EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - Five athletes who all earned All-Conference recognition at least twice during their careers along with the third winningest volleyball coach in conference history make up the 2012 class of inductees for the UW-Eau Claire Blugold Hall of Fame.
The new class, which will be inducted October 13, includes basketball players Randy Wade and Allison (Berg) Larson, volleyball player Roxi (McKenzie) Tucker, football player Russ Knutson, baseball player John Jahnke and volleyball coach Lisa Herb.
This group represents the 36th class of men's inductees and the 23rd class of women's inductees and brings the number of athletes, coaches and administrators who have been honored to 193.
The Blugold Hall of Fame was established in 1973 to pay tribute, give deserved recognition and enhance school tradition by honoring former athletic letterwinners, coaches or administrators who showed distinctive, unique or exceptional ability while on the campus at Eau Claire and have distinguished themselves in their profession or personally since leaving the institution.
For women athletes, there must be a lapse of 12 years from their final season of eligibility before they can be considered for induction and for men 15 years.
The class will be recognized at halftime of the football game vs. UW-La Crosse Saturday, October 13 and inducted that night during a banquet in Davies Center on campus. A social hour will begin at 4:30 p.m. with the dinner at 5:30 p.m. and the program at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for the banquet, which will also include presentation of the 2011-12 Blugold Super Six Salute award winners and several other recognitions, are $25 and can be obtained by contacting the UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association at (715) 836-3266 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Former WEAU TV 13 sports director and current UW-Eau Claire Foundation employee Rick Foy will present the 2012 Hall of Fame inductees.
Lisa Herb coached the women's volleyball team for 22 seasons (1985 through 2006), compiling a 627-208 record which is a .751 winning percentage. Under Herb, the Blugolds won two conference titles and made nine NCAA appearances, advancing to the round of 16 on seven occasions. With Herb as head coach, the Blugolds posted winning records in 21 of her 22 seasons including a 52-3 mark in 1987.
Herb still ranks fifth in NCAA Division III in total career victories and 21st in winning percentage. Prior to her tenure at UWEC, Herb spent six seasons at the University of Dubuque where she amassed a 163-89 mark. That gives her a 28-year career record of 789-297 for a .727 winning percentage. She was tabbed the WIAC Coach of the Year in both 1997 and 2006. During her Blugold tenure, she had nine 30-plus win seasons. Her players earned AVCA All-American status 15 times, 70 All-Conference berths and five CoSIDA Academic All-American awards.
Her 1987 squad posted the second best win total in conference history when it finished 52-3. That squad also owns the two longest win streaks in school history of 25 and 24 consecutive matches.
Herb graduated in 1978 from UW-La Crosse where she played basketball and volleyball, earning All-Conference first team honors in volleyball. The Appleton, Wisconsin native was inducted into the University of Dubuque Hall of Fame in 2001 and her 1982 team was inducted in 2004. At Dubuque, she was also the assistant athletic director, head track coach, head softball coach and assistant women's basketball coach. Two of her volleyball teams received post-season tournament bids.
She was the Blugold interim women's basketball coach during the 1987-88 season after the retirement of Sandy Schumacher and prior to the arrival of Lisa Stone. She led the Blugolds to their most wins in school history at that time with a 17-10 mark and advanced to the NAIA District 14 playoffs that year. She also served as interim women's athletics director in 1986-87 and 1992 and interim department chair for Kinesiology in 2006-07.
Although she retired from coaching in 2007, she continues as a professor in the university's Department of Kinesiology. Tucker becomes the eighth Herb player to be inducted into the Blugold Hall of Fame. The previous inductees include Deb Allaman Johnson, Denise Boos, Beth Brochhausen, Kristi Griggs Walston, Marnie Blau Harrington, Cheryl Janowitz Dieckman and Maria Jensen Miller.
Allison (Berg) Larson
Larson started 86 consecutive basketball games for Hall of Fame coach Lisa Stone and played in 115 career games, the fourth most in school history. She still ranks ninth on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,244 career points. A 5-10 forward, she ranks sixth in career free throws and made 41 career three-pointers. She was a starter on the 1997 Blugold team that played for a national championship in New York City and All-Conference in both 1998 and 1999.
During the four years that Larson competed, the Blugolds produced a 97-18 win-loss record and made four straight NCAA appearances with a 10-4 post-season mark. They were 53-11 in conference play with one title and three runner-up finishes. Besides being named All-Conference twice, Larson was a co-captain in 1998-99 and also received the team Offensive Player of the Year Award.
Besides her rank in games played, points scored and free throws made, Larson still ranks among the top 25 in field goals made, free throw percentage, rebounds, 3-pointers made, blocked shots and games started.
Larson was graduated from UWEC in 1999 with a criminal justice major. She received her paralegal certificate in 2003 from the Minnesota Paralegal Institute. She has been a litigation paralegal with United Health Group in Minnetonka, Minnesota since 2007. She spent a year as a docket clerk with the United States District Court of Minnesota and was a legal assistant in the U.S. Attorney's Office/Department of Justice/District of Minnesota from 2004 to 2007.
From 2005-2011, she was a youth basketball coach at Benilde St. Margaret's in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.
She and her husband Bret, the manager of a financial services firm, have one son, Nash, age 2.
Jahnke ranks among the top five baseball players in 11 offensive categories including the career record for batting average at .392. Because the sport was dropped, Jahnke did not get to finish his collegiate career. But the two-year All-Conference outfielder was on Blugold teams that won back-to-back Northern Division titles with 15-1 records and compiled a 69-46 overall record during his three seasons of play.
As a sophomore in 1994, Jahnke led the Blugolds to their best record in school history at 28-11 including a 15-1 mark in conference play. That season, he hit .438 with an .806 slugging percentage that included a school record 11 home runs. The following season, he set school records for runs scored and runs batted in.
Jahnke was a two-time team MVP and the WSUC Northern Division batting champion in both 1994 and 1995. He was named to the NCAA Midwest Region first team in 1994 when he also earned All-American honorable mention. He helped the Blugolds qualify for the NAIA tournament in 1993 and the NCAA regional in 1994. He also did some pitching, fashioning a 3-1 record with a 3.00 ERA in 1995. That season, he hit for the cycle in a game against Superior when he also had 10 RBI.
He played for the Eau Claire Cavaliers from 1994 to 1996, helping them win three straight CABA World Series titles. He set single season records for hits, doubles and batting average.
Jahnke graduated from UWEC in 1997 with an advertising emphasis in journalism. While looking for work in the advertising field, he substitute taught for a year in his hometown and was offered emergency licensure to teach Special Education the following year. He completed his teaching licensure in 2000 and received his master's degree from UW-Oshkosh in 2004. Since 1998, he has taught at Washington Middle School in the Oconto Falls School District, where he heads his school's Special Education Department.
Jahnke has been a varsity assistant with the Oconto Falls football and baseball teams. He has also coached his son's and daughter's basketball teams and volunteers with the local Little League, Babe Ruth and American Legion teams. He is a WIAA and American Legion umpire and does radio broadcasts for Oconto County high school baseball.
He and his wife Tabitha, a day care provider, have three children—Jordan Hooper, 22; Taylor Hooper, 19; and Ella Jahnke, 4.
Russ Knutson played football for Hall of Fame coach Ade Olson in 1954, then spent time in the military before returning to Eau Claire to finish his career for Hall of Fame coach Jim Rice from 1959 through 1961. He led the conference in rushing in 1961 when he was also named the Blugold team MVP. He had a 5.6 per carry average during his final three seasons, the second best average in school history. He was All-Conference in both 1960 and 1961 when he accounted for 12 rushing and receiving touchdowns.
After graduating from Colfax High School in the spring of 1954, Knutson enrolled at UWEC after his speed had caught the eye of Blugold coach Ade Olson. But being from a family of 12, Knutson felt he must find a way to support himself and in December of 1954, the 17-year-old convinced his father to sign so he could enlist in the United States Air Force.
While in the Air Force, he was sent to the University of Syracuse to take Russian language courses. He then was stationed on Saint Lawrence Island off the coast of Russia interpreting underground information for the USAF. When his four-year stint in service was complete, Knutson returned to school with a wife and young child. He and Jim Kouba, who had also spent four years in the Air Force, were considered the "grandpas" of the Blugold football team in 1959.
During his playing days, Knutson's talents as a running back and return specialist were often demonstrated. He set a school single game rushing record with 198 yards against UW-Milwaukee in just 17 attempts. In a game against Superior in 1960, he returned a punt 73 yards for a touchdown and a kickoff 58 yards. His ability drew an inquiry from the Washington Redskins and an invite from the Canadian football league.
After graduating from UWEC, Knutson earned a master's degree in guidance and counseling from UW-Stout in 1967. His career in education included stops in Spring Valley, Sauk City, Independence and Park Falls. He served as the head football and basketball coach at Independence and was the head football, head track and assistant wrestling coach at Park Falls. When he retired in 1994, he relocated to Grantsburg where he helped his son Kirk who was the head football coach.
While his service in education touched thousands of students and student-athletes, Knutson also had an impact in the church and communities in which he lived. He has taught confirmation classes, led church services and held various offices at his church. As a community member, he has been a foster parent to children in crisis and coached Little League. He is an active member of the Lions Club and American Legion.
He and his wife Ann, who reaches out in mission to the people of Malawi, Africa, have granted scholarships to youngsters in Malawi.
His hobbies including bowling, golfing, hunting, fishing and wood-working.
He and his wife Ann have two grown children: Jodie, a UWEC alumnus, and Kirk, a PhD from UW-Madison, and four grandchildren.
Roxi (McKenzie) Tucker
Roxanne "Roxi" (McKenzie) Tucker holds the school volleyball single match and single season assist records and ranks second on the all-time assist list. She led the team four consecutive years in assists and was All-Conference twice. Her senior season, the Blugolds reached the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament. The Blugolds were 101-40 during her four-year career.
Tucker held UWEC's career assist mark for 13 years until a new record was set in 2006. Tucker was the Blugolds' Rookie of the Year in 1990, Hustle Award winner in 1990 and 1991 and the Best Defensive Player in 1992. In addition to All-Conference recognition in 1992 and 1993, she was named to several All-Tournament teams, and the All-Regional team in 1993.
Tucker graduated with a Medical Technology degree in 1995 and began her career at Myrtle Werth Medical Center in Menomonie. In 1996 she accepted a position at the Burnett Medical Center Lab in Grantsburg. In 2007 she was promoted to Lab Manager, a position she continues to hold.
Since moving back to her hometown, Tucker has been involved in many areas of the community. She has served as Treasurer for the Town of West Marshland, a Sunday School Teacher, a Youth Group Volunteer and a Grantsburg Club Volleyball Coach. She has also volunteered several hours to the Grantsburg Youth Hockey Association & Grantsburg Fastpitch Club.
She and her husband Duke have two daughters: Hope, 16; and Olivia, 14.
Wade was a 6-5 swingman whom basketball head coach Ken Anderson labeled an outstanding defensive player. Anderson pointed out that Wade was quick enough to defend a guard and could jump well enough to guard a big man. According to the Hall of Fame coach, Wade normally drew the opponent's best offensive player during his two and half seasons at Eau Claire after transferring from Marquette University. In addition to his defensive prowess, Wade averaged 12.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game for his 70-game Blugold career. He was All-Conference in 1974 and 1975, played on two conference championship teams and one team that advanced to the NAIA Nationals in Kansas City.
Wade, who led his Omro High School team to four consecutive conference championships, was the UPI Wisconsin High School Player of the Year in 1970. After transferring from Marquette, he began competition for the Blugolds midway through the 1972-73 season and helped the Blugolds to a conference co-championship both that year and the following season. In addition to earning All-Conference honors twice, Wade garnered NAIA All-American honorable mention in 1974. He was a two-time All-Holiday Classic first team selection and was Classic MVP in 1973 when the Blugolds beat Armstrong State for the title. He also won the Classic's first Playmaker Award in 1974. He still holds the Classic record for free throws made in a game with 13. He served as team captain as a senior. He still shares a school record for free throw percentage in a single game as he made all 11 of his attempts against Stout on Jan. 13, 1975.
Wade was a secondary education graduate in 1975 with a major in broadfield social studies. He went on to earn a special education teaching license from UW-Oshkosh in 1980 and an alternative education teaching license from Marian College of Wisconsin in 1990. He taught special education and alternative education to special needs students for 27 years until his retirement in 2007. He also coached middle school track for two years and high school basketball for 11 years at Omro, Waupaca and Dodgeland High Schools. He came out of retirement this year and is currently running a special education program for the West Salem School District.
He and his wife Becky have been married for 40 years and have three grown children: Peter, a steel construction estimator; Ian, a civil engineer; and Leigh, an elementary literature teacher; and four grandchildren.
In 1993, Peter was named to the Wisconsin high school All-State first team, making Randy and Peter the first father-son combination in state history to gain All-State first team honors in basketball.