2013-2015). He also holds the record for most first-place rankings in speech (Forensics) with 86. As a senior in 2015, Rutherford was named a National Speech & Debate Association All American and is the lone Alaskan to receive the prestigious Drama, Debate & Forensics status to date.

“Terek is undoubtedly the most-decorated (DDF) competitor in Alaska history,” said Shawn Briscoe, Assistant Director of the University of Alaska Anchorage debate program and Rutherford’s coach “Each year, more than 130,000 students compete in the (national competition). Of those, only 25 receive All-America honors.”

Contributor inductees

Jim Beeson coached basketball and football, as well as track and field, at Kenai Central High School. As a football coach, he racked up five small-school First National Bowl football state titles, 103 victories which ranks in the top seven all-time in the state’s football coaching history, and multiple Alaska’s coach of the year and the Northern Lights Conference’s coach of the year honors. He also received similar recognition for boys basketball twice and once for girls basketball.

“Beeson’s teams were smart, disciplined, tough and hard-working,” said veteran Alaska journalist Matt Tunseth, who played for the 1994 Kenai team. “Those were traits we picked up directly from our coach.”

Rod Christiansen coached football and Nordic ski at Palmer High for over 30 years and finished his coaching career as Alaska’s all-time winningest coach with 159 victories. He was named state coach of the year five times, guided the Moose to the 1995 single-classification First National Bowl state championship, and finished second at state four times. He also taught math and science at the school and coached Nordic skiing as well as youth baseball.

“Coach was an influencer long before that became a thing with the advent of social media,” said former Palmer High principal Wolfgang Winter.

Bill Jack spent about 40 years coaching basketball and cross-country running in the western part of the state at Bethel, Kotzebue, and Nome-Beltz and also worked at Anchorage’s Heritage Christian. He guided teams to numerous conference titles and reportedly won state titles for small schools in 1976 and 1983.

“Coach Jack worked hard to prepare his teams for success in both sports and life,” said former Nome-Beltz player Uly Hall. “To this day, he remains a friend and mentor to many former students he coached over the years. He was not only a hard worker, but a dynamic person.”

Shawn Lundgren coached hockey at three different high schools in and around Fairbanks for nearly three decades during which he guided boys teams to four First National Cup state titles as well as two girls teams to championships. With him at the helm, Lathrop won state in 2009, West Valley finished second in state in 2000, and Monroe Catholic teams won back-to-back Division II First National Cup titles in 2017 and 2018. From 2013-2014, he coached Fairbanks Arctic Bears girls teams to back-to-back unsanctioned girls titles.


“As storied as his coaching career has been, what truly elevates Coach Lundgren is his commitment to excellence off the ice,” said Christopher Dean, an Alaska licensed athletic trainer.

Ward Romans coached girls basketball at Nikiski for 21 years from the early 1990s to the mid-2000s during which he guided the Bulldogs to eight Class 3A March Madness Alaska state championships and finished runner-up once. His teams won countless Peninsula Conference titles and after he left to coach at Grace Christian, he led the Grizzlies to the program’s first state tournament appearance.

“(Romans’) teams were always fundamentally sound and executed the little things that often make the difference in games,” said Kenai Central coach Craig Jung. “The hallmark of those teams was their defense. Teams didn’t get second shots.”

Lifetime Achievement inductees

John Miles was a longtime administrator at Nome High School where he helped create the Bering Strait School District’s first Nordic skiing and biathlon programs out of Koyuk in 1978. He founded the Western/Interior Ski Association a decade later, and in 2016 he was named the Cross Country Alaska’s second Hall of Fame class.

“In the 30-plus years John helped promote these meets and races (around Northwest Alaska), he would travel to every village and fit kids with skis, boots and poles, and he would know all their names,” said Paul Lincoln, one of Miles’ many athletes. “The kids would all love and revere him.”

Dean Overbey was a longtime administrator at Nenana High School but served as the Region II president for 12 years and was its ASAA board representative from 2002-2013. He was the athletic director at Nenana High from 1983 to 2013, and in 1984, Overbey helped start the Nenana Invitational Basketball Tournament — the NIT — that blossomed into the largest small-school tournament in Interior Alaska.

“As a high school player and later as a coach, I have personally been part of the NIT and witnessed the impact (it) has so communities throughout Alaska,” said Jimmy Sickler, Susitna Valley coach and a current Region II board representative. “In Alaskan context, that tournament evokes all the positive images of life (in rural Alaska).”

Josh Reed

Josh Reed is a sports reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He's a graduate of West High School and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.