Six to be inducted into Lawrence Hall of Fame

Posted on: July 17th, 2014 by Joseph Vanden Acker

APPLETON, Wis. — The Lawrence University Intercollegiate Athletic Hall of Fame will welcome six new members when two coaches and four athletes are inducted in October.

Current softball coach and Associate Director of Athletics Kim Tatro and former men’s basketball coach John Tharp will be inducted, along with softball and volleyball star Jenny Burris, men’s basketball standout Doug Fyfe, track and field star Don Kersemeier and football standout Zach Michael.

The induction ceremony takes place on Oct. 10, and the inductees will be honored at the Fall Festival football game on Oct. 11. The public is welcome to attend and may call 920-832-7019 to make a reservation.

Jenny Burris Paramski, Class of 2004

Jenny Burris was a two-sport star that rewrote the Lawrence softball record book and collected a bevy of post-season awards.

A four-time All-Midwest Conference North Division selection and four-time All-Great Lakes Region pick, Burris played shortstop and was a career .436 hitter. Burris won North Division Player of the Year in 2002 and 2003, and earned first-team all-region honors in the final three years of her career.

Burris set Lawrence career records in hits (184), runs scored (123), doubles (38), triples (10), total bases (266) and stolen bases (103). She hit a career-best .494 in 2003 and drove in a career-high 27 runs in 2004.

Burris set Lawrence season records with 37 runs scored and 79 total bases in 2001 and 37 stolen bases in 2002. She also set a Lawrence game record with three doubles vs. Thomas College in 2003.

Led by Burris, the Vikings won North Division titles in 2002 and 2003 and earned a berth in the Midwest Conference Tournament for three consecutive years from 2002 through 2004. Lawrence compiled a record of 71-57-1 and had four consecutive winning seasons during Burris’ time with the team.

Burris was nearly as good on the volleyball court as she was on the softball diamond. A three-time All-Midwest Conference selection, Burris was a first-team selection in 2000 and 2003 and was a second-team pick in 2001. Burris finished her career as the Lawrence leader with 1,908 digs and was sixth with 652 kills.

An outside hitter, Burris played more of an offensive role as a freshman in 2000 and piled up a career-best 228 kills, an average of 2.48 per set, and 376 digs. Burris was a defensive specialist during her senior season and set both season and match records for digs in 2003. She piled up 39 digs to set the match record against Carroll University and finished the season with a record 769 digs.

Burris was a star on the 2001 team that set a school record with a 19-12 mark and posted the school’s highest finish ever, third place, in the Midwest Conference.

Burris works as an accounting officer and the facilities and purchasing manager at Libertyville Bank and Trust. She and her husband, Eric, live in Beach Park, Ill., with their two dogs, Onnie and Rosie.

Doug Fyfe, Class of 1976

Doug Fyfe was a dominant post player for the Lawrence University basketball squad and set a career scoring standard that would stand for nearly two decades.

The 6-foot-5 center from Palatine, Ill., scored 1,342 points to set the school’s career scoring record. He broke the record of fellow Hall of Famer Joel Ungrodt, who set the mark of 1,247 from 1961-64.

A two-time All-Midwest Conference selection, Fyfe averaged 15.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game while shooting 51.5 percent from the floor for his career. The 15.7 scoring average ranked fifth in school history when he graduated and is still good for seventh on the list. Fyfe grabbed 710 rebounds, which trails only All-American Chris Braier and Brad Childs on the career list.

Fyfe also set Lawrence records for field goals made (500), free throws made (342) and free throws attempted (532).

A team captain, Fyfe enjoyed his best scoring season in 1974-75 when he averaged a career-best 18.1 points and had a career-best 8.6 rebounds per contest. He wasn’t far off that mark during his senior season in 1975-76 when he averaged 17.1 points per game while shooting 54.4 percent from the floor. In both of those seasons, Fyfe earned second-team all-conference honors.

Led by Fyfe, the Vikings started to turn the basketball program around. During his final season of 1975-76, Lawrence hit double digits with 10 victories. It marked the first time Lawrence had won at least 10 games in a season since 1953-54.

Fyfe, who received his law degree from DePaul University College of Law in 1982, is a partner at Bollenbeck Fyfe, S.C., in Appleton. He and his wife, Linda, have four children, Geoff and Ross Fyfe and Patrick and Andrew Rock, and one grandchild.

Don Kersemeier, Class of 1963

Don Kersemeier is one of the fastest men in Lawrence University history. Kersemeier set a trio of Lawrence dash records and won multiple Midwest Conference track and field titles.

A native of Wausau, Wis., Kersemeier was a four-time Midwest Conference champion, winning two titles outdoors and two more indoors. Kersemeier competed for only two varsity seasons, missing one season while studying for a year in India on a Carnegie Foundation grant and freshmen weren’t eligible for varsity competition back then.

Kersemeier was a star on the freshmen team and came out blazing as a sophomore in 1961. He won the 60-yard dash at the Midwest Conference indoor championships. Kersemeier became the man to beat during the outdoor season as he ran the 100 and 220 and was a member of the 880 and mile relay teams.

Kersemeier broke a pair of school records while competing in dual meets against Ripon College in 1961. In April 1961, Kersemeier won the 100 in 9.6 seconds, breaking the 22-year-old record of 9.7 set by Joe Graf at the Beloit College Relays in 1939. Prior to Graf’s record-setting time, the previous mark had stood for 41 years after Jay Merrill set the mark of 9.8 in 1898.

Competing against Ripon in May 1961, Kersemeier broke the record in the 220 as he blazed to victory in 21.0 seconds. That broke the mark of 21.3 set by Bob Whitelaw in 1948. Kersemeier also teamed with Bob Buchanan, Joel Blahnik and Mike Ulwelling to set the school record of 1:35.2 in the 880 relay indoors.

Also highlighting the 1961 outdoor season was a victory in the 100 at the prestigious Beloit Relays and top-three finishes in both the 100 and 220 at the Midwest Conference Championships.

After studying in India in 1961-62, Kersemeier returned to Lawrence in the fall of 1962 and was unbeatable the following spring. Kersemeier started during the indoor season by breaking the school record in the 60-yard dash with a winning time of 6.4 seconds at the Midwest Conference indoor meet.

Kersemeier then piled up 14 event victories during the course of the outdoor season. He was unbeaten in the 100 and 220 during the season and ran on the mile relay team, which picked up multiple victories. Kersemeier capped his career by winning both the 100 in 10.1 seconds and the 220 in 21.5 seconds at the Midwest Conference Championships at Carleton College.

Kersemeier was a two-time winner of the DeGoy Ellis Trophy, which goes to the track man scoring the most points during the season. He captured the award in 1961 and again in 1963.

Kersemeier, who earned his master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, spent his professional career as an educator. He was a teacher at Glenbrook North High School and the assistant principal for instruction at Glenbard East High School before becoming the principal at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, Ill. He retired in 1997.

Kersemeier and his wife, Mary, have three children, Carolyn, Susan and Craig, and 11 grandchildren. The Kersemeiers split their time between Arlington Heights, Ill., and Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

Zach Michael, Class of 2004

Zach Michael is the most prolific pass catcher in the storied history of Lawrence University football. The Appleton native is Lawrence’s career leader in catches, receiving yards and touchdown catches.

Playing wide receiver, Michael was a four-time All-Midwest Conference selection and earned freshman All-America honors in 2000. Michael caught 248 passes for 3,842 yards and 40 touchdowns.

Michael, who played his prep football at Appleton East High School for Lawrence All-American Pat Schwanke, also stands as one of the greatest receivers in Midwest Conference and NCAA Division III history. He set the conference career record for both catches and receiving yards and was fourth in touchdown catches. In Division III, Michael was 12th in receiving yards, 14th in catches and 18th in touchdown catches when he graduated.

Michael set Lawrence game records for catches and yards vs. Monmouth College when he grabbed 15 passes for 279 yards in 2001. Michael also set the Lawrence game record for touchdown catches, grabbing four TD passes against St. Norbert College in 2003. Michael also set the Lawrence record for the longest pass play when he caught a 96-yard touchdown pass from R.J. Rosenthal vs. Monmouth in 2001.

Michael, who caught a pass in all 40 of his games at Lawrence, set the season record when he made 77 catches in 2001. His 1,207 receiving yards in 2001 is the second-highest total in school history.

Michael, who also played baseball as a freshman, works as a senior premier banker at BMO Harris Bank in Appleton. He and his wife, Kayla, live in De Pere and have two children, Hailey and Shawn, and a third child is due in December.

Kim Tatro

Kim Tatro has put together a record that is unmatched in Lawrence history. In 29 seasons (21 in softball, eight in volleyball), Tatro has compiled 430 victories to date, 127 more wins than any coach in Lawrence history.

In 21 seasons as the softball coach, the native of Naperville, Ill., has a record of 339-309-1, and her Vikings won Midwest Conference championships in 1997, 1998 and 1999. A seven-time Midwest Conference North Division Coach of the Year (2013, 2011, 2006, 2002, 1999, 1998, 1997), Tatro’s Vikings qualified for the NCAA Division III Tournament in 1998 and 1999, and Lawrence had a 4-4 mark in those two tournament appearances.

Under Tatro’s guidance, the Vikings have won six North Division championships (1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005) and qualified for the MWC Tournament 10 times since 1997. Lawrence has been to the MWC Tournament in each of the last two seasons, earning a second-place finish in 2013.

The 1999 squad set the school season record with 31 victories, and Tatro’s teams have the top 12 season win totals in school history. Lawrence has compiled a record of 113-105 in conference play during Tatro’s tenure. The Vikings have fared very well against the North Division during Tatro’s career with a record of 104-82. Tatro’s Vikings have winning records against Beloit College (29-18), Carroll University (28-15) and Ripon College (27-22) and won 12 of 14 games against St. Norbert College during one stretch.

Tatro’s first softball season was 1994, and she took over a program that was rebuilding. Just four seasons later, Lawrence had claimed its first MWC championship and piled up 28 victories.

Over the past 21 seasons, Lawrence has had 60 All-MWC selections and 11 players win North Division Pitcher of the Year or Player of the Year. Lawrence has had 35 All-Great Lakes Region selections since 1997. Lawrence also has had more than 50 Academic All-MWC softball selections since 1994, and 47 Vikings have earned National Fastpitch Coaches Association Scholar-Athlete awards.

Tatro guided the Lawrence volleyball team from 1993-2000, and she holds the school record with 91 victories. Her best season as the volleyball coach was 1998 when the Vikings finished 17-12. The 17 victories is the third-highest season win total in Lawrence history. Tatro had 11 All-MWC selections in eight seasons and nearly 20 academic all-conference picks.

This is not the first Hall of Fame selection for Tatro, who has twice been selected for the St. Norbert College Hall of Fame. She was selected individually in 1999 and as a member of the 1984-85 basketball team in 2005. Tatro also was chosen for the Waubonsie Valley High School Hall of Fame in 1993.

Tatro also currently serves as Lawrence’s associate director of athletics and has served in athletics administration at Lawrence for 13 years.

John Tharp

John Tharp changed Lawrence University basketball and put the Vikings on the national stage. In 13 seasons as the Lawrence coach, Tharp compiled a record of 204-108 for a cool .654 winning percentage.

Tharp’s Vikings won four Midwest Conference championships, reached the Elite Eight of the 2004 NCAA Division III Tournament and achieved a No. 1 national ranking. During the three-season stretch from 2003-04 through 2005-06, Lawrence put together the best record among all NCAA Division III schools at 69-12.

Tharp collected seven different Coach of the Year awards, including Midwest Conference Coach of the Year four times (1997, 2004, 2005, 2006). Tharp also earned National Association of Basketball Coaches Midwest Region Coach of the Year accolades in 2004 and 2006 and was named Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2006.

When Tharp came to Lawrence in 1994, the Vikings had never won more than 13 games in a season and hadn’t won a league championship since 1943. In just his third season as head coach, 1996-97, Lawrence went 22-3, won the Midwest Conference championship and played in the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time.

Tharp’s teams then put together a remarkable run from 2003-04 through 2005-06 by winning three consecutive conference championships. The 2003-04 team reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division III Tournament, a first for a Midwest Conference team. The 2005-06 team was the last unbeaten team in the nation and was ranked No. 1 for the final weeks of the season by D3hoops.com. That team went on to reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Tharp’s postseason record was 10-3 in Midwest Conference Tournament play and 5-4 in the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Vikings won four Midwest Conference Tournaments under Tharp and appeared in the tournament seven times.

Tharp also served as Lawrence’s golf coach for 10 seasons from 1995-2004, and the Vikings had a top finish of second place in 2003. Tharp, who was the associate director of athletics during the latter years of his career at Lawrence, also coached MWC champions Jeff Henderson in 2002 and Joe Loehnis in 2003.

A native of Sheboygan, Wis., Tharp has served as the head men’s basketball coach at Hillsdale College since 2007. He and his wife, Jennifer, live in Hillsdale, Mich., and have three children, McKayla, Logan and Lukas.

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