Highlights from the 2014 LSSU Athletics Hall of Fame induction

Highlights from the 2014 LSSU Athletics Hall of Fame induction

Lake Superior State’s Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2014, which included basketball players Alice Duesing-Nightingale and Chris Buell, and the 1994 NCAA Champion hockey team, was inducted on Saturday, Oct. 25, at the Art Center.

Below are induction highlights compiled by Tom Pink, LSSU director of public relations.

LSSU President Tom Pleger on his first Great Lake State Weekend: It’s quite a day to be a Laker!...I’ve been hearing stories over the past couple days of how this university has shaped people’s lives, not just in academics but in athletics…It’s an honor to be gathered here to recognize some truly outstanding Laker athletes…

LSSU Director of Athletics Kris Dunbar, who introduced Nightingale: I have been fortunate to be around Laker athletics all my life, to the point where some are calling me “Little Bud Cooper.” It’s been an honor to serve as AD, and an honor to help bring in our best athletes.

I was fortunate to bring in Alice Duesing Nightingale to our program…She played for me when I coached here. She was a recruit that no one thought we would get. She played for Sault High and we weren’t sure if she wanted to stay to play locally after high school. That’s a lot of pressure in itself, then to have your mom and dad here as professors at the University… We were doing cartwheels when we got the call that she would play for us. That day, our program changed…

Alice Duesing-Nightingale and Kris Dunbar

Alice is as straight an arrow as you can get. When she came in, there was a restructuring with our program. We were focusing on discipline. When she came on a recruiting visit, Becky Arbic was one of the hosts. They had Alice playing videos and board games in a place where they could all be alone. But it was Halloween, and a couple members of the hockey team showed up in Braveheart costumes, doing headstands in the room with nothing under their kilts. Becky was mortified. After that, any time that recruits came in, Alice was in charge. The hockey team was afraid of her!

She went on to have the most storied career we’ve had at Lake State…She had a work ethic like nothing I’ve ever seen. Even now, I see a couple really hard workers on the men’s basketball team, but nothing like with Alice. She had the heart and determination to win games.

She was the foundation of our program, our MVP for four years…leading score...Always on GLIAC all-academic team. She put Lake Superior on the map….

I still tell students, “If you want to be not just a spectacular student-athlete, but lead your team to win championships, I can show you someone who did it the right way.”

To recruit such an amazing person and then to have an opportunity to coach someone like her is amazing in itself, and now to call her a friend is even more special

Alice Nightingale: It’s an honor to be included…But this is not about me, it’s about all the people who have made this possible…I can’t say it enough…Over the years that I’ve been able to play basketball, I’ve been overwhelmed with people and organizations that have had an impact on me in so many ways -- in playing, in my career and throughout life.

It’s very special playing in front of a group of people who care about you so much as a team. They filled our water bottles, offered encouraging words and supported our team – young players coming up and community members who would go to our away games, families opening their homes to us for meals…

I express my sincere gratitude to teachers and professors who I learned from, who prepared me for college and pushed me academically...Thank you for providing me with a great education and supporting me along the way…I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to play the game I enjoy so much with teammates I called friends, some of whom were recruited with me. I am so thankful for all of them, as well as upperclassmen who welcomed us and pushed us as players, for the memories we all shared.

Thankyou to the late Joe Dunn, Larry Mouseley, Heather Hopkins and Brian Stanaway, and during my four years at Lake State, three coaches who mentored us. It was an extremely dedicated coaching staff… They taught us the game, but most of all, they cared about us. I’m so thankful for all the ways they helped me grow as a person. I’m thankful to call Coach Dunbar my friend.

Thanks to relatives and family here today – for their sacrifice and love. The best part in coming to Lake State was meeting my husband Jason. I’m so blessed to have him in my life and our four beautiful children.

Basketball has been a very special part of my life…Playing college basketball in my hometown was truly a blessing. I loved it all…

  • LSSU’s all-time leader career scoring with 1,933 points and career free throws with 559
  • Ranked second in career field goals with 657 and fourth in career field-goal percentage at .540
  • 2003 NCAA Today’s Top VIII Award winner
  • 2003 GLIAC Player of the Year and GLIAC Scholar Athlete of the Year
  • 2003 Verizon Academic All-America
  • 2003 Kodak/WBCA First Team All-America and Daktronics Division II All-America
  • 2003 NCAA II Conference Commissioners Association Scholar-Athlete of the Year
  • 2002 All-GLIAC First Team and All-Great Lakes Region Team
  • 2009 Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame inductee

Former Laker Bob Kjholhede, who introduced Chris Buell: I’m here to introduce Chris Buell – aka Whooper -- And tell what it was like to be a Laker 40-some years ago.  (Alice-- you’re a dandy. One of the finest people I know. To go to Lake State and do what you did in your hometown is just terrific.) We played in Fletcher Center. That was the gym, with its dead spots in different places. We used it to our advantage. Bud (Cooper) watched practices from his office upstairs.

Chris did not have a six-pack type body – although there may be a six pack in there.

People would tease him, and he would respond by kicking their butts in the game.

Bob Kjolhede, Chris Buell and Tom Ludwig

He never let anyone get under his skin. He just played better and played harder. Chris always had my back, along with others. My dad, a basketball coach, said you want your teammates to be someone you’d want to be in foxhole with. Chris was always there.

…When it came to play the best teams, that’s when Chris played his best. In high school, he played against (NBA superstar) Spencer Hayward. He outplayed and outscored him.

Former LSSU coach Tom Ludwig on Buell and the Lakers from 1970-74: They were warriors…We were a very physical team. We played it like hockey…The motto was “don’t let the other team score a point and then you can’t lose.” We had players who could score and others who could keep them from scoring…

We recruited Chris from Denby High School in Detroit… Chris was a game-changer. I knew that. If we were going to compete, we had to have a game-changer. That’s what we needed. He was an old-time player. He rebounded, he scored, and he gave assists. We were lucky at Lake State to get him.

What makes a good team is family, and this is a super special time for me to come back for this honor for Chris.

Chris Buell: Thanks to everyone for being here. I don’t know what to say. It’s an honor…Thank you to my son, daughter-in-law, wife and family members…

When I first got to Lake Superior State College, I didn’t know where I was going. I didn’t play basketball til my senior year of high school. I was a baseball player. The coach asked me to try out, so I did. And I played. In my family, college was never mentioned. I was the first person to go. I finished high school, then was drafted in the Army…As soon as I arrived for basic training, a colonel asked me if I played sports. I said, “I’ll play ‘anything you have.’” He said if I did, “You will never go to Vietnam.”

I was a cook, working 24 hours on, 24 off. The colonel wanted me to be at the gym. But when I told the sergeant, he said, “Get back in there and peel potatoes.” I didn’t know what to do, so I went back in the kitchen…The colonel came to the mess hall. He said, “Private Buell, I thought you’d be at basketball practice.” I told him that the sergeant said I couldn’t go. He said, “Do you know how to type?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “You are now a typist. Get to the gym.”

Colonel would change my jobs many times. I stayed in Arizona and played basketball and softball. I didn’t go to Vietnam.

After the Army, Coach Ludwig came to house and talked about playing basketball…My father was like Archie Bunker. The coach talked to me, Mom, Dad. He said he wanted me to come to Lake Superior State College. “It’s a full ride, it won’t cost you a penny.”  My dad said, “Where do I sign?”  I was going, and I had no choice.

I came here and met my greatest friends and teammates. I’ve been sick in recent years, and the only people I’ve heard from were my teammates. No one else called me. That’s a tribute to the people here today. I can’t thank everyone enough. It’s been a wonderful experience, and I’m proud of it.

My biggest supporter was my brother Tom. He wanted to see this more than I did.

My teammates…everybody’s here and I want to thank everyone for being here. This has been the best month of my life. On Oct. 5 I celebrated my 40th wedding anniversary with Kathy, an LSSU grad who I met here. She is now my dialysis nurse. It’s been fun to be here and to have my son see this. I couldn’t be happier. I’m proud to be a member of the Lake Superior State University Hall of Fame.

  • Held LSSU’s career rebounds record of 915
  • Ranked fourth in career field goals (692), seventh in career scoring with 1,687 points and 13th in career field-goal percentage (.519)
  • Ranked seventh in single-season field-goal percentage at .592 (231-390 in 1971-72)
  • Ranked eighth in single-season rebounds with 259 (1971-72 and 1972-73)
  • Was named to the All-GLIAC Second Team in 1973-74
  • Was named to the NAIA District 23 All-Star Team in 1973-74
  • Earned NAIA national honorable mention in 1974.
  • Attended LSSU after serving in the military

"Voice of the Lakers" Bill Crawford, Hall of Fame Class of 2009: It’s a privilege and an honor to be here… Laker Athletics has always meant so much to me.

…I remember Chris Buell. I was working at the Sault Star then. Tom Ludwig was a great coach, Alice was a tremendous athlete. We were indeed so fortunate to get her and Becca Johnson….They helped us win championships.

The 1994 National Champion Laker hockey team – an unbelievable group of guys. Three straight games in overtime to get to the championship game at St Paul. No team has ever done that. It made for great radio and tv!

They were a team -- the kind of team we built at Lake Superior State. The program physically turned us into men playing against boys…Then add talent – eight went on to play in the NHL. A lot of them played professionally. They were very successful, and their record speaks for itself.

…We had a great coaching staff – Jeff Jackson, Paul Pooley, Ron Rolston, Bruce Hoffort, who was a volunteer assistant. They are all busy coaching and were not able to make it tonight.

Reading letter from Jackson, current University of Notre Dame head coach: Congratulations to the members of the 1994 Laker hockey team on their induction…I’m proud to say these young men were a big part of my life, not just for what they accomplished, but for the quality of people they were and are now. We became family. Laker hockey is family. My sincerest congratulations for this well-deserved honor.

1994 forward Dan Angelelli: My son decided he wants to play hockey, so I’m at hockey rinks quite a bit. When people there find out where I played and who I played with, they’ll ask me lots of questions: “Who was best player you played against? Toughest team? Do you really hate Michigan that much? Who was best team?”

In 20 years, that answer has not changed. The best team was the 1994 Lake Superior State hockey team. I think it’s the greatest team that ever played at Lake Superior State. Our record was not even the best, but like all things, take deeper look and you’ll find the truth. Look at the roster. There was nothing flashy, no superstars, no first-round draft picks. But dig a little deeper to get to the truth. The coaching staff’s love and passion for the game was only surpassed by their love to teach it.

We used to say of Coach Jackson, “Give him a videotape and a room, and he’ll come out of it having dissected the team’s strengths and weaknesses and will know how to win. And win we did. Over half of our starting lineup who played on a consistent basis had 10 or more goals. We had creativity…Clayton Beddoes was like a human highlight reel. Wayne Strachan played like 7 ft. tall giant. The backbone of any team is the role players – the third and fourth liners, back-ups, walk-ons – guys who were willing to do anything and everything to stay in the lineup and play.

The greatest defensive players to ever play defense were on that team. Keith Aldridge was the greatest.

 

Lake Superior State always had a great history of goaltending. Blaine Lacher – he would say that it’s not about him, it’s about the players in front of him. Our greatest strength was mental toughness. Our motto was “Never too high, never too low.”… We had a calmness on the bench. We all had the feeling that we were going to win.

Getting to the NCAA tournament after a tough loss in CCHA playoffs -- no one gave us a chance to win, but three straight overtime victories landed us in the finals…Whenever anyone talked about our team, they’d talk about “that little school of 3,000 way up North.” They’d have to hold their hand up and point where we were actually at…Well that team went out and kicked the shit out of Boston University.

It gives me great pleasure to say that the greatest team is the 1994 National Champions, and we are very humbled and very honored to be inducted into the Lake Superior State Hall of Fame.

1994 defenseman Darren Wetherill: Lake State has always been special to us, to everyone who’s up here. This team – we were a family. We lived like family, played like family, fought like a family…It was like you knew you were going to win. It was a feeling we had. We knew we were bringing the best we could and had the coaching staff supporting us. We were executing the best we could. We were tight-knit.

It is a privilege to be here. I hope the teams continue that family relationship and brotherhood. It’s awesome to see everyone here now. This is really special that you did this for us. We are deeply honored. Thank you for supporting us over the years.

  • NCAA Division I Champions (def. Boston University 9-1 in title game)
  • Ranked fourth in most goals scored (9) and most assists (16), and ranked third in highest win margin in an NCAA title game
  • Shared NCAA record for most individual assists in an NCAA title game (Gerald Tallaire, 4)
  • NCAA records for consecutive shutout minutes (375:01) and consecutive shutouts (5) by Blaine Lacher
  • 31-10-4 Overall, 18-8-4 Central Collegiate Hockey Association
  • School record for most road wins (20)
  • NCAA All-Tournament Team (Sean Tallaire-MVP, Keith Aldridge, Steven Barnes, Clayton Beddoes, Blaine Lacher
  • NCAA All-America Second Team and CCHA All-Academic Team (Clayton Beddoes)
  • NCAA All-Region (Keith Aldridge, Gerald Tallaire)
  • CCHA All-Tournament Team (Blaine Lacher)
  • All-CCHA Second Team (Clayton Beddoes and Keith Aldridge)