The late Dennis Spellmann, who as president helped turn Lindenwood University into an NAIA powerhouse, was inducted posthumously October 20 into Lindenwood’s inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame class.
The homecoming weekend ceremony took place during a banquet on campus.
Spellmann, who died in August 2006, was inducted for his meritorious service to the athletics department.
Lindenwood began an unprecedented institutional turnaround in 1989 under Spellmann’s leadership. He planned and secured funding for numerous athletic facilities including Harlan C. Hunter Stadium, Robert F. Hyland Performance Arena, Lou Brock Sports Complex and the Track and Field Complex. Spellmann initiated or improved many intercollegiate sports programs at Lindenwood. He and his wife, Sue, enthusiastically supported all athletic programs, taking particular pride in the numerous conference and national championships earned.
Fourteen former student-athletes were inducted into the first class. They are:
Kelly Austene-Raines (softball), Earl Austin, Jr. (basketball), Sean Birren (track and field), Jaime Bonney (basketball), Kelley Bowen (soccer), Caryn Chasteen (soccer), Dan Emrick (golf), Sallie Henry (softball), Jessica Metcalf (swimming and diving), Beth Neyman (soccer), Krista Niedenbach (soccer), Tim Nihart (baseball), Nebojsa Stefanovic (soccer), and Kris Tebbe (softball/soccer).
Three others entries included:
John Creer (track and field) and Debbie Washburn (women’s soccer) as coaches. In addition, the 1998 Indoor Track and Field team was placed into the hall of fame in the team category.
The Lindenwood Athletics Hall of Fame was established earlier this year as a way to honor some of the top people who have helped make the Lions athletics program one of the most successful in the nation.