By Josh Dolmage
Having your name forever enshrined in the Hall of Fame of your alma mater is something that you will never forget. Southwestern College will be inducting six new members into the sports Hall of Fame on Nov. 7. Those members include: Donald Carter, Steve Savarese, Denise Allen Mobley, Wylie Smith, Lori Green, and Kyle Wollenberg.
“The greatest honor you can bestow on an athlete is putting them into the Hall of Fame,” said David Denly, athletic director.
Donald Carter, Wichita, is a 1998 graduate of Southwestern. At the time of his graduation, he was the men’s basketball all-time leading scorer with 1,690 career points. Carter was a two-time NAIA All-American, three-time All-KCAC, and KCAC player of the year in 1998. Carter still holds the school record for most steals in a single season (91). Carter, along with another hall of fame inductee, Kyle Wollenberg, led Southwestern College to an appearance in the 1998 NAIA national tournament for the first time in 43 years.
Steve Savarese, Montgomery, Ala., graduated in 1974. Since graduation Savarese has excelled at teaching and coaching in Kansas and Alabama. In 1978 he led the Douglass football team to the class 3A state championship. After seven years at Douglass he returned to Alabama and has served as head coach and athletic director at high schools in Birmingham, Mobile, Daphne and Alexander City. He also served as assistant principal and has been named an “Outstanding Teacher” at every school where he was employed. His career coaching record is 289-80. He has coached seven athletes that have gone on to National Football League (NFL) careers and was a NFL high school coach of the year finalist in 1996-97. He is currently the executive director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association. When he became the executive director, Savarese was the all-time winningest coach in Alabama.
Denise Allen Mobley, Macclenny, Fla., graduated in 1993. Mobley came to Southwestern from Lost Springs and attended Centre High School. She is the current record holder of the indoor track high jump record (5’6”). Her other accomplishments include being named All-KCAC for four years in the high jump and triple jump; three-time NAIA All-District 10 in high jump; NAIA All-District 10 champion in high jump in 1991; and two-time NAIA All-American in high jump in 1991 and 1993.
Wylie Smith, Hesston, graduated from Southwestern in 1951. A Protection native, Smith participated in football, basketball, baseball, and track while attending Southwestern. Smith was respected for his athleticism and sportsmanship. Smith earned 14 letters while participating in athletics at Southwestern and was named to the All-CIC basketball team his senior year. Smith also played semi-pro baseball for the Boeing Bombers of Wichita while employed by Boeing. Currently, Smith and his wife, Louise, live in Hesston. Wylie Smith volunteers regularly at his church and drives a bus for the senior citizens group.
Lori Green, Altamont, is a 1986 graduate of Southwestern. Green came to Southwestern after playing basketball for two years at Labette County Community College. She was a unanimous two-time All-KCAC and NAIA District 10 first team selection. Green holds the women’s basketball record for best point-per-game average (19.2) all-time. Her other accomplishments include second most points scored in a single game (40), second most field goals scored in a single game (20), and fifth most points scored in a single season (485). In the 1984-85 season, Green had a free throw percentage of 82 percent which was the top percentage in the NAIA District 10.
Kyle Wollenberg, Lindsay, Okla., graduated from Southwestern in 1999. Wollenberg left his mark on the men’s basketball record book after his four-year career. He remains the all-time leading scorer in basketball history with 1,796 points. He was named All-KCAC three times and NAIA All-American twice. Along with being the all-time leading scorer, he is also first in career three-point field goals made (229) and free throws made (435). He is second in career field goals made (566) and assists (408). He played in 111 games which is fourth best all time.
The Hall of Fame Reception will take place at 10 a.m. in Stewart Fieldhouse Nov. 7 and will be free of charge. The Induction Ceremony is scheduled to begin at 10:30.
During the Induction Ceremony, the new members will be honored with a plaque and a Wheaties cereal box that is personalized with their picture. “The Wheaties box is something different that we give them and it is something that they can put on their desk or trophy case at home,” said Denly.
In order to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, the individual must first be nominated. “You can go online to the school website and nominate someone,” said Denly. After all the nominations are collected, the criteria necessary is that the individual must be a graduate of Southwestern College of at least 10 years.
The nominees are then carefully researched in order to gain knowledge about the athlete. Individual accomplishments, good character, the impact the athlete had with the Southwestern community, and the impact within other communities are all important factors. “Someone who was All-Conference member, an All-American, or All-KCAC is usually nominated. However, coaches can also be nominated,” said Denly.
The Hall of Fame committee consists of twenty members, who mostly consist of alumni. The committee members volunteer their time and input and help to decide who should be inducted by using facts, statistics and personal experience with the nominees.
“It is pretty much a democratic voting process,” said Mike Kirkland, former Athletic Director and Chairman of the Hall of Fame Committee. “We could easily induct many more members every year, but we try and keep it to five or six a year.”
Currently, the Hall of Fame is home to 116 members who have been inducted over the past 19 years.
Mike Farrell, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008. “I didn’t believe it when Mike Kirkland called. I thought he had the wrong person, wrong number, or both. I was very humbled and very honored,” said Farrell.
Farrell lettered four years as an offensive tackle. He was also an all-conference selection, NAIA District 10 selection, and a captain during his senior season. Farrell was part of the co-conference championship team in 1964 and also the conference championship team of 1967.
“We want a good person and a good representative of Southwestern College,” said Denly. “We are looking for someone who never went out seeking to be in the Hall of Fame while at Southwestern and someone you could see show emotion and pride.”
Josh Dolmage is a junior majoring in communication. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.