Athletics Hall of Fame

John Wasilak

SPORT(S) Football/Swimming
John Wasilak was a member of the Bemidji State athletic community from 1969 to 1973, where he excelled on the gridiron and in the pool.

As a member of Lee Ahlbrecht’s Bemidji State men’s swimming team, the Minneapolis, Minn. native, was a three-time all-conference selection (1970-72) and was a 1970-71 NAIA All-America performer with a fifth place finish at the national championship meet as a member of the Bemidji State 400-yard medley relay team.  He also garnered NAIA All-America Honorable Mention accolades from 1971- 1973 earning four awards between the 100-yard butterfly and the 400-yard medley relay.  His 100-yard butterfly time of 55.2 set at the NAIA meet in 1971 was a BSC record, while he teamed up with Dave Tukey, Marc Hamren and Len Rothlisberger to record the Beavers’ 400-medley record (3:46.8) at the same national meet. The following year, the 400-medley team consisted of Chuck Stewart, Marc Hamren and Len Rothlisberger and established a new BSU record of 3:44.7, again at the NAIA meet. He was also awarded the Most Valuable Swimmer at the NIC meet in 1973.

As a defensive tackle and defensive end on the football team, John played under head coach James Malmquist. His senior year he earned the “Head Hunter” award each of the first four games, which was the team’s defensive player of the game honor.

After graduating from Bemidji State he went on to become a successful swimming coach at the high school and collegiate levels, coaching a state champion in the 50 yard free at Osseo High School in Minnesota, and several All Americans at Cal State LA in California.  He earned his Masters and Doctorate degree from Indiana University in 1978 and 1988, respectively.  He then earned an MBA from UCLA in 1993.  

He currently resides in Cary, N.C. with his wife Debbie and daughter Mary, where he works at Quanta Technology, as Director of Marketing/Manager Business Development, Southeast Region.