Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Top 7 BYU multi-sport athletes

Few athletes have what it takes to excel in their respective sports on a collegiate level. Even fewer are able to succeed at more than one sport while in college.

BYU has had a handful of athletes who managed to shine at two or more sports during their collegiate careers. In wake of recent reports that Cougar hoopster Dalton Nixon is considering joining the football team for the upcoming season, The Universe took a look at seven of the most successful multi-sport athletes to set foot on BYU campus within the last 50 years.

Danny Ainge (1977-1981)

Danny Ainge was a high school All-American in football, basketball and baseball in Oregon prior to coming to Provo. Ainge was also drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays of the MLB in the 1977 amateur draft before having started college. He played the following four years with the Blue Jays, reaching the major leagues in 1979, all while playing basketball at BYU.

Danny Ainge makes a last-second layup to defeat Notre Dame in the 1981 NCAA Tournament and send the Cougars to the Elite 8. (BYU Photo)

“Danny Two-Sport” led the Cougars in scoring in each of his four years with the team and finished with a career average of 20.9 points per game. Ainge set multiple team, WAC and NCAA records while in Provo, including the record for most consecutive games scoring in double figures with 112. Ainge decided to focus solely on basketball after being drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1981 and went on to win two championships during his 16-year NBA career. He is now the general manager of the Boston Celtics.

Doug Howard (1968-1970)

Doug Howard was a two-time All-American as a first baseman at BYU and set seven program records during his three years with the team. The 6-foot 3-inch Salt Lake City native also played at guard under legendary BYU hoops coach Stan Watts and finished his collegiate career as the fourth highest scorer in program history.

Howard was drafted by both the Chicago Bulls of the NBA and the California Angels of the American League after graduating from BYU in 1970. He chose to stick with baseball and played professionally for seven years before retiring in 1977.

Shauna Rohbock (1995-1999)

Shauna Rohbock was a six-time All-American and a three-time All-WAC First Team member while playing with the BYU women’s soccer team. She netted 94 goals in 90 games and finished her college career ranked No. 6 on the NCAA career scoring list. The Orem, Utah native also competed on the track and field team for two seasons while at BYU, setting multiple team bests during the 1998 season and winning the heptathlon at the WAC outdoor championships that year.

Rohbock played professional soccer with the San Diego Spirit of the Women’s United Soccer Association until the league folded in 2003. She then became a professional bobsledder, winning multiple gold medals in various World Cups and a silver medal at the 2006 Olympics.

Jennifer Hamson (2010-2014)

Jennifer Hamson used her 6-foot 7-inch frame to her advantage on both the basketball and volleyball courts while at BYU. Hamson spent all four years in Provo splitting time between the two sports, finishing in the basketball program’s all-time top-10 list in points, rebounds and blocks and in the volleyball program’s all-time top-10 list in kills, hitting percentage and service aces. She was named the 2012 WCC Player of the Year in volleyball and the 2014 WCC Player of the Year and WCC Defensive Player of the Year in basketball.

Hamson was selected in the second round of the 2014 WNBA Draft by the Los Angeles Sparks but chose to defer playing in the league for a season so she could attend the U.S. Collegiate National Volleyball Team camp and use her final year of playing eligibility with the BYU women’s volleyball team. She started her professional basketball career in 2015 and spent the following four seasons playing in the WNBA and overseas.

Vance Law (1975-1978)

Vance Law was a three-time All-WAC shortstop at BYU, hitting a .306 clip during his four years with the baseball team and adding 181 hits and 93 RBI’s. The Provo High graduate also started at guard for the Cougar hoops team and was a three-time letter winner there.

Law was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1978 MLB Draft and made his major league debut in 1980. Law spent the following 11 seasons with various MLB teams and was named an All-Star while playing for the Chicago Cubs in 1988. After retiring, Law spent five seasons as the head baseball coach at Provo High School before working as BYU’s head coach from 2000 to 2012.

Corbin Kaufusi (2014-2018)

Corbin Kaufusi stood out as a defensive lineman on the football field and at center on the basketball court while at Timpview High School and at BYU. Kaufusi racked up 154 total tackles during his four seasons on the Cougar football team, including 92 solo stops and 17 sacks. He also spent three seasons on the basketball team at BYU and averaged 3.8 points and 3.6 rebounds per game while shooting 59% from the floor.

Claire Gentry
Corbin Kaufusi shined on both the football field and basketball court during his time at BYU. (Claire Gentry)

Kaufusi signed with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent after graduating from BYU in 2019. He later signed a deal with the New York Jets and was reunited with his older brother and former high school and college teammate, Bronson Kaufusi.

Jaren Hall (2018-Present)

Jaren Hall threw for 5,109 yards and 52 touchdowns as a quarterback at Maple Mountain High School and was rated the No. 3 prep quarterback in Utah by Scout. Hall also hit .375 during his final two years with Maple Mountain’s baseball team with 54 RBI’s and eight homeruns. Hall has continued to split time between the football and baseball teams during his first two seasons at BYU.

Hall made his first collegiate start at quarterback during the 2019 campaign against USF, going 15 of 23 for 148 yards and a touchdown while also adding 83 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown. Hall also started against Utah State later in the season, passing for 214 yards and adding two rushing touchdowns before recurring concussions kept him out for the rest of the year. On the baseball field, Hall has played in 32 games thus far as an outfielder and totaled 12 hits and 13 runs, including a grand slam earlier this year.

Jaren Hall watches the game from the BYU baseball team’s dugout. Hall has spent his first two seasons at BYU playing for both the football and baseball teams. (BYU Photo)
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