CollegeFrontier Conference


Montana Tech to celebrate 2023 Hall of Fame class

Byron Olson
Posted at 11:49 AM, Oct 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-04 13:49:01-04

(Editor's note: Montana Tech news release)

BUTTE — Montana Tech Athletics will welcome five individuals and one team to the Digger Athletics Hall of Fame this fall. The 2023 class of individuals includes former student-athletes Chris Casne, Byron Olson, Bryan Vaughns, and William Tiddy as a Legacy member. The 1982 volleyball team will be inducted as the only team entering the Digger Athletic Hall of Fame this year.

The Montana Tech Hall of Fame banquet is Oct. 6 at the Butte Country Club. The new class is also honored at the football game on Oct. 7 against Montana Western. The banquet is open to the public.

“We are excited to celebrate this esteemed class of former student-athletes and welcome them into our Montana Tech Athletics Hall of Fame,” said Director of Athletics Matt Stepan. “This group stands out as leaders, trailblazers, and the very best in our rich history. We can’t wait to get them on campus to engage with our student-athletes and celebrate their accomplishments.”

Chris Casne, from Helena, was a kicker for the Orediggers from 1998-2002. Casne stands out not only as a successful student-athlete, but a leader among his peers. He was a team captain his senior year, a rarity for his position, and helped lead his team to two straight co-conference championships in 2000 and 2001. Casne served as the Student Body President while attending Tech as well as the president of Tech’s American Society of Civil Engineers and Tau Beta Pi Chapter.

Casne was a three-time all-conference selection earning second-team honors in 1999 and 2001; he was selected first-team all-conference in 2000 and was an honorable mention All-American.

Casne holds the program record for most PATs with 128, making 87.2% of his attempts for fourth all-time. His 33 career field goals are fourth all-time and he’s fifth in field goal percentage, making 54% of his kicks. The second-longest field goal in Tech history was a 49-yarder by Casne and was one of four over the 46-yard mark. He finished his career with three game-winning field goals and 18 total tackles, the most by a kicker in school history.

Graduating with honors in 2003 in General Engineering, Casne continued his education with a master’s degrees in Strategic Studies (Naval War College 2013), Urban and Renewal Planning (University of Hawaii 2012), and a graduate certificate in Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Response.

Casne has served as a Naval Civil Engineer Corps Officer since 2003 with multiple deployments. He was named the Navy’s Engineer of the Year in 2012. Casne received a Joint Meritorious Service Medal, four Navy Commendation Medals, Joint Service Achievement Medal, and two Navy Achievement Medals.

Byron Olson is the first Oredigger golfer inducted into the hall of fame. Olson was a four-time all-conference selection, earning first team his sophomore season through the end of his career. Golfing from 2005-2008, Olson was named the Frontier Conference Player of the Year twice.

Along with numerous school records and two individual tournament victories, Olson was ranked No. 1 nationally in the NAIA. He is second in school history with a 72.5 career scoring average and has the lowest scoring average in a single season with a 70.4 in 2008-09. Olson has the record for lowest round for 54 holes (-11), 36 holes (-7), and a single round (5-under-par 67). He finished his career with 26 rounds of par or better in 60 rounds played.

Olson graduated with a degree in Petroleum Engineering in 2008 and went on to a successful career in the industry in Texas.

Brian Vaughns played basketball for Kelvin Sampson for two seasons from 1983-1985. Vaughns transferred at the end of 1985 when coach Samson left Montana Tech for Washington State. Vaughns will not be in attendance and is induction will take place at a later date.

“Flyin’ Brian”, a 6-foot-7 center from New Jersey, played on two Frontier Conference championship teams. Vaughns was a true force in the key nearly averaging a double-double during his time as an Oredigger. The two-time first-team all-conference and all-district selection averaged 16.4 points and a league-leading 9.5 rebounds per game. Vaughns had 60 blocks during the 1984-85 season as well.

Vaughns transferred to NCAA Division I University of California Santa Barbara for the 1985-86 season where he averaged a team-high 13.9 points per game as a senior and was second in the Pacific Coast Athletic Association in rebounds, averaging 8.4 boards. The Milwaukee Bucks drafted Vaughns in the fifth round of the NBA draft in 1987.

William “Bill” Tiddy enters the hall of fame as a Legacy member after playing football for the Orediggers from 1958-1961. Tiddy was an iron man for Tech playing on both the offensive and defensive lines as well as kicker to play all 60 minutes of almost every game during his career.

Tiddy’s teams may not have been the most successful under head coach Ed Simonich, but he was part of the team that earned a tie during the Orediggers' 44-game losing streak that ended in 1962. Tech tied Carroll College 0-0 in 1960. The 1961 co-captain was the center and called the plays on defense from the middle linebacker position. Tiddy was selected second-team all-conference in 1960 and an honorable mention all-conference offensive lineman in 1961. Tiddy received the first-ever team MVP award which later became the Ed Simonich Award.

Tiddy graduated in 1963 with a degree in Metallurgical Engineering.

The 1982 volleyball team was led by first-year head coach Linda Schoenstedt who had served as the assistant the previous three seasons. The team repeated as Frontier Conference champions, finishing 8-1 in conference and 26-12 overall. The team won the NAIA District 12 championship, beating out Black Hills State twice and Sioux Falls. They lost to Nebraska-Kearney in a playoff game for a birth in the NAIA National Tournament.

Coach Schoenstedt was named the Frontier Conference coach of the year. Four athletes received all-conference honors. Mary Theis, Julie Hoklin, and Kristi Hoklin were selected first team and Michelle Smith was named to the second team.