The 31st induction class in the Northern Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame has been selected.
Made up of seven individuals and one team, the class is set to be inducted Friday, Oct. 11, in conjunction with the Oct. 12 Homecoming weekend football game against Akron.
Chosen were Mick Coyne (men’s swimming, 1998-2001), Ryan Diem (football, 1997-2000), Denise Dove (women’s basketball, 1987-91), Susan Henrichsen (women’s swimming (1979-83), Dan Jacques (men’s track and field, 1969-73), the 1991 women’s gymnastics team, Joe Novak (football, 1996-2006) and Walt Owens (baseball/instructor/mentor, 1976-1982).
“It is with great honor and pleasure that we introduce our 2013 Hall of Fame Class at NIU,” said Rodney Davis, chairman of the NIU Athletics Hall of Fame selection committee and 2007 Hall of Fame inductee.
“This is a special group of individuals that have shown strong leadership, dedication and commitment to Huskie athletics. Each of these respected individuals has left their own personal thumb prints in Huskie athletics history. This year’s Hall of Fame weekend surely will be one to remember and I encourage former, and current, Huskies to come out to celebrate the careers of these special individuals. I, personally, cannot wait for Hall of Fame weekend!”
This year’s induction class will join the 192 individuals, 17 teams and one family that currently make up the NIU Athletics Hall of Fame, which was founded in 1978.
Mick Coyne (Men’s Swimming)
An NIU record holder in three different events, Mick Coyne set Huskie swimming records in the 200-yard backstroke, 400-yard individual medley and was a member of the record-setting 800-yard freestyle relay.
Coyne was named the co-MAC Swimmer of the Year in 2000 and won the 200 backstroke and 200-meter individual medley crowns that season at the MAC Championships. He competed in the Australian Olympic Trials in 2000, finishing in the top-10 in both the 200-meter individual medley and the 400-meter individual medley.
Ryan Diem (Football)
A three-time All-MAC selection, including first team honors in both 1999 and 2000, Ryan Diem made 35 consecutive starts along the offensive line for the Huskies. A team captain in both 1999 and 2000, Diem earned third team All-America honors in 2000 from Football News and played in the 2001 Senior Bowl.
Diem was a fourth round draft pick in 2001 by the Indianapolis Colts and went on to play 11 seasons in the NFL. He became the first player in NIU history to start at Super Bowl when he helped NIU win Super Bowl XLI.
Denise Dove (Women’s Basketball)
A three-year starting point guard, Denise Dove is holds the NIU career and single-season assist records. A two-time all-conference honoree, Dove also ranks ninth in Huskie women’s basketball history in career scoring and is the only play in program history to record over 1,000 career points (1,042) and 500 career assists (526).
The Huskies won 88 games during Dove’s four-year career at NIU as she helped jump start the most successful era in program history, including the school’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1990 when Dove and the Huskies defeated Texas Tech in the first round.
Susan Henrichsen (Women’s Swimming)
The 1983 NIU Sportswoman of the Year, Susan Henrichsen was a standout swimmer who set school records in the 50-yard breaststroke, 100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard breaststroke, 100-yard individual medley and 200-yard individual medley.
Henrichsen helped NIU win both the 200 and 400-yard medley relays at the 1983 MAC Championships. She was also a two-time all-state honoree and was a part of two record-setting relays at NIU.
Dan Jacques (Men’s Track and Field)
Dan Jacques was a member of the NIU cross country and track & field programs, setting NIU records on the track in the 110-meter high hurdles and the 200-meter dash. Jaques was a conference champion and qualified for the NCAA Championships in 1971, ’72 and ’73 in the hurdles
In 1972, Jacques competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 110-meter hurdles and was ranked in the top-40 in the world by “Track and Field News.”
The 1991 Women’s Gymnastics Team
The 1991 NIU women’s gymnastics team recorded numerous records on its way to becoming the first Huskie gymnastics team to qualify for the NCAA Regional Championships. The Huskies posted a record of 22-1, the best in school history, and broke NIU records for overall team score, vault, uneven bars, beam and floor.
The 1991 Huskie women’s gymnastics team included: Cindy Hemstad, Sheryl Kurowski, Lori Lebo, Dayna Lia, Nickie Pedicini, Vicki Thimgan, Martha Unger and Laurie Vitallo, head coach Bobbie Cesarek, assistant coach Harry Orkowski and athletic trainer Chris Devine.
Joe Novak (Football)
Joe Novak guided the NIU football team from 1996-2006, winning 63 games while turning around the fortunes of the Huskie football program. Novak led the Huskies to four MAC West Division Titles (2001, ’02, ’04, and ’05) and was named MAC Coach of the Year in 2002. Novak helped the Huskies earned national headlines in 2003 when NIU was ranked as high as No. 10 in the Bowl Championship Series standings.
Novak’s 139 games coached ranks second all-time in NIU history and his 63 victories rank third in Huskie football history. Novak led NIU to a pair of bowl appearances, the 2004 Silicon Valley Bowl and the 2006 Poinsettia Bowl, and helped 10 players earn All-American honors at NIU.
Walt Owens (Baseball/Instructor/Mentor)
A longtime member of the NIU Athletics community, Walt Owens was the head coach of the Huskie baseball program from 1976-82, winning 133 games during his seven seasons. Owens, who played in the Negro Leagues with the Detroit Stars from 1953-55, came to NIU as a member of the faculty in 1973 and upon his retirement was named an emeritus professor.
Owens has served as a mentor to numerous Huskie student-athletes during his tenure at NIU while also serving as chair of the Presidential Commission on the Status of Minorities and as a member of the Task Force on Racial Discrimination and Sexual Harassment.
For more information on NIU Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.