Star players, legendary coaches & teams enter Hall
They were called "the pride of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside." The six individual athletic stars representing men's and women cross country and track and field, softball, men's soccer, and wrestling, a pair of legendary coaches, and three championship teams were inducted this weekend into the UW-Parkside Athletic Hall of Fame.
Race walker Doug Fournier joined an elite group of UW-Parkside athletes in claiming the 1990 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) 10K Race Walk National Championship. With teammates Mike Stauch and Andy Kaestner, Fournier won five national championships. He finished in the top three at the NAIA National Championships all four years of competition and competed globally.
Wrestling's Luke Goral earned All-American honors four times in his career competing in the 190/197-pound weight class. He burst onto the national wrestling scene as a sophomore winning the prestigious Midwest Classic and earning the Outstanding Wrestler Award by defeating four nationally-ranked opponents. A knee injury derailed his junior year but he rebounded his senior year for a pair of All-American honors.
Distance runner Amy Haines Nordquist was a fixture on the national scene, earning ten All-American honors in a three year period. She twice finished in the top five in the nation in cross country and was part of the university's national title winning distance medley relay squad. She was the top runner on the 1995 cross country team that won the Great Lakes Valley Conference title. Epitomizing the student athlete, she was a two-time academic All-American and earning NAIA and GLVC Scholar Athlete Awards on two separate occasions.
Two members of the UW-Parkside mid-1990s softball teams, Jessie Johnson and Billi Jo Kapla, were honored. With Johnson leading off and playing second, the Rangers posted a record of 222-41 and reached the NCAA Division II World Series three straight years. Johnson scored 241 career runs, 75 in 1996, the most by a Ranger in a single year. She was a four-time Academic All-American. Kapla was the best two-way player on those great teams. A three-time All-American, she hit .367 as a sophomore with 71 RBIs while going 17-1 as a pitcher. As a junior, Billi Jo hit .397, helping the Rangers to their only national championship game appearance. She was an Academic All-American.
Soccer's Thom Peer was without peer in goal. A two-time All-American, Peer was the 1998 Great Lakes Valley Conference's Newcomer of the Year and Conference Player of the Year in 2000 when he set the NCAA Division II record with 16 solo shutouts. That year, he allowed six goals in 22 games for the third-best goals against average in NCAA history (0.27). He won his first of two All-American awards as the nation's top goalie in 2000 and helped lead the Rangers to the GLVC title.
Among the teams inducted was the 1994 men's soccer squad. Starting 14-0-2 and ranked number one in the country, the Rangers had a 13-game winning streak in which they allowed just one goal. Goal keeper Chris Sagar still holds the NCAA record for goals against average (0.32). Jason Gould earned first team All-American honors while Patrick White earned second team honors. The season ended in a national quarterfinal match loss to Oakland University but the Rangers finshed 15-2-2 including wins over Division I opponents Northwestern and the University of Michigan.
Both the 1996 and 1997 softball teams were inducted. Coach Tory Acheson's Rangers put together one of the best seasons in NCAA history going 64-6 (the second most wins in NCAA history) and advancing to its second straight D2 World Series. They won 18 straight games to start the season, 36 out of their first 37 on its way to a Great Lakes Valley Conference title. The 1996 squad featured five All-Americans and a GPA of 3.145. The 1997 team would go 62-10 and fall just two wins short of the national championship. After 42 season-starting road games, the 1997 team won a doubleheader to christen the Case Softball Complex on April 1, 1997. Rolling to the GLVC title, the Rangers lost to California University of Pennsylvania for the national title. Three All-Americans played for the 1997 team.
Men's soccer coach Rick Kilps amassed 363 victories over his storied 27 years, fifth on the all-time victories list. His teams were nationally ranked in 24 out of his 27 years; climbing to #1 in the country in 1994. The Rangers reached the final four of the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament ten times and claimed the 2000 GLVC Championship. Kilps was a six-time NAIA District Coach of the Year and twice an NCAA Regional Coach of the Year. Some 119 GLVC all-academic awards were bestowed on Kilps' players. He served as the school's head trainer from 1984-1998 while also serving as an associate professor of education. Prior to his induction at UW-Parkside he was enshrined in the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Wisconsin Soccer Association Hall of Fame.
Wrestling coach Jim Koch spent 41 years crafting All-Americans (128), Academic All-Americans (80 of them), and overseeing national tournament appearances (68) that resulted in 14 individual national champions. He established a tradition of excellence as 23 of his teams finished the season in the Top 10 of the national rankings. Ten times he was named Wisconsin/Midwest Regional Coach of the Year. He is enshrined in four wrestling Halls of Fame and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Koch also spent 37 years as a clinical professor and 15 years as the University's Director of Intramural Sports.
The induction ceremony was held Saturday, Oct. 14, in the University Ballroom of the Student Center.