Athletics Alumni Award Winners Honored Friday
April 23, 2010
MILWAUKEE - The Marquette University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics held a ceremony Friday evening at the Al McGuire Center honoring the 2010 Athletics National Alumni Award recipients.
The second annual awards recipients are (Click names for biographical information):
Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award - Robert E. Harlan, Jour '58, Honorary Degree '97
Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award
Bob Harlan wanted be a sports writer but instead became the principal executive of one of the world's most famous professional franchises, the Green Bay Packers.
After serving as student sports editor for the Marquette Tribune and receiving his bachelor's degree in journalism from Marquette, Bob had a short tour of duty in the U.S. Army and reported for United Press International. He returned to Marquette in 1959 as the university's sports information director. Six years later, Bob became director of community relations and public relations for Major League Baseball's St. Louis Cardinals, sharing in the team's 1967 World Series Championship.
In 1971, Bob joined the Packers as assistant general manager and held eight different titles within the organization, including chairman and chief executive officer. During his tenure, the Packers won more games than any other NFL team, including Super Bowl XXXI against the New England Patriots, bringing the Vince Lombardi Trophy back to Wisconsin for the first time in 29 years. Bob is the team's chairman emeritus and was inducted into the Packers' Hall of Fame in 2004. His crowning achievement was the $295 million renovation of Lambeau Field, a chief component to assuring the team's financial survival for future generations.
Bob and his wife, Madeline, have always given back. They are honorary co-chairs for a youth drug and alcohol rehabilitation program in Green Bay and a cancer treatment center that soon will open.
"My parents were the most influential people in my life, especially as I was their only child," Bob says. "They held me to high standards, and, quite frankly, I was afraid to mess up."
Bob never did get to be a sports writer. "But you know," he says, "it was a heck of a lot more fun being on the inside than covering the teams from the press box."
Lifetime Achievement Award
Jim Smith has been head coach of men's basketball at Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minn., for 46 years, recently reaching the incredible milestone of 700 career wins. "It is a matter of longevity," he says.
"Playing at Marquette under Tex Winters in the mid-50s gave me a love of the game," says Jim, who was a four-year letter winner in men's basketball at Marquette. "Next, being an assistant coach was invaluable in learning how to coach young men."
Jim is the winningest collegiate basketball coach in Minnesota -- including 30 winning seasons at Saint John's -- and one of only two men in NCAA Division III history with 700 wins. He also is an associate professor of physical education and has coached golf, cross country and track at Saint John's. Last year, the university dedicated the Sexton Arena court the Jim and Adrienne Smith Court. Jim met Adrienne, Arts '56 and Grad '61, in an ethics class at Marquette.
"Marquette allowed me to experience excellence in my everyday life," says Jim, named coach of the year four times by the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. "Catholicism was never forced but was very apparent on campus. The whole Marquette experience helped me develop my leadership skills."
And, apparently, his sense of service. Jim was president of the NAIA Basketball Coaches Association in 1982 and '83; of the St. Cloud, Minn., PTA and Figure Skating Club; and a member of the St. Cloud Optimist Club and Chamber of Commerce. He also was inducted into the hall of fame for his high school alma mater, St. Edward's in Elgin, Ill., and the Elgin Sports Hall of Fame, and he received the 2009 Outstanding Service Award from the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
Jim says his mother was a great influence because of her patience and hard work. "To this day, I work hard, have a passion for what I am doing and enjoy each day," he says.
Friends of Marquette Athletics Award
In today's complicated world, it is refreshing to hear a formula for success as simple as Louie Maier's: "Set goals, and get after it."
After starting his first paper route at age 9 and selling life insurance and investments while a senior at Marquette, Louie built his family's pension administration firm, Emjay Corp., into a company so successful that in 1998 he sold it to Norwest Corp., now owned by Wells Fargo.
Marquette's mission of excellence, faith, leadership and service matched perfectly with his upbringing. "It's a way of life that fortunately started in childhood and was supported and nurtured during my years at Marquette," Louie says. "The university was a good match for me in that regard."
Also, apparently, for his entire family: His father, Louie A. Maier, Jr., is a graduate (Bus Ad '36), as are his sisters -- Mary Regina Maier Ryan, Arts '63; Nell H. Maier Wegmann, Arts '72; and Maggie M. Marquis, Nurs '70.
Louie and Jean met at Dominican High School in Whitefish Bay, Wis., and have been together since. She is the matriarch of their extended family and thrives on spending time with their grandchildren. They rarely miss men's basketball games.
"Marquette has always made us feel part of the family," he says. "We see so many friends at the basketball games and try and promote the success of the program every chance we get. We also enjoy co-hosting President Father Wild's party in northern Wisconsin each year."
Louie and Jean have been active contributors to the athletics department for the past 20 years, having generously given more than $1 million. Louie has been a men's basketball season ticket holder since 1974 and is a member of Marquette's 1881 Society, the Marquette Minutemen and Al's Sixth Man Club for contributions to the Al McGuire Center. He also was a fellow on the President's Council.
M Club Hy Popuch Memorial Service Award
Mark Madigan's generous contributions to Marquette athletics began when he was a member of the track and cross country teams from 1979-81. Almost 30 years later, he's still running hard.
"My volunteer work allows me to give back to Marquette for the many wonderful opportunities it has provided to me and my family," he says. "I find it extremely satisfying working with all of the staff and volunteers who have such a great passion for the university, its mission and students, and, in particular, its student-athletes."
Mark has served on the M Club's board of directors for the past 15 years, most recently as treasurer. He also worked on the Hank Raymonds Auction Committee, Blue & Gold Auction Committee, Blue & Gold Fund Advisory Board, Marquette Track Club, and Marquette University Alumni Association National Board of Directors for many years, including as president. He and his family have season tickets to men's and women's basketball games and regularly attend volleyball and soccer matches.
The university's mission of excellence, faith, leadership and service has guided his life. "I am not so sure I would have been as active as a volunteer, to the school or my parish (Christ King in Wauwatosa, Wis.), if I had not attended Marquette," he says.
Mark met his wife, Mary, Sp '82, at Marquette. Other family Marquette graduates include his brother, Eugene, Bus Ad '87; and sisters-in-law Kathy Madigan, Bus Ad '87, and Mary Madigan, Arts '92.
Mark tries to model his life after his paternal grandfather, "not only for what he accomplished professionally with just an eighth-grade education, but, more important, how he lived his life. He was very devoted to his faith, family and friends."
Young Alumna of the Year Award
Rhegan Hyypio has done more in her short career than many do in a lifetime. Since graduating, she has done missionary work; taught catechism, adult literacy, reading and creative writing to children on a small farm in Brazil; and worked with orphans and other disadvantaged youth in Bolivia. In America, she has volunteered at nursing homes and a homeless shelter, protested abortion, and promoted comprehensive immigration reform. This exhaustive desire to serve began while at Marquette, where she participated in service learning and was a student coordinator, worked at shelters for runaway teens and battered women, and helped at facilities for the elderly. She even drew upon her soccer skills and helped coach inner-city kids and worked with Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity.
Rhegan turned down a full scholarship elsewhere because: "Marquette was the right place for me. I sense a responsibility toward those around me and the community at large. I do this through prayer, contemplation and action. I do not do it perfectly, but I pursue excellence, and my faith underlies everything. It truly was the Marquette mission statement that drew me to the university."
Rhegan is among the best soccer players in Marquette history, holding numerous university and conference records and honors while leading a team that went 65-17-9 during her four years. She was a first-team All-American and won the McCahill Award for demonstrating "the highest performance in scholarship, leadership and athletics."
Rhegan is still connected to Marquette soccer and in touch with good friends, family and faculty. She recently returned from doing service work abroad and hopes to become even more involved. Driven by "my faith in God and His love, if I can help -- with or without words -- someone realize God's love for them more fully, that is the most fulfilling work for me."