Linfield Wildcats


Vern Marshall Sr.
Tina (Rappin) Hill
Steve Davis
Ron Davison
Ray Simonsen
Paul Warren
Jim Bernhardt
Jeff Kizer
Fred Herrmann
Dave Nygaard
Chet Croco
Bob Lamb

In the words of Chet Croco '80, "Integrity and quality never go out of style."

Croco was one of a dozen new inductees honored Nov. 1 at the Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame induction banquet. In their own ways, each of the Hall of Fame's newest class members recalled the quality educational experience they enjoyed as students and the integrity they developed as athletes at Linfield. Croco was a two-time All-America football player and played on three Northwest Conference championship teams.

Upon his induction into the Hall of Fame, another football All-American, Jim Bernhardt '63, expressed admiration for his former coaches, Paul Durham '36 and Hal Smith. He also singled out teammate Mike Stelman '63, whom Bernhardt said pushed him to become the best.

All-America baseball pitcher Fred Herrmann '61 was a member of three NWC title teams during his career under Hall of Fame coach Roy Helser '36. Herrmann recounted the "fabulous experiences" he enjoyed as an athlete at Linfield and noted the tradition of success founded by Hall of Fame coaches Durham, Smith, Ted Wilson and Ad Rutschman '53 that continues to resonate through today's Wildcat sports teams.
Tina (Rappin) Hill '87 stepped back in time to recall the lasting memories of basketball games played at old Riley Gym and the vocal support her teams received from the student body and Linfield community. Rappin was a two-time conference all-star in both softball and basketball and continues to hold several basketball single-season and career scoring marks.

All-star basketball player Bob Lamb '68 nearly went to another college but Wilson used his considerable influence to steer him to attend Linfield at the last moment. The former NWC most valuable player said his experiences in McMinnville set the table for future success, giving him a solid foundation for what would be an outstanding high school basketball coaching career. One particular lesson that stood out was the 1966-67 basketball season when Wilson dismissed all but Lamb from the team for disiplinary reasons, then guided a group of junior varsity and intramural players to the NWC championship and a berth in the NAIA national tournament.

The late Vern Marshall Sr. '57 was remembered by his sons Joe and Vern Jr. They said their father was always extremely proud to be a Wildcat and thanked the college and Hall of Fame selection committee for helping to keep his spirit alive. The elder Marshall was among the first Linfield athletes to ever play on conference championship clubs in football, basketball and baseball. He went on to an extensive career as a high school, college and professional official, most notably as a back judge and line judge in the National Football League for 14 seasons.

Pride, poise and leadership were the qualities that exemplified All-America defensive lineman Dave Nygaard '76. The one-time NAIA Defensive Player of the Year saluted his teammates, coaches Rutschman, Ted Henry '54 and John Knight, and his parents, whom he said "supported me through good times and bad."

Ray Simonsen '60, known during his playing days as a "tough competitor with a huge heart," said his All-America football career prepared him well for leadership roles in education and the military reserves. Simonsen expressed appreciation to the college staff and Linfield community, helping him fulfill his dream of attending Linfield. He spent 34 years as a school administrator and spent 28 years in the Oregon National Guard, retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Multi-sport standout Paul Warren '30 felt a deep love for the college, speaking often to his children about the "special spirit of Linfield" he experienced while a student-athlete nearly 80 years ago. Daughter Carol Ackerson and grandson Scott Ackerson where present to accept Warren's commemorative plaque.

Never in his wildest dreams did Steve Davis '70 think he would ever be a member of the Hall of Fame. Davis was one of three individuals inducted for meritorious service to the athletics program. He was described by Rutschman, his former coach and longtime friend, as a "tough competitor who was great under pressure." Davis contributed to a number of facilities projects and helped launch the Wildcat Open golf tournament.

Successful local businessman Ron Davison '65 also was honored for meritorious service. It was Davison's entrepreneurial spirit that inspired him to start selling Linfield athletic apparel at home football games, directing the profits back to the athletic department. A major financial contributor for many years, Davision also was a catalyst on numerous facility enhancements.

Jeff Kizer's contributions of time, labor and dollars to the athletic department were described by Linfield director of athletics Scott Carnahan '73 as "an amazing gift to Linfield." Kizer oversaw construction of the Linfield baseball and softball stadiums, football concession stand, and the football field playing surface.

Former All-America football tight end Bernie Peterson '74 received sufficient votes to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame but a schedule conflict prevented him from accepting. He will be inducted in 2004.