Athletic Hall of Fame
Athletic Hall of Fame inductees were honored at the WSC Homecoming and Hall of Fame banquet Oct. 11. They include Emeritus President Dr. Donald Mash; former coach Al Svenningson; and athletes James McGown '98; Eric Henderson '00; and Sarah Herrick Wagenfuhr '02.
Gene Willmott received the alumni service award during the WSC Homecoming and Hall of Fame banquet Oct. 11. The award recognizes alumni who have enhanced the college through dedicated service, promotion and financial support. Willmott graduated from Wayne State College in 1950 with a bachelor of arts degree in education majoring in sociology and economics.
While at Wayne State, he was a member of the track team and Sigma Tau Delta. He also played baseball for the Wayne town team. After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army, Willmott was a salesman for Palmer Food Company in Sioux City and then became the manager for Larsen Kuhn Clothing Store in Columbus.
Willmott returned to Wayne State College and received his master's degree in administration K-12 in 1961. He spent 33 years in education teaching a variety of subjects before retiring in 1990. He and his late wife, Joan, have been involved with and supportive of Wayne State College in a variety of ways, including scholarship support. Willmott lives in Dakota Dunes, S.D.
Al Svenningson (Coach): Al Svenningson has the most wins of any men’s basketball coach in Wayne State College history, compiling a 121-73 record in his eight seasons as head coach of the Wildcats from 1959 to 1967. He never had a losing season as head coach, posting a top record of 19-7 during the 1959-60 season and finishing 18-8 in 1961-62. His eight years as head coach matches Rico Burkett and Charles Obye as the longest tenured coaches in school history. Svenningson coached 18 years at Alaska-Fairbanks and has more than 30 years of coaching experience. He is a native of Winona, Minn., where he starred in football and basketball at Winona High School and then Winona State.