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Hall of Fame inducts seven members

The inductees (l-r) are Al Waschke with presenter John Elkin; Sue Brennan with presenter Betty Komula; Scott Cole with presenter Bob Krueger; Travis Gibson with presenter Joe Jamieson; Keith Gehring with presenter Stan Barr; Bob Olson with presenter Dick Forrest; and Dwayne Harer, presented by his sons, Justin and Joey. (Photo by Dave Newman)

Many smiles and stories were shared, and a few tears were shed, as seven new members were inducted into the New Richmond Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday.

With these inductees, there are now 30 members of the Hall of Fame. Saturday’s ceremony was held in the high school commons area. New Richmond Athletic Director Casey Eckardt served as emcee for the event and NRHS senior Noah Berger was the student speaker.

Five of the inductees are former athletes. They include 1975 graduate Dwayne Harer, 1982 graduate Keith Gehring, 1987 graduate Sue Brennan, and a pair of 1995 graduates, Scott Cole and Travis Gibson.

This year’s class also included two coaches. Bob Olson was the New Richmond wrestling coach from 1972 to 1992. Al Waschke coached basketball from 1982-2001.

Brennan became the third female Tiger athlete to be enshrined, joining Karen Musch-Kennedy and Holly Spoo. Brennan’s presenter was another Hall of Fame member, long-time coach Betty Komula. Brennan was a standout in volleyball, basketball and track and was a collegiate All-American volleyball player at Winona State University. 

Cole was presented by one of his long-time golf supporters, Bob Krueger. Cole gave an emotional speech, remembering two of the people most influential in his life who have passed away, his father and former New Richmond Golf Club professional Joe Swanda. Cole is a two-time WIAA state individual golf champion and is one of the most successful high school golfers in Wisconsin history.

Gehring was presented by his Tiger track coach, Stan Barr, who is also a Hall of Fame member. Gehring is one of the most successful Tiger track athletes ever. He was a key figure in the New Richmond track team that finished second at state in 1981 and won the state team championship in 1982.

Gibson was presented by his Tiger football coach, Joe Jamieson. Gibson still holds several New Richmond football records including rushing yards in a season and in a career. He also had a .410 career batting average with the Tiger baseball team.

Harer was presented by his sons, Jordan and Joey. Harer was New Richmond’s first multi-state champion, winning state wrestling titles in 1974 and 1975. Harer concluded his high school wrestling career with 52 straight wins. Harer got the rare opportunity to be inducted with his coach, as Olson was hired as the Tigers’ wrestling coach early in Harer’s high school career.

Olson and Harer shared compliments for each other during their speeches. Olson was presented by Dick Forrest, a long-time member of his coaching staff. Olson has generously donated his time to a number of causes through the years, led by the New Richmond community, the New Richmond wrestling program and the Wisconsin State Wrestling Association.

Waschke brought the event to a humor-filled finish. He was presented by his former assistant coach, John Elkin. Waschke is a master storyteller and he shared a few stories of his coaching career that was filled with 443 victories.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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