MRU Cougar Athletics unveils Wall of Fame
by Blaine Meller
In a year that sees Mount Royal celebrate its 100th anniversary, Cougar Athletics officially unveiled its contribution to the centennial celebrations. The Cougars Wall of Fame and its inaugural five inductees were showcased during a public ceremony Nov. 25. Approximately 100 members of the public, administrators and current coaches and players attended the ceremony.
The wall project had been in the works for over 15 months, said Karla Karch, the university’s manager of athletics.
“It’s extremely important that we continue to honour our storied history and pay tribute to those who have been part of creating the 100-year history of Cougar Athletics,” said Karch.
Inducted into the athlete category is Sharlene Marschall who played with the Cougars’ women’s volleyball team from 1996-98 and from 2000-01. Marschall is a three-time ACAC all-conference player, a three- time CCAA All-Canadian and CCAA player of the year in 1997-98. She was also voted Mount Royal’s athlete of the year in 2001.
“I’m in shock. I feel very honoured because I don’t see myself as being really deserving,” said Marschall.
“If anything, I thought I might get recognized for the largest ever bar tab,” she said, laughing.
In 2000-01, her final season at Mount Royal, Marschall lead the ACAC with an average of 4.14 kills per game, was fourth in aces and seventh in blocks. Those numbers helped her capture ACAC player of the year. Marschall recalled her time at Mount Royal with pride, but she also remembers it being a struggle. “I remember being a student first and athlete second. I was paying my own tuition, so I was working three to four days a week on top of everything,” she said.
Marschall also spoke fondly of her time playing for and with current women’s volleyball coach Sandra Lamb, calling her the most competitive person she’s ever known. Marschall now works as a phys-ed teacher with the Calgary Board of Education.
Gary Koroluk, inducted in the coach’s category, has taught at Mount Royal since 1971 and has coached both the women’s and men’s volleyball teams. Overall, he compiled a record of 529-52 and led his teams to four ACAC gold, three silver and three bronze medals. He was also the Alberta Volleyball representative to the Canadian Volleyball Association during the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.
Koroluk currently teaches in the department of physical education and recreation studies.
“It’s nice to be recognized, especially when it’s unsolicited,” said Koroluk. “I think it was about time for (the wall of fame) to happen and for some good people to be recognized.” One of the biggest misconceptions people have regarding student athletes is the amount of time and commitment they need.
Koroluk cited the example of a typical weekend road trip, where the team may leave at noon on a Friday and not return until late Sunday afternoon or evening, all while trying to study and do homework. He said while athletes today are bigger, stronger and faster, their general psyche has not changed. “People are constant throughout life. It doesn’t matter their time, situation, status or ability. Athletes are athletes,” said Koroluk.
Jack Kenyon coached the men’s basketball team from 1964-82, leading his players to a 198-26 record and winning seven ACAC Championships. He was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 1990, and posthumously into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003. Kenyon also coached the national men’s junior team from 1975-80, and the Alberta provincial team in 1984-85.
“I wish Jack had been here for this,” said his widow, Joey. “He would have been really touched.”
Of his many legacies at Mount Royal, Kenyon Court, home of the men’s and women’s volleyball and basketball squads, might be the most visible. But Joey said the relationships Jack built with his players and colleagues might be even more special.
“Jack really influenced people. I still keep in contact with players he had back in the 1960’s and ’70s,” said Joey. “He was a very confident coach, and was confident in whatever he did.”
Al Bohonus, inducted in the builders’ category, began his career at Mount Royal in 1975 as campus recreation coordinator. He served as athletic director from 1978-95, during which time the Cougars claimed 41 provincial and seven national titles. Bohonus co- founded the Cougar Booster Club and was highly involved in raising funds for the athletic department.
Bohonus also has a series of awards named after him. The Al Bohonus Recognition Awards, originally established in 1989-90 and are presented to outgoing ACAC executive committee members, sport convenors and other individuals “who make a significant voluntary contribution to the ACAC.”
There is also the Al Bohonus Memorial Scholarship, awarded annually to one male and one female full-time student-athlete enrolled in the second year of any program and playing on one of the Cougars varsity teams. The award is based on academic proficiency, demonstrated leadership, extracurricular activities and community involvement.
Labour of love
Dr. Don Stouffer, also inducted in the builders’ category, was the university’s head golf coach from 1966- 99 and coached hockey from 1967-70 and 1971-72. He was one of the driving forces between the Cougars’ current scholarship program and was part of a group of administrators that founded the CCAA in 1974.
“I am very honoured by this, very humbled,” said Dr. Stouffer. “I had a blast every day I came to work. I enjoyed getting up every morning to come and do what I loved.” Part of that love came from working with fellow inductees Kenyon and Bohonus, both of whom Dr. Stouffer has a tremendous respect and appreciation for.
“The first thing I think of when it came to Jack was class. Everything he did was first class. The same thing I can say for Al. What a humbling experience to be mentioned in the same class as them,” he said. Dr. Stouffer recalls coaching hockey in a time where he wore many hats: coach, trainer, general manager and equipment manager. One game in particular, nobody on the team could find their uniforms.
“They were still at the cleaners. We were looking everywhere and just could not find them. If you can believe it, the cleaners actually came and delivered them to us,” he said. Dr. Stouffer hopes his legacy to the athletic department includes leaving it in better shape than when he first arrived. “It was a labour of love,” he said.