The Athletic Hall of Fame at Nebraska Wesleyan University will induct six new members and the 1984-85 men’s basketball team as a part of Homecoming festivities on Saturday, Oct. 9.
The ceremony will be part of an induction breakfast, which starts at 9 a.m., in Snyder Arena, located within the Weary Center for Health and Fitness. It will be followed immediately followed by the dedication of Harold G. Chaffee Field.
For 34 years, NWU’s Athletic Hall of Fame has recognized the outstanding contributions of former student-athletes by inducting teams and individuals, as well as other strong supporters of the athletic program. Profiles on the Class of 2004 follow:
Harvey D. Meyer ’71
Harvey Meyer, a native of Scribner, Neb., was a decorated javelin thrower for the Nebraska Wesleyan track and field team from 1968-71.
Statistical records during Meyer’s career are not complete, but he was a regular placer in the javelin at many of the area’s top meets, including the Bronco Relays in Hastings, where he won as a senior, the Midland Lutheran College Relays in Fremont, the NWU Club Invitational and the Kearney State College Relays, where he won as a junior. He also placed all four years at the South Dakota Relays held at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls, and won gold medals at the meet in both 1970 and 1971.
During his junior season, Meyer set the school record in the javelin (213-9), a mark that still remains the top javelin throw in school history. He was crowned NCAA Regional champion in 1970 and also won javelin titles in the first two Nebraska Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NIAC) track and field meets as a junior in 1970 and as a senior in 1971.
Michael L. Carroll ’81
Lincoln, Neb., native Mike Carroll made quite an impact on the Nebraska Wesleyan men’s basketball record books from 1977-80.
Carroll, who came to NWU from Lincoln’s Southeast High School, worked his way up from the reserve team as a first-year player, and by his final season, he was named NCAA Division III All-America First Team after leading Div. III in scoring at 27.3 points per game.
As a senior in 1979-80, Carroll shot better than 50 percent from the field, was accurate 79 percent of the time from the free throw line and also averaged 8.9 rebounds per game. He led the team in nearly every category and scored a season-high 40 points in a senior-day win against Concordia College in Taylor Gym.
In his junior year, Carroll made third team All-America and scored 20.9 points per game, an average that still ranks 16th on the team’s single-season charts. He was named All-Conference in both 1979 and 1980.
Carroll, who played under legendary coach Irv Peterson, still holds the school record in scoring average for a season, and is 10th all-time at NWU with 1,426 career points and tied for sixth with 593 career field goals made. His single-season totals for points (10th), field goals (sixth and eighth) and free throws made (tied for ninth) also still rank among the Top 10 in team history.
Angela Gustafson Evans ’87
Angela (Gustafson) Evans, a native of Stromsburg, Neb., was a standout guard for the women’s basketball team from 1983-87.
In her first three seasons at Nebraska Wesleyan, Gustafson earned the Outstanding Freshman Award, was named best defensive player her sophomore season and was picked as a co-captain her junior season.
As a senior, she was selected as the team’s Most Valuable Player, named to the All-Conference First Team and given NWU’s Outstanding Female Athlete Award. In fact, her senior season totals were among the best ever at Nebraska Wesleyan; she ranks second in field goals made (170), third in points (422), scoring average (16.9) and three-point percentage (.419), and eighth in steals (59). The 5-foot-5 Gustafson even set a pair of school records which still stand today, including most points in a game (44 against Morningside College, Dec. 2, 1986) and rebounds in a game (21 against Concordia College, Jan. 10, 1987).
For her career, Gustafson is among the Top 10 all-time at NWU in every major statistical category except blocked shots. She still ranks sixth in career points and assists, fifth in career field goals made and rebounds and fourth in career steals.
Jane Verbeck Weed ’89
Holdrege, Neb., native Jane (Verbeck) Weed was a dominant front row player for the Nebraska Wesleyan volleyball team from 1985-88.
Verbeck made the All-Nebraska Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NIAC) team her sophomore, junior and senior seasons. In both 1987 and 1988, she was also named All-District 11, team captain and NWU’s best offensive player. Verbeck earned a total of six All-Tournament team honors during her career, and as a senior, she helped lead the team to its best overall record in Nebraska Wesleyan volleyball history (45-9) and a runner-up NIAC finish (8-2). NWU advanced to the NAIA District 11 Playoffs in three of Verbeck’s four seasons.
She still holds a pair of school records, including career kills (1,508) and assisted blocks in a season (136). Verbeck also ranks among the top 10 all-time at NWU on eight other charts, including ninth in career kills per game and her single-season totals rank third and fourth in kills, fourth and seventh in kills per game, seventh in solo and assisted blocks, second in total blocks and fifth in total blocks per game.
Gary L. Fate ’91 (posthumously)
Gary Fate, a native of Clay Center, Neb., was a prolific quarterback for Nebraska Wesleyan during his football career.
While in college, he led NWU to outright Nebraska Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NIAC) titles in both 1988 and 1989, and a share of the crown in 1990. Nebraska Wesleyan went a combined 24-7 overall (14-1 NIAC) during Fate’s three seasons as the starting signal-caller.
In 1989, Fate’s junior year, Wesleyan became the first football team from the NIAC to win a game in the NAIA playoffs, defeating Chadron State College 46-43 in double overtime. NWU also won 10 games that season, the most in team history. Though Wesleyan missed the playoffs in 1990, Fate received NAIA All-America Honorable Mention.
Fate, who was known as a dual-threat quarterback, still ranks third at NWU in total offense with 5,733 career yards. He ranks fifth all-time in career passing yards (5,004), touchdown passes (42) and completions (324). He was also involved in one of the longest scoring plays in Nebraska Wesleyan’s history when, in 1988, against archrival Doane College, Fate connected with Lance Williams on a TD pass covering 81 yards.
During his career, Fate earned four letters in football, was named to three All-Conference teams, selected as Wesleyan’s offensive MVP in 1990 and awarded the school’s Outstanding Male Athlete award in 1991. He passed away on Nov. 1, 2003, four days after suffering a stroke while working out at a gym near his home in Florida.
Terry G. Lange
Spirit of Plainsman Award
Terry Lange has been selected to receive the 2004 Spirit of the Plainsman Award. During his time with Nebraska Wesleyan, Lange contributed for eight years as assistant women’s basketball coach, five years as assistant softball coach, and he currently serves as the director of NWU’s Spirit Squad.
Since he joined the coaching staff in 1996, Lange has shown his love for the students, the student-athletes and the school.
“When he coached here, Terry did work coaches normally don’t do,” Director of Athletics Dr. Ira Zeff said. “He wants to do anything he can to help his teams. Terry loves Nebraska Wesleyan and loves working with students and student-athletes.”
He has helped increase the university’s visibility in the community as well, involving the mascot in numerous off-campus activities, but Lange is most often seen delighting children and spectators at home Nebraska Wesleyan athletic events.
Lange even made history during the 2003 homecoming football game against Dana College. Though he’d been told it couldn’t be done, Lange became the first person to ride a bike off a ramp while wearing the inflatable Prairie Wolf suit. This is but one example of Lange’s “anything for the team” level of dedication, but it illustrates how he truly exemplifies the Spirit of the Plainsman.
1984-85 Men’s Basketball Team
This legendary squad was the first in Nebraska Wesleyan history to advance to the NCAA Division III Final Four.
The team, which included seven players from Lincoln, finished third in the nation with a record of 24-5 overall. The Plainsmen eclipsed the century mark in scoring three times that season and their five losses were by a combined total of 14 points. With an 8-2 record, the men’s basketball team also won its first outright Nebraska Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NIAC) championship.
In the NCAA tournament, NWU hosted a four-team regional in Taylor Gym and defeated St. John’s University (Minn.) and Central College. The Plainsmen then advanced to the quarterfinals in Kentucky, where they beat Centre College 69-62 on their own court to qualify for the national semifinals in Grand Rapids, Mich. There, Nebraska Wesleyan lost to eventual national champion North Park College 85-80, but rebounded to defeat Widener University 48-44 in the consolation game.
Nebraska Wesleyan was led statistically by Dana Janssen, who averaged a double double (22.2 points and 10.0 rebounds per game). Just a junior, Janssen was named third team Kodak All-American, the most outstanding player of the West Regional and State College Player of the Year by both the Lincoln Journal Star and the Omaha World-Herald. Fellow starters Mark Grabau, Randy Larson and Dennis Steen were second team All-Conference players, and Kevin Cook was an honorable mention selection.
Other members of the team included: Lonnie Ashley, Ross Brockley, Jay Ehler, Brian Haase, Eron Keely, Terry Kelle, Mike McMindes, Jon Meierhenry, Kent Payne, David Rushall and Tim Sullivan. At season’s end, Head Coach Jerry Schmutte, was again named West Region Coach of the Year. His assistant coaches were Lennie Hoover, Todd Raridon and Mark Ritchie.
Harold G. Chaffee Field Dedication
With great honor and pride, Nebraska Wesleyan University today dedicates Harold G. Chaffee Field.
Chaffee began his Nebraska Wesleyan career in 1967, and over the span of the next 28 years, he taught physical education, coordinated intramurals and coached various sports, including cross country, football, golf, tennis, track and wrestling. As head football coach, Chaffee led NWU to 55 career wins, the most under one coach in team history. He also served as the school’s athletic director from 1976 to 1982.
Chaffee is not only remembered for his successful coaching abilities but for forging connections between academics and athletics.
“When I look back on kids I coached over the years, I’m amazed at how many have become doctors, lawyers and business people,” Chaffee said. “We put an emphasis on academics first, and it made all the difference.”
Approximately 100 alumni spearheaded a campaign to install lights on Chaffee Field, donating significantly to the $72,000 lighting project. Several alumni said it was the best way to honor someone who has given so much to Nebraska Wesleyan.
Located west of Abel Stadium, Harold G. Chaffee Field is the university’s practice field and is used for football and soccer practices as well as intramural sports competitions. The 107-yard by 65-yard field was completed in the summer of 2003 and lights were installed in August 2004. Dr. Ira Zeff, NWU’s current director of athletics, said Chaffee Field provides student-athletes with additional opportunities and the flexibility to play and practice after dark.
Chaffee is a native of Littleton, Colo., and a graduate of Englewood High School (1944) and Colorado State University (1950).