BEMIDJI, Minn. – Bemidji State University enshrined six individuals and two outstanding teams into its Athletics Hall of Fame Saturday at Sanford Center, in the culminating event of the University’s B-Club/Athletic Hall of Fame Weekend.
BSU’s 22nd Hall of Fame class includes: Steve Boss ’81, Jayne Dusich ’91, Mary Gergen ’91 and Patti (Fitzgerald) Zwiers ’90, who will be inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame; the newest member of the Alumni Coaching Achievement Award Duane Sorenson ’77 and the 2014 John S. Glas Honorary Letter Winner, Sue Engel. In addition, Bemidji State’s 1984 national champion men’s ice hockey team and the 1974 women’s track and field team will be enshrined into BSU’s Team Hall of Fame.
Established in 1978, the BSU Athletic Hall of Fame includes 177 individuals, 23 coaches, and 18 teams. The hall recognizes alumni, former coaches, administrators and others who have excelled at their sports and brought acclaim to the University through their accomplishments and championships. A committee of elected B-Club members selects inductees. Nominations are accepted from all interested persons.
The 2014 honorees were also recognized at the Beaver Pride Luncheon Friday as well as during BSU’s men’s ice hockey game.
2014 BSU Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees
Steve Boss ’81
A four-time letter winner for the men’s swimming team, Boss earned All-NIC accolades as well as NAIA and American College Coaches Association All-America honors in each of his four seasons for the Beavers. He captured the 1981 NAIA title for the 200 individual medley. Boss was also a member of three consecutive NIC championship teams and participated in the national meet to conclude each of his four collegiate seasons, which included a pair of four-place finishes. He left Bemidji State as the owner of four individual records: 200 individual medley (1:57.5), 400 individual medley (4:12.2), 100 backstroke (54.6) and 200 backstroke (2:00.5) in addition to BSU pool records in the 200 individual medley (2:00.6) and 200 butterfly (1:59.7).
A 1981 graduate of BSU, Boss earned a MS from Utah State University and a PhD from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. He currently is the director of the Environmental Dynamics program and co-director of sustainability curricula in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arkansas.
Jayne Dusich ’91
After transferring from Vermilion Community College, Dusich became a six-time letter winner for the Bemidji State cross country and track and field teams. She earned an individual Northern Sun Conference championship and first place at the District 13 meet en route to leading the BSU cross country team to an NSC championship and a District 13 title in 1989. She went on to place 30th at the NAIA national championships. That same year she was selected District 13 Most Valuable Athlete and earned BSU’s Most Valuable Female Athlete award. She became the first female to win back-to-back NSC cross country championships in 1990 before again being named NSC Most Valuable Athlete, earning all-district laurels by placing first at the District 13 meet and becoming the first BSU runner to be selected NAIA All-America, placing 18th. While at BSU she set school track and field records in the 1,000-meter run, 1,500-meters, 3,000-meters, 5,000-meters, 10,000 and was a member of the BSU 4x800-meter and distance medley relay teams. She set BSU records at the indoor 1,000-meter (3:04.24), 1,500-meter (4:42.09) and 3,000-meter (10:27.85) distances and 1,500-meters (4:46.80), 3,000-meters (10:31.90) and 5,000-meters (18:19.44) outdoors that still stand today. In addition, Dusich was named NAIA All-America, garnered an NAIA Track and Field Scholar Athlete Award and was a two-time Academic All-American (1989 and 1990).
Mary Gergen ’91
A walk-on setter for the Bemidji State volleyball team from 1987-90, Gergen earned four varsity letters, was named captain during each of her final three seasons and was selected as the team’s Most Valuable Player in 1987, 1988 and 1989. She helped lead the Beavers to an overall record of 109-73 during her collegiate career, which included a 35-11 overall mark and a Northern Sun Conference Championship in 1988. In addition, the Beavers posted back-to-back NAIA District 13 Tournament titles in 1988 and 1989. Gergen led BSU in assists during each of her four seasons, and her totals of 1,383 in 1989 and 1,366 in 1987 remain as the top two single-season assist marks in BSU volleyball history. In addition, she posted the team’s top dig totals in 1988 (346) and 1989 (404) and led the team in services aces and hitting percentage. She left BSU in 1990 owning the program’s career records for assists (4,629) and service aces (314), hitting percentage (.331) and digs (1,385) and remains atop the program’s assist and services aces lists more than 25 years later. In addition to BSU’s single-season assists mark, she still owns single-season records for games played (155) and service aces (102). Gergen was a four-time All-NSC performer, earned All-District 13 honors in each of her four seasons at BSU, while pulling down the District’s MVP honors three times (1987-89) and was named to the NAIA All-America Third Team as a senior.
Patti (Fitzgerald) Zwiers ’90
A four-year letter winner for the Bemidji State women’s track and field team, Patti (Fitzgerald) Zwiers was All-NSC eight times and was a seven-time All-American in the shot put. Zwiers qualified for the NAIA National Championships six times, earned the 1988 indoor shot put national championship and finished among the top four five times. She was named as an NAIA Scholar-Athlete in 1989 and earned Academic All-America accolades in 1988, 1989 and 1990. A three-time team captain (1988, 1989, 1990), Zwiers was selected as BSU’s MVP in 1988 and was tabbed NSC Field Athlete of the Year in 1989.
Alumni Coaching Achievement Award
Duane Sorenson ’77
A 1976 and 1977 All-American as a member of Lee Ahlbrecht’s Bemidji State swimming and diving team (1973-77) and 1979 graduate assistant coach under the legendary head coach, Duane Sorenson has continued success in the pool to success as a coach over the past 35 years. Currently in his 16th season as head coach of NCAA Division I Iowa State University swimming and diving program, Sorenson’s student-athletes have earned All-Big XII honors 37 times and all of ISU’s current swimming records have come under Sorenson’s watch. He has a 79-67 (.541) dual meet record at ISU as the dean of Big XII swimming and diving coaches and has had Cyclone athletes compete in 23 different events at the NCAA Championships. ISU consistently leads the league in Academic All-Big XII selections.
Sorenson coached high school and club swimming programs for 20 years before moving to the college ranks. He began his coaching career at Tartan High School (1977-78), before stints at Park Senior High School (1979-81) and Park/Woodbury High School (1982-85). The bulk of his prep coaching career came at Woodbury High School, where he coached the WHS girl’s team. While at WSH, Sorenson’s teams captured four conference titles, four sectional championships, a State runner up finish and a State title. He was named 1991 Minnesota State Coach of the Year for his efforts.
Sorenson was also head coach of the South East Metro Sharks (SEMS) Swim Club, where he earned Minnesota Chapter Coach of the Year accolades five times in 20 years with the club.
BSU Athlete Team Inductees
1983-84 Men’s Hockey Team
Under the direction of legendary head coach R.H. Peters; the 1983-84 Bemidji State men’s hockey team posted a perfect 31-0-0 season, an NCHA title (18-0-0), en route to the program’s eighth National Championship and first at the NCAA Division II level. Led in scoring by Hobey Baker winner and All-American Joel Otto, who registered 75 points (32g-45a), the Beavers set a record for most wins in an undefeated season—a feat only six teams in men’s college hockey history have accomplished—in the midst of a men’s college hockey record 42 consecutive victories. Bemidji State out scored its opponents 210-71 during a season in which its opponents came within two goals only eight times. The Beavers had eight student-athletes, including: Otto, Scott Monsrud, Dennis Gibbons, Eric Gager, Mike Alexander and Todd Lescarbeau named All-America at the conclusion of the season, In addition, goaltender Galen Nagle was named Most Valuable Player of the NCAA Championship.
1974 Women’s Track and Field Team
The Bemidji State 1974 women’s track and field team posted an unblemished season, earning first place at each of its eight meets, which included a Minkota outdoor championship and a Minnesota State title. During the course of the season, a total of seven school records were set by: Deb Limond (long jump and high jump), Rose Spehar (shot put, javelin and 880-yard run) and Jeanne Larson (440-yard run and 100-yard hurdles) as well as a mile relay mark. Spehar (880) and Larson (440) qualified for the national meet. The 1974 Bemidji State track and field team was coached by 2008 BSU Coaches’ Hall of Fame inductee Dr. Patricia Rosenbrock.
John S. Glas Honorary Letter Winner
Sue Engel has been named the 2014 John S. Glas Honorary Letter Winner. The John S. Glas Honorary Letter Winner Award was created in 2011 and recognizes an individual or individuals who were not student-athletes at BSU, but who have had a major impact on BSU athletics, much like the late John Glas did during his 34-year tenure at BSU. This included his roles as Vice President for Finance and briefly as acting President. His strong support of athletics earned him the honor of having the Fieldhouse named after him upon his retirement in 1975.
Currently serving as the Sales and Marketing Director at First National Bank in Bemidji, Engel is a well-respected member of the community and has been very active within the Bemidji State community. A member of Beaver Pride from its inception, she is also the chair of the Gift Procurement Committee for the Green and White Auction and was on the First National Bank Women’s Golf Tournament committee for many years. Engel is an avid fan and supporter of all BSU athletic programs which, leads to her and her husband, Steve, attending not only many BSU home events, but also traveling to cheer on the Beavers at many road destinations.
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Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).