COEUR d'ALENE — Former Clark Fork star and NFL player Ron Heller joins Sandpoint sports legend and state javelin record holder Jim DeMers on a list of five inductees for the 2005 class of the Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame.
In addition to the two Bonner County standouts, former North Idaho College wrestling coach John Owen, former Post Falls boys basketball coach C.W. Totten, and former Idaho and NFL lineman Mark Schlereth will be honored at the 43rd annual North Idaho Sports Banquet, scheduled for April 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the Coeur d'Alene Inn.
High school, college and pro athletes and teams also will be honored at the banquet.
Heller signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 1986. After being cut in training camp, he signed with the San Francisco 49ers and played tight end for three seasons, starting 16 games and winning a Super Bowl ring following the 1988 season.
He signed with the Atlanta Falcons as a Plan B free agent in 1989 and started 15 games. He signed with the Seattle Seahawks in 1990, and started 17 games in three seasons. He retired in 1993 and now lives in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Heller caught 84 passes for 871 yards and five touchdowns in his NFL career, and was a key member on special teams.
At Clark Fork, Heller was first team all-state in football his junior and senior years. He won a state title in the 200-meter dash as a senior, and was first team all-state in basketball as a senior, graduating in 1981.
He started four years at Oregon State, the first 3 1/2 at linebacker, the last 1/2 season at tight end.
At Sandpoint High School in the 1920s, DeMers was a star football and basketball player, and became the first high school student to throw the javelin more than 200 feet. At the world high school competition in Chicago in 1925, DeMers threw the javelin a record 205 feet, 6 inches. He set another record at the meet in 1927.
DeMers set a state high school record in the javelin in 1926 with a throw of 202-6, a record since considered as permanent as the event has not been offered in Idaho track meets for years.
After high school, DeMers made the U.S. track and field team, and became the first American to exceed 220 feet in the javelin. He then set a world record with a toss of 222-6.
Injuries and illness prevented DeMers from competing in the 1928 and '32 Olympics.
Later, DeMers served 20 years on the police force in Redondo Beach, Calif., and 3 1/2 years as chief of police in Winslow, Ariz.
Owen coached NIC to eight NJCAA championships and an overall record of 304-23-2 from 1978-97. His Cardinal teams were national runners-up four times, third five times. He coached 35 national champions and 102 NJCAA All-Americans.
NIC won 18 Region 18 championships, and Owen was named national junior college coach of the year four times. He received numerous other coaching honors, and was inducted into the National Junior College Hall of Fame in 1989.
Born in Lolo, Mont., Owen wrestled at Missoula County High School, compiling a 64-3 career record which included a second-place finish at state. He was named most inspirational as a wrestler at Yakima Valley College in 1970.
Following a stint in the U.S. Army, Owen coached South Umpqua High School in Myrtle Creek, Ore., to a 72-11-2 record from 1972-75. He was an assistant for two seasons at NIC before becoming head coach.
Owen has been head wrestling coach at Central Valley in Spokane since 2002, and is tournament director for the annual Tri-State wrestling tourney at NIC.
Totten coached high school basketball for 30 years. He compiled a 93-31 record at Post Falls from 1957-64, including state titles in 1963 and '64. He also coached the Trojan boys to a state track title in '64.
Totten began his coaching career as freshman coach under Elmer Jordan at Coeur d'Alene, then went to Post Falls where he was athletic director and coached football, basketball and track.
Totten coached two years at Hellgate High in Missoula, then returned to Post Falls for two years. He coached at Kelso (Wash.) High from 1970-76, and finished his career coaching at Evergreen High of Vancouver, Wash. He retired from teaching at Evergreen in 1994.
At Boise Junior College from 1950-52, Totten led the team in scoring both years, averaging 15 points per game as a freshman, 18 as a sophomore. At the University of Idaho from 1952-54, he was known as a defensive stopper.
Totten, who lives in Anderson Island, Wash., played on Coeur d'Alene's boys basketball state title team in 1949. He also played football and golf for the Vikings.
Schlereth, an analyst at ESPN, played nose tackle, defensive tackle and center at Idaho, before settling in at guard his junior season. Despite being hampered by knee and elbow injuries, he came back his senior season to help the Vandals reach the semifinals of the Division I-AA playoffs, and a school-record 11 victories.
Schlereth was a 10th-round draft pick (263rd overall) by the Washington Redskins in 1989. The first native-born Alaskan to play in the NFL, Schlereth played on three Super Bowl-winning teams — 1991 with Washington, 1998 and '99 with Denver. He played six seasons with each team.
He was selected for the Pro Bowl in 1991 and '98, and was named All-Pro in 1997.
Schlereth underwent 28 surgeries and one kidney stone procedure over the course of his playing career.
Before coming to Idaho, Schlereth won a state heavyweight wrestling title at Robert Service High School in Anchorage, Alaska.