Nine individuals and a championship team will be inducted into the Southwest Minnesota State Athletics Hall of Honor on Jan 26, 2013. The Athletics Hall of Honor is the highest athletic distinction awarded by SMSU.
The group of Hall of Honor inductees include former basketball player Frank Belmont, swimmer Mike Fallon, football player Jason Jacobs, football and baseball player Rich Rhinesmith, basketball player Andrea (Schreier) Sawatzky, former head baseball coach Jim Denevan, community members and supporters of SMSU Athletics Brian and Kris Gruhot and Dan Snobl, and the 1991 volleyball team.
The induction ceremony will take place Jan. 26 at noon at the SMSU Conference Center. The group will again be honored at halftime of the men's basketball game against Winona State later that night. The public is invited to attend the luncheon, with ticket information for the banquet being announced in January.
A 10-member committee chose the inductees from a group of nominees. The new inductees bring the membership of SMSU's Athletic Hall of Honor to 78 individuals/couples and 11 teams. The Athletics Hall of Honor is displayed in the lobby of the R/A Facility.
The following are biographical sketches of the 2013 inductees:
- Frank Belmont (1971-75) was a four-year letterwinner for the men's basketball program. He scored 1,103 points and still holds the school record with 848 rebounds. Belmont ranks second in school history with a 9.1 rebound per game average and is ninth in school history in field goals made (448). He led the team in scoring as a junior and senior and still holds the school's single-season record with 11.2 rebounds per game, which he accomplished during his sophomore season.
- Mike Fallon (1971-75) was a four-year letterwinner for the swim team. He won the NIC 200-yard butterfly in 1972 and 1973. Fallon finished 13th in the 400 medley, 15th in the 200-yard butterfly and 22nd in the 200 medley at the 1973 NAIA championships. He set the conference and school record in the 400 medley in 1974 and was a member of three NIC champion teams. SMSU finished 24th, 16th and 11th at the NAIA national championships in his last three season.
- Jason Jacobs (1996-99) was a four-year letterwinner for the football team as a defensive lineman and a two-time first team All-NSIC honoree. Jacobs was named the 1998 NSIC Defensive Player of the Year, named first team Daktronics All-Region in 1999 and was a two-time second team Daktronics All-Region honoree. In 1999, he was named the NSIC Glen Galligan Award winner as the conference's top football senior student-athlete and was also a second team CoSIDA Academic All-American. Jacobs holds the school career record for tackles for loss with 58, ranks second in school history with 28 sacks, ranks fifth in school history in total tackles (286) and holds the school's single-season record for tackles for loss with 19 in 1999. He helped lead the team to a winning record in 1999, just the seventh in program history.
- Rich Rhinesmith was a four-year letterwinner in both baseball (1984-87) and football (1983-85, 87). As a baseball player he was a three-time first team All-NSIC and three-time NAIA All-District honoree. He had a career batting average of .341 and finished his career holding school records for RBIs (150), runs scored (144), at-bats (572), home runs (26) and base hits (195). He still ranks among the top 10 in school history in eight offensive categories. On the football field, Rhinesmith played in 42 games as a linebacker. He recorded 174 career tackles with 15 tackles for loss, seven sacks and three interceptions. He was a member of SMSU's 1987 NAIA playoff team.
- Andrea (Schreier) Sawatzky (1997-2001) was a four-year letterwinner for the women's basketball program as a forward. She was a WBCA honorable mention All-American and the NSIC Player of the Year in 2000-01. She holds the school record with 409 career free throws made, ranks second in school history in 3-point field goal percentage (42.7), ranks fourth in school history with 1,570 points, ranks fifth in rebounds with 689 and still holds the school record for single-season free throw percentage (89.1). She led SMSU in rebounding all four seasons and led the team in scoring three seasons. She was a member of SMSU's 2001 NSIC championship team and first-ever NCAA tournament team.
- Jim Denevan (1971-81, 83-86, 91-96) was the head baseball coach for 21 seasons. He began working at SMSU in 1968 and also served as an assistant football coach during his tenure. Denevan retired as the baseball program's all-time wins leader with 353 and led SMSU to three conference regular season championships and one conference tournament championship. SMSU won three NAIA district championships in 1974, 1986 and 1993. He coached five NAIA All-Americans and 45 all-conference honorees.
- Brian and Kris Gruhot (community members) are avid supporters of SMSU and Mustang athletics and owners of D&G Excavating in Lynd. Brian serves on the Mustang Booster Club executive board, and both have served on several Mustang Booster Club committees.
n Dan Snobl (community member) has been a longtime supporter of SMSU and Mustang athletics. A registered physical therapist, he worked as the SMSU director of physical medicine for 37 years and also served as interim director of athletics at SMSU in 1995. He helped SMSU athletics host MSHSL section wrestling tournaments for 14 years, serving as tournament director. Snobl has also worked closely with the SMSU wheelchair basketball program, including serving as a wheelchair basketball medical classifier. He earned the SMSU Distinguished Service Faculty Award in 2008, and was named SMSU's Cathy Cowan Award winner the same year.
- The 1991 volleyball team, under head coach Deb Denbeck, became the first team in program history to advance to the NAIA National Championships. SMSU finished the season with 30 wins and won the program's first NAIA district championship since 1985. SMSU was ranked nationally during the season. Monica Green was named a first team NAIA All-American, Jenai Hutchinson was named an honorable mention NAIA All-American, and Green, Hutchinson and Jill Dauenhauer were named All-Northern Sun Conference. Green, Hutchinson and Jen Peiffer all recorded over 400 kills during the season. The 1991 coaching staff and team members include Deb Denbeck (head coach), Beth Elliott (assistant coach), Jeanette Blake, Jill Dauenhauer, Monica Green, Heather Hindt, Corinne Hoffmann, Jenai Hutchinson, Dawn Lovestrand, Jen Peiffer, Kathy Sheehan, Stacy Van Zee and Tiffany Yaeger.