On Saturday, April 21, five Saint Joseph's College alumni were inducted into the SJC Sports Hall of Fame. The inductees include Nancy Scott Valenkamph '81, John Geske '81, Walter Prochno '76, Roy Kuennen, Ph.D. '77, and Rick O'Dette '99.
While at SJC, Nancy Scott Valenkamph played basketball and volleyball. As a member of the volleyball team, Valenkamph was voted the team's MVP all four years she played and served as the team's captain in 1980. That year, the team was ranked in the top ten in the country. In Valenkamph's four years playing volleyball, the team had a record of 126-39.
In his two seasons with the team, John Geske caught 66 passes and recorded seven touchdowns. He averaged 12.6 yards per catch and compiled a total of 830 receiving yards. He is 16th all-time in career touchdown receptions. His six touchdowns in 1980 were the second highest single season total in the College's history at the time. Geske was named first team All-Conference in 1979. Geske graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Following graduation, Geske was signed as a free agent by the Chicago Bears.
A three-year starter as a linebacker and defensive lineman for the Pumas, Walter Prochno was named the team MVP in 1975 and First Team All-Indiana Collegiate Conference as a nose guard. That same year, he was nominated for the Indiana Collegiate Conference's Tony Hinkle Award, given to an outstanding student-athlete.
Prochno finished his SJC career with 269 tackles in only 29 games. He was also named the wrestling team's outstanding freshman in 1972-1973 and the team captain for the 1975-1976 season. Since graduating, Prochno has divided his time among work, coaching, and running. He was the first of only four Hoosiers to ever finish the Leadville Trail 100 Run, a 100-mile race through the Rocky Mountains. He has completed 41 marathons, 14 50-mile races, and was a qualifier and finisher in the Boston Marathon.
Roy Kuennen left SJC with the second most interceptions in school history with 10. His six interceptions in 1976 were the fourth best single season total in SJC history. He stands seventh all-time in SJC history with 874 kick return yards and graduated with the most kick return yards in school history. The record stood for 11 years.
Rick O'Dette was a pitcher for the SJC baseball team 1995-1997. He finished his career with a record of 15-3 and was named to the All-Region team in 1996 and the All-GLVC team in 1997. He helped the 1996 squad to a national runner-up finish at the Division II World Series in Montgomery, Ala. Following his junior season, O'Dette was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 15th round of the 1997 amateur draft. He played at four different levels within the Red Sox organization.
Taking over as SJC's head baseball coach in 2000, O'Dette has led his alma mater to two of the top three single season win totals in program history with 42 in 2005 and 46 in 2008. He collected his 300th career head coaching victory on April 2, 2010 with a come-from-behind 13-10 victory over Kentucky Wesleyan College.
In 2008, O'Dette led SJC to a final record of 46-18. The Pumas earned the right to host the North Central Regional at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood, Ill. The 46 wins rank second in school history behind the 1996 national runner-up team that won 52 games and for whom O'Dette played. SJC reached as high as eighth in the national rankings in 2008 and finished the season ranked 22nd. O'Dette is the winningest coach in SJC baseball history.
For more information about the SJC Sports Hall of Fame, contact Sports Information Director Ken Badylak '05 at 219.866.6141 or Director of Alumni Parent Relations Kendra Illingworth at 219.866.6428. Saint Joseph's College, named a "character-building college" by the Templeton Foundation and a "best Midwestern college" by the Princeton Review, is a four-year, Catholic college offering 27 majors, 4 group majors, 34 minors, and 9 pre-professional programs, complemented by the nationally acclaimed Core Program. Founded and sponsored by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, SJC is located in Rensselaer, Indiana, approximately 90 minutes from both Chicago and Indianapolis, on a park-like campus of 180 acres and has an enrollment of 1,100 students.
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