Sept. 19, 2000
Bowling Green, Ky. - Eight former Western Kentucky University athletes have been elected as the 10th class for induction into the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame.
The 2000 class includes Joe Arnold (football), Jimmy Barber (football), Buddy Cate (basketball), Ralph Dudgeon (basketball and tennis), Mary Koeckert (Godlove) (riflery), Dan Powell (swimming), Bob Stoltman (track) and Mike Williams (baseball).
The selection of the 2000 class brings to 85 the number of former Western Kentucky athletes and coaches who have earned berths in the school's Athletic Hall of Fame since its founding in 1991.
The 2000 class will be inducted at the annual Hall of Fame Luncheon, set for 12 noon (CDT), Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Garrett Conference Center on the WKU campus. Hall of Fame Luncheon tickets are priced at $25 each (or, individuals may purchase an eight-seat table for $175). And, corporate tables will be available for $300 each. Tickets can be purchased at the WKU Ticket Office in E.A. Diddle Arena -- 270-745-5222 or 1-800-5-BIG-RED (VISA, Master Card and Discover welcome).
The inductees will also be honored in ceremonies during the annual Hall of Fame Football Game, set for a 5 p.m. kickoff that evening. Coach Jack Harbaugh's Hilltoppers host Ohio Valley Conference rival Eastern Kentucky that night at L.T. Smith Stadium / Jimmy Feix Field.
Now, more about the members of the 2000 WKU Athletic Hall of Fame class.
* Joe Arnold, a product of Avondale High School in suburban Atlanta, lettered four seasons (1985-88) for the Hilltoppers on the gridiron, developing into one of the great ball carriers in WKU history and earning All-America honors as a senior. At the time he completed his career on the Hill, Arnold held 10 school records -- seven for rushing, two for all-purpose running and one for career kickoff return yardage. He still holds a pair of Western standards, including rushing yards in a season (1,668, set as a senior in '88). Arnold, who played a key role in leading the Hilltoppers to berths in the national championship playoffs in 1987 and '88, remains one of only four Toppers on record to run for 3,000-plus career yards. And, he is one of only five Hilltoppers to lead WKU in rushing three seasons. Arnold is a school counselor living in Stone Mountain, Ga.
* Jimmy Barber, out of nearby Portland (Tenn.) High School, ranks among top linebackers ever to wear the red and white. A three-year letterwinner (1969-71), Barber earned both All-Ohio Valley Conference and All-America honors both his junior and senior seasons, helping those three Hilltopper teams to a 22-6-2 cumulative record (76.7%) and OVC championships in both '70 and '71. He was twice an Academic All-America pick and he earned similar honors for his efforts on the field as a senior. Here, nearly 30 years after completing his career on the Hill, Barber still ranks Western's all-time leaders in both total tackles (sixth with 342 stops) and unassisted tackles (seventh with 196). He led the Toppers in tackles both his sophomore and junior seasons and was second on the club in that department his senior year. Barber, a retired military veterinarian, lives in Panama City, Fla.
* Buddy Cate, a star forward on some of the great basketball teams in Western history, earned All-America honors as a senior in 1950. A product of Cleveland, Tenn., Cate lettered four years (1947-50) for great Hilltopper teams that ran up 103 wins against only 16 setbacks (an 86.7% success ratio) and went 50-10 (87.5%) during his very productive final two seasons on the Hill (1948-49 and '49-50). The teams he played on won two OVC titles, a pair of Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference crowns and a Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship, earning three invitations to the NIT along the way. An NBA draft pick, he coached basketball at Warren County (now Warren Central) High School in Bowling Green and later coached on the college level at Tennessee Wesleyan, where he was inducted into that school's Hall of Fame in 1988. A retired businessman, Cate lives in Bowling Green.
* Ralph Dudgeon, who came to the Hill from from Lebanon in Marion County, starred in both basketball and tennis at Western and was a stellar athlete on the first team in NCAA history to win 30 games -- the 1938 Hilltoppers, who went 30-3. The three teams he lettered on (1936, '37 and '38) won 77 of 86 games (a phenomenal 89.5%), won three KIAC championships and a pair of SIAA titles. For his efforts, Dudgeon was named both All-SIAA and All-KIAC both his junior and senior seasons (by the way, those two clubs were 51-5 -- 91.1%!!!). An outstanding tennis athlete as well, Dudgeon excelled on the courts with the Hilltoppers and then went on to enjoy a very successful tennis career in the Kentucky amateur ranks, winning state closed doubles titles in 1941, '51, along with Falls City singles titles in 1948 and '49 and Falls City doubles crowns in '49, '51-'55 ..... He was inducted into the Kentucky Tennis Hall of Fame in 1990. Dudgeon, who passed away a number of years ago, lived in Louisville.
* Mary Koeckert (Godlove) came to Western from Columbus, Ohio, in 1976 and developed into an All-America performer in the heyday of intercollegiate riflery competition at Western. In her four years with the Hilltoppers, she helped lead her teams to a 13-5 mark (72.2%) in dual meet competition and top-five finishes in 21 of 28 tournaments. She was ranked among the top 40 college shooters as a junior and earned All-America honors her senior season. Following graduation in 1980, she received a regular Army commission and took her competitive career to an even loftier level, earning five national championships and a gold medal in the Championship of the Americas. And, she has won eight medals -- three gold, three silver and two bronze -- in international competition. Godlove, a teacher, lives in Rincon, Ga.
* Dan Powell, the son of legendary Hilltopper Head Coach Bill Powell, ranks among the best on a long list of outstanding swimmers who have represented Western in the past three decades. A four-year letterwinner (1984-86 and '88 -- he missed the '87 season due to injury), Powell was ranked 23rd in the world in the 50 freestyle as a senior in 1988. A two-time NCAA Championships qualifer (1986 and '88 -- the only WKU swimming athlete ever to take part in that event twice), he earned Midwest Swimmer-of-the-Year, and team MVP honors, in '86 and '88 and was selected the Toppers' Most Valuable Swimmer both of those seasons. He served as a captain for both the 1987 and '88 teams. And, the four teams he lettered on went an exceptional 28-5 (84.8%), including a perfect 9-0 his senior year, in dual meet competition. Powell is a businessman in Bowling Green.
* Bob Stoltman, a product of Tonawanda, N.Y., made a name for himself in track at Western, winning national champion honors in the discus in the 1970 United States Track and Field Federation (USTFF) national meet. He still ranks as one of the Toppers' all-time greats in the field events. Stoltman won Ohio Valley Conference discus championships in 1967, '69 and '70, helping the Hilltoppers to conference championships each of those years. His '67 conference championship toss bettered the old OVC record by a remarkable 11 feet! And, his conference record-setting heave of 173-2 his senior season (1970) has been bettered in that meet just two times in 30 years! Stoltman, a teacher, now lives in Santa Monica, Calif.
* And, Mike Williams was a force to be reckoned with on Hilltopper baseball teams that dominated the OVC in the late 1970s and early '80s, lettering four times (1978-81) and earning All-OVC honors each of his last three seasons. He was a key factor in the Toppers' march to the NCAA South Region in 1980, earning All-Tournament honors on a Hilltopper club that narrowly missed a trip to the College World Series. An All-South selection as a senior, he helped pace his four WKU teams to a combined 145-72-3 (66.6%) record. As a junior, he posted Triple Crown numbers in the OVC, taking league honors in home runs (23), RBIs (79) and batting average (.420 -- a WKU school record he bettered with his .423 mark the following season). His 20-game hitting streak still ranks fourth among all Toppers. And, Williams still holds Western school records for career home runs (53) and RBIs (208). He is one of only two WKU baseball athletes to record .400 batting averages for two different seasons. Williams lives in Lakeland , Fla.