UMD ATHLETIC HALL OF FAME TO ADD FIVE NEW MEMBERS THIS FRIDAY
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Veteran Major League Baseball umpire Bob Davidson, hockey standouts Bill Halbrehder and Tom Milani, two-sport All-American Lynn Stottler (cross country and track) and former National Football League offensive lineman Dave Viaene will all be paid a lasting tribute this Friday (Oct. 8) when the University of Minnesota Duluth Athletic Hall of Fame holds its 13th enshrinement ceremony. The addition of this distinguished group will bring the UMD Athletic Hall of Fame membership to 99.
Davidson, a Duluth East High School alumnus, played outfield for the Bulldogs during their initial two seasons of intercollegiate baseball (1972-73) before leaving UMD in February 1974 to pursue a professional umpiring career. After spending eight years working in the minors, he received his first major league assignment on May 31, 1982 and then became a full-time member of the National League staff the following spring. During his MLB tenure (1982-99 and 2007-present), Davidson has umpired one World Series (1992), three National League Championship series (1988, 1991 and 1996), three National League Divisional series (1995, 1998 and 2009) and two All-Star Games (1987 and 1993) as well as the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006. He recently complete his 23rd season of MLB umpiring, working 3,164 games in all.
Halbrehder was a four-time letterman and three-year starter with the then-NCAA Division I independent Bulldogs (1961-65) and established program bests for both lifetime goals against average (3.90) and saves percentage (.894 -- a mark which stood for some 35 years). He posted a school-record .901 saves percentage as a junior and was the only goaltender to eclipse the .900 figure in the first 36 years of UMD's NCAA I existence. A native of nearby Superior, Wis., Halbrehder made 77 saves (a UMD all-time high and an NCAA record at the time) in a 6-5 overtime loss at the University of Michigan on Dec. 19, 1964. Upon graduation, he launched a rewarding 21-year head coaching career at North St. Paul High School (1968-89) where he guided the Polars to a pair of Minnesota State High School Tournament berths (1970 and 1981). Halbrehder later served as North St. Paul's athletic director from 1992-99 in addition to coaching boy's soccer for 12 years and girl's soccer for 13 season. He hung up his coaching spurs in 2009 following five seasons of assistant duty with the Augsburg College women's hockey team (2000-05) and four seasons behind the North St. Paul girl's hockey bench (2005-09). Inducted into the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Minnesota Soccer Coaches Hal of Fame in 1991, Halbrehder was bestowed with the 2005 Cliff Thompson Award for his long-time outstanding contributions to the sport of hockey in Minnesota (other recipients of this prestigious honor include the likes of Herb Brooks, John Mariucci, David Peterson, Larry Ross and Willard Ikola).
Milani racked up more goals -- and even 100 -- during his collegiate playing days than anyone in the 66-year history of UMD hockey and currently ranks seventh on the Bulldogs' all-time scoring list with 198 points in 146 games. The right winger from Thunder Bay, Ontario, was a two-time All-Western Collegiate Hockey Association second team pick (1974-75 and 1975-76) and finished as UMD's top point producer both of those seasons. As a senior team captain in 1975-76, Milani amassed 63 points which equalled a team single-season record, and exited the Bulldog program holding career marks for hat trick (six) and games played. Milani, who served as an alternate captain during both his sophomore and junior seasons, went on to skate professionally with the Syracuse Blaze of North American Hockey League (1976-77) the Minnesota Fighting Saints (1976-77) and the Kalamazoo Wings of the International Hockey League (1977-80). He spent an additional nine seasons playing in Italy before retiring following the 1987-88 season and represented that country at the 1984 Winter Olympics.
Stottler holds the distinction of being UMD's first NCAA Division II All-American in cross country, a status she acquired by finishing 21st overall at the 1986 national meet. The Buffalo, Minn., product followed that up with a four-place effort in the 1,500-meter run and All-American recognition at the NCAA II Indoor Track and Field Championships that spring. Stottler reigned as the Northern Sun Conference's individual cross country champion in 1986 -- the first Bulldog women to ever do so -- while corralling her third All-NSC honor (1984 and 1985 were the others) in as many years. A member of the All-NSIC outdoor and indoor track teams on a pair of occasions, she handled team captaincy duties for the cross country Bulldogs as a junior and was a two-time track captain (1987 and 1988). Stottler, who landed UMD's Top Scholar Athlete award for 1986-87, held both the outdoor and indoor 1,500 and 800-meter school records at the conclusion of her collegiate career.
Viaene, a native of Appleton, Wis., anchored the Bulldog defensive front for two years and enjoyed a prosperous -- albeit brief -- spell as a UMD wrestler after transferring from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 1985. In his farewell season on the gridiron (1987), he was credited with 57 total tackles and a team-high nine quarterback sacks en route to attaining All-Northern Intercollegiate Conference first team acclaim. That spirited performance earned him a trip to the 1988 East-West Shrine Game in Palo Alto, Calif., where he was the lone non-Division IA or IAA player on the 34-man East roster. Viaene also strutted his stuff for one year with the Bulldog wrestling team and made the most of it by taking second place in the heavyweight class at the 1986 NAIA National Championships, capturing the NIC heavyweight title and posting a 10-1-0 individual record. Viaene, the recipient of UMD's Outstanding Senior Male Athlete award for 1987-88, was part of a NAIA select wrestling team which toured China in the summer following his junior year. An eighth round selection of the Houston Oilers in the 1988 National Football League Draft, he went on to become the sixth Bulldog to ever suit up in an NFL game, appearing in 21 outings with the New England Patriots (1989-91) and Green Bay Packers (1992) as an offensive tackle.
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