Famous Beetdiggers

DON LIND

NASA Astronaut

One of Jordan High School's most distinguished alumni is astronaut, Don Lind.  Don grew up in Midvale, Utah, and graduated with the Class of 1948.  He then graduated with Honors in physics from the University of Utah, earned a doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley and has done post-doctoral studies at the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska.

Don served in the Navy for four years and received his pilot's wings in 1957.  He later became a commander in the U.S Naval Reserve.  In 1966, he was accepted into NASA's astronaut program.

On April 29,1985, he launched in Spacelab III aboard the space shuttle "Challenger."  On the flight Don took a valuable memento from his life, a Jordan High School banner.  Principal Fred Ash was pleased to be contacted by Lind asking for something to take into space from his Alma matter.  He turned the task of preparing a banner over to secretary Maris (LeFevre) Olson, Class of 1957.  It had to be a specific size and would be carried aboard Spacelab III in a manila envelope.  The banner was presented back to the school after the space flight and hung framed in the main hall of the old Jordan High School.

Don has been a great influence among Utah's youth, speaking at many church, school, and science groups.  He encourages them to continue "learning, learning, learning," and delivers this message:  "If you want to achieve great things, be willing to do great preparation and make continuing sacrifice."  Preparation began in his own youth at Jordan High School for the important role he has played in America's history.

GENE FULLMER

World Middleweight Boxing Champion

In the 1950's people gathered around their black and white television sets to watch a growing and popular sport - boxing.  One of the sport's finest athletes comes from Jordan High School.  He developed a unique type of boxing, which set him apart from all other boxers.

Gene Fullmer is a distinguished graduate of the Class of 1949.  He was born in Bingham Utah, and raised in West Jordan, Utah, where he still lives on his family farm.  He was named after Gene Tunney, his mother's favorite boxer. He started boxing at age 12 when he joined Marv Jenson's boxing club.

He has always set goals for himself.  Becoming the World Middle-Weight Boxing Champion was an early goal and he worked hard to attain it.  "My training was strict.  I age right, never drank coffee or alcohol and never, ever tried a cigarette in my life."  Gene states.

Gene turned professional in 1951, at age 19.  He continued boxing through his army career, and after being discharged he began training again under Marv Jenson.  His first television fight was in November, 1954.

In 1955 he married Delores Holt, and added family responsibilities to his life.  Always remembering his goal he worked out everyday after he had made sure all his work and home responsibilities were fulfilled.

January 2, 1957, Gene won a decision over Sugar Ray Robinson and became the World Middle-Weight Champion.  He lost to Robinson in a rematch and then fought Carmen Basilio in 1959 to regain the title.  He held the championship until 1963 and retired after losing to Dick Tiger.

Gene is still involved in community affairs and is busy with his farm and family.  Recently he was honored as one of Utah's outstanding athletes during the last 100 years.

He often attends Jordan High School events and when he toured the new high school he was greatly impressed and thinks the students are lucky to be learning in such a great environment.  He still believes, "It's never too late to improve."

DON COLLETT

PGA Life

Did you know... that Don Collett, a 1944 graduate of Jordan High School, created the Original world Golf Hall of Fame* in Pinehurst, North Carolina and that he served as its President and Executive Director for seven years - from 1972 to 1979 - while presiding over the induction of the first 37 enshrinees into the Hall?

Don Collett Did you know... that while there, he was also the President and CEO of the famed 10,000 acre Pinehurst Resort Hotel & Country Club which included managing two resort hotels, five golf courses (now eight,) a gun club, an equestrian center and a tennis club?

Did you know... that as a high school junior in 1943, he won the Jordan District Tennis Championship and in 1961, as a professional golfer, he captured the Provo Oopen Golf Tournament as well as other notable tournaments throughout the country? He also played in three U.S. Open Championships and one PGA Championship.

Did you know... that in the early 1960's he authored two best selling golf instructional books; with Hall of Famers, Billy Casper ("Chipping and Putting") and Gene Littler ("How to Master the Iron Game"?) His popular instruction booklets, "How to Get a Good Grip on Your Game" and "The Secret of the Repeating Swing" have helped thousands of golfers improve their swings over the years.

Did you know... that while serving in the Navy in 1948, he was named the "Greatest All-Around Athlete in Navy Sports History" as a result of winning All-Navy honors in three sports -- in golf, basketball and tennis that year.

Did you know... that he recently authored his first novel, "The Well," which tells of surviving a summer of terror in the western Nevada desert and that a movie script of the novel is currently being written?

Did you know... that he is a life Member of the Professional Golfers Association of America and that through his company, Don Collett & Associates, he developed and/or managed 24 golf courses throughout the United States during his 46-year career as a PGA professional?

Did you know... that his son Randy Collett, Director of Instruction and owner of Collett Golf Schools, is currently serving as the coach for the Jordan High School Golf Team?

* The World Golf Hall of Fame was relocated to St. Augustine, Florida in 1998, where it is now part of the World Golf Village.