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GREENVILLE, Ill. – The Greenville College Athletic Department hosted its Hall of Fame Banquet on Saturday, April 9. Two teams and five individuals were inducted as the Hall of Fame "Class of 2016." The inductees included the 1992 golf team, team category; the 1995-96 men's basketball team, team category; Martin D. Daily, athlete category; Craig A. Harper, athlete category; Meredith Deters Dust, athlete category, Natalie Lappe Goestenkor, athlete category, and Robert K. Blume, meritorious achievement category.
Jehosuah J. Kuusisto was also recognized as the recipient of the Order of the Orange and Black.
Hall of Fame Inductees
1992 Golf Team
The 1992 golf team entered the Hall of Fame as its first golf honoree. The team included eight players – Todd Ambuehl, Tom Boileau, Gary Brauns, Bruce Eaker, Sam Howard, Scott Lancaster, Chris Whipps, and Matt Wolkins – and their head coach was Jack Trager.
The season started in March with a Spring Break trip to Phoenix, Ariz., where they competed on top courses in the state. The week in Arizona proved to be more than helpful in increasing the level of their play. This group returned to campus and took the area by storm, putting together match after match of excellent performances.
The team placed second at two of its most difficult competitions during the season -- the Culver—Stockton and the MacMurray Invitationals.
When the NAIA District match occurred, the Panthers were ready. Coach Trager thought his team was capable of shooting close to 320 and that an average score of 325 or better on each date should win it. After the team shot a 345 on day one and trailed by 13 strokes, it was going to take an epic performance to improve their fate.
The Panther golfers delivered an outstanding score of 319 on day two and an overall score of 644 to win the NAIA District 20 title by five strokes over Olivet Nazarene. In the process, they became the first G.C. golf team to qualify for the NAIA nationals and competed in Indiana during June.
Junior Bruce Eaker was the medalist at the District 20 Tourney. He won the individual medal by posting a score that was one stroke better than a St. Francis golfer. He shot an 85 after the first day, but came on strong in the second day with a total of 75. He was the fourth straight G.C. player to receive the District 20 medalist award.
Team members Tom Boileau and Eaker were All-District players, and Coach Jack Trager took home hardware as the NAIA District 20 Coach of the Year for the first time in his 16 seasons as head golf coach.
The team's overall season record stood at 30-4-1 as they defeated all but five teams who had faced them all season.
1995-96 Men's Basketball Team
The 1995-96 season was the first year that G.C. joined the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and it was also the first year the G.C. Men's Basketball team went to the NCCAA National Tournament.
Second-year head coach Doug Faulkner had recruited several of the players to join the players that remained from Coach Kent Krober's program.
The highlights of the season were numerous – Matt McCullough's 49 point outing against Parks College to set a school and conference scoring record, the 86-83 win over Westminster that gave the team the SLIAC championship, and a double dose of last second heroics from Cole Johnson that sent the game against Blackburn to overtime and his shot against Cornerstone to win the NCCAA district championship.
At the NCCAA nationals, the Greenville team lost their first two games and were eliminated from the competition. But they still ended with an overall record of 21-8 for the entire season.
The team concluded their season with the second most wins in the history of Greenville College men's basketball. Only the 1955-56 team had a better record at 25- 5.
The team's members gathered an assortment of awards. Cole Johnson was the SLIAC Player of the Year, First team all-conference, NCCAA All-District, leading scorer, top field goal percentage shooter, and high rebounder.
Kevin Westall was presented a second team all-conference award and was one of the two top three point shooters on the team along with Matt McCullough. Detmetrios McBride was a third team all-conference member, and McCullough was chosen NCCAA All-District and NCCAA academic All-American.
Other team awards went to Barry Payne as Most Improved; Rick Carlson with the Hustle, Best Defense, and Assist Leader awards; Erik Walles, with the Team Player and Hustle Awards; and Kevin Jackson as the top free throw shooter.
Martin D. Daily
Marty Daily, a local boy from Sorento, Illinois, began to make a name for himself at Hillsboro High School when he was selected as the High School Athlete of the Year. He enrolled at Greenville College, and was a four year letterman. He earned an All-Conference selection three times. In his junior year at G.C. he pitched a no-hitter against Lincoln Christian College. He struck out 15 of the LCC batters. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1976.
His best year was his Junior season of 1974. He struck out 81 batters in 60 innings with a 2.22 ERA. His best outing was against Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. The legendary SIU coach, Richard "Itch" Jones declared that Marty was "the best right-hander we faced all season." Marty had a very deceptive curve ball and a very effective change-up. His career record showed a 13-11 slate against the toughest teams on the G.C. schedule. He was second in career strikeouts with 240 in 199 innings.
Marty's baseball achievements were not limited to his feats on the mound. In 1979 head coach, Dave Altopp took a sabbatical to pursue a doctorate at SIU Carbondale. Marty was appointed to serve as interim Baseball Coach. At the time, he was teaching science and coaching at the Pocahontas Center of the Bond County Unit #2 school system.
As the head coach Marty guided the G.C. baseball team to the most wins in Greenville's baseball history up to that time, a record of 23 wins and 16 losses. It was the third year of 20 or more wins. The G.C. squad was selected as one of six teams to compete in the NAIA District Playoffs. They lost two games – each one by a one run margin, and were eliminated from the postseason.
During his tenure as G.C.'s head baseball coach, Marty was appointed to the United States Baseball Federation Awards Committee. That organization of ten national baseball leaders was responsible for selecting all of the major awards for the Baseball Federation.
After an eight year stint as a scout for the Cincinnati Reds, Marty worked with several Health Care Systems throughout the South as an organizer, analyst, and manager of programs designed to strengthen a variety of Health Care programs and facilities. His current position is with United Health Care/Optum in Atlanta, Georgia. He and his wife, Holly, live in Marietta, Georgia.
Craig A. Harper, Athlete Category
Craig Harper, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, has ties to Greenville College and the Free Methodist denomination that date back to his youth. His parents would bring him to the Greenville Free Methodist Church and Durley Camp from their home in Missouri.
He played his high school soccer at Hazelwood Central in Florrisant and competed for the Norco Pepsi Club team in St. Louis. NCAA Division 1 Southwest Missouri State University recruited him for their men's soccer team and he participated on their squad as a college freshman.
He transferred to Greenville College in the fall of 1986 and played for the Panthers for three years, graduating in 1989. After coming to Greenville College, it did not take long for him to become one of the most influential soccer players in the history of Greenville's soccer program. Coach Tom Stonebraker was Craig's coach during Stonebraker's first three years as coach. Together they took the GC Men's Soccer record from 1-12-2 to 13-9-1.
In his first year, Craig was the MVP and the Best Offensive player for the GC team. He was also a Prairie College Conference all-conference selection and was picked for the National Christian College Athletic Association All-District team.
In 1987 he was chosen again as the Best Offensive player for his team and made the PCC First Team.
In his final season of 1988 he produced 21 goals and seven assists, and again he was MVP for the team. He made the PCC First Team, and was the PCC Player of the Year. He was NCCAA All-District and an NCCAA First Team All--American.
In 1988 the team went to the NCCAA National Tournament and took eighth place. The final record of 13-9-1 set the record for most wins in a season.
Craig's contribution to the soccer program could well be described as a Program Changer—from low mediocrity to very good. Coach Tom Stonebraker continued to build the soccer program on the foundation that Craig Harper had helped to establish.
Craig graduated from GC in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science degree and a double major in Marketing and Computer Science with an emphasis in Business Management.
From 2006 through 2008 he earned credits from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville toward a Master's Degree in Business Administration. For several years he has held prominent positions in Food and Beverage Distribution corporations, excelling in operations, marketing, and employee motivation.
He has found time to work with numerous Boy Scout organizations in Southwestern Illinois communities. He was also very active in the Belleville, Illinois Chamber of Commerce as a Chairman of various committees, and has received a leadership award from that organization. He received three Greenville College Leadership Scholarship Awards when he was a student.
Today, he and his wife Eileen reside in the St. Louis Metro East area, and they have two sons – Nick and Justin.
Meredith Deters Dust, Athlete Category
Meredith Deters Dust was raised on a dairy farm and attended high school in Teutopolis, Illinois, where she learned the values of hard work. She attended GC for four years, and graduated, cum laude, in 2004 with a major in Mathematics Education. She has taught math in the Shelbyville, Illinois high school, and has been teaching math in the Altamont, Illinois high school since 2007.
In 2009 Meredith earned her Master's degree in Mathematics Education from Eastern Illinois University, an achievement for which she received the Distinguished Graduate Student Award in Mathematics. She married Ryan Dust in 2007. They had grown up only three miles apart, and they live only a very few miles from both of their parents. Her husband began a lumber cutting business, and Meredith used to work with him in the woods. Now she does all the paperwork for their firm.
As an athlete at Greenville, Meredith competed in Women's Cross Country and Women's Track and Field. She made the SLIAC's all-conference cross country team each season. She earned a first team all-conference mark three times, in 2000, 2001, and 2003, and was second team in 2002. In 2001, she was the SLIAC Runner of the Year after winning the SLIAC's individual cross country championship. The women's cross country team continued their dynasty in SLIAC women's cross country with three championships over these years.
In track and field, she ran among the leading runners in both NCAA and NCCAA indoor and outdoor meets, and received the team's Coaches Award, Most Inspirational Award, Most Consistent Award, and Most Points Award over her four seasons.
She was one of Greenville's first two NCAA Division III National qualifiers in Women's Track and Field. She was also Greenville's second NCAA All-American in Women's Track and Field.
While at Greenville she held seven records in indoor and outdoor events. Her All-American event was the outdoor 800-meter run where she clocked a blazing time of 2 minutes, 12 seconds. She still holds school records in the indoor and outdoor 800 meter runs, outdoor 4 by 800 meter relay, and indoor 600 meter run. She received five NCAA Division III Academic All-American awards, and four NCCAA All-Scholar awards.
At Greenville she was included in Who's Who in American Universities and Colleges, and received the June Strahl Award and the Excellence in Education Award.
She used her athletic skills and experience to coach track and field teams at both Shelbyville and Altamont. She and her husband Ryan live in Effingham, Illinois. She has taken some time off from coaching to raise their twins – Kenzi and Kaleb, now almost four years old.
Natalie Lappe Goestenkors, Athlete Category
Natalie Lappe Goestenkors graduated from Greenville College in 2008 with a Bachelor's Degree and majors in Management and in Marketing. She is currently employed by Southwestern Electric in Greenville after starting her career at Nevco.
She spent four years as an athlete at G.C. under the watchful eyes of Brian McMahon, the women's soccer coach, and Roy Mulholland, the women's basketball coach.
In soccer the teams progressed steadily. Between 2004 and 2007 the soccer team improved from a record of 7-12-1 to 16-6.
In basketball the team rose from 9-16 to 18-9.
Natalie's personal record was admirable, especially her accomplishments during the 2007 soccer season. Their record of 16-6 topped the charts for GC's women's soccer history. She was the record holder for both goals and points in a single season when she produced 29 goals and 70 points in her last season.
She scored a goal in 17 consecutive games which stood as the third longest goal-scoring streak in NCAA history. She was SLIAC co-player of the year after the 2007 season, and she found herself as the leading goal scorer in the NCCAA and as a member of its North Central All-Region team.
Overall, she made the SLIAC women's soccer All-Conference team three times and was an All-Region NCCAA honoree twice. She was a member of the 2007 SLIAC All-Tournament team.
In basketball she earned designations twice as a SLIAC all-conference second team honoree. She led the SLIAC in assists after her sophomore and senior years. She averaged 5.1 assists per game in 2005-06 and 5.0 assists per game in 2007-08.
In both sports she was on the SLIAC All-Academic Team which recognized her for her outstanding performance in the classroom.
Today, Natalie resides in Pocahontas, Illinois with her husband Travis. They have a daughter, Addison. She has earned a Master's Degree in Business Administration from SIUE.
Robert K. Blume, Meritorious Achievement Category
Bob Blume, a 1962 G.C. graduate, came to Greenville College after transferring from Taylor University. While a student at Taylor, Bob met Robert "Ish" Smith, a 1957 GC graduate and faculty member. Smith saw Blume's potential and invited him to Greenville.
As a student at Greenville College, Bob Blume studied, played basketball, and attended carefully to the coaching and teaching of Smith and John Strahl. In his senior year Bob was asked if he'd like to coach the track team. He agreed, and then discovered that Greenville College did not have a track. So they used the High School track, the parking lots, and the streets.
Bob was determined to do the best he could with what he had—and maybe improve what he had. John Strahl induced him to join the coaching staff after graduation by offering him a tremendous salary. He was to coach two sports, teach one class, assist with basketball, and live in Janssen Hall as Head Resident. Bob seized the opportunity and signed a contract for $180!
That was the beginning of Bob Blume's connections to college athletics. He enjoyed great success.
His group of committed men won four Prairie College Conference Championships in his five years as the track coach. He took GC Hall of Famer Bruce Bellen to the NAIA National Track Championship, and Stan Jones to the Mason-Dixon games, where Stan lost to Willie Davenport, Olympic champion, by one-tenth of a second.
Never satisfied with things as they were, he undertook to upgrade the High School track. He borrowed a pick-up truck and hauled several loads of cinders from the Pet Milk facility in town, and dumped them on the High School track. Then he spent many nights grinding and stomping them in until the track was suitable for genuine GC track meets.
His bevy of accomplishments for Greenville College as its cross country coach included an NAIA District 20 championship and appearance at the NAIA national championships. He earned the NAIA District 20 coach of the year award.
After five years at GC, Bob took a position at Taylor University. His load included a new sport for him: Tennis. He did the job well. His tennis team won the Conference championship, the District 21 Championship, and placed 10th in the NAIA Nationals.
Bob never allowed coaching athletic teams to dominate his life. Among other things, he operated a sports supply store for several years, and held prominent offices in a Christian men's organization, "Promise Keepers."
He currently directs "Man4Man" ministries, along with at least two organizations that minister to prisoners both while in prison and after release. He is on the Board of Directors of several other ministries.
He and his wife, Kathy, married after the death of Bob's wife Pat. Bob's two sons, and Kathy's three sons were united to give them a family of five sons. Of these five men, four of them are pastors and one is a counselor. Bob and Kathy reside in Anderson, Ind., and have 11 grandchildren.
Order of the Orange and Black Recipient
Jehosuah J. Kuusisto
Jehosuah J. Kuusisto, a class of 2014 Greenville College graduate, came to campus from Arizona and became a track and field standout.
When he left Greenville College, he was an NCAA Division III All-American and set school records in the indoor 35 pound weight throw and the outdoor hammer throw.
He reached a high of 60 feet, 5.5 inches (18.43 meters) in the weight throw, and his hammer throw mark stands at 201 feet, 10 inches (61.53 meters).
He stayed at Greenville College for 18 months following graduation as its assistant strength and conditioning coach and graduate assistant.
Kuusisto is currently employed as an assistant track and field and cross country coach at the University of Minnesota Morris. He is engaged to Ali Potthast.