1999 Hall of Fame Inductees
By Nick Dawson, Sports Editor
Six individuals will be inducted into the Pacific Lutheran University Athletic Hall of Fame at Homecoming on Oct. 15. The 1999 induction class is the 10th since the inaugural group in 1990. A plaque honoring this year's inductees will be installed at the Walk of Fame just north of the swimming pool.
Mike Benson '69
(Tennis Coach 1970-99)
In the 30 years Mike Benson '69 coached the PLU men's tennis program, his teams won or shared 24 Northwest Conference championships. Benson's all-time PLU men's tennis coaching record was an amazing 400-196. During that same 30-year period his teams compiled an incredible 166-18 dual-match record, including a pair of 60-match winning streaks, in Northwest Conference matches. Benson's teams made the trek to Kansas City for NAIA nationals on 20 occasions and finished as high as eighth place. One of his players, Dave Trageser '79, '88, reached the national tournament championship match in both singles (1978) and doubles (with Mike Hoeger '81 in 1979). During Benson's six years as head coach of the PLU women's team the Lutes won six conference titles and had a 90-35 overall record. Benson played collegiate tennis at PLU and was a member of the 1967 district doubles championship team. He is arguably best known for helping to coin the term, "It's a great day to be a Lute," celebrating the spirit of PLU athletics.
Kerri (Butcher '86) Daniels
One of the most accomplished athletes in the history of the PLU athletic program, Kerri (Butcher '86) Daniels won four consecutive NAIA nationals titles in the 100-yard butterfly, in the process breaking the national record three times. As a senior, Daniels won individual national titles in the 100 butterfly, 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle and also swam on winning relay teams in the 200 freestyle, 800 freestyle and 400 medley. That year, she was honored as the national meet's outstanding female swimmer. In her incredible four-year career, Daniels earned NAIA All-America honors 25 times by virtue of placing in the top six in individual or relay events. In all, she won six individual and six relay national championships. In addition to her talent in the water, Daniels also earned NAIA All-America Scholar-Athlete honors.
Steve Irion '78
(Football and Baseball 1974-78)
Steve Irion '78 excelled in both football and baseball at PLU. As a football defensive back, he earned NAIA first team All-America honors as a senior after intercepting seven passes, recovering a fumble and blocking two kicks. A four-year letter winner and three-year starter, Irion completed his PLU football career with 19 interceptions, including his single-season best of 10 as a sophomore in 1975. He earned all-conference and Little All-Northwest honors in both his sophomore and senior seasons. As a four-year starter in baseball, Irion received All-Northwest Conference recognition at two different positions. He was honored as an outfielder as a sophomore, and as a shortstop as a junior and senior. He still ranks in the top five in single-season categories for triples and home runs and in the top 10 in career listings for at bats, runs, hits, triples, home runs, runs batted in and stolen bases.
Dave Peterson '74
(Crew 1970-74 / Coach 1975-85)
Dave Peterson '74 had a significant impact on the PLU crew program, first as a crew team member and later as a coach. Peterson earned four varsity letters, was voted commodore as a senior and was a member of the Varsity 8 that won the inaugural Head of the Lake 3-mile regatta, beating recent Pan Am Games bronze-medal-winning University of Washington. He went on to a distinguished post-collegiate racing career. Taking over as PLU coach in 1975, Peterson built the program into national recognition during his 11-year tenure. Several of his women's crews won national gold and bronze medals, and a number of his rowers went on to become national-caliber competitors after graduation. In Peterson's final season as coach, PLU won three of the team's six regular season regattas, six major trophies, four regional championships, two West Coast championships and one national title.
Stacy Waterworth '87
(Soccer and Softball 1983-87)
Stacy Waterworth '87 is one of the finest two-sport athletes in the history of PLU women's athletics. Waterworth ranks on numerous single-season and career top 10 lists in women's soccer. She holds the record for most goals in a game with six, set in her senior year, and ranks second in career points with 184 and career goals with 74. Waterworth not only knew how to put the ball in the net, she also was an adept passer and consummate team player, ranking third in career assists with 36. She was voted the team's co-offensive MVP in 1986 and earned all-conference honors during her junior and senior seasons. After graduation Waterworth was named the state's top woman amateur player of the year in 1993. As a softball player, she was a three-time all-district and two-time first team all-conference honoree. Her best season, arguably, came during her junior year, when she hit .400 and set a then-school record with 27 runs.
Rev. Milton Luther Nesvig '35
(Meritorious Service 1947-1987)
Affectionately known as "Mr. PLU," the Rev. Milton Luther Nesvig was PLU's ambassador to the world, often recruiting students along his many travels. His support of students also carried over heavily into the sports arena. Former President William Rieke tells of Nesvig getting so worked up that he became as much fun to watch as the game itself. Nesvig, who died in 1990 at the age of 75, graduated from PLC in 1935 then earned an English degree from St. Olaf College in 1937. After becoming an ordained pastor in 1942, he pastored a local church in Tacoma and served as a Navy chaplain for several years. He earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota in 1947 then came to PLU, where he served until 1987 in many different capacities - assistant professor of English, director of public relations, vice president of university relations and university archivist. Nesvig Alumni Center is named in his honor. Both PLU and St. Olaf presented Nesvig with distinguished alumnus awards.