Indiana Tech Alumni, Donors, & Friends: Featured Stories: April 2011
2011 Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet
The evening of March 26 was a special night at Indiana Tech. The 2011 Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet was a memorable experience, not just for the honorees, but for all those who were in attendance.
2011 Indiana Tech Alumni Hall of Fame Banquet
Max Baumgarder (1956), Rudy Steglemann (1960), and Coach Murray Mendenhall, Jr. were this year's inductees.
Written by: Mike Peterson, alumni director / April 2011

The banquet table was filled with delicious food (beef au jus, Dijon chicken, green beans with bacon, roasted potatoes, and warm rolls), the tables were glowing with candles, silent auction items lined one wall, raffle prizes covered two tables, and the awards graced the stage waiting in anticipation of being presented. This year’s Indiana Tech Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet took place on Saturday, March 26, at Bergstaff Place in Fort Wayne. Five worthy Warriors were inducted, three special guests were honored, and two current student-athletes received the first Leepoxy Scholar-Athlete Awards.

2011 Athletics Hall of Fame
2011 Alumni Hall of Fame Banquet

Each year, the Leepoxy Scholar-Athlete Awards will be presented to one male and one female. The recipients will be seniors in the following fall semester as deemed by number of credit hours remaining toward degree or amount of eligibility remaining for athletic competition. Along with the honor of this award, the recipients will each be provided with a $1,000 scholarship to help them complete their degree at Indiana Tech. Based on excellence in the classroom, exceptional performance in athletic competition, and character and good-sportsmanship in everyday life, this award will certainly be something about which these individuals can truly be proud.

The female recipient for 2011 was volleyball player and psychology major, Kayla Hartman. Some of her achievements include:

  • 2010 NAIA Academic All-American
  • 2009 NAIA Academic All-American
  • 2009 WHAC Honorable Mention
  • 2009 Most Improved Player
  • School Record for Most Digs in a Season (668)
  • School Record for Most Digs in a Match (37)
  • Second in Career Digs (1,300)

The male recipient was track and field standout, Zac Chapman. Zac is pursuing a double major in Sports Management and Marketing. He has a whole host of accomplishments and is involved in many ways on campus. Some of his highlights include:

  • 2010 NAIA Scholar-Athlete
  • 2009 NAIA All-American, Indoor 4 x 400 Relay
  • 2009 NAIA All-American, Outdoor 400 Meter Hurdles
  • School Record – Outdoor 400 Meter Hurdles
  • School Record – 4 x 400 Relay
  • School Record – Indoor Distance Medley Relay
  • School Record – Indoor Heptathlon

Three special guests were honored as part of the night of celebration. These honorees were:

2011 Alumni Hall of Fame Inductees
2011 Alumni Hall of Fame Inductees
  • Max Baumgardner – This honoree was an outstanding Warrior in baseball and basketball, he was a high school and college teammate of inductees Boyd Byerly and Dale Graft, he graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1956, and he’s a member of the Indiana Tech Athletic Hall of Fame.
  • Rudy Steglemann – Rudy is also a member of the Indiana Tech Athletic Hall of Fame for his outstanding achievements in basketball. He graduated in 1960 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
  • Coach Murray Mendenhall, Jr. – This man is not only a Warrior legend and Hall of Fame member, but he is also a legend in the state of Indiana. He’s a former NBA player and a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. Indiana Tech was fortunate to have both Murray Mendenhall, Jr. and his father help lead the men’s basketball program for a period of time.

2011 Athletic Hall of Fame class:

2011 Athletic Hall of Fame class
2011 Athletic Hall of Fame class [Full-size image]

Chris Dickson

  • Men’s Basketball manager
  • Sports Information Director
  • Assistant Athletic Director

Chris graduated with his bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1994 and completed his M.B.A. at Tech in 2001. While Chris was an undergraduate student at Tech, he served the Warrior Athletic program in many ways under the leadership of long-time coach and athletic director Dan Kline, including being the manager for the men’s basketball team.

Upon graduation, Chris spent a couple of years away from Tech honing his management skills before returning in 1996 to serve on staff with his mentor Dan Kline. Chris has proven to be a tremendous asset to the university as is evidenced by his longevity on staff, the growth of residence life, the top-quality resident assistants that he recruits and the many awards that he has earned:

  • Fort Wayne/Allen County Convention & Visitors Bureau Certificate of Appreciation for volunteer leadership, 2007
  • Indiana Tech Full Time Staff Award, 2006
  • Warrior Athletic Appreciation Award, 2006
  • President’s Distinguished Service Award – Administrative Staff, 2003

In addition, Chris now serves as an associate vice president overseeing the ever-growing number of residence halls on the Fort Wayne campus. Chris has such a passion for Indiana Tech and particularly for Warrior Athletics. Not only is he a vocal and present cheerleader at many sporting events, but Chris also effectively took on the additional responsibilities of sports information director and assistant athletic director during his time on staff here at Tech. As his responsibilities as an associate vice president increased, he reluctantly had to give up his “official” athletic department hat. However, he still is willing to do anything in his power to help serve Warrior Athletics. He has been an integral force in preparing and planning for past Athletic Hall of Fame Banquets, too.

Katie Mettler

  • Women’s Soccer

Katie graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2000 with her bachelor’s degree in human resources. She returned to Tech a few years later, earning her M.B.A. in 2007. During her undergraduate days at Tech, Katie was not only an outstanding student in the classroom, but she was also a standout on the field in soccer.

She chose to attend Indiana Tech because of the small size and “family/community feel” to the campus. She really appreciated the individualized instruction given to her by the caring professors at Tech. “The people made the difference,” she stated. Maybe that’s why Katie is so involved in investing back into the Warrior community herself these days. Through her involvement with the Alumni Association board of directors, where she currently serves as president, she is helping to make a difference in the lives of our current students and our alumni while also being an ambassador for Tech in the community. In fact, due to her service and support of Indiana Tech, Katie was presented with the 2008 College of Professional Studies Alumnus of the Year award. You’ll also catch Katie at various sporting events on campus cheering on our Warriors.

Boyd Byerly

  • Men’s Basketball

Boyd graduated in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He was an outstanding student and an outstanding basketball player. Boyd attended Ossian High School along with honoree Max Baumgardner and fellow Class of 2011 Athletic Hall of Fame member Dale Graft. In 1953, their team was 24 – 0 before losing to Harford City in the regional round of the Indiana State Basketball Tournament. This was one year prior to Milan High School winning the State Championship, so they were just a few games shy of being the stars of the movie “Hoosiers”!

After spending one year at Butler University, Coach Murray Mendenhall, Sr. recruited Boyd to Indiana Tech on a basketball scholarship. Attending Tech helped launch Boyd into a very successful career with the State of Indiana where he served as an engineer in the construction division for 43 years!

In the days when Boyd was playing at Tech, there was a special basketball award called the Carmi Award. This award was presented each year to the most outstanding player on the team based on these qualifications: leadership, scholarship, sportsmanship, value to team, attitude, and competitiveness. At the conclusion of his senior season in 1958, this honor was bestowed upon Boyd along with fellow inductee, Dale Graft.

Dale Graft

  • Men’s Basketball

Dale also graduated in 1958 but with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Before attending Tech, Dale spent one year at Purdue University where he earned a spot on the freshman basketball squad. Without a scholarship, though, Dale was resigned to giving up his college experience to just remain working on the family farm – that is until, one day, while working in his father’s field, Coach Murray Mendenhall, Sr. walked right out into the field and offered him a scholarship to play at Indiana Tech. Dale credits this moment as the catalyst that transformed a simple, farm boy into a successful engineer!

Later, Coach Murray Mendenhall, Jr. convinced Dale to stay at Tech for his last year of basketball eligibility. During this year, Dale completed numerous courses in electrical and aerodynamic engineering. These extra courses helped tremendously with his engineering career in the multi-dimensional aerospace industry where he became a missile guidance and fire control expert. After graduation, Dale spent two short years with ITT Federal in Fort Wayne before accepting a position at Lockheed Martin in Orlando where he would work for the next 35 years. He retired as director of engineering and continues to consult in engineering with Lockheed Martin in missile guidance technology and program management. Not too bad for a simple, farm boy!

Jon Mohr

  • Athletic Manager

If you’ve spent any time around Indiana Tech athletics, chances are you know Jon Mohr. Jon was the special inductee this year for his tireless dedication and countless hours of service to Warrior Athletics. Since 1989, Jon has been serving in the Warrior community in some capacity. He demonstrates daily what it means to be a true Warrior. Just about every day, Jon rides his bike to and from campus. During the fall and winter, when he is helping with volleyball, women’s soccer, and men’s soccer, it’s not uncommon to find Jon working 12–17 hour days. In the spring, he cuts back to 9–10 hour days. It doesn’t matter what needs to be done, Jon is more than willing to tackle the task. He does the laundry, fills in as the Warrior mascot, prepares and cleans up equipment, and serves in a myriad of ways as the athletic manager. Jon also helps with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants basketball team and has filled in as a bat boy for the Fort Wayne Tin Caps. When he’s not working, Jon can many times be found raising money for one of his favorite charities.

These Warriors are certainly worthy of induction into the Athletic Hall of Fame. The banquet concluded with some live magical entertainment and Las Vegas-style games.

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