Beloit College Magazine

Beloit College Magazine

Spring 2013 (March 14, 2013)

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March 14, 2013

Lacrosse stories

Last night I read the letter from Mike Smiles’82 about the lacrosse team we had back in 1982. I was the “designated driver” for the team, which was made up of people like Mike, who could really play, members of the football team, who mainly threatened anyone who came near the goal, and people like me, who really had no business on the field. Mike, who is one of the finest people I’ve ever met, once leveled a hit on a player that must have taken years off his life.

What Mike failed to mention is the keg of beer that the host team provided after the game. It was a prime motivator for many of us.

One other note on Mike: He received the first Warren Miller Blue Skies award, and no one deserved it more. In his memory, when I was Head of School at a private school in the Chicago suburbs, I started the same award for a deserving graduating eighth-grader. The students considered it the most coveted award of the year.

Thank you again for your wonderful magazine. It’s been 32 years since my wife and I met in our Chaucer class. Amy Kessel’82 is a writing professor at Loyola, and runs the writing centers at both campuses. I’m an adjunct professor at Argosy University, teaching in the graduate leadership program, and a grant researcher and writer.

Thomas A. Mikolyzk’82; Countryside, Ill.


Running distance

I enjoyed the article on Beloit’s distance runners in the fall issue of Beloit College Magazine. There is another story about Beloit distance runners that might interest readers. After graduating from Beloit in 1960, I was hired to teach social studies at Pecatonica High School in Illinois. The superintendent of that system was L.C. Gassman, father of Eileen Gassman’60, valedictorian of her Beloit class. Pecatonica had two coaches, also Beloiters, Dick McCauley’52 and Gene Weeden’53.

I learned from McCauley and Weeden that the athletic conference was adding cross country to their schedule that fall. Neither coach had any cross country experience, and they were looking for help. I had run cross country in high school and was a distance swimmer during my four years at Beloit, so I knew something about endurance training. It was determined that I would be the school’s first head cross country coach.

Here is another Beloit connection: One of the runners on that team was Dale Eckburg. Who’s he? The father of David Eckburg, Beloit’s head cross country coach! Dale ran for two seasons, and Pecatonica High School won the conference championship both years.

James P. Henderson’60; Valparaiso, Ind.


I enjoyed the long distance article in Beloit College Magazine. I’m sure you were not aware of probably the earliest long distance person from Beloit. Dave Peelle’59 was one of the greatest distance runners, if not the greatest to ever compete for Beloit College. His induction write up for the Hall of Honor details much of that history, but does not speak about his after-college involvement with long distant running in the ’60s and ’70s. He was secretary of Road Runners of America and competed in at least two 50-mile runs. He ran the Olde English Cross Country race at Beloit until he was in his 50s. I think he qualifies as the original long distance runner from
Beloit College.

Ron Orndorff’57; Mequon, Wis.

Dave Peelle’59 and Alf Harrer 

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