Alumni to be inducted into Hall of Fame

By Chris Jurmann

Homecoming weekend isn’t just about celebrating and festivities surrounding the current NIU football team. It also marks the induction of members into the NIU Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame will enshrine five new members and one team beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday and carry throughout Homecoming weekend.

“The class of inductees have contributed greatly to our athletic program,” NIU athletic director Cary Groth said.

This year’s induction class includes football players Larry Clark and Vince Scott, men’s soccer player Allan Zelechowski, men’s gymnastics coach Chuck Ehrlich, men’s basketball player Gordon Nuber and the 1988 women’s softball team.

Larry Clark played linebacker for the Huskie football team from 1969-1972. Clark is a member of both the NIU all-century team and the All-Time Huskie Stadium team.

“I remember Larry most for the 88-yard interception return to beat a very good Long Beach State team at the time,” longtime NIU Sports Information Director Mike Korcek said. “That win helped us finish with a 7-4 record and our best finish as a Division I program. He was the best linebacker of that era.”

Vince Scott was a kicker for the football team from 1980-1983. Known for his incredible clutch kicking, Scott was able to achieve first-team All-MAC and honorable mention for the Associated Press’ All-American team in 1983.

Scott is tied with current kicker Steve Azar for the longest field goal in school history with a kick of 51 yards.

“He is very similar to the kicker we have now, Steve Azar,” Korcek said. “At a game earlier this season Vince was at the game and got to meet Steve. It was a nice moment.”

Allan Zelechowski was the playmaker of the men’s soccer team from 1968-1970. He was named National Soccer Coaches Association of America Honorable Mention All-America in 1970.

“He had an uncanny sixth sense,” Korcek said. “With the ball, he was always thinking two or three moves ahead.”

Gymnastics coach Chuck Ehrlich left lasting memories during his coaching tenure from 1973-1990. During that time, Ehrlich coached five NCAA Division I individual champions. He also led 10 gymnasts to a combined 16 All-American titles.

His highlight season occurred in 1978-79 when his squad finished 11-0-1 and was ranked as high as No. 7 nationally and took down gymnastics powerhouse Indiana State and their No. 3 ranking and individual star Kurt Thomas.

“We got 6,000 people into the field house to watch that meet,” Korcek said. “It was quite a show. We had to have security in the press room after the match with all the women screaming for Kurt Thomas, who was probably the best gymnast in the world at the time.”

Gordon ‘Doc’ Nuber was a member of the men’s basketball team from 1969-73. During his time on the team, he only contributed 42 career points and 43 career rebounds, but it was his work after his career that put him in the hall of fame.

Nuber is currently the team physician for the Chicago Bears and serves as orthopedic consultant for the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Blackhawks.

“We only knew Gordon Nuber as ‘Doc’,” Korcek said. “In fact, I never heard Julius Erving called the Doctor until the mid-70’s so he may have been among the first to be called ‘Doc’.”

Nuber was a member of the 1971-72 team that is considered by many the best basketball team in the history of NIU.

The 1988 women’s softball team was the first major program to advance to the Final Eight of the NCAA tournament in it’s first appearance. The team finished the season tied for seventh.

“Our success was tied in our group of players and the understanding of roles on the team,” then assistant coach and current softball coach Donna Martin said. “It really helped to bond them when they accepted where they fit on the team and there was no bickering about who’s doing their part.

“That team set the tone for regional and national recognition for our sport here at NIU. They were sort of pioneers in that sense.”

The festivities begin with the homecoming parade Friday at 5 p.m. beginning at Anderson Hall and carrying throughout campus and finishing at the new Central Park on west campus.

Following the parade will be a banquet that will take place in the Duke Ellington Ballroom of the Holmes student center. Tickets for the banquet can be purchased for $30 each. Those interested in tickets can call (815) 753-1923 for further information.

The Hall of Fame celebration will conclude at halftime of Saturday’s football game at Huskie Stadium where the inductees will also be honored.