Former BSU shot put standout Zwiers inducted into NSIC Hall of Fame
Thursday, July 16, 2015
Former BSU shot put standout Zwiers inducted into NSIC Hall of Fame

BURNSVILLE, Minn. – Bemidji State University graduate and former women’s track and field standout Patti (Fitzgerald) Zwiers was inducted into the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Hall of Fame Wednesday evening as part of the league's 16th Annual Summer Kickoff event. 

Fitzgerald joins seven others in the 2015 induction class that includes: Jennifer Pozzani, Concordia University, St. Paul; Jennifer (Warrick) Reierson, University of Minnesota Duluth; Lynn (Peterson) Murray, Minnesota State University, Mankato; Larry Scott, Minnesota State University Moorhead; Jammie (Coyle) Raba, Northern State University; John K. Sterner, Southwest Minnesota State University; and Sarah (Herrick) Wagenfuhr, Wayne State College.

In addition to the Hall of Fame inductees, University of Minnesota Crookston earned the 2014-15 Sportsmanship Award. The NSIC Sportsmanship Award is voted on by the NSIC head coaches and a Student Athlete Advisory Committee member based on the sportsmanship of players, fans, staff and coaches at each opposing NSIC institution. Bemidji State is a three-time honoree of the Sportsmanship Award (2009, 2011, 2014) that started in 2008.

Patti (Fitzgerald) Zwiers was a three-year letter winner for the Bemidji State women's track and field team and head coach Jan Berg. She earned All-Northern Sun Conference honors six times and was a five-time All-American in the shot put. She won the NSC shot put titles in 1988 and 1989 and posted a conference record of 44-10.5 en route to the 1988 outdoor shot put championship. The Beavers finished second at both the 1988 NSC Outdoor Championship and the 1989 NSC Indoor Championship. Fitzgerald qualified for the NAIA National Championships six times, earning the 1989 indoor shot put national championship with a heave of 44-08. A three-time team captain, Fitzgerald was selected as BSU's Most Valuable Player in 1988 and was tabbed NSC Field Athlete of the Year in 1989. She left Bemidji State as the indoor shot put record holder at 45-3.75.

Zwiers also shined in the classroom, where she was named a NAIA Scholar-Athlete in 1989 and earned NAIA Academic All-America accolades in 1988, 1989 and 1990. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1990 with a degree in Math Education.

Patti and her husband John have three children, Zak, Thomas and Natalie, and reside in Fergus Falls, Minn.

Zwiers was inducted into the Bemidji State Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014.

Founded in 1986, the Northern Intercollegiate Conference (NIC--the former men’s conference) Hall of Fame was established to recognize and honor those who made significant contributions to the conference, to create favorable publicity and public relations for the league and to help preserve the history of the NIC, its member institutions, student-athletes, and other significant individuals affiliated with the league. For the first two inductions (1986 and 1990) each selection hailed from the NIC. In 1992-93, the Northern Sun Conference (NSC - the former women’s conference) and the NIC merged creating the current Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC). After annual inductions since 2000, today’s NSIC Hall of Fame now boasts 165 members and one team.

Each NSIC school (which has been a member for at least ten years) is asked to submit one candidate for induction into the Hall. Each of the selected nominees is derived from individuals who have been affiliated with the NSIC, NIC, NSC and their member institutions.

In order to be eligible for the NSIC Hall of Fame, candidates must have made their contributions in the following areas: 1) former student-athletes, 2) administrator/coach, 3) official/supervisor/coordinator, 4) contributor/supporter, and 5) team. Other worthy candidates that do not fall into the above categories are also considered. The conference provides two plaques, one of which will go to the inductee and one to the institution represented. A history of each inductee will be kept in the league office and each institution will prominently display the plaques of their respective NSIC Hall of Fame inductees.

Zwiers is the 25th former BSU student-athlete or coach to be inducted into the NSIC Hall of Fame. She follows: David Lee (2014); Elizabeth Mulvihill (2013); Don Niskanen (2012); Trip Hedrick (2011); Susan Alstrom (2010); Lee Ahlbrecht (2009); Irv St. John (2008); Marc Hamren (2007); Betsy McDowell (2006); Robert Dettmer (2005); Robert Huber (2004); Ruth Howe (2003); Robert Whelan (2002); Sherry Hill, Bob Montebello, Patricia Rosenbrock (2001); Chester Anderson, Marjory Beck, Victor Weber (2000); Walter Kruger, Norman Nelson (1990); Arnie Johnson, Don Palm and James Witham (1986).

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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. BSU’s NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey programs are members of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

Portions of this release courtesy of NSIC