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PSC 2020 Athletic Hall of Fame members announced

Staff Writer
Syracuse Journal-Democrat

The Peru State Athletic Hall of Fame selection committee has announced its 2020 Hall of Fame class which includes four individuals and one team. This will be the 29th group to be inducted into the College's select group since its start in 1986.

On behalf of the committee, Peru State PresidentDr. Dan Hansonand Foundation Executive Director SaraBeth Donovan have announced that Dr. Ken Rhodus (Lincoln), Jeff Smith (Lincoln), Frank Spizuoco (Ashburn, Va.), Ivan Wineglass (Bellevue), and the 1993 Bobcat volleyball team are being inducted.  

All activities are being planned with thoughts being given to the current COVID-19 restrictions in the state of Nebraska. If state guidance allows, a reception, followed by a banquet, will begin at 5:30 p.m., on Friday, Sept 18, in the Student Center. Reservations for this event must be made in advance. More information will be provided by the Foundation at a later date. 

There is also a planned recognition for the honorees at halftime of the football game versus MidAmerica Nazarene on Saturday, Sept. 19. The game will begin at 6 p.m. and will be held in the historic Oak Bowl.

Hanson said, "We are thrilled to be able to honor Peru State College's outstanding student-athletes and administrators in this way. Each of these individuals has made a significant and lasting impact on our athletic programs that will not be forgotten. Their talent and determination have greatly contributed to the College's long and proud tradition of athletic excellence. We look forward to honoring more Peru State athletic standouts in the future."

The following is a brief biography of each honoree:

Dr. Ken Rhodus – 1962 – Meritorious Service

Dr. Ken Rhodus is inducted to the Peru State Hall of Fame not just based on his athletic abilities displayed while at Peru State, but primarily for his contributions to athletics after his graduation from the College.

While a Bobcat, Rhodus lettered in football, basketball, and track. After graduating from Peru State, Rhodus taught and coached in Nebraska High Schools for many years. In the 1970s while serving as the Dean of Students at Hastings College, Rhodus was asked to establish the Broncos' women's basketball program. Rhodus reluctantly accepted and the rest is history. He coached the Hastings team for 24 years and amassed over 400 wins, multiple conference titles, and three trips to the NAIA National Tournament.

Jeff Smith – 1983 – Meritorious Service and Student-Athlete

Jeff Smith is being inducted in the Peru State Hall of Fame for both meritorious service and as a student-athlete.

Smith was a two-sport athlete for the Bobcats as he played both basketball and baseball. His most success came on the hard court. The successful guard was quick to dish out the dimes to his teammates as he finished his career with the most assists in a single season and in a career. His career assists total still is fifth all-time.

Similar to Rhodus, Smith's induction was heavily weighted due to his outstanding meritorious service in education and coaching since leaving Peru State. Smith has had successful coaching efforts which included high school stops at Pawnee City and Lincoln Southeast where he is still teaching and coaching. In addition, he has coached collegiately at Peru State, Nebraska, and Eastern Washington. He is the all-time winningest coach at Lincoln Southeast.

Frank Spizuoco – 1965 – Student-Athlete

Frank Spizuoco is being inducted into the Peru State Hall of Fame as a student-athlete.

An outstanding right-hander, Spizuoco was considered as one of the best pitchers in the early days of Bobcat baseball having played from 1961-65. His time on the mound included a no-hitter against Hastings in 1965.

When Spizuoco was first nominated in 2001, he was listed in the top ten of eight career- or single-season categories at Peru State. Five of those marks are still in the top ten with the other three still in the top twenty in the Bobcat baseball record book. His best mark is his 1.35 earned run average which is still second among the best baseball records.

Ivan Wineglass – 1994 – Student-Athlete

Ivan Wineglass is being inducted into the Peru State Hall of Fame due to his prowess on the basketball court.

Wineglass was only on the Peru State campus for a short time, but his impact as a part of the 1992-93 men's basketball team left its mark. While playing for the Bobcats during that season, Wineglass became just the second Peru State men's basketball player to be named as a First Team All-American. He led the NAIA in scoring at 19.8 points per game. He was nearly unstoppable in the paint as he hit another national leading .696 field goal percentage which is still a Bobcat record.

Since leaving the College, Wineglass has stayed very connected with Peru State and has been active with the Foundation's National Alumni Association.

1993 Women's Volleyball Team

The 1993 Peru State volleyball team was the first-ever volleyball squad to qualify for a national tournament. The team finished the regular season with a 42-14 mark after winning the NAIA District 11 Tournament and then topping Carroll (Mont.) in the NAIA Bi-District 11/12 Playoffs to earn the national tournament berth.

The team, coached by Jim Callender, went 2-2 in the national tournament held in San Diego, Calif.

Athletic Hall of Fame – 29th Year

When the Al Wheeler Activity Center was dedicated in 1986, the Peru State College Athletic Hall of Fame was established. The purpose of the Hall of Fame is to recognize, honor and preserve the memory of those individuals and teams whose contributions have greatly enhanced Nebraska's first college.

The Hall of Fame gallery resides in the lobby of the Wheeler Center, named after the first inductee into the Hall of Fame, Alfred G. Wheeler. A candidate can be nominated in one of four categories:  coach, player, team, or meritorious service.

A committee of alumni make the selections annually each spring.

Nominations are welcomed and can be submitted to PSC Athletic Hall of Fame, c/o Foundation Office, Peru State College, P.O. Box 10, Peru, NE 68421. For additional information, call (402) 872-2304.