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WIAC announces 2022 Hall of Fame Induction Class

01/28/2022, 10:15am CST
By WIAC

The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) has announced the members of its 2022 Hall of Fame class. The WIAC established a Hall of Fame to coincide with the conference’s celebration of its 100th anniversary, which took place during the 2012-13 academic year. 

The 27-member class for 2022 will be inducted at the WIAC Hall of Fame Banquet to be held on July 23, 2022, at SentryWorld in Stevens Point, Wis. The 27 individuals will join a prestigious conference Hall of Fame that includes 87 members. 

In announcing the 2022 class, WIAC Commissioner Danielle Harris noted how difficult the selection process is given the 109-year history and incomparable success of the conference. “The selection process is always challenging given the success of this conference over its history. It remains our intention to continue to induct future Hall of Fame classes every three years with the goal of recognizing those student-athletes, coaches, administrators, officials and others whose contributions and achievements have solidified the WIAC’s status as the most accomplished Division III conference in NCAA history,” added Harris. 

For more information on the Hall of Fame class, please visit www.wiacsports.com. Information on purchasing tickets for the banquet, and more detailed bios and photos on each of the inductees will be provided at a later date. 

Name      School    Years* 

(*Note: Years listed for winter sports student-athletes and coaches reflect the year the national championship is held. Example: If an individual was a freshman during the 1995-96 academic year, their first year is listed as 1996.) 

Ken Allen, UW-Oshkosh, 1969-82 and 84-92*         

-Served as UW-Oshkosh’s men’s gymnastics coach from 1969-82 and 84-92, leading the Titans to seven NAIA Championships and three NCAA Division II Championships. UW-Oshkosh also won a pair of conference titles and Allen received NCAA Division II Coach of the Year honors three times and NAIA Coach of the Year recognition on five occasions. He coached athletes to 47 NAIA event titles and 23 NCAA Division II event first-place finishes. Allen was an assistant coach for the USA men’s gymnastics team at the World University Games in 1977, and the head coach for the East Team at the National Sports Festival in 1978. In 1983, Allen was an assistant coach for the Switzerland National Team. In 2012, he was selected the WIAC Men’s Gymnastics All-Time Coach in conjunction with the conference’s Centennial Celebration. 

Dick Bennett, UW-Stevens Point, 1977-85* 

-Served as UW-Stevens Point’s men’s basketball coach from 1977-85, leading the Pointers to conference championships from 1982-85 and compiling a 174-79 record. He was selected the NAIA National Coach of the Year in 1984 after the Pointers posted a 28-4 record and finished as the national runner-up. In 1985, UW-Stevens Point had a 25-5 record and reached the second round of the NAIA Championship with Bennett receiving NAIA District 14 Coach of the Year distinction. He was also the conference Coach of the Year in 1982. After coaching at UW-Stevens Point, Bennett was the head coach at UW-Green Bay for 10 seasons, University of Wisconsin for six years and Washington State University for three seasons. The basketball court at Quandt Fieldhouse has formally been dedicated as – “Bennett Court”. 

Jack Bennett, UW-Stevens Point, 1997-2005* 

-Served as UW-Stevens Point’s men’s basketball coach from 1997-2005 and directed the Pointers to NCAA Division III titles in 2004 and 2005. UW-Stevens Point compiled a 200-56 record in his nine seasons with five regular-season conference championships and three tournament titles. The Pointers logged back-to-back 29-win seasons in 2004 and 2005, which ranks as the best two-year victory total in program history. Bennett was tabbed the conference Coach of the Year in 2000 and 2003. He was selected the National Association of Basketball Coaches West Region Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2005, and added D3hoops.com West Region Coach of the Year recognition in 2005. College Basketball has created the Jack Bennett Award, which represents winning with integrity. The basketball court at Quandt Fieldhouse has formally been dedicated as – “Bennett Court”. 

Becky Blank, Conference Office, 2009-19 

-Served as the conference’s Coordinator of Women’s Basketball Officials from 2009-19. She officiated many women’s basketball games at the Division I, II and III levels during her career. In 2001, Blank was selected to officiate the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball semifinal and championship games. She officiated the first, second and third rounds of the Division I Women’s National Invitational Tournament in 2001 and 2008. Blank also has been a women’s volleyball official in the conference since 2011, and was the Coordinator of Women’s Volleyball Officials during the spring of 2017.  

Helen Briwa, UW-Oshkosh, 1968-92 

-The only individual to serve as the women’s Director of Athletics at UW-Oshkosh, holding the role from 1971-88. UW-Oshkosh had its seven women’s programs combine to capture 18 conference titles during that period. In 1970, she was a member of a three-person committee that drafted the constitution of the Wisconsin Women’s Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WWIAC). Briwa was the WWIAC President in 1982 and Past President in 1983, and was a member of the Search and Screen Committee that selected the first WWIAC Commissioner. She helped form the Midwest Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women and served as Commissioner from 1971-73. Briwa served as UW-Oshkosh’s head coach in numerous sports, including women’s badminton (1974, 78-79), women’s field hockey (1968-92), softball (1971-72, 76), women’s track & field (1969, 74-77) and women’s volleyball (1968-73). She led the Titans to seven combined titles in the sports. In field hockey, she secured conference Coach of the Year honors in 1981. 

Merrill Brunson, UW-Platteville, 1997-2002* 

-Was a two-sport standout at UW-Platteville, competing in men’s basketball from 1997-2000 and baseball from 1997-99 and 2002. He is the only Pioneer to receive National Association of Basketball Coaches NCAA Division III Player of the Year honors for his 1998-99 season. Brunson finished his career with 1,538 points, and helped the Pioneers compile a 106-12 record and last undefeated season (30-0 in 1997-98) in NCAA Division III history. He received the Final Four Most Outstanding Player award in 1999, and led the Pioneers to two straight NCAA Division III titles (1998 and 1999). Brunson ranks fourth on the program’s all-time scoring list, and holds the record for most points scored in consecutive years (1,042), has the most three-point shots made in a season (77), and the highest three-point percentage in a career (47.5). On the diamond, he received all-conference first team recognition in 2002 after securing honorable mention status in 1998. In 2012, Brunson was selected to the WIAC Men’s Basketball All-Time Team in conjunction with the conference’s Centennial Celebration. 

Paul Conlin, UW-Platteville, 1990-93* 

-Was a member of UW-Platteville’s men’s track & field team from 1990-93. He was a three-time national champion in the shot put, winning outdoor titles in 1992 and 1993, and the indoor championship in 1992. Twice, Conlin finished runner-up at the national championship. In outdoor, he unleashed a throw of 62 feet, 7 3/4 inches that served as the conference record until 2019. He threw the indoor shot put 60 feet, 3 3/4 inches during the 1993 season. Both his indoor and outdoor marks are two of the oldest school records. Overall, Conlin was a five-time All-American and four-time conference champion. In 1993, he recorded a fourth-place finish in the shot put at the Olympic Festival. Conlin was the 10th-ranked shot putter in the entire U.S., according to Track & Field News. 

Jill Crandall, UW-River Falls, 2004-07* 

-Was a member of UW-River Falls’ women’s track & field team from 2004-07. She was a five-time All-American and secured NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year honors from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association in 2007. She was an eight-time conference champion and selected the conference’s Field Performer of the Year for both the indoor and outdoor season in 2007. Crandall owns school records in the pentathlon, heptathlon, outdoor high jump and outdoor 4x800-meter relay. In 2012, she was selected to the WIAC Women’s Track & Field All-Time Team in conjunction with the conference’s Centennial Celebration. 

Gary “Stump” Eloranta, UW-River Falls, 1973-2015 

-Was the first athletic trainer to work at UW-River Falls and served as the university’s only athletic trainer until 2000, when he hired his first full-time assistant athletic trainer. He was instrumental in developing a partnership with St. Croix Orthopaedics (now Twin Cities Orthopedics) more than 40 years ago. In his 42 years at UW-River Falls, Eloranta mentored many students who went on to successful careers in athletic training and equipment management at the high school, collegiate and professional sports levels. In addition to his service to UW-River Falls, Eloranta played a key role in the development of the River Falls Emergency Medical Service and was a dedicated member of the River Falls Athletic Department. In 1990, he received the UW-River Falls Chancellor’s Award for Excellence for Academic Staff. 

Dale Evans, UW-Stout, 1970-73* 

-Was a member of UW-Stout’s wrestling team from 1970-73 and became the first four-time champion in conference history, winning the 126-pound title in 1970, 134-pound title in 1971 and 1972, and 142-pound title in 1973. In 1972 and 1973, he was selected the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the conference championship and received All-America recognition. In 1973, Evans placed third at the national meet after placing fourth in 1972. He compiled a 104-15 record in his career. In 2009, he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame with a Lifetime Service Award. In 2012, he was selected to the WIAC Wrestling All-Time Team in conjunction with the conference’s Centennial Celebration. 

Tom Fiedler, Conference Office, 1982-2010 

-Has been involved with officiating issues for the conference for over 40 years. He officiated football and men’s basketball within the WIAC from 1982-2005. During that time, he officiated numerous conference playoff and NCAA Division III tournament games. He served as the Coordinator of Football Officials from 2007-10. In 2011, he assumed the role of conference representative for the Midwest Football Officials’ Alliance. Since 2002, Fielder has served as an official timer and video replay assistant for Big Ten Conference football games. 

Pat Healy, UW-La Crosse, 1992-2016* 

-Served as UW-La Crosse’s women’s track & field coach from 1992-2016 and women’s cross country coach from 1991-2001. In track & field, he led the Eagles to 22 team trophies (top-four finishes) at NCAA Division III Championships, including sweeping the 2015 national titles. UW-La Crosse placed in the top-10 in 41 of a possible 50 national championships under his direction. He was selected the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association NCAA Division III National Indoor Coach of the Year four times and Outdoor Coach of the Year twice. Healy led UW-La Crosse to 16 indoor conference championships and 18 outdoor conference titles, and was selected the Indoor Coach of the Year 13 times and Outdoor Coach of the Year 11 seasons. A total of 463 All-America honors were earned during his tenure. In cross country, Healy led the program to 13 top-10 finishes at NCAA Division III Championships. UW-La Crosse secured four conference titles and he was selected Coach of the Year four times. 

Alex Hicks, UW-Eau Claire, 1989-92* 

-Was a member of UW-Eau Claire’s men’s ice hockey team from 1989-92 and a three-time NCAA Division III All-America First Team selection from the American Hockey Coaches Association – the only individual in program history to accomplish the feat. He scored 249 points with 98 goals and 151 assists. His career point total ranks 16th in NCAA Division III history and second in conference archives, while the 151 assists are sixth on the NCAA list and top the conference entries. During the 1989-90 season, Hicks tallied 48 assists – the best single-season mark in conference history. Following his Blugold career, Hicks embarked on a 15-year professional career that included five years in the National Hockey League. He played 258 games between Anaheim, Pittsburgh, San Jose and Florida, scoring 25 goals with 54 assists for 79 points. In 2012, he was selected to the WIAC Men’s Ice Hockey All-Time Team in conjunction with the conference’s Centennial Celebration. 

Dr. Dianne Jones, UW-Whitewater, 1975-99 

-Served as UW-Whitewater’s women’s athletic director from 1986-99, and women’s basketball coach from 1975-77 and 1979-90. As athletic director, Jones developed numerous programs and initiatives that still exist, including All-American Recognition Day, Chancellor’s Scholar-Athlete Award and the Athletic Handbook. On the basketball sidelines, she compiled a record of 229-103 with three conference championships and five national tournament appearances. In 1982, the Warhawks finished in third place at the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women Division III Championship. Jones was a two-time conference Coach of the Year and Regional Coach of the Year. In 1995, she received the Women’s Sports Advocates of Wisconsin Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the National Association for Girls and Women In Sports Pathfinder Award. 

Gary Karner, Conference Office, 1996-2020 

-Was the conference Commissioner from 1996-2020. He was responsible for merging the separate men’s (WSUC) and women’s (WWIAC) conferences into the WIAC – a task that was completed in 1997. During his tenure, the conference won 76 NCAA Division III team championships and student-athletes captured 500 NCAA individual titles. In 2012, Karner established the WIAC Hall of Fame and Centennial Celebration. In 2006, the WIAC became the first and only conference in the history of Division III to enter into its own television broadcast agreement resulting in dozens of WIAC regular-season and championship events appearing on Fox Sports North, Fox Sports Wisconsin and Charter OnDemand. He developed a corporate partner program that generated over $1 million in revenue for the conference, as well as the WIAC Foundation, WIAC Student-Athlete Leadership Institute, the annual men’s and women’s basketball exhibition games vs. the Wisconsin Badgers and WIAC Administrative Internship Program. Karner served on the NCAA Division III Interpretations/Legislation and Division III Baseball Championship committees, as well as innumerable NCAA and Division III Commissioner ad hoc committees, task forces and working groups. 

Patti (Franckowiak) Krautscheid, UW-La Crosse, 1996-99* 

-Was a member of UW-La Crosse’s women’s track & field team from 1996-99 and won three national titles – the 20-pound weight throw at the 1998 and 1999 indoor meet, and discus throw at the 1998 outdoor championship. She established a NCAA record with her 56 feet, 6 1/2 inches throw of the 20-pound weight at the 1999 NCAA Division III Championship. Krautscheid was a 13-time All-American (four indoor, nine outdoor) and captured seven conference titles. In 2012, she was selected to the WIAC Women’s Track & Field All-Time Team in conjunction with the conference’s Centennial Celebration. 

Andre McKoy, UW-Whitewater, 1981-84* 

-Was a member of UW-Whitewater’s men’s basketball team from 1981-84 and remains the program’s all-time leading scorer with 2,000 career points. He also owns program career marks with 1,566 field goal attempts and 793 field goals made. In 1984, McKoy received NCAA Division III All-America Second Team honors and was selected the conference’s Player of the Year enroute to helping the Warhawks claim the first-ever men’s basketball NCAA Division III title by a conference school. He was a three-time all-conference first team honoree, securing recognition in 1982, 1983 and 1984. 

Rich Melzer, UW-River Falls, 2001-04* 

-Was a member of UW-River Falls’ men’s basketball team from 2001-04 and received National Association of Basketball Coaches NCAA Division III Player of the Year honors, as well as D3hoops.com All-America First Team status in 2004. He was a D3hoops.com All-America Second Team honoree in 2003. A two-time conference Player of the Year (2003 and 2004), Melzer ranks second on the conference’s all-time list with 2,363 points and 935 field goals made. He produced the fourth-highest scoring output in league history with a 54-point performance against UW-La Crosse on Jan. 29, 2003. Following his Falcon career, Melzer played in the Australian National Basketball League, the German Bundesliga, NBA D-League, Continental Basketball Association, as well as stints in France and Israel. In 2012, he was selected to the WIAC Men’s Basketball All-Time Team in conjunction with the conference’s Centennial Celebration. 

Mike Ratliff^, UW-Eau Claire, 1969-72* 

-Was a member of UW-Eau Claire’s men’s basketball team from 1969-72 and is the only individual in conference history to earn Player of the Year honors three times, receiving the distinction in 1970, 1971 and 1972. Ratliff started 108 consecutive games and scored 1,994 points with 1,492 rebounds and 274 blocked shots to help the Blugolds post a 94-14 record and three conference titles during his four years. His rebounds total still top the conference career list, while the blocked shots are third. In 1972, UW-Eau Claire finished as the NAIA national runner-up and Ratliff received All-America First Team recognition from Associated Press, United Press International, NAIA and the Basketball Coaches Association. He was selected in the second round (28th overall) by the Kansas City-Omaha Kings in the 1972 National Basketball Association Draft. In 2012, he was selected to the WIAC Men’s Basketball All-Time Team in conjunction with the conference’s Centennial Celebration. 

Kris Russell, UW-Whitewater, 1981-2004 

-Served as UW-Whitewater’s women’s volleyball coach from 1981-2004, and finished her 24 seasons as the conference’s all-time wins leader with an incredible 812-231 record (.779 winning percentage). Russell ranks among the top-10 all-time in NCAA Division III history in winning percentage and total wins. She directed the Warhawks to the conference’s first NCAA Division III Championship in women’s volleyball in 2002. Under her guidance, UW-Whitewater had 17 NCAA Division III Championship appearances, five Final Fours, eight conference regular-season titles and 10 tournament first-place finishes. She was selected the American Volleyball Coaches Association NCAA Division III Coach of the Year four times and Regional Coach of the Year five times. She coached 41 players to All-America honors. In 2012, she was selected the WIAC Women’s Volleyball All-Time Coach in conjunction with the conference’s Centennial Celebration. 

Deb Schulman, UW-Platteville, 1988-2015 

-Served as UW-Platteville’s women’s volleyball coach from 1988-2015, compiling a 641-380 record (.628 winning percentage). The 641 wins rank second on the conference’s all-time wins list and - at the time of her retirement - ranked among the top 25 active coaches nationally in both career wins and winning percentage. The Pioneers won the conference regular-season championship in 1992 – just the second title in program history – and conference tournament titles in 1992, 2005 and 2010. She led 19 of her 28 teams to at least 20 victories per season, including a program-best 39-3 mark in 1992. UW-Platteville made six NCAA championship appearances under her direction, including a pair of Sweet 16 finishes. She was named the American Volleyball Coaches Association NCAA Division III Midwest Region Coach of the Year in 2010. 

Ralph Sims^, UW-Oshkosh, 1975-78* 

-Was a member of UW-Oshkosh’s men’s basketball team from 1975-78, collecting NAIA All-America First Team honors in 1978 after receiving third team recognition in 1977. He was a three-time all-conference first team recipient and named conference Player of the Year in 1977 and 1978. Sims finished his career with 2,303 points – the third-highest mark on the conference’s all-time list. He ranks first in conference history with 963 career field goals made, third with 1,784 career field goals attempted and fifth with a 22.3 scoring average. In 1978, Sims was named to the NCAA Pizza Hut All-Star Game Ballot and received Academic All-America Second Team distinction from the College Sports Information Directors of America. In 2012, he was selected to the WIAC Men’s Basketball All-Time Team in conjunction with the conference’s Centennial Celebration. 

Kelsey (Duoss) Steinhagen, UW-Stout, 2005-07* 

-Was a member of UW-Stout’s women’s basketball team from 2005-07 and received All-America First Team recognition from the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and D3hoops.com in 2006 and 2007. Duoss claimed conference Player of the Year distinction in 2006 and 2007, and was a three-time all-conference first team and all-defensive team selection. The Blue Devils won or shared the conference title all three years and her .589 career field goal percentage ranks second in conference history. In 2012, she was selected to the WIAC Women’s Basketball All-Time Team in conjunction with the conference’s Centennial Celebration. 

Martha Stephens, UW-La Crosse, 1968-79 

-Served as UW-La Crosse’s women’s badminton coach from 1968-79 and women’s tennis coach from 1968-76. Neither of her teams ever lost a conference championship during her tenure as coach. In national Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women badminton tournaments, Stephen’s teams tied for second place, placed fourth, and placed fifth. She also had other teams in the top 10 despite participating with one-half of a team complement. In 1984, she was the tournament director for the conference’s women’s basketball championship. In 2012, she was selected the WIAC Women’s Badminton All-Time Coach in conjunction with the conference’s Centennial Celebration. 

Mark Thomas, UW-Stout, 1988-2018* 

-Served as UW-Stout’s women’s basketball coach from 1988-2018 and compiled a 472-346 record with five conference regular-season championships and three tournament titles. His 472 victories are third on the conference’s all-time list and upon his departure, was responsible for 88.3 percent of the program’s victories. He received NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year recognition in 2005 and 2006, and was named the conference Coach of the Year six times. In 2005, the Blue Devils posted a 24-7 record – the most wins in program history – and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division III Championship. His 1991 squad won the NAIA District 14 championship and he coached 47 players that earned all-conference recognition. Thomas also was an assistant football coach for 29 years and assistant baseball coach for 21 seasons, as well as an assistant softball coach. 

Kristi (Griggs) Walston, UW-Eau Claire, 1985-88 

-Was a member of UW-Eau Claire’s women’s volleyball team from 1985-88 and a two-time NCAA Division III All-American from the American Volleyball Coaches Association, securing first team recognition in 1988 and second team honors in 1987. Walston was a member of UW-Eau Claire’s first two teams that participated in the NCAA Division III Championship (1987 and 1988), when only 24 teams qualified. The 1987 squad produced a sterling 52-3 record – the most in program history for a single season – and won the conference title. She was a three-time all-conference first team selection and owned school single season records upon graduation with 485 kills, 1,037 kill attempts and 59 solo blocks. In 2012, she was selected to the WIAC Women’s Volleyball All-Time Team in conjunction with the conference’s Centennial Celebration. 

Jordan Zimmermann, UW-Stevens Point, 2005-07 

-Was a member of UW-Stevens Point’s baseball team from 2005-07, securing NCAA Division III American Baseball Coaches Association All-America Second Team and conference Pitcher of the Year recognition in 2006 and 2007. In 2007, he added D3baseball.com All-America Third Team honors. Zimmermann was selected the Most Outstanding Player at the 2007 NCAA Division III Baseball World Series and his 236 career strikeouts are the seventh-highest total in conference history. He was the 67th overall selection in the 2007 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Washington Nationals. Zimmermann threw a no-hitter against the Miami Marlins on Sept. 28, 2014 – the first no-hitter in Nationals history. His major league career spanned 13 seasons with the Nationals, Detroit Tigers and Milwaukee Brewers. The baseball field at UW-Stevens Point is named in his family’s name – “Zimmermann Field”. In 2012, he was selected to the WIAC Baseball All-Time Team in conjunction with the conference’s Centennial Celebration. 

 

^-Deceased 

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