October 2, 2007
DeKALB, IL --- Northern Illinois University Intercollegiate Athletics will enshrine four individuals and two teams into the school's Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday (October 12) as part of the Huskies' gala 101st Homecoming weekend.
The formal induction ceremonies will take place at the Duke Ellington Ballroom in NIU's Holmes Student Center on campus, Northern Illinois Associate Vice President and Athletics Director Jim Phillips announced.
NIU's 2007 induction class---the 26th overall since the inception of the Huskie Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978---features the 1950 and 1950 baseball teams, plus Rodney Davis (basketball in 1984-88), Jerry Ippoliti (coach / administrator / conference commissioner in 1969-75, 1979-99), Sue Kause (softball in 1984-88), and Mike Terna (football in 1977-80).
"First and foremost, heartiest congratulations to our latest Hall of Fame inductees," Phillips said. "As in past induction classes, this is an exceptional group of individuals and teams who have represented Northern Illinois at their finest in the athletics endeavor. Their individual and collective accomplishments are outstanding. This is our legacy and our institutional history. This is what Northern Illinois Intercollegiate Athletics have always been about."
As in the past, the Friday evening NIU Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Banquet precedes the annual Homecoming Game on Saturday (October 13) against Mid-American Conference rival Western Michigan University at 3 p.m. (CDT) on Brigham Field at Huskie Stadium. In addition, the new Northern Illinois Hall of Famers will be honored on the field at halftime of the NIU-WMU contest and scheduled to appear in the Homecoming parade that Saturday morning.
Fans, friends, Northern Illinois alumni, and the general public are invited to attend the HOF activities. Tickets for the induction banquet cost $40 apiece. The festive Cardinal and Black evening begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m. (CDT), followed by dinner at 7 p.m., and the induction program at 8 p.m. For further information or to RSVP for the banquet, please contact Tara Hefter in NIU Athletics Development in the Convocation Center or via telephone at (AC 815) 753-5510. The deadline for banquet RSVPs is October 1. After that date, the cost for the dinner is $50 apiece.
For the 22nd consecutive year, Bill Baker---the voice of Northern Illinois football and basketball on the Huskie Radio Network since 1980---will serve as the banquet emcee.
This year's Athletics Hall of Fame Selection Committee included NIU Sports Information Director Emeritus Mike Korcek as chair, plus Cliff Bottigliero, Bill Finucane, Andrea Hein, Glen Krupica, Donna Martin, Chuck Morgan, Don Shields, and Donald Whiteside. Finucane, Korcek, Martin, and Whiteside are previous Northern Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame inductees.
The Northern Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame originated in 1978 with the charter male induction class. After a five-year hiatus, the HOF has enshrined a class on an annual basis since 1983. The NIU women's athletics Hall of Fame started in 1986 and the two halls were integrated in 1988. Including the 2007 inductees, the current Northern Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame roster includes 175 individuals and 13 teams.
The process for the 2008 induction class begins next spring. To nominate deserving individuals (student-athletes, coaches, administrators, etc.) or a team for future NIU Athletics Hall of Fame consideration, please contact Korcek via telephone (AC 815) 753-9559, via mail (SID Emeritus, Convocation Center, NIU, 1525 West Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, IL 60115) or via e-mail at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Northern Illinois University's 2007 Athletics Hall of Fame inductees:
RODNEY DAVIS, Basketball / Guard (1984-88) / Aurora (East) --- Arguably one of finest all-around backcourt performers in the Huskie 1,000-Point Club (1,175 points, 332 assists, 314 rebounds, and 117 steals in 93 career appearances). Called "complete package" by Northern Illinois Hall of Fame coach John McDougal. Selected on NIU All-Decade (1990), All-Time Chick Evans Field House (1997), and All-Century (2000) teams. Signed free agent contracts with NBA Chicago Bulls (1988) and Minnesota Timberwolves (1989). Drafted by WBL Chicago Express (1988) and CBA Quad City Thunder (1988). Arrived in fabled "Magnificient Seven" recruiting class (1984). Named Honorable Mention Basketball Weekly and Basketball Times All-District (1986-87) and Honorable Mention Basketball Weekly All-District (1987-88). Rated No. 26 in NCAA three-point pct. (1987-88). Ranked among Northern Illinois career leaders in scoring, assists, and three-point field goal pct. (.450). Named two-time Huskie MVP (1986-88) and became first NIU backcourt repeat MVP since Hall of Famer Willie Hanson. Scored most single-season points (512 in 1987-88) by Northern Illinois guard since Hall of Famer Billy "The Kid" Harris (603 in 1972-73). Set school single-season (.489 in 1987-88) and career three-point pct. records. Led team in 10 stats categories---scoring (18.2 ppg.), field goals (175), free throws (117), three-point pct., steals (36), assists (126), starts (28), minutes (1,012), 20-point games (12), and backcourt rebounds (122)---as senior. Voted team co-captain (1987-88). Scored career-high 34 points vs. Chicago State and beat Drake, 80-78, with jump shot at buzzer in final campaign. Inducted into Aurora East High Hall of Fame (2002). Named Special Mention All-State and All-Area with 15.5 ppg. average on 19-7 quintet as senior (1983-84). President and founder of L.I.F.E. Support, Inc., a non-profit organization that offers educational activities for at-risk youth in region since 2004.
JERRY IPPOLITI, Coach / Administrator (1969-75, 1979-99) / Dillonvale, OH (Pronunciation: Eye-PAHL-ih-tee) --- Product of Miami (OH) fabled "Cradle of Coaches." Only person to carry Mid-Am colors as student-athlete, head head football coach, administrator, and league commissioner. Gained innovative reputation as czar of Mid-Continent Conference (1988-94) and MAC (1994-99). Led Mid-Am into 21st Century with loop expansion (Buffalo, Marshall, and Northern Illinois). Created 12-school, two-division MAC set-up (third such NCAA 1-A league after SEC and Big 12), league title game in football (telecast live nationally on ESPN), and Motor City Bowl tie-in (1997). Promoted women's sports, plus increased post-season bids, corporate sponsorships, and TV exposure in both leagues. Organized
Mid-Am's 50th anniversary celebration and secured Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH, for MAC cage tourney. Played on 1957 MAC champions and lettered as halfback twice for John Pont (1956-57). Served as prep coach at Sebring (OH) Goshen High (1958), Bellaire (OH) St. John's High (1959), Findlay (OH) High (1960-63), and Coshocton (OH) High (1963-66). Entered college grid ranks as aide to "Doc" Urich at Buffalo (1966-68). Arrived with Urich at NIU in first major-college season (1969). Promoted to head coach (1971). Produced school's first winning 1-A record (7-4 in 1972) and initial MAC victory (Western Michigan in 1975), plus played program's first Big Ten opponent (Wisconsin in 1971). Coached 11 Huskie NFL draft picks, seven All-Century Team players, five NFL and four WFL free agents, four NIU Hall of Famers, four All-Americas, two Academic All-Americas, school's first 1-A rushing champion (FB Mark Kellar in 1973), and initial First-Team All-MAC player (LB Bob Gregolunas in 1975). Returned to NIU in marketing & development, revamped Huskie Radio Network, and launched weekly coaches TV shows (1979). Three-sport star at Dillonvale (OH) High. Inducted into DHS Hall of Fame (2001). Initiated Houston Bowl (2000-03) and North-South All-Star Classic (2007).
SUE KAUSE, Softball / First Baseman (1984-88) / South Holland (Thornwood) --- Two-time Northern Illinois Hall of Famer with unprecedented athletic and academic achievement. Ranked as first Huskie female First-Team CoSIDA Academic All-America (1986) and program's initial "three-peat" First-Team CoSIDA Academic All-America (1986-88) with 3.93 cumulative gpa on 4.00 scale as biological sciences / pre-med major. Completed playing days listed among all-time NIU leaders in career home runs (13), career slugging pct. (.452), career on-base pct. (.395), and single-season doubles (14 in 1987). Set school career marks for game-winning RBIs (18) and first base fielding pct. (.994). Selected First-Team All-Mid-American Conference (1986), First-Team National Softball Coaches Association All-Midwest (1987), plus First-Team All-North Star Conference and First-Team All-NSC Tournament (1988). Batted .319 (ninth-best in MAC) with .450 slugging pct. and 18 RBIs as soph (1986). Produced career-best .323 batting average, plus a .510 slugging pct. and 27 RBIs as junior (1987). Posted .306 average with 32 RBIs on 35-11 Hall of Fame squad that cracked nation's Top 20, ruled North Star tourney and NCAA Regional, plus finished seventh at NCAA College World Series as senior (1988). Named on First-Team MAC All-Academic unit (1986), NSC Senior Honor Roll (1988), and NIU Dean's List for eight semesters (1984-88). Won NIU Alumni Association Scholarship (1987-88), Harvey A. Feyerherm Biology Award (1987), and NI Club Scholar-Athlete Award (1987). Nominated for NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship (1989). Named First-Team All-SICA East first baseman on back-to-back loop softball kingpins at Thornwood High (1983-84). Earned M. D. from University of Illinois College of Medicine-Rockford (1992). Interned and served residency in emergency medicine and internal medicine at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA (1992-97). Works at Alle-Kiski Medical Center in Pittsburgh.
MIKE TERNA, Football / Linebacker-Fullback (1977-80) / Wheaton (Warrenville) --- Rock solid with elite credentials. Nicknamed "Terna Firma." Bruising ex-fullback who moved to linebacker late in freshman year, started three years at LB, and came into own as senior. Honored on All-Time Huskie Stadium (1995) and All-Century (2000) squads. Third of only four MAC Player of Year recipients in Northern Illinois gridiron history---joining WR Dave Petzke (1978), LB Frank Lewandoski (1979), and TB Garrett Wolfe (2005-06). Prolific tackler playing two years alongside school's all-time hitman and Hall of Famer Lewandoski (616 career stops in 1976-79). Ranked No. 7 on career Northern Illinois Hit List (408 tackles in 1977-80). Produced 25 double-digit tackle games in final 33 Huskie appearances (1978-80). Posted three consecutive triple-figure hit seasons (115 stops in 1978, 134 in 1979, and 152 in 1980). Ranked among MAC tackle leaders as junior and senior. Named team quad-captain, Mid-Am Defensive Player of Week vs. Kent State (17 tackles), First-Team All-MAC, Mid-Am Defensive Player of Year, and Honorable Mention AP All-America in final campaign on 7-4 squad under Hall of Fame head coach Bill Mallory (and defensive coordinator Joe Novak). Became first NIU gridder to lead MAC in pass interceptions (five for 82 yards) and topped team in solo tackles (91), total hits (151), and "picks" (1980). Collected two pass thefts vs. Long Beach State (1980). Notched career-high 19 tackles vs. Central Michigan as junior (1979). Began career on offense, earned first start at FB vs. Wisconsin, rushed for 67 yards on 18 carries, and added eight tackles at LB (1977). Signed free agent contract with USFL Chicago Blitz. Named First-Team All-State as LB (172 tackles) / FB (1,314 yards and 13 TDs) on 10-2 Warrenville High eleven that won loop title and made ISHA Class 4A state semifinals (1976). Serves as western region sales manager for Ineos---third largest chemical company in world.
THE 1950 & 1951 NORTHERN ILLINOIS BASEBALL TEAMS --- Voted into the NIU Athletics Hall of Fame as a single entity, these two storied squads continue to write more institutional history by becoming the first two sports teams enshrined in the same induction year. Achievement was no stranger to the 1950 and 1951 baseball Huskies.
"The 1950 and 1951 baseball groups are unique in Northern Illinois athletics history," wrote the late NIU Hall of Fame sports information director Bud Nangle years ago. "First of all, historically, few, if any, teams have repeated as conference champions here. Secondly, there hasn't been a more loyal team in terms of involvement with their alma mater and the current baseball program. When the Northern Illinois baseball program was resurrected in 1991, these gentlemen worked and worked to get the home facility named after their beloved, Hall of Fame head coach, Ralph McKinzie."
Coached by Hall of Famer Ralph McKinzie---a member of the charter Hall of Fame induction class in 1978, these two Northern Illinois contingents won back-to-back Interstate Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships in 1950 and 1951. Including their coach, this group includes six previous individual Hall of Fame inductees---infielder-outfielder Sam Bedrosian, pitcher-first baseman Fran Cahill, athletic trainer Al Kranz, son and outfielder Jim McKinzie, and pitcher Jake Stap. Nangle, who covered the 1950 team as sports editor of the DeKalb Daily Chronicle and was an annual participant in their team reunions, would be the seventh Hall of Fame connection.
When Northern Illinois restarted its varsity baseball program in 1991, these 1950 & 1951 alums campaigned long and hard to name the on-campus facility Ralph McKinzie Field (1993) in the memory of their late head coach. They also contributed funds for new McKinzie Field dugouts and equipment. This loyal group has hosted team reunions from coast-to-coast (San Diego, Denver, Chicago, etc.) on an annual basis since 1970.
In 1950, NIU baseball finished 16-8 and 6-2 in IIAC play for "Coach Mac." The Huskies started strong with a 4-2 record on their spring trip---including a 12-11 and 3-2 doubleheader sweep of powerhouse Southern Illinois-Carbondale. Other 1950 highlights include a seven-game winning streak and two triumphs over arch-rival Illinois State. Six Northern Illinois standouts made All-IIAC that spring. Earning "First-Team" status were pitcher Jack Brumm, catcher Bill Eiserman, outfielder Bob Vidimos, and second baseball Ray "Scooter" Meath. Pitcher Gene Davis and infielder Bob Carlson made Second-Team All-IIAC. Eiserman garnered team MVP honors with a .348 batting mark---tops among the Huskie regulars.
McKinzie's Huskies repeated both the next spring---annexing the IIAC title the next spring with an 11-6 overall won-lost record and 7-3 league mark, plus fashioning another seven-game winning streak in 1951. Stap led the Northern Illinois mound staff with a 5-0 record, 36 strikeouts, and a 2.19 earned run average in winning the IIAC Most Valuable Player Award. Eiserman topped the locals in hitting (.355 average), followed by Cahill (.317) and outfielder Larry Leon (.312). Cahill, Eiserman, and Stap won First-Team All-IIAC plaudits with Bedrosian and Meath making the Second-Team All-IIAC unit.
The 1950 and 1951 Northern Illinois baseball lettermen: OF-INF John Bednarcik (Chicago / Harrison), OF-2B Sam Bedrosian (Oak Park), P Jack Brumm (Arlington Heights / Arlington), P-1B Fran Cahill (Utica / LaSalle-Peru), INF Bob Carlson (Chicago / Steinmetz), OF Grant Cummings (Chicago / Pullman Tech), P Gene Davis (DeKalb), P John Dunn (Berwyn / Morton), C-OF Bill Eiserman (Waukegan / Warren Twp.), INF Dick Giudici (Chicago / St. Bede), INF-OF Ron Hicks (Moline), P Dick Kreeger, OF-INF Larry Leon (Marseilles), P Frank Marino (Chicago / Lakeview), P Bernie McCole (Chicago / St. Mel), OF Jim McKinzie (DeKalb), 2B Ray Meath (Oak Park), OF-INF Pete Neukirch (Chicago / Taft), P Fred Odegard (Chicago), C-OF Ken Pickerill (Streator), INF John Sarina (Chicago), P Jake Stap (Richland, MI), INF Fred Tipps (Crystal Lake), OF-C Bob Vidimos (Chicago Heights / St. Bede), and INF Gene Wasco (Chicago / Taft).
(For further information, please contact Mike Korcek / SID Emeritus) -NIU-