The 2022 CGHS Athletic Hall of Fame Class: Twelfth Since 2008

Photo by: Jayden Tucker From left: Garrent Bridgens (for Heather), Robin (Harthill) Mullin, Tim Corzine, Sandy Jeremiah (for Bob), Bruce Davidson, Romney Taylor, Jerry Thompson, and Mike Gates.

Saturday night eight Cottage Grove High School [CGHS] graduates (two posthumously) and a team were inducted to the Athletic Hall of Fame. About 100 people turned out at the CGHS cafeteria to enjoy a catered dinner, to see a video of each inductee, and hear from the honorees. The following are the inductees’ bios.


Robert Jeremiah, known to his teammates as BJ, starred for the Lions in football and in track. He excelled especially in 1963 for the 8-1 Lions as a rough, tough 5-9, 201-pound blocking fullback. He opened holes for first team all-state running back, Alan Richards. BJ was also hard to bring down, averaging 7.9 yards per carry in 1963.

In the 1964 season, Jeremiah, who played both ways, was honored as a first team Midwestern League linebacker. Bob also received Cottage Grove’s Doyle Higdon award as the most inspirational senior player, chosen by head coach Al Simpson, and Jeremiah was selected to the state Shrine All-Star team.

In addition, Bob took first place in the 5AAA district meet in the discus in 1965.

Bob earned a scholarship to play defense for the Oregon State Beavers and played defensive guard from 1965 to 1967. The best was yet to come when BJ helped anchor a defensive line for the ’67 Beavers team that became known as the “Giant Killers” after stunning victories over nationally top-ranked teams: Purdue, UCLA and USC in a 4-week span.

After upset of the No. 1 Trojan’s, Jeremiah’s teammates gave the junior from Cottage Grove the game ball.  “I’ll tell you, said coach Andros “Bob was so touched and so proud, he cried a little.  But heck, I was crying a little, too.  “Bob’s been a good, steady boy, a fine team man for us, and I know he’ll be a credit to the Marine Corps.”

The day after the Beavers defeated USC, Jeremiah boarded a bus, the start of his journey to Vietnam. He served as a sniper with the Marines and was awarded the Purple Heart after surviving a grenade attack that took the vision in his right eye. After serving in Vietnam he returned to OSU, but a knee injury during a scrimmage cut short his return to football.

After he left OSU, Jeremiah, who married his wife Sandy, and in 1974, began to sell used heavy equipment. In 1978, he struck out on his own, starting BJ Equipment Company. In 1992 he and the Oregon State “Giant Killers” team was inducted into the state of Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.  Bob passed away in 1999 at age 51 and is survived by Sandy and their children Kris Jeremiah and Katie Jeremiah Fisher.


The ’68 boys swim team was the first Cottage Grove high school boys swim team to win the 5AAA District Championship. That same year they went on to finish 3rd at the state meet, the highest place the Lions had ever placed at the state swimming meet.

The CG boys went undefeated in all 8 of their dual meets and went on to beat perennial local powers South Eugene and Sheldon in the district meet scoring 238.5. At that meet, sophomore Tony Ciochetti set a state record in the 400 freestyle with a time of 4:08.2. Senior Greg Boyce was second in the 100 free and 50 free, and fellow-senior Doug Abbott was 2nd in the 200 I.M and 3rd in the 100 breaststroke. But it was the depth of the team that was the key to victory. Boyce said: We won district meet with guys who placed 7th to 12th.

At State Meet: Boyce became the Lions first swimming state champion, finishing first in the 100. He also took second in the 50. Ciochetti was 3rd in both the 200 and 400 freestyle. Abbott took 4th in the 100 breaststroke, and the 200 Medley relay team of Brent Webb, Doug Githens, Steve Williams, and Dan Baldner earned 6th place.  Doug Smith finished 8th in the 100 butterfly and Abbott took 8th in the 200 Individual Medley.

Bud Taylor: “I honestly felt we could have taken first. What really put us behind the 8 ball was a lack of a diving team that qualified for state.”

Boyce gives the credit to those milestone performances to coach Bud Taylor:

“Bud was a master motivator. We were a home grown team.  Bud was always researching and asking questions, and watched films of the great swimmers.  He was way ahead of his time. I ‘m convinced we out-worked every team in the state. Our work ethic was incredible. After bell rang for our last class of the day we had to run to the pool and get in our swim suits in the pool within 10 minutes.   We had 2.5 hour practices in the morning and afternoon 6 days a week, a total of 5 hours a day. We had to have a base of fitness to be able to taper for district and fully taper for state. None of us at the time realized that we were being coached by the greatest High School swim coach in history of the state of Oregon.”


JERRY THOMPSON: Community Contributor, 1969

In late 2007 Jerry became the sports editor at the Cottage Grove Sentinel which just happened to coincide with the beginning of the CG Athletic Hall of Fame. For 8 years Thompson wrote articles on each inductee and has continued on the Hall of Fame committee doing the research for the inductees, recommending inductees, writing their bios for the video and plaques, and narrating the video.

For the past few years, he has also added being the KNND radio “voice of the Lions’ for football, boys and girls basketball and baseball.  Jerry is definitely a home-grown community contributor.

Jerry has had a love of sports all his life.  His first love was baseball, and he is seen here on the left with his twin brother Larry. They were coached by Bob Gerstenberger, who was Jerry’s favorite coach growing up. Jerry played football, basketball baseball in junior high, and basketball and baseball in high school.

In 1966 Thompson began coaching 5th and 6th graders when he was just 14, and the same ages in basketball a year later through the South Lane Recreation and Cascade Youth Association. In 1969 his Jefferson grade school basketball team clobbered all the CYA teams, so Jerry looked at the Eugene Boys Athletic Association standings to see who was in first place in the different parts of Eugene. As a teenager he called the coaches, most of whom were parents, and challenged them all to games on their home courts Eugene. The Jefferson Airplanes beat them all, and the only loss that season was in overtime to Cottage Grove’s Harrison team. Jerry is definitely a home-grown community contributor.


When one enters the gym at Cottage Grove High School and looks at the all- time top 10 track and field performers for the Lions for both boys and girls, there are only a few names that are still either first or second all-time in more than one event:  for the boys: Olympian Dyrol Burleson, Mark Reynolds, and Jacob Woods. For the girls there are Celena Schirmer, Asha Mootz, Kristine Dunn, Dala Ramsey, Melanie Woodworth, Katie Rowlett, and recently, Matty Ladd.. All the above are Hall of Famers or will be in the near future…and now Robin Harthill has joined that elite group.

As a 5-ft 7-in. freshman in 1975, Robin ran the 100 hurdles in a time of 15.84, second only to Katie Rowlett. Harthill also qualified for the state meet in the high jump.  In 1976 in the high jump, Robin took a quantum leap. She became the 5AAA district champion clearing 5ft 5 inches, and in so doing set a new district record and Cottage Grove Lions record. The next week at the state meet she finished 4th with another jump of 5ft 5, barely missing at 5ft 6 inches. “I thought I made it, Robin said, but my feet just caught the bar on the way over. Unfortunately her junior year she was injured and could also not compete in her senior season.

Robin gives credit to coaches Joan Finholt, who sent her letters and encouraged her, and Charlie Olds: They let me jump with the guys…. I was a rebel and track straightened me out. Between my parents and coaches they lassoed me up.” 


Mike Gates, who is a 1978 graduate of Cottage Grove High School, excelled as an athlete before he became a coach. First, a little bit about Gates as a wrestler:  In 1978 Mike wrestled to an outstanding 21-2 record with 18 takedowns on the season.

His Coach Frank Adame described Mike this way:  “very aggressive on top, and he’s in good physical condition. He’s so darn competitive. He’s got a couple of good moves he’s working on during the season such as the single-leg takedown and a switch, and he’s concentrating on both.

In his senior season Mike earned a trip to the state 5AAA meet where he finished 3rd in the 168 pound class against all the big schools.  His coach, Frank Adame said Gates had 2 tough matches at state in order to earn 3rd place, in his last match to take 3rdplace coach Adame said:  “It was no contest. Gates just took him down and dominated him. Gate’s response to finishing 3rd: I was pleased, but I was disappointed I didn’t make it to the finals.

Two years later Mike joined head coach Bill Thompson as assistant wrestling coach for 29 years…from 1980 to 2008. In 2008 OSAA Mike was honored on the Wrestling Coaching Staff of the Year. Mike also was an Assistant Football Coach Lincoln Middle School from 2002 – 2008, and Assistant Track Coach at LMS from 1998-2004.

Bill Thompson said of Mike: “He carried on as a coach with the style as he had as a competitor:  very fierce with lots of energy, but very humble and always caring for the kids that he worked with. He was a prince of man.”


It takes a lot of time and effort to be a multi-sport athlete and Taylor was one of Cottage Grove’s best.  Lettering all 4 years in 3 sports, and competing at the state level in all three sports, no wonder in 1984 she was named the Outstanding Senior Athlete at CGHS, and received the Coaches Award  In the fall Romney excelled in water polo, in winter she starred on the swim team, and in spring she set record times on the track. Exemplifying the legendary Taylor work ethic, Romney said: “The reason I went out for track in the 8th grade was to get a BREAK from swimming, and to keep in shape.”

Romney more than “kept in shape” on the track. In two of the toughest races on the track, the 1500 and 3000 meters, 38 years later, Taylor is still 3rd all-time in the 1500, and 2nd all-time in the 3000 meters. At the state meet against all the big schools, she finished 4th in the 3000.

In the second of her 3 sports, Romney helped the 1983 Girls Swim team go 8-1 in 5AAA league and the Lions won the 5AAA district championship for the 3rd straight year. Romney won the 200 free in 2:04.17 and the 500 free in 5:32.08. She finished 6thin the 500 free at state.

Beyond the previous laurels, it was in Water Polo that Taylor achieved the most. She helped the Lions win the state championships in 1980, 81, 82 and 2nd place in 1983.  Romney garned first team All State honors in 1982 and 1983.  In 1984 Taylor made the junior national women’s water polo team, and in 1985 she helped the North team win a bronze medal at the U. S. Olympic sports Festival and in 1987 she was on the East team that won the gold medal at that festival.

After high school Romney also ran cross country at Boise State, swam at St. John’s University in New York City and played water polo at Queens College in New York.


Bruce Davidson, was beaten only once on the track in the 1984 league season, had the top distance times in the Midwestern league. Bruce was also a multi-sport athlete: playing basketball and running cross country and track for 4 years. Davidson was the basketball MVP his sophomore year, and in cross country was the district runner-up and top 10 in the state.

His senior year in 1984 was Bruce’s banner year. He won the district meet in the 3000 meters and set the all-time CGHS best time in the 3000, clocking it in 8 min 35.39 seconds. Davidson also ran the 3rd fastest 1500 all time in Lions history, breaking the 4-minute barrier in a time of 3 min 59.7 seconds. At the state meet in 1984 he earned 2nd place in the 3000.

His coach, the late Frank Moore said this about Bruce: “Bruce Davidson is one of the best runners in Oregon, and working with a runner of that caliber who works as hard as he does is very rewarding,” said Coach Frank Moore. In his senior year Bruce was ranked 7th nationally in 3000 meters and 3rd nationally in 5000 meters according to Track&Field News. After high school Bruce competed as an All-Conference Indoor & Oudoor track athlete and All-Conference, and All District Cross Country runner at Boise State .

After 38 years Bruce Davidson is still in an elite group of Cottage Grove Lions distance runners on the track leaderboard with Dyrol Burleson and Jim Kent.


Like many of the Cottage High School athletes, there’s just not enough room on a plaque to record their numerous accomplishments. 1989 grad Tim Corzine certainly is in that category:

Tim was an All American in 100-yard Backstroke and 200 Individual Medley and after 33 years Tim is still  #1 All-time at CGHS in the 100 ButterFly (51.47), 100 Backstrok (52.22), and 200 Individual Medley (1.52.80). He was District Champion in the Individual Medley and 100 Backstroke in 1987, ‘88, and ‘89 and was the state Champion in the 100 Backstroke in 1989.

In addition Tim was selected as the first Team All-State Goalie for Water Polo in 1988. Corzine’s accomplishments were not unnoticed as he earned a swimming scholarship to the University of Kansas. As a Jayhawk, Tim was a Big 8 Conference Champion; and earned a Bachelor of General Studies degree. Later a Masters in Banking at Pacific Coast Banking School.


Heather competed for the Lions as an athlete before she became a coach. Heather was coached by Bud Taylor and was on 3 relay teams that still are the best in CGHS swimming history. Heather swam the 3rd leg on the 400 medley, the anchor leg on the 400 freestyle relay and the 3rd leg on the 800 free relay. After high school Heather swam for Linfield College from 1993-95.

Ten years later Heather became the Lions’ Head Boys and Girls Swimming Coach for 5 years, from 2005-2009. She earned the following coaching accolades: she led the 2006 boys in the 3A division to State Runner-Up. In 2007 and 08 she coached the boys to the 4A state championship and earned the state coach of the year in both years. In both 07 and 08 the girls finished in third place. In 2009 the boys took second and the girls 4th in state.

In those 5 years Heather guided the Lion boys to 4 District team championships and the girls to one championships. Six of her relay teams won state championships and Heather also coached 6 Individual State Champions.

CGHS grads Bill Thompson and Shane May mc’d the event. Jerry Thompson led off and told how his love of sports began with his parents’ passion for athletics. Mike Gates shared how Wally Ciochetti inspired him to become a coach. Sandy Jeremiah accepted the award for her late husband and expressed how grateful she and her children are for Bob to be honored. The 1968 swim team award was accepted by the Lions’ legendary coach, Bud Taylor. Robin (Harthill) Mullin was asked if she could have been a heptathlete, and humbly agreed. Romney Taylor talked about how extraordinary her mother, Sue Taylor, was in supporting the Lions’ swim team.

Bruce Davidson shared that in his first college race after running for the Lions, he had to race against two Olympians. Tim Corzine tearfully shared how much his father and mother sacrificed for him to move from Roseburg to swim for the Lions. Former Lions Colby Carter and Eric Elligott, emotionally and eloquently told of how much coach Heather (Cunningham) Bridgens positively affected their lives.

An endowment fund has been established in honor of Heather, who passed away in April, with the goal of raising enough funds to permanently make it possible for Cottage Grove students to play sports free of charge. Over $100,000 has been secured to date.

In addition the hall of fame inductees, 2021-22 athletes Gracie Arnold and Jayden Cameron were honored as the female and male athletes of the year, and cross country/track coach Ricky Knutson received the coach of the year award.