Homecoming was held at the University of Minnesota Crookston the weekend of September 29-30, 2017.
Homecoming was held at the University of Minnesota Crookston the weekend of September 29-30, 2017. Recognition of the Outstanding Alumni, the recipient of the Abbey Award, and the induction ceremony for the Athletic Hall of Fame took place during the annual Alumni Awards Celebration on Friday, September 29. The program was hosted by Brandy Chaffee, Chief development officer, and Stephanie Helgeson, director of athletics.
The 2017 honorees include Brittani (Boehlke) Fiecke 2006, the recipient of the Abbey Award, which recognizes outstanding young alumni and this year’s Outstanding Alumni Award recipients: Jeff Stauffenecker 1990 and Carl Wittenburg 1985. Inductees into the Athletic Hall of Fame were Scott Oliver, coach, 1987-2002; Joe Hasz 2006, men’s basketball; and the 2002 Men’s Golf Team.
• Carl Wittenburg, 1985, presented by The Honorable Tom Anderson, University of Minnesota Board of Regents
Carl Wittenburg graduated from the University of Minnesota Crookston with an associate degree in agricultural business finance in 1985. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree at North Dakota State University. He owns and operates Protein Alliance in Brooten, Minnesota, with fellow alumnus Jeff Stauffenecker. Prior to Protein Alliance, Wittenburg was employed by Northern Pride and as a U.S. sales manager with Hybrid Turkeys, an international genetics company. Wittenburg serves on the board of the National Turkey Federation.
• Jeff Stauffenecker, 1990 ,presented by former faculty member David Hoff
Jeff Stauffenecker grew up on a turkey farm in northern Minnesota. He earned his associate degree in agriculture from the University of Minnesota Crookston and a bachelor’s degree from North Dakota State University in agricultural economics. Stauffenecker worked for two years at Northern Pride as the turkey procurement manager, moved to Willmar, and worked for Jennie-O Foods as the commodity sales manager before his partnership with fellow alumnus Carl Wittenburg to form Protein Alliance. Stauffenecker serves on the board of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association.
Protein Alliance, Inc.. was created in 1999 when Jeff Stauffenecker and Carl Wittenburg took their extensive experience in the agricultural industry and pursued their dream of becoming entrepreneurs. The company is a fully integrated, global meat brokerage and trading company located in central Minnesota providing a diverse product line of proteins from all the major processors in the United States. The business was cited in 2015 in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Hot 100.
• Brittani (Boehlke) Fiecke, 2006, presented by Associate Professor Brian Dingmann
Brittani Rose (Boehlke) Fiecke, a 2006 graduate of the University of Minnesota Crookston, is a physician assistant practicing medical oncology at Essentia Health Cancer Center in Fargo, North Dakota. Fiecke spearheaded the creation and implementation of the comprehensive multidisciplinary Cancer Survivorship Program at Essentia Health. She initiated the utilization of telehealth, audiovisual real-time technology, to increase access to care for patients in rural communities. Prior to working at Essentia, Fiecke was employed as a private practice physician’s assistant at Waverly Hematology Oncology in Cary, North Carolina. It is there Brittani learned the fundamentals of oncology and her fascination with the field flourished.
• Joe Hasz, 2006, presented by teammate Brady Sedler 2000
Joe Hasz remains as one of the most prolific scorers in University of Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball history. Hasz played for the Golden Eagles from 1999-2003 earning All-American honors following the 2002-03 season. He earned All-NSIC First Team honors in three consecutive seasons from 2000-03. Hasz holds career marks for the Golden Eagles with 1,939 career points, 673 field goals made, 218 3-point field goals, 375 free throws, 483 rebounds and 216 steals. His marks continue to hold 15 years later. He also continues to hold several season records, with his single-season points, field goals, and free throws marks being eclipsed during the 2016-17 season by Harrison Cleary. Hasz led the NSIC in scoring during each of his final three seasons in the Maroon and Gold. He was the all-time leading scorer in the conference prior to being surpassed by Cody Schilling of Augustana. Hasz still remains No. 4 all-time in scoring in the NSIC even 15 years after the conclusion of his playing career.
• Scott Oliver, presented by former football coach Jim Sims
Scott Oliver coached football and men’s hockey at the University of Minnesota Crookston from 1987-2002. Oliver coached the men’s hockey team from 1987-98. During his time as hockey coach, Oliver posted a career record of 209-49-4. He led Minnesota Crookston to the top of junior college hockey with consecutive NJCAA National Championships in 1992-93 and 1993-94. The 1993-94 squad had an undefeated mark of 26-0-1 and was led by Nathan Pitt, Bill Trew, Jeff Malawski, and Ken Essay all being named All-Americans. His 1992-93 squad was paced by the performances of Ryan Driedger, Scott Elder, and Pete Nordell, who were all named All-Americans. Oliver headed the hockey team through their transition from NJCAA to NAIA.
Driedger, Pitt, Essay, and Malawski are all U of M Crookston Hall of Famers, along with both of his National Championship Hockey teams. Oliver was named to the NJCAA Hockey Coaches Hall of Fame in the summer of 2017.
Oliver also saw success as the head football coach from 1995-2002. Prior to being elevated to head coach, Oliver served as defensive coordinator at the U of M Crookston. Oliver’s time on the gridiron was highlighted by leading the team to the NAIA playoffs for the first-time in school history in 1997. The squad went 7-3, including a 4-2 mark in the North Dakota Collegiate Athletic Conference playing them second in the league standings. Oliver’s 1997 team set countless records and included several individual achievements highlighted by NAIA All-American selections for Mark Olsonawski, who was named Second Team All-Amercian; Cory Schreifels, who was named First Team All-American; and Jason Lindquist, who was First Team All-American.
• 2002 Men’s Golf Team, presented by 2002 Men’s Golf Coach Jason Tangquist
The 2002 Minnesota Crookston men’s golf team became the first program in school history to capture a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Championship by shooting a team score of 459 over 27 holes at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker, Minn. The team that competed at the NSIC Championship included Branden Schwartz, Nate Dahl, Vance Harren, Adam Dohlman, and Kent Orvik. In addition to their team championship, Schwartz became the first player in program history to win the individual NSIC Championship.
The team’s Head Coach Jason Tangquist also earned NSIC Men’s Coach of the Year in 2002 following the team’s championship. Dahl finished third in the NSIC Championship, just two strokes behind his teammate Schwartz.
The team also included Matt Hiller, Keith Johnson, Eric Barber, Tony Brateng, Scott Mack, Dominic Ste. Marie, and Chad Underdal. Harren was named NSIC All-Academic during the 2002 season.
The same squad went on to compete in the NCAA Super Regional in the Spring of 2003, finishing eighth with Schwartz, Dohlman, Brateng, Underdal and Hiller competing.