OSHKOSH, Wis. (5/5/1991) – The UW-Oshkosh Athletic Hall of fame increased its membership to 80 with the addition of four former athletes during an induction ceremony last Sunday (May 5) at the Pioneer Inn in Oshkosh.
The 1991 inductees were Norm Debriyn, Fred Eddy, Eric Kitzman and Leonard Kurzynske.
The UW-Oshkosh Athletic Hall of Fame was established in 1974 to give tribute and deserved recognition to former athletes, coaches and friends of the University. It is also intended to enhance school tradition by honoring those people who have shown exceptional ability while on the campus and since graduation.
While injuries did not allow Norm DeBriyn to compete and UW-Oshkosh during his senior year in 1963, he did earn two varsity letters in football and two in baseball during his sophomore and junior years. The Ashland native earned letters in football, basketball and baseball before graduating from Depadua High School in Ashland.
DeBriyn, the head baseball coach at the University of Arkansas since 1970, graduated from UW-Oshkosh in 1963. Following graduation from UW-Oshkosh, DeBriyn taught and coached at Hortonville High School from 1963-68. He earned his master's degree at the University of Northern Colorado in 1969 before taking the head coaching position at the University of Arkansas. He was also an assistant professor in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Division from 1969-76 at the University of Arkansas.
Winning has become synonymous with DeBriyn's baseball program. He entered the 1991 season ranked 17th among all active NCAA Division I coaches in total victories (748) and 24th in winning percentage (.676). DeBriyn's coaching record at the University of Arkansas entering the 1991 season was 748-357-3. The Razorbacks tied for the Southwest Conference title in 1989 and won it outright in 1990.
The University of Arkansas has gone to the NCAA Division I World Series four times under DeBriyn, with its best finishes of second in 1979 and third in 1985. DeBriyn has been named SEC Coach of the Year six times, including each of the past two seasons. In addition, he has coached 12 major league players, including Kevin McReynolds of the New York Mets and Jeff King of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The player who followed current Milwaukee Brewer Jim Gantner as the UW-Oshkosh shortstop, Fred Eddy was accustomed to success as a three-sport lettermen in football, basketball and baseball at Beloit Memorial High School. Eddy was a member of the 1973 Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association champions as well as being an all-conference baseball player.
Following high school, Eddy enrolled at UW-Oshkosh where he was a four-year lettermen in baseball and attained All-WSUC status in 1976, 1977 and 1978. Eddy was a member of four UW-Oshkosh teams that competed in NAIA tournament play.
In 1978, Eddy was the National batting champion (.470 average) and selected to the Academic All-America Team. During his collegiate career Eddy hit .351 with 118 bases on balls, nine home runs and 85 runs batted in. He also earned one letter in football, passing for 300 yard as a reserve quarterback in 1975.
After graduating from UW-Oshkosh in 1978, Eddy taught social studies before taking a position in sales for Northwestern Mutual Life. He stayed with Northwestern Mutual Life for three years before taking a position with the Gordon Flesch Company.
Since 1985, Eddy has worked for Panasonic and has worked his way from sales representative to Midwest Regional Sales Manager.
Many of the current athletic facilities at UW-Oshkosh were built with the help of the efforts of Eric Kitzman, the former director of athletics, coach and teacher at UW-Oshkosh, who retired in 1988.
Kitzman attended Concordia High School in River Forest, Ill., and signed a professional baseball contract with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1939. In 1941, Kitzman enrolled at the University of Wisconsin and played baseball and football at a time when the Big Ten allowed professionals to compete because of World War II.
After graduating from college in 1945, Kitzman accepted a teaching and coaching position at Menasha High School. He served as a director of athletics and coach of the baseball and boys basketball teams there for the next 10 years. He coached the Blue Jays to the WIAA state baseball title in 1951 and the WIAA state basketball title in 1953.
In 1953, Kitzman joined the UW-Oshkosh faculty as a teacher and coach. From 1956-61, Kitzman guided the men's basketball team to a 45-40 record. His 1960 team competed at the NAIA Tournament in Kansas City, Mo.
Kitzman started the baseball program at UW-Oshkosh in 1956 and held that post until 1968. The UW-Oshkosh baseball team was 106-71 during Kitzman's reign and won the WSUC title in 1963. One of Kitzman's baseball players was 1991 UW-Oshkosh Hall of Fame inductee Norm DeBriyn. Kitzman also coached the men's golf team at UW-Oshkosh from 1966-88. Five of his golf teams won WSUC titles.
Kitzman, who received his bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin and his doctorate from the University of Iowa, had a significant role in the planning of the Kolf Sports Center and Titan Stadium Sports Complex projects. He was also instrumental in starting the UW-Oshkosh and NAIA District 14 Hall of Fame.
After earning three varsity letters in football and being named to the All-State team twice (1971, 1972) at Oshkosh North High School, Leonard Kurzynske enrolled at UW-Platteville. He earned two letters in football for the Pioneers before transferring to UW-Oshkosh in 1975. At UW-Oshkosh, Kurzynske earned letters in 1975 and 1976 as a defensive lineman.
Kurzynske's biggest thrill at UW-Oshkosh came in 1976 when he helped the Titans win the WSUC title with a 6-2 record (8-2 overall) and received the team's most valuable player award. Kurzynske, a fierce competitor, received All-WSUC, NAIA All-District 14 and NAIA All-America honors in 1976. He was the first UW-Oshkosh defensive player to receive All-America honors.
Following graduation from UW-Oshkosh in 1977, Kurzynske accepted a special education teaching position in Coleman, where he was an assistant football coach in 1977 and from 1979-82. He held a similar position at Oconto in 1978 before returning in 1979 to Coleman, where the football team compiled an impressive 39-9 record during the years he coached there.
In 1983, he left Coleman to teach and coach at Pulaski High School. Since 1986, Kurzynske has been the head of the special education department at Pulaski High School.