Coaches Hall of Fame Inductees

David Dose.jpgDave Dose

Dave Dose, a Comet from 1969 to 1972, was a two-sport athlete. A four-year starter on the football team, he was named all-conference honorable mention in 1972. He played basketball for two years as well. He began a five-year coaching career at St. James, (Minn.) in 1979. In 1986 he became Glencoe (Minn.) head football coach until 1993, when Glencoe consolidated with Silver Lake (Minn.) His record at Glencoe was 32-39. He continued at Glencoe-Silver Lake as an assistant coach until 1999, then became the team’s head coach. As head coach, his teams won four Class 3A state championships and one runner-up in State Class 3A, and were semi-finalists at state twice. He was named Section Coach of the Year seven times; was the Minnesota High School Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year for Class 3A four times, and was the MHSFCA Coach of the Year for all classes in 2003. He retired from head coaching after the 2007 season. He is known for his rapport with players and a team-centered approach. He majored in elementary education at Mayville State, graduating in 1973.

Maxine Mehus.jpgMaxine Mehus

Few MSU graduates can chronicle the multi-sport athletic and coaching success that defines Maxine Mehus. At Mayville State she played four sports, lettering twelve times. As a head coach in basketball, softball, and volleyball in North Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas, her teams appeared in or won competitions at every level, including nationally. At  Mayville State from 1973 to 1976, her volleyball and basketball teams were winners and the 1976 softball team advanced to the Women’s College World Series in Omaha, Neb., earning their place in the MSU Athletic Hall of Fame. At Peru State, where her volleyball players set or hold records, she was also the first woman college athletic director in Nebraska. When she retired after coaching at Emporia State, she was ranked 5th or 6th in all-time coaching victories in the U.S. for D II volleyball. She can point with pride to a lengthy list of players who earned all-conference, all-American, academic all-American, and player of the year honors while setting individual-sport records. A 1972 graduate, she majored in physical education and earned minors in health and coaching.

David Strand.jpgDavid Strand

David Strand parlayed his college wrestling success into an impressive career as a high school wrestling coach. At Mayville State Strand wrestled for four years and played football one year. During his nine years as head wrestling coach at Northwood, N.D., 18 years as head wrestling coach at Central Cass (Casselton, N.D.), and three years as the junior high wrestling coach at Central Cass, Strand earned personal awards while his wrestlers excelled at regional and state meets. He was named the N.D. Class B Wrestling Coach of the Year in 1985; the NFICA Outstanding Coach in 1986; and was the Region Coach of the Year several times. He presided over the state wrestling coaches organization several years as well. His teams won 250 dual meets and claimed numerous tournament championships. Over time, 40 of his wrestlers earned regional and state tournament titles. He graduated in 1965 with majors in mathematics and general science, was a member of the scholastic honor society, and served as a lab assistant.

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Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees

Craig Smith.jpgCraig Smith

In 2004, at a low point in Comet basketball history, Craig Smith, an assistant coach under Tim Miles in 1996-97, returned to Cometville to take the wheel as head coach. His “do it the right way” approach to players and playing led to unprecedented Comet success: back-to-back-to-back trips to the NAIA D II equivalent of the “Big Dance.” Each of his teams set records and the success of one was a foundation for success for subsequent teams. Not only the DAC, but the whole NAIA began paying attention to the team from Mayville. The culmination of this year-by-year team-building was that the 2006-07 Comets became the only North Dakota men’s basketball team ever to play in a national championship game. Over Smith’s three-year tenure, the Comet faithful saw numerous outstanding players make or break individual records. Moreover, the camaraderie between Comet players, families, coaches, and fans was such that a special bond was created. The “Smith era” was a magical time in MSU athletic history and has become a treasured chapter in Comet legend.

2004-05 Men's Basketball Team

2004-05 MSU Comets Men's Basketball Team standing.jpgUnder new head coach Craig Smith, the Comets did a 180° turn from a 1-27 season, playing their way to the NAIA D II national tournament. Doing things “the right way,” the team led the conference standings, received votes in the national top 25 poll, won conference player of the week honors four times out of six, and set a record in the DAC-10 for the largest turnaround in conference wins from the previous season, from 0 to 11. The five new starters, all juniors, included Alexandros Anthis, perhaps the single-season most-decorated Comet men’s basketball player ever, team and conference scoring leaders Gilby Sanchez and John Feggo IV, Archie Weatherspoon IV, and Scott Theis. Key reserves were Aaron Bonaime, Justin Skjerven, and Curt Hong. The regular-season 17-13 record was good for third in the conference and their post-season wins propelled them “from one win to ‘in’” at nationals. This team signaled the Comets’ rise to national prominence as they proved to be the foundation for Smith’s two record-setting teams that followed. 

Members of the 2004-05 team: Aaron Bonaime, Alex Anthis, Alex Kelsch, Archie Weatherspoon IV, Brandon Schaefer, Chris Reinhart, Curt Hong, Derek Gathman, Erick Edmond, Fred Wentzel, Gilby Sanchez, John Feggo IV, Justin Skjerven, Marcus Morrison, Markeith McCullough, Olawale Ayoade, Reid Flaagan, Scott Theis, Sebastian Ramirez, Shawn Hove, Tom Schram, Travis Janich, Zach Alvidrez. Coaches: Craig Smith, Justin Johnson, Justin Forbes.

2005-06 Men's Basketball Team

2005-06 men's basketball team.jpgFor this team of “tremendous depth,” accomplishments abounded: most wins in school history, undefeated at home, and a win over the University of North Dakota for the first time in 60 years. Their 12-2 record won them their first-ever DAC championship. Next was the first-ever DAC postseason tournament championship that ensured back-to-back appearances in the NAIA D II national tournament. Their 25-5 overall record (a Comet record for regular-season wins) and conference championship placed them seventh in the final national ratings poll. For the regular season, MSU ranked first in 12 of 19 conference categories. Monty Rogers, Archie Weatherspoon IV, Gilby Sanchez, and Ronald Howard earned DAC postseason honors, while Craig Smith was the DAC Coach of the Year. Rogers and Weatherspoon IV earned all-American third-team and honorable mention honors, respectively. Fifth-seeded at the national tourney, the Comets advanced to the Elite Eight. The Comets ended 28-6 overall, breaking the previous school record of 23 wins in 1956 and tied in 1998. 

Members of the 2005--06 team: Aaron Bonaime, Alex Kelsch, Andy Parochka, Archie Weatherspoon IV, Brandon Schafer, Bryce Laxdal, Chad Hobbs, Chris Reinhart, Cody Lewis, Derek Gathman, Erick Edmond, Gilby Sanchez, John Feggo IV, Jordan Williams, Markeith McCullough, Matt Stenehjem, Monty Rogers, Reid Flaagan, Ron Howard, Scott Theis, Sebastian Ramirez, Shawn Hove, Stuart Borne. Coaches: Craig Smith, Justin Johnson, Justin Forbes.

2006-07 Men's Basketball Team

2006-07 men's basketball team (2).jpgAfter back-to-back-to-back appearances at the NAIA D II national tournament, these Comets made history, becoming the only North Dakota men’s basketball team, at any level, to play in a national championship game. Led by First-team NAIA All-American Monty Rogers, second-team honorable mention All-American Ron Howard, and fellow all-tournament player Matt Stenehjem, plus Champion of Character awardee Chris “Buddy” Reinhart, the Comets made their mark in the NAIA record books. Off to Missouri, having won their second-straight DAC regular-season championship, they were the first team from the DAC to play in a national championship game. Coach Craig Smith was named the Rawlings-Naismith National Division II Coach of the Year and the Comets were recognized with the Naismith/Liston Team Sportsmanship Award. Monty Rogers was the tournament leading scorer with 110 points in five games. Reid Flaagan, Derek Gathman, and Brandon Schafer were named NAIA All-America Scholar-Athletes. The team was later named the male team of the year by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters, while Coach Smith was the NDAPSSA male coach of the year.

Members of the 2006-07 team: Andy Parochka, Blaine Restad, Brandon Schafer, Bryce Laxdal, Chad Hobbs, Chris Reinhart, Derek Gathman, Erick Edmond, Ethan Evanson, Marques Banjamin, Matt Stenehjem, Micah Berge, Monty Rogers, Nick Maly, Reid Flaagan, Ron Howard, Scott Theis, Sebastian Ramirez, Tremel Gilot, Zack Alvidrez. Coaches: Craig Smith, Justin Johnson, Joe Kittell, Bruce Erdmann. 

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Performing Arts Hall of Fame Inductees

Doug Barta.jpgDoug Barta

Doug Barta performed in the choir, concert band, jazz band, and pop singers, as well as the theatre department during his tenure as a Mayville State student. After graduating in 1974 with a composite music degree, he taught in schools at Maddock, N.D., Mayville-Portland, N.D., Warren, Minn., Williston, N.D., Boulder, Colo., and Parker, Colo. His bands and choirs were highly regarded and successful in district and regional competitions. He was selected as the Williston Education Association Teacher of the Year for 1986-87 and was entered into the finals for North Dakota Teacher of the Year. Barta was presented with the Mary Taylor Award for excellence in education for 1995-96 at Boulder High School. At Parker, he conducted as many as six choirs each year and was twice selected for excellence in education by local stakes of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He is director of music ministry at Joy Lutheran Church in Parker, Colo. Throughout his career he has remained active as a musician. He plays the third trumpet chair and is the male vocalist for the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, Denver’s premier big band. He is a member of the International Association of Jazz Educators, American Choral Directors Association, International Trumpet Guild, Jazz Education Network, NDEA, Colorado Music Educators Association, and Music Educators National Conference.

Cynthia Kaldor.jpgCynthia (Johnson) Kaldor

Cynthia (Johnson) Kaldor’s participation in Mayville State theatrical productions included acting in many lead roles, working on set backgrounds, directing, publicity, stage managing, and narrating. In 1972, The Beta Sigma chapter of Alpha Psi Omega recognized her for her dedicated service to the Mayville Players. She was a speech contest judge, fine arts exhibiter, and debate participant. In 1992, Cynthia became the art teacher and speech, theatre, and debate coach at May-Port CG (N.D.) High School. Awards earned include State Class B Speech Coach of the Year (2004), Traill County Farm Bureau Educator of the Year (2001), May-Port CG Teacher of the Year (2000), Region III Speech Coach of the Year (1995-2004), Region II Play Director of the Year (1994, 1996, 1999), and State Class B One-Act Play Director of the Year (1999). After leaving May-Port CG, she continued to be involved with the performing and fine arts, teaching art humanities at Mayville State and acting in theatre productions. For years, she was the highly successful director of the Northern Lights Art Gallery at MSU. She was inducted into the Communications, Speech, and Theatre Association of North Dakota Hall of Fame in 2018. She received a B.S.Ed. from Mayville State in 1974, earning a major in art and a minor in speech and drama.

conrad miska.jpgConrad Miska

As a student, Conrad Miska performed with the Mayville State concert band, concert choir, pop choir, jazz choir, and jazz band, as a vocalist and by playing the saxophone, oboe, clarinet, flute, and alto saxophone. Miska began playing with the Dick King Classic Swing Band while at Mayville State. After graduating in 1979 with a composite music degree, he continued as a regular performer or a frequent substitute with a number of dance bands and concert jazz ensembles in Grand Forks, Rochester, Minn., and Minneapolis/St. Paul on saxophones or bass guitar, and also as a background vocalist. He is half of the duo “WindWood,” where he plays flute, saxophone, and electronic (MIDI) wind instrument. He has performed with Don Menza, Rob McConnell, Ian McDougall, Rich Little, Roy Clark, Red Skelton, The Lettermen, and Les Brown. Conrad was a music instructor at schools in East Grand Forks, Minn., Northwood, N.D., Cannon Falls, Minn., and Eagan, Minn., as well as at the University of North Dakota and Valley City State University. He is a frequent adjudicator and clinician for solo/ensemble, concert band, and jazz band contests. In 2017, he was guest director for grades 9-10 NW MN Band Directors Association Honor Jazz Band and grades 7-8 SE MN Band Directors Association Honor Jazz Band. He was named Eagan Rotary Club’s Eagan High School Teacher of the Year in 2017.

Richard W Rousseau.jpgRichard Rousseau

Richard Rousseau is an excellent performer, storyteller, and example to others wishing to pursue the performing arts. After graduating from Mayville State in 1969 with a major in English and a minor in speech and theatre, he taught English in Dundee, Ill. for two years. He then earned a master’s degree in speech and theatre at North Dakota State University. While in Fargo, he founded the Northwest Stage Company. After moving to the Twin Cities, he became an active participant in the local theatre scene, appearing in shows at Park Square Theatre, Theatre in the Round, and the History Theatre. In 1984, he was cast as a member of the Science Live Theatre, the resident acting company of the Science Museum of Minnesota, where he was introduced to a less formal, but educationally-driven style of theatre. He wrote scripts which have been performed at museums throughout the country. This path led him to the art of storytelling, portraying historical characters. He now educates and entertains visitors and students with stories at Mill City Museum in Minneapolis, Minn. He is also a frequent performer at the Cheap Theatre Salon Series. He is active in regional and local organizations that support the art of storytelling and serves as the Minnesota liaison to the National Storytelling Network.

Lynn Schroeder.jpgT. Lynn Schroeder

Lynn Schroder was a trombonist with the Mayville State concert band and jazz band from 1977 to 1981. Shortly after graduating from Mayville State in 1981 with a degree in business administration, he was hired to perform with Dick King and the Classic Swing Band of Grand Forks, N.D. He also played with dozens of other bands, including the Red River Brass, High Society, Mike & The Monsters, The Wurst Band, the F-M Kicks Band, the UND jazz band, the Greater Grand Forks Symphony, Myra Jazz Band, Eckroth Marching Band, and the North Dakota American Legion State Band (25 years). He has

performed on stage as a member of the Red Skelton Orchestra, with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Wayne Newton, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, Dave Steinmeyer, Wynton Marsalis, Denis DiBlasio, Wycliffe Gordon, and others, as well as in off-Broadway performances at the Chester Fritz Auditorium in Grand Forks. For the first 20 years of his musical career, Lynn often played with a dozen bands each year, making as many as 150 on-stage performances annually. He now averages 60 to 80 gigs per year with various groups. He’s a proud member of The Downtown Horns, a band that started 10 years ago and is still popular in the Grand Forks area.

1978 Mayville State Jazz Band

1978 jazz band.jpgMembers of Mayville State’s Record Award-winning jazz ensemble were John Pederson, Fred McMurry, and Roberta Knute Votava on trumpet; Mark Vrem, Tom Loff, Lynn Schroeder, and Dan Finley on trombone; Conrad Miska, Merlin VanBruggen, Kelly Wilwand, Diane Strong Gunderson, and Paul Dickson on saxophone, clarinet, and flute; and Kirk Overmoe Kris Eylands, Harley Strong, Scott Greenwood, and Mike DeFoe, all in the rhythm section.

During the heyday in the late 1960s and 1970s, Mayville State’s music program was known as one of the top programs in the upper Midwest. Under the direction of Francis Colby, the concert band and jazz ensemble excelled. Though the concert band took a back seat to no one, it was the jazz band that brought the national spotlight to Mayville. In 1978, the group won “Best Jazz Performance by a Big Band - College Division” by the prestigious journal of jazz, DownBeat, and earned them the Shure Gold Microphone Award. The categories and the judging criteria were patterned after the National Academy of Recording Arts & Science (NARAS) Grammy Awards. The chairman judges were voting members of the NARAS. George Simon, special consultant for the Grammy Awards, was the chairman judge for the contest. He is quoted as saying “All the college bands I found to be excellent or very good, with one absolutely sensational, namely the Mayville State College Jazz Ensemble. Their playing is utterly charming, tasteful, original-sounding with superb use of dynamics and unusual voicings. The musicianship is superior, and of all their soloists, the flugelhorn player, pianist, guitarist, and drummer impressed me the most. I made a dub of the Mayville band and am playing it for everyone who walks by my office.” The 1978 jazz band was also one of three winners of the renowned Elmhurst College Mid-West College Jazz Festival in Chicago.

See a video documenting special performances of the 1978 Mayville State Jazz Band.

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