GRAND FORKS, N.D. – University of North Dakota Director of Athletics Brian Faison and UND Letterwinners Association President Brad Beehler announced today the UND Letterwinners Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2014.
Jim Nelson (golf, 1963-66), Katie Stephens (diving, 1988-92) and Roger Thomas (head football coach from 1986-98, athletics director from 1999-2005) will be inducted as individuals, while the 1965 football team will be inducted in the team category.
Additionally, former wrestling standouts and current Bismarck High School wrestling co-coaches Scott Knowlen and Jeff Schumacher will be honored as co-recipients of the Tom Clifford Award, while longtime scoreboard operator Wayne Westlund will receive the Honorary Letterwinner Award.
The 40th annual Athletics Hall of Fame event will take place with a brunch and induction ceremony on Oct. 4 prior to UND's Big Sky Conference football game against Montana. The Class of 2014 will also be recognized during halftime of the football game.
“Once again we have an exceptional class of inductees into the Hall of Fame this year. The accomplishments of Jim Nelson in golf, Katie Stephens in diving and Roger Thomas as football coach and athletic director speak for themselves and warrant induction into the Hall of Fame,” said Beehler.
“Scott Knowlen and Jeff Schumacher truly deserve the Tom Clifford Award for their outstanding accomplishments as wrestling coaches. Honorary Letterwinner Wayne Westlund volunteered countless hours as a scoreboard operator and is very deserving of the award. Being the first UND football team to reach a bowl game is an accomplishment by the 1965 football team worthy of recognition. These honorees should all be congratulated on their accomplishments and their election into the Hall of Fame.”
This year's three inductees bring the total number of individuals in UND's Letterwinners Athletics Hall of Fame to 240, while the 1965 football team is the 35th team to be recognized.
The 2014 UND Hall of Fame Class:
Jim Nelson (Golf, 1963-66): Lettered in varsity golf in 1963-64, 1964-65 and 1965-66 … Helped lead UND to North Central Conference championships in each of those three seasons, extending the program’s string of consecutive conference titles to four … Won back-to-back individual NCC championships as a junior and senior ... Won a one-hole playoff to capture his first NCC medalist honor in 1965 … Originally from Grand Forks, N.D., currently resides in Houston, Texas.
Katie Stephens (Diving, 1988-92): Seven-time All-American … National runner-up on the 3-meter board at the 1992 NCAA Division II Championship … Helped lead UND to top-4 national finishes in each of her four years … Four-time NCC Female Diver of the Year … Won eight individual NCC event titles … Still holds the school record in the 3-meter dive … Two-time CSCA Academic All-American.
Roger Thomas (Football Coach, 1986-98; Athletics Director, 1999-2005): Amassed a 90-43-2 (.674) record as head football coach and guided UND to five NCAA DII postseason appearances (1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998) … Won three straight NCC championships from 1993 to 1995 … Four-time regional coach of the year and three-time NCC Coach of the Year … Oversaw the opening of the Ralph Engelstad Arena, Betty Engelstad Sioux Center and Alerus Center, as well as NCAA titles in men’s hockey (1999-2000) and football (2001) during his tenure as athletics director … Later served as NCC Commissioner from 2005-08 … Currently serves as athletics director at the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D.
1965 Football Team: Went 9-1 overall and became the first team in program history to compete in a bowl game … Defeated Northern Illinois 37-20 in the Mineral Water Bowl … Outscored opponents 248-85 on the season, an average score of 28-9 … Offensive tackle Dave “Butch” Lince was named first-team All-America by the Associated Press and quarterback Corey Colehour was named honorable mention … Six players went on to sign professional contracts or have professional tryouts … Eight players were named to UND’s All-Century Team in 1994 … Five players, plus head coach Marv “Whitey” Helling are UND Hall of Fame individual inductees.
Thomas J. Clifford Award
Scott Knowlen (Wrestling, 1983-84) & Jeff Schumacher (Wrestling, 1983-84): Teammates on UND’s wrestling team in 1983 and 1984 … Both were named NCAA DII All-Americans in each of their two seasons at UND … Schumacher later served as assistant coach and then head coach at UND … Both currently serve as co-head wrestling coaches at Bismarck High School … Knowlen took over in 1990 and was joined by Schumacher in 1994 … Have guided Bismarck High to 11 state wrestling titles and six runner-up finishes since 1994 … Knowlen had led the program to a pair of state titles prior to Schumacher’s arrival … Have coached 50 individual state champions … Knowlen was named National Wrestling Coach of the Year in 2004.
The Clifford Award, established to honor former UND President Thomas J. Clifford, recognizes the UND alumni who serve as athletics coaches at the high school or collegiate level and have been notably successful in their sport.
Honorary Letterwinner Award
Wayne Westlund: Served as UND’s football scoreboard operator from 1982 to 2011 … Served an additional four years as scoreboard operator for men’s and women’s basketball … Has held men’s hockey season tickets for more than 40 years and football season tickets for more than 30 years … Served on board of directors for Fighting Sioux Club (now Champions Club) … Retired after 31 years as legal counsel at the Grand Forks Air Force Base … Earned a bachelor’s degree in public affairs from UND in 1961 … A 1964 graduate of UND’s School of Law.
The Letterwinners Association Honorary Award is given upon official action by the club's Executive Committee to persons who, in the opinion of the committee, have contributed significantly to the furtherance of UND Athletics.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony, proudly sponsored by the UND Letterwinners Association, will be held Oct. 4 at the Memorial Union on the campus of the University of North Dakota. For ticket information, please call UND Athletics at (701) 777-2713.