Marty James

Heinonen to enter Oregon Athletics Hall of Fame

NOTES AND QUOTES for a Monday in the Napa Valley
2013-10-06T21:26:00Z 2013-10-06T21:36:09Z Heinonen to enter Oregon Athletics Hall of FameMARTY JAMES Napa Valley Register
October 06, 2013 9:26 pm  • 

Tom Heinonen, the head coach for women’s track and field and cross-country at the University of Oregon for 28 years, will be inducted into Oregon’s Athletics Hall of Fame during the weekend of the Ducks’ Oct. 19 home football game against Washington State.

Heinonen will join his 1987 Oregon NCAA champion cross-country team, which will also be enshrined at an Oct. 18 banquet at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore.

Each of this year’s inductees will be introduced at halftime of Oregon’s Pac-12 conference game the following day.

Heinonen was Oregon’s coach from 1975-2003. He was an eight-time Pac-10 track and field Coach of the Year.

Heinonen ran for Robbinsdale High School and the University of Minnesota, and is also a member of the Minnesota Track and Field Hall of Fame

During his tenure, he led one of the most successful college programs in the country, bringing home two NCAA cross-country championships and a title in outdoor track and field. He was a three-time NCAA Coach of the Year and was inducted into the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2006. Heinonen’s athletes made 17 Olympic appearances and set three American records.

He retired as Oregon’s head coach in 2003.

Heinonen’s daughter, Liisa Heinonen-Miller, is an assistant cross country coach at Vintage High School and works with Brian Pruyn, the Crushers’ head coach.

Heinonen-Miller ran for Oregon cross-country and track teams as a walk-on. She ran the 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000 meters.

She ran in the Oregon 4A state cross-country meet three times for South Eugene High School.

Heinonen-Miller graduated from Oregon with a degree in fine art in 2008.


Napa resident Emily Talley’s second chance to make it on the LPGA Tour will come with the help of Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice, when the two team up on the 20th season of Golf Channel’s popular Big Break reality series, “Big Break NFL Puerto Rico,” premiering Tuesday at 6 p.m. The show will air weekly on Tuesday nights.

“Big Break NFL Puerto Rico” will feature an all-star cast comprised of several of the series’ most captivating personalities returning for a second chance at kick-starting their professional golf careers. Two past Big Break competitors, one male and one female, will join one NFL legend to form three-person teams. On the line will be more than $200,000 in prizes, including $50,000 to the winning NFL legend’s designated charity and 2014 PGA Tour and LPGA Tour tournament exemptions, cash and other prizes for the Big Break competitors.

Talley will team up with Rice and “Big Break Greenbrier” cast member Isaac Sanchez of Folsom.

Talley played golf at Justin-Siena High School and the University of Colorado. She is in her rookie year on the Symetra Tour.

Golf Channel’s Big Break show concept pits highly skilled golfers against each other in a variety of challenges that test their physical skills and mental toughness. During “Big Break NFL Puerto Rico,” teams will be subject to skills challenges from tee to green, including two of the series’ signature challenges, the popular “Glass Break” and “Flop Wall” challenges.

Serving as the backdrop for “Big Break NFL Puerto Rico” will be the Dorado Beach Resort in Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico. Produced in partnership with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, the series will unfold on the resort’s historic East Course, a par-72 layout that features panoramic sight lines of the Atlantic Ocean on 15 of 18 holes.

“For me to work with Emily and also Isaac, my thing, I wanted to just be there as the motivator, and when they got down, I wanted to pull them up,” Rice said on a conference call last week. “And I think we just kept fighting. And if I got down, then my teammates, they would pull me up.

“I wanted to be one of those guys just to motivate them, get them through it, keep them competitive and let them know, stay aggressive and that we are just going to go out there and attack. I think I did a pretty good job of leading my team.”

This is Talley’s second appearance on Big Break. She was eliminated from “Big Break Mexico” this year.

She was an NCAA honorable mention All-American for Colorado. She was named the 2012 CU Athlete of the Year and received the 2012 University of Colorado Career Athletic Achievement Award.


Napa Valley players were successful in recent U.S. Tennis Association-Northern California tournaments.

Jaime Hill of Napa won in the finals of girls 16 singles-Challenger, defeating August Feinstein-Hillsman of Oakland, 6-1, 6-0.

Aabjeet Grewal of American Canyon won in the quarterfinals of boys 14 singles-Challenger, defeating David Jackson of Valley Springs, 6-3, 6-1.

Email Napa Valley Register Executive Sports Editor Marty James at or call 256-2223.

Copyright 2015 Napa Valley Register. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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