(RMC Athletics release)
BILLINGS – Rocky Mountain College Director of Athletics Bruce Parker has announced that Rocky graduates Gary Black, Mike Curry, Steve Keller, Dick Norden, Myron Vogele and Ann Wille, as well as the 1959 football and 2000 volleyball teams will be inducted into the 2017 Rocky Mountain College Clara Klindt Athletic Hall of Fame.
“This group typifies the great history of Rocky Mountain College athletics,” Parker said. “We are so proud they will receive our highest athletic honor.”
Gary Black, a native of Kansas City, Mo.(Lincoln High School), is a 1973 graduate of Rocky, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology/anthropology, along with a minor in physical education.
Black was a three-sport letterman for the Battlin’ Bears as he participated in basketball, football and baseball. He excelled on the hardwood for basketball coach Jack Eklund, and received All-Frontier Conference honors during the 1971-72 and 1972-73 seasons. As a senior he was named NAIA All-District 5, which earned him a position on a team coached by former Eastern Montana College coach Mike Harkins that toured England playing games.
After a year of playing professional basketball for the A.T.S. Giants in Manchester, England, Black returned to the states and began a successful teaching and coaching career that spanned 14 years.
He now resides in San Diego, Calif., where he operates his Partners in Progress promotion business. In 1999 he earned a Master’s degree in Education Administration, and is currently working toward a doctorate in Leadership Management.
Mike Curry, who prepped at Davis Senior High School, Davis, Calif., transferred to Rocky from Sacramento City College. He graduated from Rocky in 1979, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education and a minor in history.
Curry earned two letters in basketball for the Battlin’ Bears, while playing for legendary coach Toby Kangas. He also participated in track and field.
From 1983-2013, Curry served as the head boys’ basketball coach at Campbell County High School, Gillette, Wyo., compiling a 605-123 record. His Camels won 12 Wyoming 4A state titles, placing second four times, and captured 22 conference titles as well as 19 regional championships. He was named 4A Coach of the Year 12 times, and in 2011 was named the National Boys’ Basketball Coach of the Year.
Curry assisted with the Camels’ girls’ volleyball program at Gillette for 14 years, helping lead them to five state titles.
Curry was inducted into the Wyoming Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2014. He continues to live in Gillette, teaching driver’s education, and will serve as the assistant boys’ basketball coach at Thunder Basin High School, Gillette’s new high school.
Steve Keller is a 1978 graduate of Rocky, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in history. He is a Custer (Mont.) High School product and currently lives in Dillon, Mont.
Keller played baseball for the Battlin’ Bears from 1975-78, under longtime Rocky professor and coach, C.R. Stiffler.
Keller is a 38-year Montana coaching veteran – 33 as a head coach. He began his career at Opheim High School, where he led the Vikings to three-straight Class C girls’ basketball state championships (1982-84).
In 1985, Keller took over the Helena High School girls’ basketball program, and led the Bengals to three Class AA state titles in 1990, 1991 and 1997. As the boys’ assistant basketball coach, the Bengals claimed the 1991 state championship.
Keller racked up an impressive 610-180 record as a Montana high school head coach.
In 2004, Keller moved on to the college ranks, serving as Gary Turcott’s men’s basketball assistant coach at Carroll College until 2007. He was then named the head men’s basketball coach at Montana Western in 2007. Under Keller, the Bulldogs have compiled a 203-114 record, while winning two Frontier Conference titles, as well as qualifying for the NAIA National Tournament seven times.
Keller is a four-time Frontier Conference Coach of Year. He was inducted into the Montana Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2005.
Dick Norden, came to Rocky in 1966 from Sidney (Mont.) High School. He is a 1970 Rocky graduate, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and economics with a minor in physical education.
While at Rocky, Norden earned three letters as a football player and three while playing basketball. He also participated on the golf team.
Norden began his coaching and teaching career in 1971 at Beach (N.D.) High School. In 1974 he became Westby (Mont.) High School’s head coach for boys’ basketball, football and track & field, as well as the athletic director. He led the Rangers to the 1975 Class C state championship and coached former Montana Grizzly great, Allan Nielsen.
After a short stint at Poplar (Mont.) High School, Norden took over the boys’ basketball program at Jefferson County High School in Boulder, Mont., where he directed the Panthers to the 1984 Class B state title.
During his 25-year career as a head basketball coach, Norden compiled a 470-270 record. In 2001, he was named the Class B Montana Activities Director of the Year.
Norden continues to reside in Boulder, serving as a volunteer assistant boys’ basketball coach for his son-in-law, Clint Layng.
Norden will be inducted into the Montana Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Aug. 3, 2017.
Myron Vogele, a 1966 graduate of Rocky Mountain College, was recruited to play basketball for the Battlin’ Bears by legendary coach Herb Klindt, from his hometown of Fromberg, Mont. He enrolled at Rocky in 1962, after serving his nation in the U.S. Army with the Fourth Armored Division.
Vogele earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics as well as a minor in physical education and coaching.
Vogele was a four-year captain and starter on the hardwood for the Battlin’ Bears, earning him All-Montana Collegiate Conference – the precursor to the Frontier Conference – his senior season. He averaged 12 points and nine rebounds per game that season.
Vogele began his long teaching tenure in 1966 at Will James Junior High in Billings. After receiving a Master’s degree from San Jose State University in 1970, he began teaching math at Billings Senior High School, retiring in 1995. In 2000, Vogele taught math at Rocky.
Vogele and his wife Laurie live in Billings.
Ann Marton Wille graduated Magna Cum Laude from Rocky Mountain College in 1981, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and a minor in physical education.
Wille came to Rocky on a scholarship for band and women’s basketball from her hometown of Big Horn, Wyo. She participated in band and basketball all four years. She was named all-Frontier Conference twice – 1979-80 and 1980-81 – and was voted her team’s most valuable player both seasons. The 1979-80 squad won the Frontier Conference championship.
Wille has been a business education, physical education, music and math teacher at Little Snake River Valley School in Baggs, Wyo., for the past 34 years. She also serves as the school’s activities director and spearheaded the start of 6-man football. Under Wille’s leadership, the school has won a collective eight state championships.
Wille serves as the volleyball coach at LSRV and has led the program to three state titles, four state runner-up finishes as well as a 443-177 record. She was named the Wyoming 1A volleyball Coach of the Year for the 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2016 seasons.
The 1959 Rocky Mountain College football team, coached by Frank Mathew, finished the season as co-champions of the Montana Collegiate Conference, tying with Eastern Montana College with a 4-2 record. It was only the program’s second MCC title, the first coming in 1955.
It wouldn’t be until 1984 before the Battlin’ Bears laid claim to another conference football title.
Members of the 1959 team who have already been inducted into the Hall of Fame as an individual are: Frank Mathew, head coach (class of 1990), Dick Carpenter (1991), Eugene Doerr (2011), Tom Quilling (1998), Irv Scheidt (1999) and John Wrzesinski (1996).
The 2000 Rocky Mountain College volleyball team won the Frontier Conference regular season as well as the tournament championship and made it to the NAIA regional tournament.
This team went 31-7 and was ranked as high as 12th nationally during the season. The 31 wins remained a program record until the 2014 Battlin’ Bears finished 32-3.
The Battlin’ Bears were coached by head coach Wade Wells and their assistant was Jeff Carroll.
Christine Schmitt McFadyean, a member of the 2000 team and second team All-America, was inducted into the Rocky Hall of Fame as an individual in 2015.
This year’s Hall of Fame Weekend is scheduled for Sept. 15 and 16. The induction dinner and ceremony will take place Friday, Sept. 15, at the Red Lion Hotel and Convention Center. This year’s inductees, along with current members of the Hall of Fame, will be honored during halftime of the Rocky – Montana Tech football game, Saturday, Sept. 16.