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NAIA announces 13 new inductees to the NAIA Hall of Fame

September 05, 2012

Thirteen outstanding individuals will be inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame this year to recognize their significant contributions to the Association, to intercollegiate athletics as a whole and to their individual sport. This honor is the highest individual honor bestowed by the NAIA.

The NAIA Hall of Fame has a category for meritorious service to the NAIA and also categories for athletes and coaches. The NAIA Hall of Fame Award winners will be honored at their respective NAIA championships throughout the year, with the meritorious category winners honored at the NAIA 2013 Convention in Kansas City.

The 2012-13 NAIA Hall of Fame award winners are: Dr. Gerald Robert Burns, John Brown University (Ark.), meritorious service; Lowell Pitzer, American Midwest Athletic Conference, meritorious service; Dr. Arthur Wallace "Toby" Williams, Trevecca Nazarene University (Tenn.), meritorious service; Pat Curran, Lakeland College (Wisc.), football athlete; Eddie Eviston, Georgetown College (Ky.), football athlete; Kurtiss Riggs, University of Sioux Falls (S.D.), football athlete; Edward "Ted" Ledbetter, Oklahoma City University, baseball athlete; Derrick Atkins, Dickinson State University (N.D.), men's track and field athlete; Aaron Cleare, Dickinson State University (N.D.), men's track and field; Duane "Moose" Woltzen, Lakeland College (Wisc.), men's basketball coach; Curt Fredrickson, Northern State University (S.D) women's basketball coach; George Wilson, College of the Ozarks (Mo.), women's basketball coach; Kyle Blaser, Oklahoma City University, men's golf coach.

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Dr. Gerald Robert Burns, an NAIA Hall of Fame inductee in the meritorious service category, is said to be a true pioneer for John Brown University athletics, bringing vision and organization to the Golden Eagles in his 31 years at John Brown, 25 as athletics director.  Burns was heavily involved at the conference, regional and national level. He served as NAIA Region VI chair for six years, was on the NAIA District 17 Executive Committee for eight years and served as a program presenter and participant at several NAIA Conventions. He continues to give back to the school by serving as a volunteer advisor to the current athletics director, along with regularly attending athletics events.

Lowell Pitzer, an NAIA Hall of Fame inductee in the meritorious service category, has served the NAIA for more than 25 years. He is the former president of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference and current commissioner of the American Midwest Conference (AMC) and served on the NAIA Council of Affiliated Conferences and Independents, NAIA National Administrative Council, Region V Management Committee, Conference Commissioners Association, NAIA Membership Evaluation Team, and on oversight committees in several sports as well as the NAIA National Coordinating Committee. Pitzer received the District 16 Administrator of the Year award in 1993-94, AMC Administrator of the Year award in 1996-97, Men's Basketball Conference Coach of the Year (AMC) in 1991-92 and Women's Conference Coach of the Year (AMC) in 1999-00. In 2004, Pitzer was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Missouri Baptist University .

Dr. Arthur Wallace "Toby" Williams  an NAIA Hall of Fame inductee in the meritorious service category,  was a member of the intercollegiate athletics board at Trevecca Nazarene University (Tenn.) and also served as golf coach, NAIA faculty athletics representative and as a member of the scholarship fund.  In 1990, Williams became the Eligibility Chairman of the Tennessee Collegiate Athletic Conference (TCAC) and transferred to the TranSouth Athletic Conference as the Eligibility Chair in 1995. He devoted countless hours to reviewing the eligibility of thousands of student athletes and advised conference schools on NAIA rules and regulations.

Pat Curran, an NAIA Hall of Fame inductee in the athlete category, was an outstanding running back at Lakeland College (Wisc.), from 1966 to 1968. He leads every scoring category in the record book, including 36 points in a single game, 312 career points, six touchdowns in a single game, and 51 career touchdowns. He remains third in career yards and fourth in single-season yards at Lakeland. In 1968, he was an NAIA second-team all-American, and he was an NAIA District 14 Hall of Fame inductee in 1980. Curran was picked in the sixth round of the National Football League draft and played for both the Los Angeles Rams and the San Diego Chargers from 1969 until 1978.

Eddie Eviston, an NAIA Hall of Fame inductee in the athlete category, received the NAIA player of the year award three times: 1999, 2000 and 2001 and is the only football player ever to do so.  Eviston led the Georgetown College Tigers football team to the NAIA National Championship runner-up finish during his sophomore year. In both his junior and senior years, he led the team to the championship title with an undefeated season. Eviston appears in the individual record lists seven times and holds the record for the most yards gained per completion and per attempt. After his collegiate career, he won a National Indoor Football League crown with the Lexington Horsemen.  

Kurtiss Riggs, an NAIA Hall of Fame inductee in the athlete category, holds NAIA records in touchdown passes in a season (55), consecutive attempts without an interception (290),  lowest interception percentage (.75) and is the second-place owner in NAIA history in yard completed per attempt (9.15 yd/att). He still holds records in passing yards in a season (3,993), touchdown passes in a season (55), career touchdown passes (85) and completions in a season (265), which he attained at the University of Sioux Falls.  In 1996, he was an NAIA first team All-American quarterback, the Outstanding Offensive Player of the Game in the NAIA National Championship and NAIA National Player of the Week versus both Midland University (Neb.) and Nebraska Wesleyan University. Riggs has been head coach of the indoor football team, Sioux Falls Storm, where he has won five national championships, three coach of the year awards and achieved a 40-game winning streak.

Edward "Ted" Ledbetter, an NAIA Hall of Fame inductee in the athlete category, was first team All-SAC, SAC player of the year, first team All-Region 6, Region 6 Player of the Year, first team NAIA All-America, NAIA National Player of the Year and an NAIA Scholar Athlete. Ledbetter holds the Oklahoma City University baseball record for batting average in a single season (.504), career batting average (.479) and ties for first in hits in a season with 117. He was selected by the Florida Marlins in the 2004 draft.

Derrick Atkins, an NAIA Hall of Fame inductee in the athlete category, excelled in both indoor and outdoor track and field for four years at Dickinson State University (N.D.).  He has indoor and outdoor conference sprint records that are still standing, and he led his team to four Dakota Athletic Conference championships.  Atkins is a seven-time national champion, and he won national titles in the 100 meters in 2003, 2004 and 2005. In addition, he is an eight-time All-American in the sprints and relays. Atkins led Dickinson State to two consecutive national championships in 2004 and 2005 and to a runner-up finish in 2003. He also holds a Bahamas national record in the 100 meters. Atkins placed second in the 100 meters at the World Championships in 2007, and he participated in the 2008 Bejing Olympic Games in the 100 meters for his home country of the Bahamas.

Aaron Cleare, an NAIA Hall of Fame inductee in the athlete category, participated in both indoor and outdoor track and field at Dickinson State University from 2002 to 2006. In 2002, he was a outdoor track and field national champion in the 400 meters and an All-American in the 4x100 meters and 4x400 meters . In 2004, he was an outdoor track and field national champion in 400 meters and All-American in 4x100 and 4x400. In 2005, he was an indoor track and field All-American in the 4x400, an outdoor track and field national champion in 400 meters and All-American in 4x100 and 4x400. In 2006, his 4x400 team was the national champion, and he set an NAIA national record. He also was an outdoor track and field national champion in the 400 meters and was an all-American in the 4x100. He represented the country of Bahamas in the 2004 Olympic Games and a 4x400 alternate runner for Bahamas in the Olympic Games in 2008.

Duane "Moose" Woltzen, an NAIA Hall of Fame inductee in the coach category, collected 11 conference championships in men's basketball, along with a District 14 Championship title in 1965-66.  Woltzen was the head coach of the NAIA all-stars at Czecheslovakia (1969) and Israel (1973). As Lakeland College (Wisc.) men's basketball head coach from 1965 to 88, Woltzen compiled a 536-229 (.701) record. He was inducted into the Lakeland Hall of Fame, Illinois State University Athletics Hall of Fame, Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and the NAIA District 14 Athletics Hall of Fame, and he received the Illinois State University Alumni Achievement Award.

Curt Fredrickson, an NAIA Hall of Fame inductee in the coach category was the Northern State University (S.D), Wolves women's basketball head coach and won the NAIA Division II national title in 1991-92 and 1993-94, second-place title in 1992-93, third place title in 1980-81 and a final-eight finish in 1994-95. Fredrickson claimed the 1992 and 1994 NAIA National Coach of the Year award and is the second-winningest active NCAA Division II women's basketball coach with 707 wins in 33 seasons (counting combined wins from the NAIA and NCAA).

George Wilson, an NAIA Hall of Fame inductee in the coach category, was the women's basketball coach for the College of the Ozarks, where he recorded 417 wins and 84 losses over 15 years. He was the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference (MCAC) Women's Basketball Coach of the Year 10 times. This year, his team won the "What's Right in the Sport" award and the Buffalo Funds Champions of Character award. Wilson has won 13 MCAC women's basketball regular-season titles and 14 women's basketball conference tournaments titles. Prior to coaching at College of the Ozarks, Wilson coached high school boys' basketball for 31 years. The College of Ozarks women's basketball team has been the NAIA National Championship runner-up four times.

Kyle Blaser, an NAIA Hall of Fame inductee in the coach category,  led Oklahoma City University men's golf to its eighth NAIA championship in 2012. Blaser has been NAIA Coach of the Year seven times and earned 11 regional titles and 15 Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) championships. In 16 seasons, Blaser produced four NAIA individual champions, four NAIA National Players of the Year,  58 All-Americans,  two Phil Mickelson award winners as NAIA Freshman of the Year, 21 NAIA Scholar Athlete award winners, five CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, six NAIA Region VI Champions and Players of the Year, and nine SAC individual Champions and Players of the Year. In 2010, Blaser was an inductee into the Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame.