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NAIA Hall of Fame

Chuck Curtis, a 1950s basketball star, and Dave Trageser, the only Lute tennis player ever to reach the national finals in singles and doubles, will be inducted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in separate ceremonies this spring.

[PHOTO: Chuck
Curtis] Curtis will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on March 11 in Nampa, Idaho, at the Division II Men's Basketball National Tournament opening banquet. Trageser will be inducted on May 18 in Tulsa, Okla., at the National Tennis Tournament opening banquet.

The duo will bring to eight the number of Pacific Lutheran athletes, coaches and administrators who are members of the NAIA Hall of Fame. The other inductees (and the years they were inducted) are: Marv Tommervik '42 (athlete, 1962); John Fromm '58 (athlete, 1963); Marv Harshman '42 (coach, 1972); Roger Iverson '59 (athlete, 1972); David Olson (meritorious service, 1989); and Frosty Westering (coach, 1995).

The mainstay of the "Big Three" basketball dynasty in the late 1950s, Curtis is Pacific Lutheran's all-time scoring leader, accumulating 2,173 career points. Curtis, with teammates Iverson and Jim Van Beek '60, '69, led the Lute teams that ruled the Evergreen Conference and represented District I at nationals four years in a row from 1956 to 1959. During that time the Lutes won 37 straight games against Evergreen Conference rivals. Curtis still holds the school single-game scoring record with 44 points against Whitworth in 1958. Curtis was drafted in 1959 by the Detroit Pistons but ended up with the New York Tapers where he was the number two scorer and top rebounder.

"Chuck was an outstanding team player and had the best hands of any big man I've ever played with. He has remained, over the years, a very close friend," said Jim Van Beek '60, '69, former PLU basketball star who now works in PLU's development office.

[PHOTO: Dave Trageser]Trageser, an NAIA All-American from 1977 to 1979, qualified for the NAIA national tournament each of his four years at Pacific Lutheran, reaching the round of 16 as a freshman and the quarterfinals as a sophomore. As a junior in 1978 he was named the outstanding player at the national tournament after advancing to the singles final and doubles semifinal. He finished that season with a 34-1 record in singles play, losing only in the national championship match. The following year, Trageser advanced to the national singles semifinal and national doubles final. His singles record as a senior was 34-2.

Trageser dominated conference and district competition, four times winning singles titles and three times winning doubles crowns at each level. He finished his Pacific Lutheran career with an overall singles record of 125-12. In addition, he also earned NAIA Academic All-American honors in 1979, the first year the award was given.

"Dave is very worthy of the honor," says Mike Benson, the Pacific Lutheran men's tennis coach since 1972. "He was a unique player, and because of that it's hard to describe what made him so good. I would have to say it was consistency; he made very few errors and had pinpoint control. He also had a will to win, a mental ability to go out and not be intimidated by strong competition.

"There are people at nationals who still ask me how Dave Trageser is," he added.

Now they'll have a chance to ask Trageser themselves.

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Source: Pacific Lutheran Scene, Winter 1996
Edited by: Janet Prichard, Senior Editor (prichajd@plu.edu)
Maintained by: Webmaster (webmaster@plu.edu).
Last Update: 12/17/96