The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Athletics Hall of Fame increased its roster to 189 members with Sunday’s (May 1) induction of Allen Ackerman, Kay (Mikolajczak) Chmielewski, Lyndi (Hahn) Mirkes, Carrie (Gilbert) Poehls, Pamela Ruder and David Weidemann. The ceremony was held at UW-Oshkosh’s Alumni Welcome and Conference Center.
The UW-Oshkosh 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 UW-Oshkosh campus and since graduation.
Allen Ackerman had an award-winning tenure as UW-Oshkosh’s director of athletics for 19 years, overseeing 19 national championships, 64 conference titles and several construction projects.
Ackerman, who was selected as UW-Oshkosh’s second full-time director of athletics in 1991, remained in the position until his retirement in 2010. His 19 years as director of athletics ranks second to only Robert Kolf (36 years) in UW-Oshkosh history.
Ackerman played a key role in the conversion of Titan Stadium into the Oshkosh Sports Complex, a venue for the community that generates millions of dollars annually for the local economy. He also helped UW-Oshkosh increase its varsity sport offerings from 19 to 21 teams during his tenure. The university added women’s soccer in 1993 and women’s golf in 1996.
Ackerman was named the 2003 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Central Region Athletics Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) after 13 of UW-Oshkosh’s 21 sports were represented in postseason play, including the national champion men’s cross country team and the national runner-up men’s indoor track & field squad.
Nine different UW-Oshkosh programs won national titles in Ackerman’s 19 years, including baseball, women’s basketball, women’s cross country, women’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s indoor track & field, and men’s and women’s outdoor track & field.
Ackerman planned and supervised construction of a new swimming & diving facility in Albee Hall as well as remodeling efforts that improved several aspects in Kolf Sports Center. He also helped in planning the construction of the UW-Oshkosh Student Recreation and Wellness Center in addition to developing a corporate sponsorship program for UW-Oshkosh athletics.
Ackerman oversaw a department whose student-athletes combined to collect 43 Academic All-America Awards from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) and 42 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Scholar-Athlete of the Year citations. UW-Oshkosh had six top-10 finishes in the NCAA Division III Learfield Directors’ Cup standings under Ackerman’s direction, including third in 1996, fifth in 1997 and seventh in 2001.
UW-Oshkosh was also the host of 25 national championship events across six sports (baseball, indoor and outdoor track & field, cross country, women’s basketball and women’s volleyball) during Ackerman’s leadership. In 2001, Ackerman received the Pinnacle Award from the Fox Cities Convention & Visitor’s Bureau for his role in attracting the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship to Appleton in 2000. The eight-team tournament has been held in Appleton ever since.
The Athens, Ohio, native graduated from Ohio University in 1975 and earned his master’s degree from the institution in 1978. He was an offensive lineman on the Bobcats football team and captain of the track & field squad.
Ackerman was an assistant football coach at Ohio University from 1977-79 before accepting a teaching and coaching position at Elmhurst College (Ill.). In 1981, Ackerman assumed the role of Elmhurst College’s director of athletics and remained in that position until he accepted the director of athletics position at UW-Oshkosh.
Ackerman and his wife, Sue, live in Oshkosh. Ackerman is the father of daughter, Sarah, and son, John, and stepfather to Amanda Frank and Matthew Priewe, and grandfather to Alaric and Adalia Frank.
Kay (Mikolajczak) Chmielewski has a long list of accomplishments that extend beyond her accolades as a two-sport athlete at UW-Oshkosh.
Mikolajczak not only won the 2004 Josten’s Trophy for the most outstanding student-athlete in NCAA Division III women’s basketball, earned All-America awards in a pair of sports, and helped the UW-Oshkosh outdoor track & field team win a national championship, but she also earned recognition for her excellence in the classroom.
Mikolajczak, who earned three letters in both basketball and outdoor track & field from 2002-04, was the 2004 Wisconsin NCAA Woman of the Year and a recipient of the 2005 NCAA Today’s Top VIII Award, which honors achievement in athletics, academics and community service.
The Franklin High School graduate also received UW-Oshkosh’s John Taylor Senior Scholar-Athlete Award, UW-Oshkosh’s Chancellor’s Award For Excellence, Academic All-America recognition and a NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in 2004.
In her basketball career under head coach Pamela Ruder, also a 2016 UW-Oshkosh Hall of Fame inductee, Mikolajczak was a two-time All-WIAC first team selection (2003, 2004) who helped the Titans compile a three-year record of 64-19.
Mikolajczak still holds the UW-Oshkosh record with 127 blocks and currently ranks eighth in WIAC history with a .554 career field goal percentage. The center also concluded her career with 1,124 points and 643 rebounds in 80 games played, including 67 as a starter.
In 2004, Mikolajczak capped her senior campaign by helping UW-Oshkosh to a 21-6 record and a share of the WIAC title. She earned All-America first team honors from D3hoops.com and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association in addition to the Josten’s Trophy after averaging 17.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game while notching a league-leading 12 double-doubles.
In 2003, Mikolajczak gained All-WIAC first team honors and helped the Titans to a 22-6 record by averaging 13.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game. After playing her freshman season at UW-Eau Claire in 2001, Mikolajczak led the 2002 UW-Oshkosh squad to a 21-7 record by averaging 11.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals per contest.
Mikolajczak, who signed a one-year contract with the Danish National Basketball League after completing her UW-Oshkosh career, was named to the WIAC’s All-Time Women’s Basketball Team (15 members) in 2012.
In outdoor track & field, Mikolajczak won the javelin throw at the 2003 WIAC Championship and acquired a pair of All-America awards in the heptathlon after finishing fourth at the NCAA Championship in 2004 and fifth in 2002. Her fourth-place showing in 2004 helped UW-Oshkosh capture the national title. The Titans, who also won the 2004 WIAC title, finished fifth at the national meet in 2003 and eighth in 2002.
Mikolajczak graduated from UW-Oshkosh in 2004 and received her doctorate degree from Marquette University in 2008. She currently works part-time as a physical therapist in the Milwaukee area while participating in an occasional 3-on-3 basketball tournament or road race for charitable causes.
Mikolajczak and her husband, Jack, live in Greenfield with their sons Mitchell, Kyle and Joel.
Lyndi (Hahn) Mirkes concluded her UW-Oshkosh career as one of the most decorated gymnasts in National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) history.
Hahn collected 13 All-America awards from 1990-93, including a national championship on the balance beam in 1990. Her All-America citations were the second most in NCGA history upon her graduation as she helped lead UW-Oshkosh to national runner-up finishes in 1990, 1991 and 1993 as well as a third-place showing in 1992.
Hahn also won five WIAC titles as the Titans won three straight league championships from 1991-93. UW-Oshkosh finished as the conference runner-up in 1990. Her five WIAC titles are the fifth most in program history.
Hahn, whose 13 All-America awards currently rank second in UW-Oshkosh history, became the fourth Titan to win a national championship when she captured her balance beam title.
Hahn achieved All-America status four times in both the all-around competition and floor exercise, twice on both the balance beam and uneven bars and once on the vault.
During her freshman season in 1990, Hahn took first place on the balance beam while finishing third in the floor exercise and fourth in the all-around competition.
In 1991, the Brookfield Central High School graduate earned All-America status by placing third on the balance beam and fourth in both the all-around competition and on the uneven bars.
Hahn’s 1992 campaign featured All-America citations for her third-place finishes in the all-around competition and floor exercise as well as her fourth-place effort on the vault.
Hahn closed her career in 1993 with three more All-America citations. She earned those awards by placing third in the all-around competition and on the uneven bars, and fifth in the floor exercise.
Hahn won WIAC titles in the all-around competition and floor exercise in 1991, the all-around competition and vault in 1992, and the vault in 1993.
Hahn, a 1994 UW-Oshkosh graduate, was inducted into NCGA Hall of Fame in 2015 after being selected to the WIAC’s All-Time Women’s Gymnastics Team (17 members) in 2012.
Hahn, who served as an assistant coach at Bowling Green State University (Ohio) from 1994-95, currently coaches at the M & M Gymnastics Club in New Berlin and works part-time at Premier Medical Staffing Services in West Allis.
Hahn lives in New Berlin with her husband, Kipp, a former UW-Oshkosh gymnast, and children Jenna and Nathan.
Carrie (Gilbert) Poehls became the first two-time all-region player in UW-Oshkosh women’s soccer history and remains the program’s only All-America selection.
Gilbert earned All-America second team accolades as a defender during her junior season in 2001 as UW-Oshkosh produced a 13-3-1 record and registered nine shutouts.
Gilbert also received all-region recognition as a defender following the 2000 and 2001 seasons. The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) named her to the All-Central First Team in 2001 and the Second Team in 2000.
In addition to All-WIAC first team honors as a defender in both 2000 and 2001, Gilbert capped her career with all-league first team accolades as a midfielder in 2002 to become the second Titan to receive three all-conference awards.
Gilbert, who transferred from UW-La Crosse after the 1999 season, helped UW-Oshkosh to a three-year record of 38-17-2, including a mark of 15-4 in 2000. The Appleton West High School graduate started 55 of the 57 matches that she played for the Titans and totaled 23 points on 11 goals and one assist.
During her All-America season of 2001, Gilbert spearheaded a UW-Oshkosh defense that allowed just 12 goals in 17 matches. The Titans notched four consecutive shutouts before falling in a shootout to UW-Eau Claire during the semifinal round WIAC Championship. Gilbert scored two goals during the season – both on penalty kicks – including the game winner in the regular-season finale against UW-Platteville.
Gilbert started all 19 of UW-Oshkosh’s games in 2000, tallying three goals on just five shots. She scored two goals on penalty kicks against Edgewood College and added an unassisted goal against Ripon College. With Gilbert patrolling the back line, UW-Oshkosh registered nine shutouts, including eight in a nine-game span before the Titans were ousted in the WIAC Tournament semifinals.
In 2002, her one season as a midfielder for the Titans, Gilbert finished third on the team with six goals and registered the only assist of her career. She played in all 21 games for UW-Oshkosh, including 20 as a starter. Gilbert matched her career high with two goals, including the game winner, against Coe College (Iowa).
During her freshman season at UW-La Crosse in 1999, Gilbert helped the Eagles to a 12-6 record as UW-La Crosse advanced to the championship game of the WIAC Tournament.
Gilbert is a 2005 graduate of UW-Oshkosh. In 2011, she was the lone Titan named to the WIAC’s All-Time Women’s Soccer Team (24 members).
Gilbert lives in Wauwatosa with her husband, Karl, and two sons, Henry and Sam.
In her roles as both a head and assistant coach of the UW-Oshkosh women’s basketball program, Pamela Ruder was instrumental in elevating the Titans into a national power.
Ruder was UW-Oshkosh’s head coach from 1997-2005 and an assistant coach at the school from 1991-96. In Ruder’s 15 combined seasons, the women’s basketball program compiled a remarkable 341-71 record (.828 winning percentage), won its lone national championship in 1996, captured nine WIAC titles and made 10 NCAA Division III postseason appearances.
Ruder concluded her nine seasons at the helm of the women’s basketball team with a 203-46 record (.815 winning percentage), four WIAC titles, four appearances in the NCAA Division III Championship, one national Coach of the Year award and one league Coach of the Year accolade.
Ruder, the 1999 NCAA Division III and 1998 WIAC Coach of the Year, guided the Titans to WIAC championships in 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2004 and a run of four consecutive national postseason appearances from 1997-2000. UW-Oshkosh won at least 19 games during each of Ruder’s nine seasons, including records of 27-2 in 1999, 26-2 in 1998 and 23-4 in 1997.
Ruder’s Titans advanced to the national quarterfinals in both 1998 and 1999 and to the second round in 1997 and 2000. UW-Oshkosh won the 1998 WIAC title with a 16-0 record, while Ruder’s squads also won league championships with marks of 15-1 in 1999, 12-4 in 2001 and 13-3 in 2004.
UW-Oshkosh players combined to receive two NCAA Division III All-America and 16 All-WIAC First Team selections under Ruder’s leadership. Among them is 2004 All-American Kay Mikolajczak, who joins Ruder as a 2016 inductee into the UW-Oshkosh Hall of Fame.
Ruder, currently the 10th winningest women’s head basketball coach in WIAC history, also served as UW-Oshkosh’s assistant director of athletics and senior woman administrator from 1996-2005 before accepting the head women’s basketball coaching position at Southwestern University (Texas) in 2005.
As an assistant coach under head coach and 2003 UW-Oshkosh Hall of Fame inductee Kathi Bennett, the Marshfield Columbus High School graduate helped the Titans produce a 138-25 record (.847 winning percentage). UW-Oshkosh captured WIAC titles and made NCAA postseason appearances in 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995 and 1996, when the unbeaten Titans (31-0) won the national championship in front of a women’s basketball division-record crowd of 4,001 in Kolf Sports Center.
Ruder, who served on Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Executive Board of Directors from 2004-09, was inducted into the UW-Whitewater Hall of Fame in 1999 after earning three letters in basketball and helping the Warhawks to three national tournament appearances from 1982-84. She graduated from UW-Whitewater in 1984.
Ruder, and her spouse, Julie Ortman, live in Oshkosh, where she returned to in 2010. She is currently the Resource Development Director at the Oshkosh Area United Way.
David Weidemann was a three-time conference champion as an athlete at UW-Oshkosh before joining the university staff as a coach and an award-winning administrator.
Weidemann earned four letters in men’s track & field from 1962-65 and two letters in football in 1962 and 1963.
On the track, Weidemann won the 220-yard hurdles at the 1964 and 1965 WSUC Outdoor Championships. He also won the 120-yard hurdles at the 1965 WSUC Championship with a meet-record time of 15.0 seconds.
On the football field, the Columbus High School graduate played defensive back and wide receiver for the Titans.
Weidemann then transitioned from student-athlete to coach and spent five seasons actively involved with the UW-Oshkosh men’s track & field team from 1966-70. He helped the Titans capture conference titles from 1966-68 before being named the program’s interim head coach for the 1969 season.
Weidemann received both his bachelor’s (1966) and master’s (1968) degrees from UW-Oshkosh. He ascended to the positions of Director of Admissions and Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs during an administrative career at UW-Oshkosh that spanned from 1966 until his retirement in 2000.
Weidemann served as the university’s Director of Admissions from 1970-75 and Assistant to the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs from 1975-2000.
Among his diverse roles at UW-Oshkosh, Weidemann filled a vacancy as Acting Director of Athletics from 1990-91. He also served as the Acting Director of the UW-Oshkosh Health Center, Residence Life, and Day Care Center during his almost 35-year career as a university administrator.
UW-Oshkosh won two NCAA Division III titles during Weidemann’s tenure as interim director of athletics – men’s cross country in 1990 and women’s outdoor track & field in 1991.
Weidemann, the recipient of the 1998 UW-Oshkosh Outstanding Service Award for Academic Staff, has volunteered his time to assist in the operation of numerous UW-Oshkosh sporting events over the past four decades, including as a football game-day statistician from 1971-91. He still helps the athletics program by operating the scoreboard at football games, working the scorer’s table at basketball games and providing assistance in the operation of cross country and track & field meets.
Weidemann also served as a member of the UW-Oshkosh Athletics Hall of Fame Committee from 1974-2014 and the UW-Oshkosh National “O” Club from 1973-2012.
Wiedemann began his longstanding affiliation with the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) as a track & field official in 1970. He continues to officiate high school meets and served as a referee for the state championships from 1986-2013. Weidemann has been a starter for five NCAA Division III Track & Field Championships and numerous WIAC championships.
Weidemann and his wife, Marcia, live in Winneconne. They are the parents of daughters Jodi (Veleke) and Gretchen (Steinbecker).