Six athletes from four different decades are set to be inducted into the Lawrence University Intercollegiate Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday. The 2001 inductees are Donald Struz, ’49; James L. Webers, ’52; Tad B. Pinkerton, ’60; Laurence P. Wilson, ’66; Paul J. Gebhardt, ’78; and Frank J. Bouressa, ’79.
Don Strutz is one of the founding fathers of Lawrence golf, and perhaps the finest golfer in Lawrence history. An Appleton native, Strutz helped Lawrence win Midwest Conference (MWC) golf titles in 1946, 1948, and 1949.
He was nearly unbeatable in dual matches and compiled an impressive 15-4-1 record in duals. The highlight of Strutz’s golfing career at Lawrence was the 1949 conference meet. He dominated the field at the Riverview Country Club, winning by six shots after carding a 3-under par 69 in the final round. That year, the Vikings won the team title by a massive 20 strokes over second-place finisher Ripon College.
Strutz also played and started as an end on the football team. During his four seasons, the team went 23-5-1 and won a pair of MWC titles in 1946 and 1947.
Jim Webers didn’t just participate in football and wrestling, he dominated. Nick-named “Moose” by his teammates, Webers was an offensive and defensive force on the gridiron. The Vikings went 16-6 in his three years of football, winning MWC championships in ’49 and ’51, the latter being one of only five undefeated seasons in Lawrence history. Weber was twice named to the All-MWC team, in ’51 and ’52.
As a wrestler, Webers didn’t know what it was like to lose after the 1949-50 season. He posted a perfect 10-0 record in the 1950-51 season and became the first MWC wrestling champion in Lawrence history. The following year was more of the same. Webers went undefeated again, winning his second MWC title. He finished his career with a 26-2 record on the back of an 18-match winning streak.
In three years of running cross country and track for the Vikings, Pinkerton rarely finished anywhere but first. The Waupaca native won five individual MWC championships and helped the Vikings to a league title in cross country.
His track specialty was the mile, and he ran it in record-setting style. As a junior, he broke the school record at the Monmouth Relays and then smashed his school record and the MWC record by nearly five seconds with a time of 4:17.6 at the league championships.
Saving his best for last, Pinkerton was unbeaten at both cross country and the mile in his senior year. He won all seven cross country meets in which Lawrence participated. Then in the spring, he won the mile at five consecutive track meets leading to the MWC championships, where he went out a winner, capturing his third straight conference title in the mile.
Larry Wilson was a study in excellence and versatility during his athletic career at Lawrence.
On the track, he did virtually everything, competing in events ranging from the discus to the two-mile run. He competed in the pole vault, javelin, long jump, high and low hurdles, discus, and distance races.
Diving, however, was where Wilson’s true ability lay. He was one of the top divers in the Midwest and a two time All-American.
As a sophomore in 1963-64, Wilson placed second at the conference meet, as Lawrence won its first league swimming title in 22 years. The only man Wilson lost to during that season was his teammate, Dan Foster, ’65.
Wilson then had a senior year that was nothing short of spectacular. In 1965-66, he won the diving competition in all nine meets leading up to the conference championships. He then steam rolled the competition at the MWC meet, posting a winning score of 176.25 to easily claim the league title.
An All-American in both football and baseball, the Buffalo Grove, Illinois native still dots the Lawrence record books in both sports.
His three-year football career was simply astounding. He holds career records for yards receiving (2,394) and receiving yards per game (88.7) and is second on the career list for receptions (149) and touchdown receptions (28). In addition, he holds the season record for catches (67) and is second on the season list for receiving yards (1,036), receiving yards per game (115.1) and touchdown catches (12). He is also second on the list for receptions in a game (13) and yards receiving in a game (227).
He was named to the All-MWC squad in 1977 and received honorable mention on the Associated Press All-America team.
On the baseball diamond, he had a two-year career and had a truly spectacular 1977 season. He is still tenth on the college’s career list with a .339 batting average and second with a .612 slugging percentage. In 1977, he hit .402 and set records with 35 runs batted in and 30 runs scored. He is also second on the school’s single-season list with eight homers and third with 37 hits.
Gebhardt led the Vikings to a 21-10 record in 1977, the MWC championship and a berth in the NCAA West Regional. He was named to the All-MWC team and the All-District squad and earned second team All-America honors.
Frank Bouressa was truly the center of attention during his collegiate football career. The linchpin of the offensive line, Bouressa brought local, state, and national attention to the Vikings. To this day, he remains the only two-time first team Associated Press All-American in school history. He also earned MWC honors three times and led the Vikings to an impressive 30-6 record and a conference championship during his four year career. In his freshman year (1975), his play helped the Vikings to an 8-1 record and the team’s first league championship since 1967.
Bouressa became the only junior named to the AP All-America first team in 1977, and just the third player in school history at the time to be a first-team All American. Bouressa then capped his senior season by earning AP first-team honors again in 1978.
QB Jim Petran summed up just how good Bouressa was in a 1978 Milwaukee Journal story: “Frank just gets better all the time. Where am I without him? On the ground, trying to get away.