Advertisement

Bemidji State unveils 2024 Alumni B-Club/Athletic Hall of Fame class

May 15—BEMIDJI — Bemidji State will officially welcome seven individuals into its Athletic Hall of Fame, as part of the University's Alumni B-Club/Athletic Hall of Fame Weekend Nov. 1-2. The 2024 inductees include five former student-athletes including the first-ever Legacy Inductee, an alumni coach and an honorary supporter.

Former Bemidji State student-athletes Paul Dashkewytch (men's golf), John Gronski (football), Peggy Hammel-Moran (volleyball/women's basketball) and Eugene "Corky" Hanson (wrestling) will be inducted in the Athletic Hall of Fame. Donnette Swanson (women's basketball/softball/women's golf) is Bemidji State's first-ever Legacy Inductee. John Bianchi (baseball) earned the Alumni Coaching Achievement Award and Doug Leif will be inducted as the John S. Glas Honorary Letter Winner Award.

Established in 1978, the BSU Athletic Hall of Fame will now include 208 individuals, 25 BSU coaches, 23 teams, 11 selected for the Alumni Coaching Achievement Award, 11 John S. Glas Honorary Letter Winners and one Legacy Inductee

The new Legacy Inductee distinction is meant to honor individual athletes whose performances warrant Hall of Fame inclusion but who competed in an era when records and statistics were incomplete or nonexistent.

The Bemidji State Athletic Hall of Fame recognizes alumni, former coaches, administrators and others who have excelled at their sports and brought acclaim to the university through their accomplishments and championships. A committee of elected B-Club members selects inductees. Nominations are accepted from all interested persons at

www.bsualumni.org/ahof/.

Dashkewytch cemented himself as one of the strongest Beavers to ever tee off for Bemidji State during his time on campus. He was a four-year letter winner from 1982-86, and his career included individual NIC medalist honors in 1983, an NIC team championship in 1983 and an NAIA District 13 team championship in 1986.

Dashkewytch was also named an NAIA All-American honorable mention in 1985 and made the All-NAIA District 13 Team in 1986. In addition to his exploits at BSU, Dashkewytch participated on the Canadian Professional Golf Tour from 1986-90 and has previously served as the PGA of BC Assistant Golf Professional of the Year and the PGA of BC Junior Golf Promoter of the Year.

Gronski left his mark on the Bemidji State football program and in the record book, exiting in 1989 as one of the most accomplished running backs ever. The 1989 All-American honorable mention selection has numerous offensive statistics that rank in the top five in program history, including single-game rushing (319 yards, first); single-season rushing average (7.9 yards per carry, first); career 100-yard rushing games (14, second); career rushing yards (2,972, third); career rushing yards per game (99 yards, third); among many others. He was also named a team captain and the team MVP in 1989.

Hammel-Moran was an all-conference athlete in two sports inside the BSU Gymnasium. In volleyball, Hammel-Moran was an all-NSIC honoree in 1997, 1998 and 1999. She departed as the program's all-time leader in kills (1,300) and attack attempts (3,694), and she still ranks in the top 10 in career kills (second); career attack attempts (third); career service aces (176, fourth); digs (1,273, tied for seventh); single-season kills (415, sixth); and single-season attempts (1,108, eighth).

On the basketball court, Hammel-Moran was an all-conference honorable mention in 1999-2000 after leading the NSIC in rebounding, and she was top-10 in conference rebounding three times in her hoops career.

Hanson was a staple on the national stage for the Bemidji State wrestling program. He qualified for the national tournament all four years of his career, and he was twice an NAIA All-American with sixth-place finishes. He was a two-time captain in 1977 and 1978 and amassed a 61-22-1 career record in the process, also capturing the 177-pound individual conference championship in 1978.

Hanson was a member of BSU's 1978 NIC championship squad, and he set all-time Bemidji State records with 27 wins and 115 points in his senior year in 1978. Hanson was also a member of the 1976 team that was inducted into the BSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.

Swanson is the first-ever legacy inductee to the Bemidji State Athletic Hall of Fame. She participated in women's basketball, women's golf and extramural softball between 1968-71, becoming a pioneer in some of the Beavers' first intercollegiate women's athletic teams. She was a four-year starter on the hardwood and led BSC to a 23-20 overall record and appearances in the 1969 and 1970 regional tournaments. She also competed on the women's golf and softball teams, though records are incomplete for those eras.

Leif is a business professor at BSU and is a Beaver through and through. He has impacted the lives of countless student-athletes since arriving in 1990 and has been a regular supporter of all athletic events and fundraisers for decades. He was the faculty athletic representative from 2009-16 and has greatly aided the work of raising funds for the BSU athletic department through his own network of connections. He has also been a season ticketholder for Beaver Hockey tickets since day one.

Bianchi spent 47 successful years at Bloomington Jefferson after graduating from Bemidji State College in 1962. He coached football, hockey, golf and softball at Jefferson High School between 1974-94.

In hockey, he coached his teams to 16 conference championships, 13 section titles and five state championships (1981, 1989, 1992, 1993 and 1994). He produced 64 NCAA Division I players in his coaching tenure. He also served as Jefferson High School's activities director from 1992-94 and as its principal from 1995-98. Bianchi was inducted into the Bloomington Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Minnesota State High School League Hall of Fame in 1999, among many other honors and awards.

With the MSHSL, Bianchi was also on the steering committee to implement girls hockey in Bloomington, the steering committee to restructure the "Lake Conference" and helped develop the first sportsmanship workshop for the Lake Conference.