Six former student-athletes slated for induction into Hall of Fame
January 4, 2011
Lisle, Illinois ~ Benedictine University Athletics will induct six individuals into the Hall of Fame on Saturday, February 5 in the Dan and Ada Rice Center.
Jennifer (Olson) Wildes, who earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management and Organizational Behavior in 2002, enjoyed one of the most impressive two-sport careers in the history of Benedictine University athletics. When she graduated in 2002, she was the women's basketball team's all-time leading scorer and rebounder and a four-time all-conference selection.
In volleyball, Wildes was a four-time all-conference player and three-time conference "Player of the Year." Wildes was also named female "Student-athlete of the Year" and "Student of the Year" in the Management and Organizational Behavior program.
Michael Kowalewski, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 1997, is one of only six first-team All Americans in the history of the Benedictine University baseball program. He stands atop the Benedictine career record books in batting average, hits, doubles and runs batted in while ranking second in career home runs and runs scored.
Kowalewski also holds single-season records for hits and doubles and is second in single-season home runs and batting average.
Kathleen (Enochs) Keller, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education in 1996, is one of the most decorated student-athletes at Benedictine University and one of the most successful pitchers in the history of NCAA Division III softball, setting the Division III record for single-season winning percentage (.917) in 1993.
Keller was a four-time All American and was a first team selection in 1996. She won 80 games (86 percent of her decisions) including 41 by shutout, pitching 645 innings with 545 strikeouts and a career 0.73 earned run average.
Keith Bunkenburg, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education in 1989, was a four-year starter and three-time all-conference basketball player under Hall of Fame coach Tony LaScala. He played on four conference championship teams and is the school's ninth all-time leading scorer and is second in career assists.
As men's basketball coach, Bunkenburg won five conference tournament championships, strung together nine consecutive winning seasons (1996-2005) and is second all-time in career wins.
Kevin Downs, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1972, was a four-year starter and three-time team captain under Illinois Benedictine College Hall of Fame football coach Tom Beck, whose teams were some of the most successful in school history. Downs still owns the school career punt return mark at 18.5 yards per return.
As a junior and senior, Downs led Benedictine to 14 wins after the Eagles had won just three games the previous two seasons. Downs also served as an assistant coach for three seasons following his graduation.
No one has been nominated for the Benedictine University Athletic Hall of Fame in more sports than the late Stephen Napierala, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics in 1963.
Napierala pioneered the hockey club while at St. Procopius College and led his team in scoring in both his junior and senior seasons. He led the football team in rushing and scoring in 1962 and was named to the "Little All-American Team." In baseball, Napierala was named team MVP in 1961 after leading St. Procopius to the first conference title in school history.
Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 53 undergraduate majors, 13 graduate and four doctorate programs. Benedictine University is ranked as a Top School in the Midwest (11th in Illinois) for Master's Universities, 12th in the Midwest (and sixth in Illinois) for Racial Diversity, and eighth in Illinois for Freshmen Retention for 2011 by U.S. News & World Report.