Ellsworth Community College Athletics held its annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Friday, Oct. 9, in the Dale Howard Family Activity Center. This marks the 20th year for the Hall of Fame and also the 125th anniversary for Ellsworth Community College.
The evening began with a social time and meal. The opening speech was given by Dr. Martin Reimer, ECC Provost, followed by a welcome from ECC Athletic Director Nate Forsyth. The six inductees were presented by Scott Kauzlarich, a member of the Ellsworth faculty.
This year's inductees into the ECC Hall of Fame included:
• Gary Rabe – Athletic Booster, Contributor. Gary has been a member of the E-Club for the last 20 years and is the current E-Club president. Gary is instrumental in raising money for the E-Club with his work with the Wild Game Feed, 4th of July Golf Tournament and also the gym banners. Money that the E-Club raises goes toward scholarships for athletics. He donates a lot of time planning, implementing and running events for the E-Club. He has also been a generous donor through out his years with Ellsworth Community College and is a lifelong supporter of Ellsworth Athletics. He is originally from Iowa Falls.
• Lisa Huinker Rude – Softball. Lisa attended high school in Decorah, IA. She was a two-time All Region honoree at ECC in 2004 and 2005. She then transferred to Luther College, where she was All-Conference two years and All-American one year. She also broke the Luther home run record.
• Dennis Saltzman – Baseball, Football. Dennis attended Ellsworth in 1964-1965 and played baseball and football; he was a member of the Ellsworth baseball team that played in the JUCO World Series. He went on to enjoy a long career in the insurance field as a Safety Engineer and an equally long career as a high school official, refereeing football, basketball, baseball and softball. His favorite Ellsworth professors were Bill Schmidt, Chuck Hinson and Marty Dittmer. Today Dennis enjoys playing golf, has run in the Pike's Peak Marathon, and along with his wife of 48 years, Claudia, has three children: Dee, Kelly and Ryan.
• Jerry Senters – Football Coach. Jerry came to Ellsworth in 1983 as Director of Housing and Assistant Football Coach. He served eight years as the defensive coordinator during an era of very successful teams. He continued as Director of Housing until his passing on Sept. 7, 1998. Jerry was born in Pikeville, KY. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa and his master's from Northeast Missouri State University, now Truman State University. Prior to coming to Ellsworth, he taught and coached in the WACO and North Linn School Districts and at Coe College. Jerry often displayed a rather serious appearance when fulfilling his responsibilities as Director of Housing and Assistant Coach. Behind the scenes, however, he spent many hours quietly helping people through exercise to overcome or enhance their physical attributes. Jerry was a very intense, focused person who cared deeply about people, and he is sorely missed. In his memory, the Ellsworth College Board of Trustees initiated an endowed scholarship. Jerry's widow, Karen, accepted the award on his behalf.
• Dr. Bryan Thomsen – Football. Bryan received a football scholarship to play from 1988-1990 for the ECC Panthers. He was named an NJCAA First Team All-American in 1990 and J.C. Gridwire First Team All-American in 1990. He received a full intercollegiate football scholarship to continue his education and athletic career at the University of South Carolina from 1990-1993. Bryan went on to become a two-year football letter winner during his time at USC.
• Andre Tippett – Football. Andre was born Dec. 27, 1959, in Birmingham, AL. He was a 6'3", 240 pound linebacker for Ellsworth in 1978. Andre was drafted into the NFL in the second round in 1982 by the New England Patriots and played for them until 1993. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008. He established a team record of 18.5 sacks in 1984. He led the AFC with 16.5 sacks and was named AFC Defensive Player of the Year during the 1985 Patriots Super Bowl season. Andre recorded 12.5 sacks in 1987 to lead the AFC. At the time of his retirement he held the team recorded for career sacks, sacks in a season, and opponent fumbles recovered. He participated in five straight pro bowls and was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1980's.
In addition to the ceremony held on Oct. 9, the 2015 Hall of Fame inductees were also recognized on Oct. 10 during halftime at the ECC homecoming football game against Fort Scott Community College.
Pictured from left to right: Gary Rabe, Dr. Bryan Thomsen, Karen Senters, Lisa Huinker Rude and Dennis Saltzman.