Brigham Young University will induct four former All-Americans and a national coach of the year into the BYU Athletic Hall of Fame on Thursday, Sept. 29.
Pam Miller Gietzen (golf), Sherald W. James (cross country/track coach), Ianeta Le’i (softball), Michaela Mannova (cross country/track), and Mike Wall (volleyball) will be formally inducted during a ceremony hosted by the Cougar Club at the Marriott Center. The five inductees will also be honored during a special halftime presentation at the BYU vs. Toledo football game on Friday, Sept. 30.
“Each year it’s a privilege to consider the various candidates for induction into the BYU Athletic Hall of Fame,” director of athletics Tom Holmoe said. “When the class is finalized, I’m always amazed at the quality of the individuals and their achievements in athletics, in the classroom and in the community.”
Since its inception in 1975, more than 200 student-athletes, coaches, administrators, teams and broadcasters have been inducted into the BYU Athletic Hall of Fame. Among the criteria to be considered for induction are All-American status, university graduation, professional accomplishments and community service. Below is a bio on each of the 2016 inductees.
Pam Miller Gietzen
As a member of the BYU women’s golf team from 1976-80, Gietzen won a BYU-record eight collegiate career golf tournaments, including the 1980 AIAW Region VII Championship in Fort Collins, Colorado. She led the Cougars to their first Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) National Tournament appearance in 1979, where she finished in 11th place. The previous year, Gietzen became the first BYU women’s golfer to be named Intermountain Athletic Conference All-Region, as well as only the second Cougar ever to individually qualify for the AIAW National Tournament, where she finished 32nd.
Gietzen played in three-straight AIAW National Tournaments (1978-1980) and was named an AIAW First Team All-American in 1980—becoming the first BYU female golfer to receive All-America honors. Pam established several records at BYU including the lowest single-round score (67), which she held for 31 years (1978–2009), and the record for the lowest four-round total (304), which she held for 29 years (1978–2007).
After graduating from BYU in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education, Gietzen continued her golf career. She finished runner-up at the prestigious U.S. Women’s Public Links (Publinx) Amateur in 1980 and was ranked among the top-10 amateurs by Golf Digest, before earning her LPGA Tour card in 1981.
In 1982, Gietzen had three top-five finishes on the LPGA Tour and finished runner-up for the LPGA Tour Rookie of the Year award. Gietzen continued playing professionally on the LPGA Tour until 1985.
After retiring from professional golf, Pam became even more involved with her community, creating after-school programs at Faith Lutheran School in Sugarland, Texas. She married Bruce Gietzen, a former KTVX sportscaster; the couple settled in Houston, where their daughter, Jennifer, was born.
Gietzen currently resides in Athens, Georgia, where she continues to enjoy golf, as well as playing competitive tennis. She currently works as a front office administrative assistant at Athens' University Surgical Vascular. Pam enjoys having Jennifer living nearby, in Atlanta, where she works as a graphic artist and web designer.
Through nearly 40 years coaching at BYU, Sherald James helped build a powerhouse cross country and track program that produced All-Americans, national champions and Olympians.
Originally from Spanish Fork, Utah, James opted to stay close to home for college, studying agronomy at BYU and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1956. He remained in Provo and earned a master’s degree in physical education in 1962 and a doctorate in 1964. After his time as a student and prior to teaching and coaching at BYU, James taught and coached for two years at a high school in Dayton, Idaho, where he was also a principal and district superintendent.
While completing his undergraduate degree at BYU, James enjoyed a successful career as a track and field student-athlete. He set the BYU and Skyline Conference records in the two mile and placed second in the same event at the NCAA Championships his senior year.
James began coaching cross country and track at BYU in 1961 and continued for the next 37 years. His BYU teams won 59 conference championships in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. Six times, his BYU cross country teams achieved the highest grade point average in the NCAA, and 10 of his athletes received Academic All-America honors. Distance runners that James coached received 73 All-America honors. That elite group includes Henry Marsh, who was inducted into the USA Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.
Current BYU track & field and cross country head coach Ed Eyestone also ran for James and went on to win the 1984 NCAA Cross Country National Championship, as well as to compete in the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games. Marsh and another of James’ athletes, Doug Padilla, also participated in the 1988 Olympics. At the 1984 U.S. Olympic Trials, three of James’ former runners swept the distance races. He coached four World Record holders, and his athletes set nine American records.
James helped host the NCAA Track and Field Championships four times. He also wrote the book Modern Techniques of Track and Field. In 1993, James was named the NCAA National Coach of the Year. After retiring from BYU in 1998, he was honored in 2000 by USA Track and Field for his years of dedicated service in the State of Utah.
During his 37-year BYU coaching career, James also taught in the classroom, including 12 different health science lecture courses and five different physical education classes. In his 41 years at BYU, he taught more than 11,000 students and coached over 3,800 athletes.
He and his wife, Janice, live in Spanish Fork, Utah. They have four children, seven grandchildren, and 14 great grandchildren.
From 2003-06, Ianeta Le’I helped lead the Cougars to Mountain West Conference regular season and tournament championships in 2005, along with NCAA Regional appearances in 2005 and 2006. She was one of the early stars of BYU Softball who helped establish the program after its introduction in 2000.
Ianeta is a three-time Easton All-American, along with being honored on the NFCA/Louisville Slugger All-America Second Team and the NFCA All-Region First and Second Teams. Within the conference, she was the MWC Player of the Year in both 2004 and 2006 and was on the All-MWC Team all four seasons at BYU.
As a Cougar, she broke multiple BYU career and season records. In the career standings she is second in RBI (206), second in doubles (45), third in total bases (431), third in slugging percentage (.654), fifth in batting average (.367), fifth in hits (242), and fifth in home runs (44). Her season records include first in hits (85), first in at bats (206), second in total bases (162), fourth in RBI (82) and fourth in home runs (20).
Following her successful collegiate career, Le’i played professionally for the Akron Racers in Ohio for two seasons (2006-07). In the 2006 season, the Racers placed third in the National Fastpitch League. She then returned to BYU to be an assistant coach from 2007–2013. During her time on the coaching staff, the Cougars won a conference championship every season except one. BYU also advanced to the NCAA Regionals each year. While back in Provo, she earned a master’s degree in public relations.
All through her life, Le’i has served actively in the communities where she’s lived. While playing professionally in Ohio, she was involved in many community service projects, including free camps for young softball players. After returning to Utah, she volunteered with the Sundance Film Festival from 2007-14. She also helped with the BYU Pow Wow in 2008 and 2014. In Hawaii, she volunteers as a coach/pro bono recruiting education specialist for the Iolani School and for the Mililani Prep Club Team.
Le’i earned her undergraduate degree in sociology from BYU in 2007. She currently resides in Hawaii and works as a program coordinator for Pacific Islanders in Communications in Honolulu.
Upon transferring to BYU from the University of New Orleans, Michaela Mannova made an immediate impact and became one of the greatest distance runners in program history. She was a member of the BYU Cross Country Team from 2001-03. During her time on the team, Mannova was honored as a First Team All-American and selected to the All-MWC First Team three years in a row. She was also named the 2003 MWC Athlete of the Year during her senior season of cross country.
Mannova led BYU to back-to-back national titles at the 2001 and 2002 NCAA Cross Country National Championships, where she was the first BYU finisher both years. In 2002, Michaela led BYU to an undefeated season as the Cougars won nine straight meets. At the 2003 NCAA Cross Country National Championships, Mannova finished fourth overall, helping BYU to place second.
In track and field, Mannova also excelled at the conference and national levels. During her first year at BYU, she won the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2002 MWC Outdoor Championships. Her senior year she won both the 3,000-meter and the mile at the 2004 MWC Indoor Championships, also claiming the MWC Women’s Outstanding Performance Award and Women’s High Point Award. In her final outdoor track season, she was the MWC 5000-meter Champion and was named Academic All-MWC.
Mannova achieved many national honors and titles while at BYU. She was selected as an USTFCCCA All-American eight times, earning All-America honors in three events in 2002, two events in 2003, and three events in 2004. During her first season on the team she was a national champion in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2002 NCAA Outdoor Championships, setting NCAA Championship and Czech Republic records with a time of 9:44.94.
After her BYU career, Mannova moved back to the Czech Republic, where she won three national titles—all before the age of 23. She also built on her BYU bachelor’s degree in animal science by graduating from the University of Veterinary Science in the Czech Republic.
Michaela married another outstanding Czech athlete, David Gerychova, and she still trains for half ironmans, triathlons and other events. The couple lives in Zajecov, where Michaela continues to follow her dreams working as a veterinarian and training for the sports she loves.
As a member of the BYU Men’s Volleyball Team from 1999-2002, Wall led the Cougars in kills and kills per set for three seasons. He still holds four of the top seven performances on BYU’s all-time list for kills in a match. Wall also set BYU rally-scoring era season records for kills (534) and kills per set (4.90) during the 2002 season.
In addition to owning multiple BYU records, Wall was a three-time All-MPSF First Team honoree (2000-02) and a two-time AVCA First Team All-American (2001 and 2002). He was also a part of two regular season MPSF Championships (1999 and 2001), an MPSF Tournament Championship (1999) and two NCAA National Championship teams (1999 and 2001) during his time at BYU. Wall was named the 2001 NCAA Final Four Most Valuable Player for his role in helping BYU win its second national title in men’s volleyball.
While at BYU, Wall also played on the US National Team from 2001-02. Following his national team experience, Wall headed overseas to play professionally in Switzerland and Puerto Rico from 2002-04.
After returning to the United States, Wall began his coaching career, helping the women’s volleyball teams at three different schools as an assistant coach before joining the staff at Arizona State from 2006-08. After taking a break from volleyball for a few years, Mike returned to his position as an assistant coach at Arizona State for the 2012 season.
In 2013, Wall was selected as an assistant coach for the U.S. Men’s National Team—a role in which his biggest professional accomplishments to-date have taken place. He helped Team USA win the gold medal at the 2014 World League, and then, in 2015, helped guide the team to gold at the World Cup—the first time the U.S. men’s team had won the title in 30 years. After getting off to an 0-2 start at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Wall helped Team USA through a must-win stretch to claim the bronze medal and a spot on the podium at his first Olympics.
A 2003 BYU graduate with a degree in psychology, Wall currently resides in Arizona. He lives with his wife, Erin, and the couple’s daughter Skylar.