Susie Wargin

Susie Wargin

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Matt Mauck

Billy Van Heusen

He grew up in New York and went to college at the University of Maryland. Billy Van Heusen was all east coast until he stepped off a plane in Denver in 1968 and saw the Front Range for the first time. His goal as an undrafted free agent became not just to make the Broncos roster, but to stay in Denver. He did both.  

In 2019, Billy was named to the Broncos All-Time Top 100 Team. He played 9 seasons in Denver and was a top 10 NFL punter in 5 of those years. He was quite athletic at other positions as well: he had 82 catches as a wide receiver, scored 11 touchdowns and averaged 20 ½ yards per catch. He also carried the ball on occasion. As a running back he had 13 carries for 171 yards and 1 touchdown (a 66-yard return on a fake punt).  

In the middle of his NFL career in 1972, like most players in that era, Billy started a second job when he got his Colorado real estate license. He dabbled in real estate for the next few years until he realized he was done with football in 1977. The wrap on his career was not by choice: after the 1976 season some controversy boiled up regarding how some players felt after they were told their head coach John Ralston was being retained. The player’s thoughts about Ralston made it to the media and Billy saw the writing on the wall when he was called out for it. Despite Ralston not being retained as head coach, Billy was cut on the last day of training camp in 1977.    

After his playing career was over, Billy stayed in Denver and real estate became his full-time job and he’s still going strong today with his Billy Van Heusen Team.

Charlie Adams

He grew up in Pennsylvania with two older brothers and played in just about every sport.  Eventually football became Charlie Adam’s bread and butter – he could catch and run. Skills that served him well as a wide receiver and a return specialist. Which is why he was named All-Pennsylvania Special Teams in high school.  

Charlie took a scholarship at Hofstra University where he figured he would see some action with their offense. He was right. When he graduated, Charlie was Hofstra’s all-time leading wide receiver. A record since broken by Marques Colston who, coincidentally, Charlie hosted when Marques was being recruited.  

A knee injury during his senior year at Hofstra prevented NFL teams from drafting Charlie, however the Broncos stayed in touch and offered him a spot as a college free agent. Charlie stuck around for a few years and although he was on and off the active roster several times, his final season included starting 16 games and playing in the postseason.  

These days Charlie works on a number of endeavors, including the Denver Broncos Alumni Association and their golf tournament.

Terry Shumpert

He came from a high school in Kentucky that produced a number of well-known athletes, like Steve Finley, George Wilson and Kurt Barber. Terry Shumpert thought basketball at Paducah Tilghman High School would take him to the next level, but a knee injury turned his focus to the diamond. Shump could hit, was fast around the bases and had quite the glove on defense.

He took his baseball skills to the University of Kentucky where he was a 3-year starter, 2X First Team All-SEC and still ranks near the top of the records books for the Wildcats in stolen bases. He was named an SEC Legend in 2013.

Major League Baseball scouts noticed Terry at Kentucky and he was drafted in the 2nd round by the Kansas City Royals in 1987. It took a few years for his MLB debut, but it finally came in 1990 and from there he stayed in the Bigs until retirement in 2004. Five of his 14 seasons were spent the Rockies where he became the ultimate utility player. During his career, Terry played every position except pitcher and catcher. He was Mr. Reliable.

After baseball, Terry focused on his five children with his wife DeQuita and has tried to impart the knowledge he has learned throughout his career, while also giving his kids the space to make their own decisions.

Chase Vaughn

He started playing football as a junior at Smoky Hill High School. He made varsity as a senior. Chase Vaughn turned some heads in that short time and received three small offers at Division II and NAIA schools. He accepted one for Adams State and was there for 2 years until CSU-Pueblo started a football program. He took a leap of faith and transferred. Good move.  

In his first game, Chase had 4 ½ sacks and when he graduated, he held the Thunderwolves’ sack record. NFL scouts were checking him out, but his name wasn’t called on draft day, nor did any teams call afterwards to invite him as a free agent. At that point, the grind began between different leagues including the Arena League and the CFL. After a few years of being cut and racking up the balance on a credit card with tryout fees and plane tickets, Chase was noticed by a Broncos scout and signed a contract with Denver.  

He suffered an injury his first season and when John Fox was fired, he figured he was done. But Gary Kubiak’s group kept him around for another season and he took the opportunity to slow down and appreciate how far he’d come.  

After football, Chase became a firefighter for the Aurora Fire Department and provides an insightful analogy between playing football and fighting fires. While he used to thrive on adrenaline running down the field on special teams, he now thrives on running into burning structures and being there for people on their worst days.

Tanya Haave

In 1976 (when the Olympics were easy to watch on one over-the-air channel), Tanya Haave got inspired by a sport featuring women for the first time: basketball. Watching Team USA that year would lead her around the world.    

At Evergreen High School, Tanya was a standout in both basketball and volleyball. In 1980 she was so dominate, the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame created a female selection to their High School Athlete of the Year award and she won the first one. That same year, she won the coveted Steinmark Award and Sportswoman of the Year.    

She opted for the University of Tennessee where she could play basketball under Pat Summit and if that didn’t work out, the volleyball program was waiting for her. Her time with the Lady Vols and Coach Summit worked out just fine: 3 NCAA Final Four appearances and two National Championships. The WNBA didn’t exist when Tanya graduated from Tennessee, so she took her talents overseas where she was a 12-time All-Star in 14 years of playing professional basketball in several countries.  

When her playing career was done, the coaching bug bit her and after being an assistant at Regis, the University of Colorado and University of Denver, she got her first head coaching gig at the University of San Fransisco. It was a rough four seasons with many lessons learned, especially with recruiting and finding the right staff. When she was let go from San Fransisco in 2010, Metro State University pursued her, and she became the Roadrunner’s head coach.  Since then, Tanya has become a 3-time RMAC Coach of the Year and the Roadrunner’s winningest coach in school history.  She's also a member of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. 

Brian Cabral

Growing up in Hawaii, his dream was to play football at Notre Dame like his dad. That dream was crushed when the Irish sent him a rejection letter. Brian Cabral then turned to a school where he would spend decades of his life.

He was a stellar linebacker and team captain for the University of Colorado. Nearly 50 years after he played, Brian’s name is still on the top 20 list of the Buffs all-time tacklers. A list that also includes 10 names he would eventually coach.

After graduating from CU, Brian was a 4th round draft pick. During his first few seasons, he dealt with injury, a trade and being cut. After he was released from the Packers, he thought he was done, but a higher power did not. On his drive to Boulder from Wisconsin, Brian prayed and left his future in God’s hands. When he pulled into his driveway, his wife Becky ran out to tell him the Bears had been calling. After six seasons in Chicago, and a Super Bowl championship, Brian retired and went into coaching.

Bill McCartney brought him to CU on as a Graduate Assistant and he quickly became a linebacker’s coach. Coach Cabral’s ability to connect with players was undeniable: he remained on the Buffs coaching staff through FIVE head coaches. He was also an interim head coach twice and felt he was ready to lead his alma mater. When that opportunity went elsewhere, Coach Cabral left Boulder for a few years. A few years after he returned, the CU Athletic Department reached out and created a position for him as a Character Coach. Today he works with all CU student athletes and loves being back with the Black and Gold.

Randy Gradishar

His small Ohio town didn’t offer football until the 9th grade. Because of that, Randy Gradishar fancied himself more as a basketball player because he’d spent far more time on the court than the gridiron. Thankfully college coaches didn’t feel the same way.

Randy was courted by a number of colleges, which caught him off guard because he had never planned on attending college. His parents couldn’t afford it and he figured he would start working after high school like everyone else he knew. Instead, Woody Hayes connected with Randy and as importantly, his father and off he went to Ohio State.

His success as a Buckeye caught the eye of NFL Scouts, so much so that he was the 14th overall pick by the Brocos in 1974. Being his unassuming self, Randy didn’t know he was a first rounder or even where Colorado was, he just knew he needed to get to Denver after head coach John Ralston called him.

His 10-year NFL career in Denver was spent immersed in the Orange Crush Defense, multiple Pro-Bowls, a Super Bowl appearance, NFL Defensive Player of the Year and much more. So much more that after 35 years of retirement from the game, he was finally voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2024.

Mike Newell

His heritage in Colorado dates back five generations. So, it made sense when Mike Newell graduated from Littleton High School that he wanted to stay in Colorado despite football scholarships from many other schools.

He quickly became Colorado State’s starting center and along with being part of an offensive line that did not allow a sack for two straight seasons and a Holiday Bowl win over Missouri, Mike racked up a number of impressive accolades. He was eventually inducted into the CSU Athletics Hall of Fame.

Along with Mike’s great play, came some injuries, including a misdiagnosed back injury his senior season. Mike needed surgery and instead of going to the Senior Bowl and NFL combine, he went under the knife. Thankfully, the pain was gone after surgery, but a tough physical and mental road laid ahead as an undrafted free agent in the NFL.

Over the course of 5 seasons, Mike was with the Packers, NFL Europe, Rams and Texans. The grind was real, and yet he never played a down in a regular season NFL game. When his career was over, he was relieved.

Today, Mike still lives in Colorado, is an elementary school PE teacher and father to three very active teens. He continues to support the Rams and barely recognizes the guy who used to play center for CSU.

Ben Garland

From a very young age, Colorado native Ben Garland knew he wanted to attend the Air Force Academy. He researched what the Academy wanted in a cadet and joined countless clubs to show his dedication to service and community. He also played some impressive football at Central High School in Grand Junction. Ben lettered all four years and was first team All-State his senior season.

He had full ride offers to several schools, including the Academy, but stayed with his goal and went for the grind in Colorado Springs. The days were tough between practice, marching, drills and an intense curriculum, but Ben loved it. He started 34 of 39 games as a Falcon and got noticed by NFL Scouts.

Ben was hoping to get drafted and applied for a deferment for his required active duty. He was denied and his draft stock fell. The Broncos still brought him in as an undrafted free agent and placed him on military reserve. After Ben served his 2-year commitment, he returned to the NFL and played for 11 seasons with the Broncos, Falcons and 49’ers.

These days, philanthropy is at the core of Ben’s world with his latest venture being The Hero App, which helps non-profits fulfill their needs.