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UW-Superior announces 2017 hall of fame class

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UW-Superior goaltender Melissa Kunzelman (30) keeps an eye on the puck during a game against UW-River Falls at Wessman Arena. (Jed Carlson / / 5
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The University of Wisconsin-Superior and Yellowjacket Athletics announced the UW-Superior Athletic Hall of Fame class for 2017.

This year’s class features five individual honorees, two recipients of the Mertz Mortorelli Coaching Achievement Award, and one recipient of each the Carl Vergamini Award for Contributions to Yellowjacket athletics and the Lydia C. Thering Meritorious Service Award.

Individuals being nominated are Don Carlson, Matt Kramer, Melissa Kunzelman, Steve Nelson and Jake Smith.

Mertz Mortorelli Coaching Achievement honorees are Arlynn “Andy” Anderson and the late Randy Jones. The late Dr. Orvin Clark will receive the Carl Vergamini Award for Contributions to Yellowjacket Athletics, and Steve Olson will receive the Lydia C. Thering Meritorious Service Award.

“We are very excited to be honoring these nine people with induction into our Athletic Hall of Fame. Each one of them built a significant resume, either here at UW-Superior or after they left the university, and each one of them is truly worthy of this honor,” said UWS Athletics Director Nick Bursik. “It is going to be a great night when they all take their rightful place and become enshrined members of the UWS Athletic Hall of Fame.”

The induction ceremony will be held Saturday, July 22 in the Great Room of the Yellowjacket Union on the UWS campus. Tickets for the event are $50, with tickets for children ages 2-12 available for $20. 

This year’s hall of fame induction ceremony will be in conjunction with the 2017 Yellowjacket alumni golf outing, which will be held Friday, July 21. 

For more information on the Yellowjacket alumni golf outing and the 2017 UWS Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony, contact Yellowjacket Athletics at 715-395-4693 or the UWS Alumni Office at 715-394-8452.

Following are brief biographies of the 2017 Hall of Fame Class. Extended, more detailed biographies on each inductee will run in the weeks leading up to the induction ceremony.

Individual Honorees

Don Carlson

Carlson was a goaltender for the Yellowjacket men’s hockey team for three seasons (1981-84), and currently ranks in the top 10 all-time in games played, minutes played, saves, and shutouts. Carlson helped the Yellowjackets reach the NAIA tournament in all three of his seasons, culminating in third place finishes in 1983 and 1984. An All-WSUC pick in 1982, Carlson earned NAIA All-American honors in 1983 and 1984.

Matt Kramer

A four-year mainstay on the Yellowjacket cross country and track and field teams, Kramer earned All-WIAC first-team or second-team honors six times and competed at the NCAA championships at least once each in cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field. Kramer was a four-time all-American and in 2008 was the national runner-up in the 800 meters during both the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons.

Melissa Kunzelman

Kunzelman provided the backbone of the Yellowjacket women’s hockey program during her four years (2006-10), including helping the program to its only NCAA Frozen Four in 2008. Kunzelman currently ranks second all-time in wins and is the school’s all-time leader in goals against average, save percentage, and shutouts. Kunzelman was a two-time All-NCHA selection and was named AHCA All-American in 2010.

Steve Nelson

Nelson came to UWS in 1986 and by the early 1990s transformed the Yellowjacket men’s hockey program into a national powerhouse. Nelson guided the Yellowjackets to eight NCAA tournaments and seven NCAA Frozen Fours. In addition Nelson coached numerous players to conference and national recognition. Nelson also served two terms as UWS Director of Athletics and sat on several NCAA championship and rules committees as well as the NCAA Management Council.

Jake Smith

A native of Rhinelander, Smith enjoyed a decorated career with the Yellowjacket men’s basketball program, finishing his illustrious career as the top scorer in school history in 2011. Smith was a three-time All-WIAC first-team selection and shared the conference’s player of the year award in 2010-11. That same season Smith was named all-region by and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

Mertz Mortorelli Coach Achievement Award Honorees

Arlynn “Andy” Anderson

Anderson graduated from UWS in 1961 and went onto a distinguished career as a coach at the collegiate level. Anderson coached men’s gymnastics and tennis at Bemidji State University and St. Cloud State University, where he helped numerous student-athletes become all-Americans and national champions. In 1976 Anderson was named the NCAA Gymnastics Coach of the Year.

Randy Jones

Following his career as an all-conference member of the Yellowjacket football team, Jones embarked on a coaching career that spanned nearly three decades. Jones coached football, basketball, baseball, golf and served as a strength coach at multiple high schools in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. Arguably Jones left his biggest mark in the coaching of adaptive bowling, where he led Simley High School to multiple team, individual and doubles state championships. Jones passed away in Nov., 2016.

Carl Vergamini Contributions to Yellowjacket Athletics Award Honoree

Dr. Orvin Clark

A former Yellowjacket student-athlete himself, Dr. Clark was a member of the UWS boxing team during his collegiate years. Later, Dr. Clark was a longtime UWS faculty member who was a strong advocate of Yellowjacket athletics while serving on the UWS Foundation Board of Directors. Dr. Clark was also a member of the hall of fame selection committee and was an instrumental contributor in the building of the hall of fame wall in Mertz Mortorelli Gym. Dr. Clark passed away in May 2016.

Lydia C. Thering Meritorious Service Award Honoree

Steve Olson

Olson was a member of the Yellowjacket baseball team in the late 1970s, earning All-WSUC and NAIA all-district honors along the way. Upon his graduation he took over the coaching reins of the Yellowjackets for one season before embarking on a career with the Superior School District where he has been a teacher, coach and administrator for nearly 40 years. He has served as a coach and mentor with the Superior Youth Organization (SYO) since 1974. All along the way Olson has promoted health and wellness through participation in athletics to Superior’s youth.