Three Yellowjackets named to WIAC Hall of FameDoug Sutherland, Dave Graichen and Mertz Mortorelli will be honored on Aug. 4
The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference has announced its inaugural hall of fame class and three former University of Wisconsin-Superior Yellowjacket greats will be among the first inductees.
Football and track and field superstar Doug Sutherland (Superior), hockey standout David Graichen (Salem, N.H.) and coaching legend Americo “Mertz” Mortorelli (Ironwood, Mich.) are the three members of the UWS athletics family to be enshrined.
“If you look at our history you won’t find three more deserving people for this honor than Doug, Dave and Mertz,” UWS athletics director Steve Nelson said. “Each of them has played a vital role in the history and tradition of UWS and I feel we have a very strong representation from the different eras of Yellowjacket athletics with our three members.”
Sutherland was a member of UW-Superior’s football team from 1966-69 and men’s track and field team from 1967-70. In 1969, he earned little college All-America and All-WSUC first team recognition on the gridiron. In track and field he was a six-time WSUC champion in throwing events and a three-time NAIA national participant.
Sutherland was chosen in the 14th round (348th overall) by the New Orleans Saints in the 1970 National Football League Draft. He played for the Minnesota Vikings from 1971-81 and was named one of the 50 Greatest Vikings in 2010 as part of the team’s 50th anniversary. In 2012, Sutherland was selected to the WIAC football all-time team in conjunction with the conference’s centennial celebration.
Graichen was a member of UW-Superior’s men’s ice hockey team from 1993-97 and claimed AHCA All-America First Team honors in 1995 and 1997, and secured AHCA All-America Second Team status in 1996. He played on four teams that participated in the NCAA Division III Championship, including runner-up finishes in 1994 and 1997. He left UWS holding several goaltending records and until 2010 held the record for saves in an NCAA tournament game.
Mortorelli coached a combined 109 seasons in eight sports at UWS and compiled a record of 862-534-26 in baseball, basketball, football, golf, gymnastics, tennis, track and field and wrestling. He also served as UW-Superior’s athletics director from 1954 until his death in 1985 and has Mortorelli Gymnasium and Mortorelli Drive named in his honor.
Mortorelli’s name is also attached to the trophy that goes to the NCHA regular season champions as well as to the WIAC Coach of the Year in wrestling.
“This is a great thing for our conference and for all of these individuals, not just those affiliated with UW-Superior,” Nelson said. “I’m excited for all of them and think that the conference did a tremendous job in putting together its first hall of fame class.”
In announcing the class, WIAC Commissioner Gary Karner noted how difficult the selection process was given the 100-year history and incomparable success of the conference.
“Quite frankly, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of individuals deserving of this honor. This is just the beginning. Therefore, it is our intention to induct future Hall of Fame classes every three years with the ultimate goal of recognizing those student-athletes, coaches, administrators, officials and others whose contributions and achievements have established and solidified the WIAC’s status as the most accomplished Division III conference in NCAA history,” Karner said.
The 30-member class will be inducted as part of the WIAC Centennial Celebration Banquet to be held on Aug. 4 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.
The complete list may be found here: