Porter, who is head coach of the Regis University Rangers men's basketball team, is being honored for his accomplishments as a standout basketball player at Adams State College (ASC) from 1961-1965.
Porter, who earned both his Bachelor's Degree (1965, Physical Education) and Master's Degree (1966, Educational Administration) from Adams State College, was one of the top men's basketball players in ASC history. A four-time National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) First Team All-District VII honoree, Porter became just the second athlete in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) history to garner First Team All-Conference honors (1961-1962 to 1964-1965 seasons) during each of his four years of competition (Earl "Dutch" Clark was the first).
Porter, who averaged 16.9 points per game (sixth all-time in the ASC career record book) during his collegiate career, earned NAIA Honorable Mention All-American honors during his first three seasons and NAIA Second Team All-American & National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Honorable Mention All-American accolades as a senior. Selected as the Most Valuable Athlete at Adams State following the 1964-1965 school year, Porter also served as the team captain of the ASC hoops team during his junior and senior seasons. Porter, who led the RMAC in scoring during his final three years, also guided Adams State to RMAC titles in 1962-1963 and 1963-1964. Porter's career scoring total of 1,624 points is second all-time in the Adams State College record book. Following his collegiate career at Adams State, Porter landed a tryout with the American Basketball Association's (ABA) Denver Rockets in 1967. Porter also competed on the Adams State College track & field squad as a freshman, sophomore and junior, lettering all three seasons and leading ASC to an RMAC title in 1964. All told, Porter earned a total of seven varsity letters while competing at Adams State.
As a student at Adams State, Porter was a two-time Dean's List qualifier (junior and senior years). Listed in Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities in 1965, Porter was also listed in Who's Who Among Black Americans in 1975.
In 1992, Porter became just one of two former Adams State College athletes to have their jersey number retired (# 20). Three years later, in 1996, ASC honored Porter by starting a scholarship in his name. Porter, who was named an Outstanding Alumnus by Adams State in 1983, was inducted into the Adams State College Athletic Hall of Fame in the fall of 2002.
Porter's longevity and success at Regis have translated into a 441-308 (.589) career win-loss record. With his 441 career victories, Porter is the state of Colorado's all-time winningest men's collegiate basketball coach.
Porter's success, however, has not been limited to the court. His teams have been as diligent in the classroom as they have been on the hardwood. During his tenure, Porter has seen 95 percent (106-of-112) of the players who finish their eligibility at Regis go on to earn undergraduate degrees. In the 1990's, Regis finished with a .655 winning percentage (184 wins, 97 losses), the second-best success rate of any Colorado collegiate men's basketball program. During Porter's tenure, the Rangers have won 20-or-more games seven times. Four of Porter's 20-win seasons came in the 1990's, with the 1994-1995 and 1995-1996 teams posting back-to-back 25-5 records. Both of those clubs won regular season conference championships and made appearances in the NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Championships.
Porter's coaching career began in 1966 when he coached the freshman team at Adams State. In 1969, he became an assistant coach at Denver's Manual High School. Two years later, Porter became the head coach at Manual and led the Thunderbolts to a 21-2 record, the Colorado 3A (big school) state title and a No. 1 ranking in an annual U.S. Southwest Region poll. It was Porter's only season coaching at the prep varsity level.
In 1972, Porter moved back into the collegiate coaching ranks as an assistant to the late Joe Cipriano at the University of Nebraska. Two years later (1974), Porter was honored with an Outstanding Young Men in America Award. In 1977, after five years as an assistant at Nebraska, Porter was hired as the 10th men's basketball coach in the modern era at Regis. Porter's career at RU began in stellar fashion, as his initial squad compiled a 20-7 record and captured a share of the RMAC championship. His 1977-1978 win-loss record represented an eight-game improvement from the previous year's mark, a 12-15 record under James Karabetsos in 1976-1977. Porter earned NAIA District VII Coach of the Year honors following his initial season.
Porter's list of awards and achievements as the head coach at Regis is vast. His accolades include a 1990 National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Merit Award, an African-American Spotlight Award in 1994 and four RMAC / Colorado Athletic Conference (CAC) Coach of the Year citations. In 1995, he was selected Man of the Year by the Regis University student body. Following the 1994-1995 season, Porter was honored as the NCAA Division II North Central Region Coach of the Year. In 2001, Porter received a "7Everyday Hero Award" from Denver's KMGH 7NEWS, a "Most Caring Coach Award" from USA Weekend Magazine and a Youth Involvement Award from Colorado Black Women for Political Action. Furthermore, in March of 2001, Porter was inducted into the 37th annual class of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
In January of 2002, Porter was chosen to run the final Denver segment of the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Torch Relay by Denver Mayor Wellington Webb. In November of 2002, Porter was honored with a BCA Images of Excellence Award (presented by Dell), an accolade that recognizes individuals for their leadership and accomplishments in the advancement of minorities in sports. Early in 2003, Porter was inducted into the East High School (Waterloo, Iowa) Athletic Hall of Fame, his prep alma mater. Later that year, Porter would also be enshrined in his former high school's general Hall of Fame. During the summer of 2003, Porter was named "Honorary Fire Chief" by the Denver Fire Department in recognition of his continued efforts to give back to the community - particularly through his efforts with the Lonnie Porter Leadership Academy. Porter, who received the NABC's 2003 Guardians of the Game Leadership Award, has also previously served on the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors. In addition to his coaching duties, Porter carries the title of Regis University Ambassador and frequently gives motivational speeches at area schools and community centers. Porter also serves as the Coordinator of Community Service for the Regis University athletic department, organizing and supervising service projects for Regis' 200-plus student-athletes.
In 1996, he began the Lonnie Porter Leadership Academy (formerly Summer Academy) at Regis University, a year-round program that provides at-risk youth (ages 8-to-18) from the Denver area the skills to stay in school, combat negative peer pressure, graduate from high school and attend college. Students receive training in leadership development, teamwork, conflict resolution, communication skills and technology. Subsequently, the Academy provides full scholarships to Regis for those who complete a minimum of five years of the program. The initial class of the Academy, which is free to all participants, began attending Regis in the fall of 2002. Porter is married to the former Beverly "Sunny" Hobbs. Porter's daughter, Staci, is a 1991 graduate of Regis.