By Chris Lindeke
Assistant Athletic Director, Strategic Communications and Branding
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has announced its 56th Hall of Fame Class.
Former student-athletes Brenda Brooks ’01, Abbie Mueller Fuller ’07, Heather Wendt Ghilani ’02 MSE ’09, Riley Kehoe ’04, Stacey Hornickel-Kincaid, Jim Leszczynski ’05, Greg Reinhard ’08 and Kevin Tomasiewicz ’05 will be inducted. Former athletic director Dr. Paul Plinske will be inducted under the category of staff/coach, and longtime Warhawk supporter Dr. Richard P. Haven will be inducted for his distinguished service to the institution.
The 1985 women’s golf team, which claimed the second national championship in the school’s history, will be inducted under the team category. It is the second team ever inducted into the UW-Whitewater Athletics Hall of Fame.
All 10 individuals and the 1985 women’s golf team will be recognized for their contributions to Warhawk Athletics as part of the UW-Whitewater football team’s game against UW-River Falls on Saturday, Oct. 24, at 1 p.m. Inductees will be part of the Homecoming Parade, which begins at 10 a.m., and be honored at halftime of the football game and at the annual Hall of Fame banquet, which begins following the contest at 5:30 p.m. at the University Center’s Hamilton Room.
More information on the Hall of Fame Banquet will be announced in the coming weeks.
Brenda Brooks competed for the UW-Whitewater softball team from 1998-2001 and the women’s basketball team from 1997-2001. In softball, the Manitowoc native was a three-time first team All-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference selection who helped the Warhawks claim three trips to the NCAA Tournament (1998, 1999, 2000) and sweep the WIAC regular season and tournament championships in 1999. The second baseman was a two-time team Defensive Player of the Year and who served as a captain in 2001. On the basketball court, Brooks was named honorable mention All-WIAC as a senior in 2000-01. One of the most prolific shooters in program history, she holds the program record for 3-pointers made in one game (8) and held the record for career 3-pointers made (202) until 2016. Brooks graduated with a bachelor’s in marketing in 2001.
Abbie Mueller Fuller was a member of the UW-Whitewater volleyball program from 2002-05. She was a part of the team’s 2002 and 2005 national championships as well as four NCAA Tournament appearances, three WIAC regular season championships (2002, 2004, 2005) and one conference tournament title (2002). As a senior in 2005, the setter set a program record for assists in one season (1,723) on her way to WIAC Player of the Year, All-Region, second team All-America and NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player accolades. For her career, Fuller ranks among the top 20 in program history in service aces (205), assists (3,238), digs (1,383) and blocks (296). A graduate of West Bend East High School, Fuller graduated from UW-Whitewater with a degree in social work.
Heather Wendt Ghilani was a four-time all-conference selection, including a three-time first team honoree, for the UW-Whitewater softball team from 1999-2002. The pitcher helped the Warhawks reach the NCAA Tournament in 1999 and 2000 and sweep the WIAC regular season and tournament championships in 1999. She ranks among the top five in program history in career complete games (65), career strikeouts (421), career wins (61), career innings pitched (523 2/3), career saves (4) and career earned run average, minimum 300 innings (1.38). Ghilani’s name is also littered throughout the team’s game and season records. As a sophomore in 2000, when she was tabbed second team All-Region, Ghilani tossed a no-hitter in an 8-0 win over Beloit. The Hampshire, Ill., native earned her bachelor’s in physical education in 2002 and her master’s in professional development from UW-Whitewater in 2009.
Riley Kehoe was a standout distance runner for the UW-Whitewater men’s cross country and track and field programs between 1999-2004. He was a part of three NCAA Championship qualifying cross country teams, which placed fifth in 1999, sixth in 2000 and 17th in 2003. In his final season, Kehoe garnered All-Region accolades after running a career-best 25:41 at the 2003 NCAA Midwest Regional. On the track, he was a three-time All-American, including in the 5,000-meter run and the distance medley relay as a senior in 2004. Kehoe recorded six All-WIAC finishes, including first place in the 3,000-meter run and the distance medley relay at the 2004 WIAC Indoor Championships. He holds the indoor school record in the 1,500-meter run (3:54.59) and ranks among the program’s top five all time in the outdoor 1,500 (3:52.18), the indoor mile (4:13.36), the 3,000 (8:25.69) and the 5,000 (14:33.44). A Milwaukee native and graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran High School, Kehoe graduated with a degree in management computer systems in 2004.
Stacey Hornickel-Kincaid earned 10 All-WIAC medals and was an All-American in the triple jump during her career with the UW-Whitewater women’s track and field team from 1997-2000. The Whitewater native helped the Warhawks placed sixth at the 1999 NCAA Outdoor Championships with a third-place finish in the triple jump, and qualified four other times for the national meet in the event. In 1999, Hornickel-Kincaid was also part of the team’s WIAC championship distance medley (indoor) and sprint medley (outdoor) relays. She currently holds school records in the 200-meter hurdles (30.26), distance medley relay (12:03.81) and sprint medley relay (4:07.46 – also a WIAC record). Hornickel-Kincaid graduated from UW-Stout in 2001 with a bachelor’s in retail merchandising and management and a minor in business administration.
Jim Leszczynski was a wide receiver for the 2005 national runner-up and WIAC championship team during his four-year career with the UW-Whitewater football team from 2002-05. A captain of the 2005 team, the first in program history to reach the Stagg Bowl, Leszczynski earned honorable mention All-America honors from Football Gazette and second team All-Region accolades during that season. The Franklin native was a three-time All-WIAC selection, including a first team nod in 2005 after posting 80 receptions for 1,217 yards and 12 touchdowns. Leszczynski ranks among the top five in the program record book in career receptions (162), receiving yards (2,547) and receiving touchdowns (25). He graduated with a bachelor’s in finance in 2005.
Greg Reinhard was a part of three WIAC regular season championships, two conference tournament titles, three NCAA Tournament appearances, two trips to the Division III World Series and the baseball program’s first-ever national championship (2005) during his career from 2003-05. In 2005, he was named National Pitcher of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association, first team All-America and WIAC Pitcher of the Year after tallying a 12-0 record in 103 2/3 innings with three shutouts and 146 strikeouts, the most in one season in program history and a number that includes a program-record 19 strikeouts in one game. A two-time first team All-WIAC and All-Region pitcher, Reinhard ranks among the program’s all-time top 10 in career shutouts (4), walks allowed per nine innings (1.52), strikeouts (223), win-loss record (24-2), innings pitched (218), hits allowed per nine innings (6.93) and earned run average (2.72). Reinhard was taken in the sixth round by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2005 MLB First-Year Player Draft and played six years professionally, reaching the Triple-A level on two different occasions. In 2012, the Marinette native was selected to the WIAC’s All-Time Baseball Team as part of the league’s Centennial Celebration. Reinhard earned his degree in history from UW-Whitewater in 2008.
Kevin Tomasiewicz was a two-time All-American pitcher for the UW-Whitewater baseball team during his four-year career from 2002-05. He was a part of three WIAC regular season championships, two conference tournament titles, three NCAA Tournament appearances, two trips to the Division III World Series and the program’s first-ever national championship (2005). Tomasiewicz was a first team All-Region and All-WIAC selection in both 2003 and 2005, when he pitched a program-record 108 innings with a 15-1 record, the most wins on one season in program history. He finished his career among the top five in school history in win-loss record (35-5), innings pitched (253 1/3), shutouts (3) and strikeouts (232), and among the top 10 in earned run average (3.09). Tomasiewicz was taken the 26th round of the 2005 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the New York Mets and enjoyed a four-year professional career. He was named to the WIAC’s All-Time Baseball Team in 2012 as part of the conference’s Centennial Celebration. A native of Sleepy Hollow, Ill., Tomasiewicz graduated with a degree in marketing in 2005.
Dr. Paul Plinske served as Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at UW-Whitewater from 2004-13. During his tenure, the Warhawks claimed nine national championships and finished among the top 15 in the Learfield Directors’ Cup standings in six straight years, including fourth place in 2012-13. UW-Whitewater also won the WIAC All-Sports Award four times in his last six years, and in 2012-13, became the first school in league history to sweep the combined, men’s and women’s All-Sports Awards. Plinske also championed the Warhawks’ work in the classroom and the community, as UW-W teams earned the WIAC All-Academic Award for nine straight years and were highly involved in numerous community service projects in the Whitewater area and the state, including Make A Difference Day, Reading With The Warhawks and the Special Olympics. Plinske raised more than $12 million for facility upgrades, which included renovations to Fiskum Field and Foster Track, installation of FieldTurf, new video board and lighting at Perkins Stadium, synthetic turf and lighting at Miller Stadium, improvements to van Steenderen Softball Complex and new video board installation in Kachel Gymnasium. His fundraising efforts also increased the department’s operating funds and opportunities for women through additional staff positions. Plinske served a three-year term as Chair of the NCAA Gymnastics Committee and was Chairman of the Board of Directors for the United Way of Jefferson and North Walworth Counties during his UW-W career.
Dr. Richard P. Haven was a Professor of Communication at UW-Whitewater from 1972-2011, when he also held positions of Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Communication (2007-10), Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Communication (1998-2007), Chair of the Communication Department (1993-98), Assistant to the Chancellor (1991-93) and Chancellor’s Speechwriter (1991-2007). He has been a supporter of UW-Whitewater Intercollegiate Athletics for many years. He has served as the men’s and women’s basketball shot-clock operator since the late 1990s and the football play-clock operator since 2002. Dr. Haven also served as public address announcer in numerous sports, working in that capacity at the 2004 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship held at Kachel Fieldhouse and the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association Championships hosted by UW-Whitewater in 2007 and 2013. In 2014, Dr. Haven served as the color commentator on the WKCH radio broadcasts during the baseball team’s national championship run. He has also provided coaches with academic assistance in recruiting and provided academic advising for student-athletes in the College of Arts and Communication. In addition to these activities, in 2003, Dr. Haven negotiated the Charter Communication contract that enabled UWW-TV to broadcast athletic events live throughout Southeastern Wisconsin and parts of Northern Illinois. Dr. Haven served as the emcee of the Athletics Hall of Fame banquet for 14 years and hosted the radio program “Inside the University” during half-time of football and men’s and women’s basketball games for five years. He also hosted half-time radio interviews at five of the football team’s Stagg Bowl appearances. Finally, Dr. Haven has been a regular financial contributor to intercollegiate athletics through golf outings, annual team contributions and on-going donations to the overall intercollegiate athletic program.
The 1985 women’s golf team claimed the first women’s national championship in school history. UW-Whitewater, coached by Chris Voeller, won the Division III section of the National Golf Coaches Association Division II-III Championship in Tallahassee, Fla., on April 15-17, 1985. The top 10 Division II and III teams in the NCAA’s computer formula qualified for the tournament, sponsored by the National Golf Coaches Association. UW-W’s win at the NGCA capped a three-year streak of defeating every Division III team it faced. Beth St. Thomas, a junior, was the Division III medalist with rounds of 77-77-86. UW-W’s Mary Benkert, as the top rated Division III player in the NCAA’s formula, was named an alternate for the NCAA Championship, an open meet primarily featuring participants from Division I teams.