This past Saturday, Oct. 9 in Alumni Hall, nine individuals were honored by being inducted into the Gustavus Athletic Hall of Fame.
In 1978, 19 founding “Charter Members” were inducted as coaches or as athletes into the Gustavus Adolphus College Hall of Fame. The Gustavus Hall of Fame room is located on the second floor of Lund Center. The room was originally partially endowed by the families of two Dwight Holcombes, a father and son who both hold membership in the Hall. The family of former football coach and Hall of Fame member Jocko Nelson, who passed away in 1978, donated the plaque where the individual plates are displayed.
“I think the Hall of Fame is a great way to recognize Gustie Alums for their athletic achievements while they were in college,” Scott Moe, the head men’s and women’s golf coach said of the Hall of Fame. “I have been fortunate to attend a number of the induction ceremonies and to see how emotional the inductees get.
[It] really makes you realize the importance of the honor. As a coach, I will be honored when the time comes around to recognize a former athlete; it always brings back great memories. Our Hall of Fame Committee does a great job in putting together interviews and video highlights.”
Inductees into the Gustavus Hall of Fame are selected by the Gustavus Hall of Fame Board, made up of 11 members, including athletic administrators, coaches and alumni. The criteria for being inducted include: being a former athlete, coach or benefactor of Gustavus and achievement in athletics while at Gustavus.
This year, eight athletes and one benefactor were granted Hall of Fame status. The inductees of 2010 are: Evie Cieslar Erdman ’72 (benefactor), Duke Paluch ’84 (tennis), Erik Allen ’92 (basketball), Pete Anderson ’92 (golf), Leigh Stocker Berger ’92 (volleyball), Angela White Vick ’92 (track and field), Heidi Rostberg Carlson ’93 (tennis), Erik Hendrikson ’94 (football and hockey) and Paige Tierney ’95 (soccer).
“I think what is neat about the Hall of Fame is that you connect firsthand with real people, with part of the history of the college. You hear a little of what it was like 15-20 years ago. You see firsthand the overall quality of the people that make up Gustavus,” Mike Stehlik, the head women’s soccer coach, said.
“It really shines through with the acceptance speeches that Gustavus is about more than just one thing. The honorees don’t talk about great games or accomplishments, but the little things that are really important in the big picture of life. Sure, sport is this arena, but it is more than playing the game. And the way they present this really solidifies that this place fundamentally is about good people looking out for each other as they all strive for that something out there,” Stehlik said.
Stehlik also coached one of the recent inductees. “I recruited and coached Paige (Tierney) Sullivan,” he said. “She was the best pure goal scorer we ever had on the women’s soccer team. One year, I told her she needed to score 20 goals for our team to be successful. Well, 20 goals is a huge number; I think the most anyone had scored for us previous[ly] was, like, 13. She scored 24 and added 8 assists, so she was involved in 32 goals that season. We won the MIAC with a perfect 10-0 record.”
“I think the Hall of Fame is just another great way to honor alumni who have played a role in making Gustavus what it is today,” Jon Carlson, the head men’s and women’s swim coach, said. “There’s something inspiring about listening to an alum talk emotionally about what the Gustavus experience has meant to them. The Hall of Fame seems to bring out those types of moments. It’s also interesting to learn how each person’s experience at Gustavus is uniquely their own. I’m honored to have the opportunity to go every year. It makes me proud to work at a school that has such a positive, profound impact on its graduates.”
“[I]t is good to have a Hall of Fame to honor people who have given a lot of themselves to the college, who have excelled and represented the best of what Gustavus hopes to be,” Stehlik said. “It can serve as a reminder of what is possible in anyone.”