UWS to add 8 individuals, wrestling team into Hall of FameThe University of Wisconsin-Superior announced that eight individuals and the 1966-1967 Yellowjacket wrestling team have chosen for induction into the UWS Athletic Hall of Fame on July 17.
The University of Wisconsin-Superior announced that eight individuals and the 1966-1967 Yellowjacket wrestling team have chosen for induction into the UWS Athletic Hall of Fame on July 17.
Induction into the athletic hall of fame is an honor bestowed upon individuals and team members who demonstrated outstanding skill and dedication as Yellowjacket student athletes. In addition, individual inductees are recognized for outstanding career achievement in coaching; exceptional contributions in furthering the fitness, health and wellness; and substantial contributions to supporting and promoting Yellowjacket athletics.
This year’s inductees are:
• Gene B. Belmas, Class of 1963, of Rhinelander.
• Ronald S. Evans, Class of 1991, of Warrenton, Va.
• Clarence Lacina, Class of 1961, of Phillips.
• Joseph V. Reasbeck III, Class of 1968, of Superior.
• Vincent Thomas-Harper, Class of 2001, of Glen Ellyn, Ill.
• Victoria Sargent, Class of 1972, of Hurley, will be inducted as recipient of the Mertz Mortorelli Coaching Achievement Award.
• Lisa Gasior, Class of 1996, of Osage Beach, Mo., will be inducted as recipient of the Lydia Thering Meritorious Service Award.
• The late Patrick M. “Murph” Murphy, Class of 1967, of Superior will be inducted as recipient of the Carl Vergamini Contributions to Yellowjacket Athletics Award.
• 1966-67 Yellowjacket wrestling team: Richard Kuzminsky, Dick Tressler, Tony Leonardo, Tommy Thompson, Joe Venci, Dave Karpenske, Mike Garside, Joe Reasbeck, Jack Riegel, Herb Schutt, Mike Ross, Al Soxman, Dave Kline, and Mart Ilgen.
In addition, the 1962 Yellowjacket football team will be honored during the banquet.
The hall of fame banquet and induction ceremony will be held Thursday, July 17, in the UWS Health & Wellness Center. A social with cash bar begins at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m.
Festivities continue with the Yellowjacket Golf Outing starting at noon July 18, at Nemadji Golf Course in Superior. Proceeds benefit Yellowjacket athletics.
Reservations for the banquet and golf outing must be made by July 7. Banquet reservations can be made online at www.uwsuper.edu/alumni. For more information or to make golf or banquet reservations, call (715) 394-8593 or toll free at 888-893-8593.
Biographies of the Hall of Fame inductees follow:
Gene B. Belmas
Belmas was an outstanding player and leader of the Yellowjacket football team from 1959-62. On the field, his performance at offensive guard earned him honors as WSC Football All-Conference First Team in 1960 and 1962. He also received an NAIA All America Honorable Mention in 1962.
As a team leader, Belmas was named team captain in 1961 and again in 1962, the year the ’Jackets posted a stellar 7-1-1 record.
Belmas’ contributions were not limited to football. He also participated for one year in track and was a member of the S Club for four years, including one year as president. He participated in student government, several choral groups and the Phi Sigma Epsilon fraternity.
Belmas returned to UWS to earn a master’s degree in education in 1967.
He went on to build a long and successful career as an educator, football, track and skiing coach, and community leader in Rhinelander.
Ronald S. Evans
Evans was one of the all-time great Yellowjacket hockey players, serving as an offensive powerhouse and playmaker as well as a team leader.
Between 1987-91, Evans played in 109 games — the 12th-highest in team history at the time he graduated. He ended his college hockey career ranked fifth in team history in scoring with 68 goals, ninth in assists with 72, and ninth in points with 140.
His achievements earned him WSUC Honorable Mention in 1989-90, WSUC Second Team in 1990-91, and NCHA Honorable Mention in 1989-90 and 1990-91. He was voted the team’s most dedicated player in 1989-90 and 1990-91.
A fellow Yellowjacket described Evans as “the ultimate teammate,” who demonstrated “talent, desire, great attitude, a knack for scoring big goals when his team needed them, respect for the program and its peers.”
After graduating, Evans briefly played professional hockey for the Knoxville Cherokees before an injury ended his career. Undaunted, he became a successful businessman whose company, Evans Framing Inc., employs more than 100 people and has been recognized for the quality homes it builds.
Clarence “Moose” Lacina
Lacina demonstrated his skill and versatility as a top athlete in three sports. As a wrestler, Lacina was among the top four finishers in the conference during the three seasons he competed. He also placed sixth in the National NAIA Tour in 1960.
In boxing, Lacina competed in the Golden Gloves program and on amateur cards in Superior and Duluth. He was the Wisconsin Novice Golden Gloves champion in 1957 and placed second in the Minnesota Golden Gloves in 1959 and 1960.
In football, Lacina distinguished himself during the 1958-60 seasons. After graduating in 1961, he signed a free-agent contract with the Green Bay Packers and played in the United Professional Football League in 1962.
As an educator, Lacina shared his experience with generations of Wisconsin youngsters. Coaching at Adams-Friendship High School, he led teams to conference titles in wrestling and football. He spent 30 years as high school athletic director in Phillips. During those years he coached football and wrestling, leading his teams to conference championships in both sports.
Joseph V. Reasbeck III
Reasbeck was a champion wrestler who used his skills in the military, as an educator, and as a world-class amateur wrestler.
Wrestling at UWS from 1963-67, he was a two-time conference champion and twice was runner-up in the state university championships. His college career included a fourth-place finish in the Midwest AAU championship.
After graduating in 1968, he placed fourth in the tryouts for the 1968 Olympic Games and won the 1970 Inservice championship for the Marine Corps while also coaching the team.
Returning to Superior, Reasbeck spent the 1971-72 season as assistant wrestling coach for the conference champion Yellowjackets. He then began a 20-year stint as wrestling coach at Superior Senior High School. During those years he taught, earned a master’s degree at UWS in 1976, and officiated at college wrestling matches.
At UWS he directed the Mertz Mortorelli Memorial Wrestling Camps and Tournaments, the Wisconsin USA Wrestling Camps, and various tournaments.
He has won 21 national wrestling championships in USA Veterans and AAU Masters tournaments. He twice won the World Wrestling Ironman Wrestling championship and placed fourth in the Fila World championship.
Thomas-Harper is among the all-time great Yellowjacket basketball players, holding records as the team’s all-time leading rebounder and third all-time leading scorer.
Thomas-Harper first distinguished himself at UWS by earning all-conference honorable mention in 1998, followed by all-conference first team honors in 1999-00.
During his senior year in 2000-01, Thomas-Harper served as co-captain as he led his team to its best record in 22 years. That season he ranked in the top 10 in seven conference offensive and defensive categories, leading the conference in scoring, rebounding and in steals and blocked shots. In 10 games he posted double doubles in rebounding and scoring.
His performance that season earned him a string of distinctions that included NCAA Division III All American, NABC First Team All American, West Region Player of the Year, all-conference first team and WIAC Most Valuable Player. He was named UWS Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive year.
Thomas-Harper also was a leader off the court, earning the Chancellor’s Leadership Award and the “Superior Senior” Outstanding Leadership Award in 2001. He was selected to present the student address at UW-Superior’s 2001 Commencement Ceremony.
Since graduating, Thomas-Harper has built an all-star professional basketball career in the United States and Europe. Among his numerous honors were playing on the Midwest All-Star Touring Team and in the Croatian League All-Star Game in 2002. He was named first team all-UPBL in 2002-03 for his play with the Mansfield Hawks of the United Professional Basketball League. His performance has earned him spots at summer workouts for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Indiana Pacers. During the past two seasons he’s averaged 18 points per game for teams in Switzerland and Spain.
Victoria E. Sargent
Sargent was a Yellowjacket athlete who built the girls’ high school sports program in Hurley, and successfully coached athletic teams for more than 30 years. She is inducted into the Hall of Fame as recipient of the Mertz Mortorelli Coaching Achievement Award, named for the university’s legendary coach and athletic director.
As a UWS student from 1968-72, Sargent competed in volleyball, badminton and track in the early days of women’s intercollegiate sports.
Sargent began teaching physical education at Hurley High School in 1972. That year she established the school’s softball, volleyball and girls’ basketball teams and took over the girls’ track and field team that had been established the previous year. Over the next 32 years she worked tirelessly to build equal opportunities for girls in the school’s sports programs.
Sargent coached all of Hurley’s girls sports teams at one time or another. Her 1974 volleyball team was the school’s first girls team to reach a state tournament, and her basketball teams made a creditable showing in their conference. She coached the girls track team for her entire career, leading her teams to numerous conference, regional and sectional titles. As testimony to her guidance, Hurley athletes qualified for the state tournament meet in 25 of the 32 years she served as coach.
As she neared retirement, HHS named the annual Sargent Invitational Track Meet in her honor.
Lisa Jean Gasior
Gasior has used the skills and knowledge she acquired at UWS as an educator, exercise specialist, researcher and life-saver. She is inducted into the Hall of Fame as recipient of the Lydia C. Thering Meritorious Service Award, which is named for one of UW-Superior’s pioneers in women’s athletics and physical education.
After graduating in 1996, Gasior taught physical education and health to junior high school and high school students, encouraging them to be active outside the classroom. She also coached athletic teams and taught summer fitness classes.
After earning a master’s degree in cardiopulmonary exercise physiology in 2005, she became the first exercise physiologist on the staff of Lake Regional Hospital in Osage Beach, Mo. She is implementing a wellness program for the hospital and its regional clinics. She educates groups and individual patients about the importance of exercise and healthy diet, and she sets up exercise plans for hospital employees, their families and participants in the hospital’s wellness program. She continues to work with youth sports teams as a volunteer coach
Gasior has written articles for two fitness publications, and published her study on “The Effects of Music, Rhythmic Beats and White Sound on Exercise Performance.”
Patrick M. “Murph” Murphy
Murphy was an ardent proponent of Yellowjacket athletics for more than 40 years. He is inducted into the Hall of Fame as recipient of the Carl Vergamini Award for Contributions to Yellowjacket Athletics, named for one of UW-Superior’s outstanding and most popular coaches.
The late Murphy, a class of 1967 alumnus and Superior businessman, supported scores of Yellowjacket events as a loyal fan, booster, advertiser and fundraiser.
Whenever asked, he donated money and sponsored events to support the university, the Letterman’s Club, award banquets, football pregame gatherings and other events.
Murphy frequently volunteered at football and basketball games, taking tickets, selling programs, working the sideline chains, helping in the press box or working in the concession stand.
During the off season, he helped student athletes find local jobs.
“Pat fully supported UWS,” a friend said. “(He) bought tickets to literally anything that had the UWS logo on it and had to do with his alma mater, of which he was so proud.”
1966-67 Wrestling Team
State Intercollegiate wrestling tournament – second place
Wisconsin State University Conference meet – second place
NAIA national championships — five medal winners
In an era when coach Mertz Mortorelli was renown for building excellent wrestling teams, the 1966-67 Yellowjackets stand out as a dedicated team of young men on which seven athletes held all-American status.
At the State Intercollegiate Wrestling Tournament, the team scored 66 points — its most ever in the contest — and finished second only to the UW-Madison Badgers. Richard Kuzminsky, Tommy Thompson and Mike Garside were state champions.
At the Wisconsin State University Conference Meet, seven wrestlers made the finals and Mike Garside and Mike Ross were individual champions.
In the NAIA national championships, the Yellowjackets had five medal winners for the first time in team history: Garside (second), Tressler (fourth), Leonardo (sixth), Thompson (sixth) and Ross (sixth).