Memories from the 1940s from Carroll J. Olm '46

Here are a few random thoughts embraced in the history of the 1940s:

In the 1940s, the college only sponsored teams in men's intercollegiate conference football, basketball and track. There were no women's athletic activities. During the World War II years, male enrollment was so low that football was suspended.

The track athletes used a chalk-marked quarter mile on the sod around the football field. There were high jump and broad jump pits, but no pole vault pit. The budget was so meager that, to enable pole vaulting, students built a pole vault runway and sand pit themselves. Pole vaulting had to be discontinued when the only bamboo pole the college owned broke into two pieces.

Students who wanted to play tennis constructed the first tennis court on campus. The college tennis players (unorganized) did travel to the Milwaukee Extension (now the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) for a one-time, one day tournament.

A “pick-up" golf team participated in a one-time, one day tournament at Port Washington Country Club. Likewise, a “pick-up" volleyball team played in a one-time, one day tournament. These activities were initiated and implemented by Coach Marinus Kregel after he returned from military duties. Though meager, this broadening of the athletic program, while not on a conference level, was the impetus for later expanded athletic programming.

When Marinus Kregel was on leave of absence to serve in the U.S. Military, Seminarian Ruben Grosshuesch '43 served as the basketball coach. He coached the 1944-45 and 1945-46 teams. In the 1944-45 season, in a home game against Elmhurst College, Illinois, forward Linus Wierwill '46 scored 46 points with many assists from Cal Grosshuesch '48. The entire Elmhurst team scored 48 points. That was the last year Linus played due to an ankle injury.

In 1945-46, Mission House won its first conference basketball championship. It is fair to say that the 1945-46 team was Coach Ruben's team. He set the offensive and defensive strategies and molded the team into a cohesive unit. Coach Kregel returned to campus second semester and the two shared coaching responsibilities. Dr. Carroll Rusch '35 was the athletic director.

The first basketball conference championship team in the history of the College had the following roster: Howard Beer '46, Nelson Hauptman, Henry Heinbuch '46, Eugene Jaberg '48 and Carroll Olm '46 were the starting five. The other team members were Al Barz '50, Art Dufner, '49, Quentin Moeschberger '46, Carl Mohr '49, Harold Nagel '48, Neil Park '49, Val Schultz '47, Carl Serr '49, George Thilking '47 and Delbert Kauffman '46, Manager.

Center Howard Beer '46 was team captain and voted MVP. That year, Carroll Olm '46 scored an average of 26 points per game. The players' spirit and cooperation were tremendous. Laden with good players, not stars, they were willing to play both defense and offense and do the right things on and off the floor. Their strength was in unity.

Let it be known that the 1940s MH/Lakeland team played many quality teams. Included among them were Lawrence College (now University), Northwestern College (WI), Milton College, Platteville (now UW-Platteville), Milwaukee Extension and Milwaukee State Teachers College (now UW-Milwaukee) and Concordia (WI).

In the 1940s, our team occasionally scored over 100 points per game. The first time it happened, the first in school history, the roof of Founder's Gym nearly blew off with the shouting from the fans. That kind of scoring was unique in those years.

At a 50th-year reunion in campus in 1995, the players looked back saying, “That was awesome," "a highlight of life," "there was a closeness, a bond‚ pride to be a Muskie."

That first basketball championship set a standard which established the tradition of outstanding basketball programming at Mission House/Lakeland.

Rev. Dr. Carroll Olm '46 '86


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