Peru State College to Honor 2009 Athletic
Hall of Fame Inductees Sept. 18-19
(Peru, Neb.) Peru State College (PSC) President Dr. Dan Hanson today announced that athletic standouts Bert E. Swenson, Kevin “Bud” Frohling and Orivell “Ab” Yocum will be officially inducted into the college’s Athletic Hall of Fame Sept. 18-19.
The honorees will also be recognized at halftime of the football game versus Sterling College on Saturday, Sept. 19. The game begins at 1 p.m. in the Oak Bowl.
Hanson said, “We are thrilled to be able to honor Peru State College’s outstanding student athletes in this way. Each of these individuals has made a significant and lasting impact on our athletic programs that will not soon be forgotten. Their talent and determination have greatly contributed to the college’s long and proud tradition of athletic excellence. We look forward to honoring more Peru State athletic standouts in the future.”
A banquet honoring the inductees will begin at 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 18, in the PSC Student Center. Reservations for the banquet must be made in advance. Contact the PSC Foundation Office at 402-872-2304 or e-mail Sandy Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following are brief biographies of the inductees.
Bert E. Swenson
When Bert E. Swenson graduated in 1909, the Peru Normal School yearbook called him “the best all-around man that the (college) has ever put out.” A native of Shickley, Swenson excelled in football, basketball and baseball in an era when opponents ranged from area high schools to the University of Nebraska.
Swenson began his professional career teaching science and math and coaching four sports at Holdrege High School. He went on to serve as an instructor, athletic director and coach (football and basketball) at Wisconsin State Teachers College in River Falls.
In 1918, Swenson moved to Stockton, Calif., where he became the city’s director of recreation – a position he held for 36 years. He earned a Master’s degree at what is now the University of Pacific in 1950. The City of Stockton dedicated 200 acres for the Swenson Park and Golf Course in 1951, which was followed by lifetime memberships in the California Recreation Society and the California Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation. Swenson was inducted into the Stockton Athletic Hall of Fame in 1965, two years following his death. He was also inducted into the University of Wisconsin – River Falls Athletic Hall of Fame in 1977.
Swenson and his wife, Stella, dedicated their lives to developing recreation opportunities for young people. The couple established the Swenson Medal in 1925 in memory of an infant son who died. The award recognizes one exemplary male and female student athlete each year for their participation in athletics, outstanding character, personality, and service and loyalty to the college. Athletes who exemplify the standards established for the honor are nominated by PSC coaches and selected by a ballot vote. Winners are presented with a watch and commemorative medal during halftime of a football game.
Kevin “Bud” Frohling
Kevin “Bud” Frohling is remembered as the first and only national champion wrestler in Peru State College history. A native of Guthrie Center, Iowa, Frohling was a standout in wrestling at a time when Peru State was a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) powerhouse.
In 1974-75, Frohling won the 150-pound NAIA National Championship. He led Peru State to a 15th place team finish in the annual national championship tournament at Sioux City, Iowa. He also led the squad with 18 pins that year and finished with a record of 37-2-1. Though injury shortened his 1975-76 season, two-time conference champ Frohling still managed to earn a record of 11-2-0.
Frohling currently resides with his wife, JoAnn, in Palmer, Alaska, where he farms.
Orivell “Ab” Yocum
Orivell “Ab” Yocum came to Peru State College in 1941 from Humboldt, Neb., putting his education on temporary hold when he left in 1943 to serve in the Navy during World War II. He returned to PSC to finish his degree in1948.
Yocum was a gifted athlete, earning all-conference honors in football, basketball and track in an era when Peru was a perennial power in each sport. In his senior year, Yocum threw the discus 152 feet, 6.5 inches to set at Peru State record that lasted more than 50 years. That year he also won the prestigious Drake Relays Discus Championship.
Yocum won the prestigious Jack Dempsey Adam Hat Sport Trophy his senior year, an award established by the former heavyweight champion as part of a national campaign to encourage youth sports participation. Yocum was also voted Peru’s best all-around student athlete by the PSC student body for his sportsmanship, team spirit, cooperation and athletic ability.
Yocum went on to coach football at East Alton Wood River Community High School in Wood River, Ill. During his tenure there, he coached his team to an undefeated season - a record that stood for 52 years. Yocum passed away in 1979.