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Hall of Fame Class of 1997 includes famous
Gladiators football team

B Y  N I C K  DA W S O N

For the first time since its advent in 1990, the Pacific Lutheran University Athletic Hall of Fame will welcome into its fold an entire team. The 1947 Pacific Lutheran College football team, which compiled a 7-0-2 record and earned fame for its victory over Southern Oregon College in the Pear Bowl, headlines the list of 1997 inductees into the hall of fame.

Other members of this year's induction class are Ron Barnard, swimming; Diane Bankson, multiple sports; Mark Clinton, football and golf; Tommy Gilmer, football and track & field; Kirsten (Wees) Olson, swimming; and the late Blair Taylor, football and track & field.

The 1997 Hall of Fame Induction Luncheon begins at 11 a.m. on Oct. 3 at Chris Knutzen Hall in PLU's University Center. Tickets for the luncheon are available through the PLU Athletic Department in Olson Auditorium, by calling 253-535-7352. Ticket price is $12.

In addition to the luncheon, the inductees will be honored at halftime of the Oct. 4 Homecoming football game against Lewis & Clark College at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup. Kickoff for the game is slated for 1:30 p.m.

A plaque honoring this year's inductees will be installed at the Walk of Fame, just north of the PLU swimming pool.

1947 Football Team -(Pear Bowl Champions)

[IMAGE: 1947]
Pacific Lutheran built a national reputation in football during the early 1940s, but World War II called many of the Gladiators' finest players into military service. Following the end of the war in 1945, a number of those football standouts returned and formed the nucleus of the 1947 football team. The first-year head coach was Marv Tommervik and his assistant was Marv Harshman, who at the start of the decade had been All-America teammates of the war veterans. Among those veterans were Jack Bratlie, Frank Spear, Dwayne Rose, Jack Guyot, Don D'Andrea, Eldon Kyllo, Carl Hatley, Bob Andrew, Jack Carbone, "Pete" Peterson and Jack Proud.

During the regular season, the Lutes had claimed a 6-0-2 record and a tie for the WINCO League championship. Guyot and Spear had been the workhorses, carrying the football behind an offensive line featuring 280-pound All-America center D'Andrea, guard Peterson and tackle Kyllo. The team played in front of several large crowds, including a crowd of 8,000 in a season-opening 14-0 win over St. Olaf College of Minnesota, and 13,000 in a 19-0 win over College of Puget Sound. The only "blemishes" on the record were a 7-7 tie with Eastern Washington and a 0-0 deadlock with Lewis & Clark.

Following the conclusion of the regular season, Pacific Lutheran was invited to play Southern Oregon College in the Pear Bowl in Medford, Ore. "The Thanksgiving Day battle in Medford," penned Tacoma News Tribune sportswriter Lee Irwin, "has been scheduled as the top feature of the yearly celebration coincident with the big Rogue River valley pear harvest."

Southern Oregon, the host school and winner of 15 straight games, was considered the favorite, and when the Red Raiders took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, it looked like the football sages had been right. But the Gladiators, who trailed in a game for the first time all season, rallied with two fourth-quarter touchdowns for a 27-21 victory.

The 33 members of the 1947 Pear Bowl champions, as listed in "The Gladiators: A Chronicle of PLU Sports," are: Bob Andrew, Don Berge, Doane Blair, Bob Brass, Jack Bratlie, Jack Carbone, Don D'Andrea, Rick Daniels, Bob Dinsmore, Hal Fallstrom, Elwood Furseth, Steiner Gorud, Jack Guyot, Ben Hanson, Carl Hatley, Burt Johnston, John Jurkovich, Lowell Knutson, Eldon Kyllo, Harold Malnes, Dick Mason, Blaine McKanna, J.R. Olson, Jack Ostrander, Elmer "Pete" Peterson, Jack Proud, Paul Reiman, Harold Schrupp, Bryce Shull, Frank Spear, Gene Strandness, Norm Sturm and Dick Weathermon.

Ron Barnard - Swimming (1975-78)

Ron Barnard was the first Pacific Lutheran male swimmer to win an NAIA national title, taking the 200 backstroke during his freshman season. Before he was done, Barnard would write his name throughout the school record book on the way to earning All-America honors 10 separate times from 1975-78.

The backstroke was Barnard's strength, and the lanky swimmer became one of the NAIA's dominant swimmers through the mid- and late 1970s. In the 100 backstroke, Barnard won a national title in 1978, finished second in 1975, and placed third the other two years. In the 200 backstroke, he was first in 1975, second in 1976 and third in 1978. In 1977, Barnard placed fourth in the 400 individual medley. Twice he swam on relay teams that finished in the top five at nationals.

Barnard's time of 1:56.54 in the 200 backstroke has held up as the Pacific Lutheran school record since 1975, despite rule changes that have made the backstroke races faster since Barnard's days. As of the 1996-97 season, that record is the second oldest PLU swimming mark still in effect. He has five of PLU's top 10 times in the 200 backstroke and three of the top 10 in the 100 backstroke.

In addition, Barnard swam on the 1976 unit that set and still holds the school record in the 400 medley relay.

Diane Bankson-Multi - Sport Athlete (1977-81)

Diane Bankson was arguably the first outstanding multi-sport female athlete in the modern era at Pacific Lutheran University. From 1977 through 1981, Bankson earned varsity letters in five separate sports.

In softball, Bankson was a three-year letter winner and honorable mention all-conference honoree in 1981. In no other sport did she play more than one year at the varsity level. She competed in basketball during the 1977-78 season, earning the team's Most Improved Player award. In volleyball, she played at the varsity level in 1979. She also showed her outstanding athletic ability in two different fall season sports. As a member of the 1980 field hockey team, Bankson helped lead the Lutes to the conference championship and a berth at the national tournament. A year later, when field hockey was replaced by soccer, she earned the Most Improved Player award and helped the team to a 14-3 record and the Northwest Conference title.

Bankson later served two years as the coach of Pacific Lutheran's junior varsity women's basketball team.

Mark Clinton - Football (1971-74), Golf (1972-75)

Mark Clinton made his athletic mark at Pacific Lutheran in two sports.

As a golfer, the long-hitting Clinton took medalist honors at the 1973 and 1975 Northwest Conference championship tournaments, and also won the District 1 title in 1974. In addition, Clinton was medalist in 1973, 1974 and 1975 of the Northwest Small College Classic, at the time one of the major tournaments in the Pacific Northwest. An all-conference and all-district performer, Clinton helped the Lutes to three conference championships, two district titles and a pair of national tournament appearances.

Clinton was similarly successful as a football player. His finest year came in 1974 when, as a senior end, he earned all-conference, all-district, all-Little Northwest and honorable mention All-America honors. Selected as Pacific Lutheran's co-Most Valuable Offensive Player, Clinton led Pacific Northwest college division teams with 41 catches for 808 yards and nine touchdowns in nine games. With 58 points, he was the 1974 Northwest college division scoring leader. That season, he had 100-plus receiving yards in four games, including a career-best nine receptions for 199 yards and three touchdowns against College of Idaho.

As a junior, Clinton earned first team all-district and second team all-conference honors after a season featuring 34 receptions for 481 yards and three touchdowns. Clinton had 10 catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman. In his career, he had 85 catches for 1,437 yards, an average of 16.9 yards per catch. Clinton was a starting defensive back as a sophomore.

Perhaps more than his number of catches, Clinton was known for his competitiveness and determination between the lines. Following both his junior and senior years, he earned Pacific Lutheran football's Second Effort Award. He was named the Jack Hewins Senior Athlete Award winner for Pacific Lutheran men's sports in 1975.

Tommy Gilmer - Football (1954-57)

Tommy Gilmer was a jack-of-all-trades for four Pacific Lutheran College football teams, serving with distinction as quarterback, fullback, defensive back, punter and kick returner at various times throughout his career.

As a right-handed quarterback, Gilmer completed 142 of 303 passes for 1,907 yards, with 17 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. The majority of those stats came in his first three seasons when he was the starting signal caller. He completed 51 percent of his passes for 699 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore, and a year later had his best season with 714 passing yards. In 1957, as a senior fullback, he was the team's leading receiver and third-leading rusher. He was honored with all-conference, all-Northwest and all-West Coast honors numerous times throughout his gridiron career at Pacific Lutheran.

On the defensive side of the ball, Gilmer had 10 career interceptions, including a single-season best of four during his sophomore season. As a left-footed punter, Gilmer averaged 34.3 yards on 100 career punts. Gilmer averaged 41.6 yards per punt in 1957, still a Pacific Lutheran single-season record. He also dropkicked points after touchdown.

Gilmer had outstanding numbers returning opposing kicks, averaging 18.8 yards on 28 kickoff returns and 12.4 yards on 38 punt returns.

In addition to his football exploits, Gilmer also had an outstanding Pacific Lutheran track & field career in the hurdles, jumps and relays.

Kirsten (Wees) Olson - Swimming (1983-86)

Kirsten Olson earned NAIA first team All-America honors each of her four seasons at Pacific Lutheran University. From 1983 through 1985, Olson was one of the NAIA's premiere competitors in the individual medley and butterfly. Three separate times she earned All-America honors in the 200 and 400 individual medley, and twice she accomplished the feat in the 100 individual medley.

She came onto the national scene with a flurry in 1983, placing in the top six and earning All-America honors in five individual events and two relays. Her finest year may have been the 1983-84 season when, as a sophomore, she earned All-America honors in five individual events. Olson won national titles in the 200 individual medley and the 200 butterfly and finished second in the 100 butterfly, third in the 400 individual medley and fifth in the 100 individual medley.

Besides winning the two individual national titles, Olson swam on four Pacific Lutheran national title relay units, including the 800 freestyle and 400 medley teams as a senior in 1986.

Olson is listed on the Pacific Lutheran swimming all-time top 10 list in several events, including third in the 200 butterfly, and in 1985 was a member of the 800 freestyle relay team that set and still holds the school record.

Blair Taylor - Football (1937-40)

When Blair Taylor took a kickoff more than 100 yards for a touchdown against Linfield in 1938, he not only notched a school record that still stands, but gave a glimpse of the greatness that he exhibited during his Pacific Lutheran College football career.

Taylor, who earned All-Washington Intercollegiate Conference honors in 1940, was quarterback of the great PLC teams in 1939 and 1940. In that era, the quarterback served primarily as a runner and blocker, and Taylor used his great speed to score numerous touchdowns, several on laterals following pass completions. He helped lead those teams to a 15-1 overall record, including an 8-0-0 record in 1940, the only undefeated season in the storied history of Pacific Lutheran football. His touchdown on a lateral gave PLC its first score in the legendary 1940 game against Gonzaga, leading to a comeback 16-13 win and the unbeaten record.

The Gladiators, as they were known then, shared the 1939 Washington Intercollegiate Conference championship with Eastern Washington and won the WIC title outright in 1940. Coaching great Cliff Olson, for whom he played, named Taylor as the quarterback of his all-time Lutes team. Olson called him the best quick-kick punter in Pacific Lutheran football annals, and Taylor was also an accomplished point-after-touchdown kicker. Taylor also was a sprinter and hurdler and four-year letter winner for the PLC track & field squad.

Frosty nears landmark of
250th career win

B Y  N I C K  D A W S O N

With his first win of the 1997 season, Pacific Lutheran University head football coach Frosty Westering joins a select list of college football coaches who have won at least 250 games in their career. The names are a Who's Who of collegiate football, among them Eddie Robinson, Paul "Bear" Bryant, Charles "Pop" Warner, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden.

First on the fall schedule for the Lutes was California Lutheran. The matchup was intriguing for several reasons: Westering's second win at PLU (and he's had 205 of them) came against California Lutheran by a 31-9 count in 1972; Scott Squires, who played for Westering at Pacific Lutheran from 1985-87, is Cal Lutheran's head coach; and Pacific Lutheran has not played a non-NAIA opponent since PLU's 1980 national championship season when the Lutes humbled host Humboldt State, 45-14. California Lutheran is a member of NCAA Division III.

Westering's 34-year-long storied career - that includes a 25-year tenure of winning teams at Pacific Lutheran - has been marked by continued excellence. That excellence led to his January 1995 induction into the NAIA Hall of Fame.

Westering, 69 years young, came to PLU in 1972 after successful coaching stops at Parsons College (Iowa) and Lea College (Minn.). Since his arrival at PLU, excellence has been the trademark of EMAL ("Every Man A Lute") football. His Lutes have played for the NAIA Division II national title in 1980, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1991, 1993 and 1994, winning in 1980, 1987 and 1993. Westering's overall record at PLU is a staggering 205-53-5 (.789 winning percentage), making him the winningest football coach in PLU history. No PLU team under his guidance has suffered a losing season, and in fact, only one has lost as many as four games in a season.

Excellence on the football field, however, is only a by-product of Westering's overall life philosophy. His PHD (Pride, Hustle, Desire) brand of football emphasizes a double-win theme: victory on the scoreboard and the satisfaction of playing to one's personal potential. Westering, a former Marine drill sergeant and football letter-winner at both Northwestern and Nebraska-Omaha, has written a book, "Make The Big Time Where You Are," which deals with his double-win philosophy.

PLU football coach Frosty Westering
nears his 250th career win.


  • Member of NAIA Hall of Fame
  • NAIA National College Football Coach of the Year in 1983 and 1993
  • Winningest active coach in the NAIA with 249 career wins as of last season
  • PLU's all-time winningest football coach with 205 victories
  • Directed Lutes to seven NAIA Division II championship games
  • Won national championships in 1980, 1987 and 1993
  • Columbia Football Association Mt. Rainier League Coach of the Year in 1985, 1986 and 1993
  • Northwest Small College Coach of the Year in 1979, 1980, 1983 and 1993
  • Six-time Northwest College Division Coach of the Year
  • Has coached 23 NAIA First Team All-Americans
  • His teams have finished in the top five in final NAIA Division II rankings in 11 of the past 17 years
  • Member of Iowa Collegiate Coaching Hall of Fame
  • Two-time Tacoma News Tribune Man of the Year in Sports
  • Author of book, "Make The Big Time Where You Are"

Cross country champion to be
inducted into NAIA Hall of Fame

B Y  N I C K  D A W S O N

Valerie Hilden, who won two NAIA national cross country championships while at Pacific Lutheran, will be inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame on Nov. 15 in Kenosha, Wis. The induction will be part of the Cross Country National Championships Awards Ceremony, which follows the running of the national meet.

Hilden earned Hall of Fame recognition for what she accomplished at the national level. As a freshman, she won the 1985 NAIA individual cross country title, then came back three years later to repeat the feat as a senior. Her individual championship at the 1988 national meet was the cornerstone behind PLU's drive to the national team crown, the only one in the history of the Pacific Lutheran cross country program. Hilden also finished third in 1987 and fourth in 1986.

On the track, Hilden was a five-time All-American, including winning a national title in the 3000-meter run at the 1987 NAIA championship meet.

"What impressed me most about Valerie was her determination to succeed and tremendous mental focus on meet day," said Brad Moore, who coached Hilden in cross country and track at PLU. "The fact that she placed no lower than fourth in her four national cross country championships speaks highly of her mental preparation to compete consistently well."

Hilden will become the ninth former Pacific Lutheran athlete, coach or administrator to be inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame. Previous inductees are: Chuck Curtis, basketball; John Fromm, track & field; Marv Harshman, coach; Roger Iverson, basketball; David Olson, athletic director; Marv Tommervik, football; Dave Trageser, tennis; and Frosty Westering, coach.

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Source: Pacific Lutheran Scene, Fall 1997
Edited by: Linda Elliott, Summer Senior Editor (elliotlm@plu.edu)
Maintained by: Webmaster (webmaster@plu.edu).
Last Update: 12/09/97