Former University of Wisconsin-Platteville men’s basketball standouts Merrill Brunson (1997-2000, Richland Center, Wis.), Ben Hoffmann ((1995-98, Hartford, Wis./Union HS) and head coach Bo Ryan (1985-1999) were named to the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Men’s Basketball All-Time Team in conjunction with the conference’s upcoming Centennial Celebration on Wednesday.
Brunson and Hoffmann each earned a multitude of honors at UW-Platteville. Brunson was the 1999 NABC Player of the Year, 1999 First Team All-American and MVP of the 1999 Final Four. Hoffmann was a 1998 First Team All-American and 1997 Second Team All-American for UW-Platteville
Ryan guided the Pioneers to eight conference titles and nine straight NCAA III playoff appearances. UW-Platteville won national titles in 1991, 1995, 1998 and 1999. His 1992 squad also advanced to the Final Four, where it placed third. As the Pioneers’ head coach, he posted a 353-76 all-time mark and an 82.2% winning percentage.
WIAC Commissioner Gary Karner remarked that this has been an extremely difficult process given the 100-year span and incomparable success the conference has experienced in most of its sports. Karner noted that in some sports, even achieving All-American status didn’t necessarily guarantee an athlete a spot on the team. He also acknowledged that while disagreement is inherent and expected whenever there is a selection of an all-time anything (be it a team, restaurant or movie), the conference nonetheless felt it important to recognize student-athletes and coaches who have contributed to the success of the most accomplished Division III conference in NCAA history.
The student-athlete representation on each team has relied heavily on input provided by the sports information director from each of the nine WIAC campuses, while the process for selecting the head coach(es) for each team also includes input from a panel of media representatives. The number of individuals selected per team varies depending upon the nature of the sport itself as well as the number of years the sport has/had been sponsored within the conference.
The conference has also elected to establish a special “legacy” category to recognize those student-athletes and coaches who had extremely accomplished careers but competed during an era(s) when the compilation of statistical data was spotty at best and/or the style of play at that time does not translate for comparative purposes to the stats prevalent in the modern era. The WIAC “Legacy Team” will also be named at a later date.
All-Time Team members will receive certificates from the conference and it is hoped that most, if not all, of the recipients will be in attendance or represented at the WIAC Centennial Banquet to be held at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison on August 4, 2012.
More information on the activities and events associated with the WIAC Centennial can be accessed via the WIAC website at www.wiacsports.com.
WIAC All-Time Men’s Basketball Team
Bo Ryan, Platteville, 1985-99
Ken Anderson, Eau Claire, 1969-95
Merrill Brunson, Platteville, 1997-00
Tony Carr, Eau Claire, 1978-82
Tim Dworak, Oskosh, 2000-03
Ty Evans, Whitewater, 1993-94
Gib Hinz, Eau Claire, 1977-80
Ben Hoffman, Platteville, 1995-98
Jason Kalsow, Stevens Point, 2002-05
Roger Kuss, River Falls, 1951-53
Aubrey Lewis-Byers, Whitewater, 2000-03
Rich Melzer, River Falls, 2001-04
Tim Naegeli, Stevens Point, 1984-87
Terry Porter, Stevens Point, 1982-85
Mike Ratliff, Eau Claire, 1969-72
Frank Schade, Eau Claire, 1970-72
Ralph Sims, Oshkosh, 1975-78
Chester Smith, Eau Claire, 1984-85
Joe Werner, La Crosse, 2004-07