Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees
Back: Head Coach Dave Noles, Manager Pat Greicar, Ryan Flanagan, Kurt Olson, Manager Amy Salness, Assistant Coach Mic LaRoque, Student Assistant Coach Chris Post.
Front: Cedric Weatherspoon, Neil Steffes, Mark Olson, Kevin Kemp, Todd Olson, Ken Kantack, Jim Hedstrom.
1989-90 Men's Basketball Team
“A magical season” accomplished by “a group of guys whose sum was greater than its parts” was the description of the 1989-90 men's basketball season. The roster of only eight or nine players, often supplemented in practices by whoever could be found in the Old Gym, went undefeated in NDCAC conference with a perfect 10-0 record, a feat that had not been accomplished since the mid-1950s. There was never a shortage of volunteers as the team became the campus’s team. The game that encapsulated the heart and fight of that team was against the University of Mary, when the Comets put on a clinic, trouncing their opponent on their home court. “The Greatest Show on Earth” was the way the Bismarck Tribune described the stunning win by the Comets. While several players earned Hall of Fame and other awards for their excellence that season, at the end-of-the-year banquet the Comet starters asked Coach Noles that the substitute players, Kevin Kemp, Ryan Flanagan, Kurt Olson, and Ken Kantack, be named the year's MVPs as they were so integral to the team's success. The determination in that team amazed and delighted basketball fans throughout the conference, making the 1989-90 season one of the most memorable in Comet men's basketball history.
Kelly Christianson ('91)
Kelly “The Big Kahuna” Christianson was a four-year letter winner in football (1987-1990). As such, he was an integral part of the team that was the NDCAC champion in 1990, the team that was inducted into the MSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002. Christianson was the team captain in 1989 and 1990; was named to the 1990 NDCAC All-Conference team; and won the Mayville State MVP Defense Award in 1989 and 1990. He mainly played defensive end for Coach Jim LeClair, then Coach Dave Hendrickson, and finally Coach Mike Moore. He graduated in 1991 with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration. He was first employed by Hormel Foods in Knoxville, Iowa before moving on to the J.R. Simplot Company, ending his career there as an operations manager for the Northern Red River Valley. In 2005, he became the general manager of Northern Resources Cooperative, a locally owned cooperative located in Roseau, Minn. He is the current president of the Minnesota Managers Group; the current chairman of his local church trustee board and the Roseau Community Education Advisory Council; and past Board of Director for Cooperative Network, a multi-state cooperative trade association.
Gerry Falk ('76)
Gerry Falk has the unusual honor of being an award winner in baseball for two nations, his home country of Canada and here in the United States. As a player and as a coach, he is a member of several teams inducted into the Manitoba Baseball of Fame. At Mayville State, he was a four-year letterman (1973-1976), was part of Comet teams that won the conference championship in 1973 and 1974; was the team captain in 1975 and 1976; was named All-conference in 1974, 1975, and 1976; was named All-District in 1976; and was the conference MVP graduating athlete in 1976. He was a starting pitcher all four years, accruing an overall record of 27-8 win-loss. In 1976 and 1977 he played semi-pro ball with the Bismarck Larks and Eau Claire Express, and in 1976-77 had professional tryouts with the Oakland A's and the Cincinnati Reds. In 1977-78 and 1980 he was selected to Team Canada to play in the World Championships. From 1973 to 1988 he was selected to be a participant in Western Canada and/or national tournaments across Canada. Off the field he founded high school baseball in Manitoba in 1991, has been a guest lecturer and radio station volunteer of the year, and has scouted for several Major League baseball teams. At Mayville State he double-majored in physical education and mathematics and minored in German. He has taught and been athletic director in Manitoba schools in Gretna, Carman, and Winkler, and was director of hockey at the Edge School for Athletes in Calgary, Alberta.
James Lewis ('74)
Dubbed “The most prodigious running back to ever wear a Comet uniform,” James Lewis tore up the football field. A Comet running back from 1970-73, he was a four-year letter winner, the rushing leader three times, all-conference twice; all-conference honorable mention once; and all-district honorable mention twice. He was co-captain for the football team in 1973. In the 1973 season, he ranked second in the NAIA for individual rushing. In 100 plays, he gained 593 yards with a carry percentage of 5.9 yards. The electrifying back is said to be the all-time Comet rusher, having averaged 25 carries a game and five yards per carry during his last three seasons. Lewis was also an outstanding track athlete, lettering each year and acting as co-captain twice. He competed in the 60-yard dash, relays, triple jump, and long jump. His long jump of 22 feet, 8 inches is the second-best in Comet track history. Lewis graduated in 1974 with a major in education and a minor in physical education. After graduation he tried out for the Green Bay Packers in the NFL, where he participated in six pre-season games as a running back and special teams player. He taught in Indianapolis, Ind., public schools and coached football, basketball, boys track, and girls basketball. He also worked in management and supervision and was a business owner.
Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame Inductees
Hank Biesiot ('67)
Being in a tie for the record of the most career wins in NAIA football is a stunning accomplishment, but former Comet football and baseball standout Henry (Hank) Biesiot soared to that level. That career began in 1972, when he was named the defensive coordinator at Dickinson State University. In 1976 he was named head football coach, and he was on his way to making national football history. His teams won 17 conference titles and played in 15 NAIA national play-off games. He had five undefeated seasons; was named the DAC Coach of the Year three times; was named North Dakota Sports Writers Coach of the Year twice; North Dakota Athletic Conference Coach of the Year 12 times; and the NAIA District 12 Coach of the Year four times. He was inducted into the NAIA Coaching Hall of Fame in 2006. He is in the Dickinson State Hall of Fame, the Dakota Athletic Conference Hall of Fame, the North Dakota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame, and the Mayville State University Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2012 The Henry Biesiot Activities Center on the DSU campus was named for him, honoring the many ways Hank dedicated his life to Blue Hawks football and Dickinson State University. He retired after the 2013 season with a 258-121-1 win/loss/tie record in the two divisions in which DSU played. To honor Biesiot, in 2012 USA College Sports established the Hank Biesiot Award to be given to the outstanding NAIA College Scholar/Football Player of the Year, acknowledging excellence in athletics, academics, and community service.
Mark Carter ('77)
Mark Carter graduated from Mayville State in 1977 with majors in social science and physical education and a minor in health. For 15 years he was an assistant or head wrestling coach for the Bismarck High School “Demons,” where the grapplers won 12 state championships, established a record of 175-0 in national dual meets, and were unbeaten for 14 seasons. Carter coached three national junior wrestling champions and 53 state wrestling championships overall. The 1991 Demons team was ranked No. 2 in the nation and has been inducted into the NDHSAA State Wrestling Hall of Fame. He coached the 1992 team that will be inducted into that Hall as well. His 1992 team was ranked No. 1 in the nation by Amateur Wrestling News and the USA Today newspaper and held the national dual meet record of 81-0. He was named the North Dakota High School Wrestling Coach of the Year in 1992.
Rick Christianson ('84)
Richard Christianson has been a fixture on the central North Dakota high school scene for 37 years as an instructor and coach. The former Comet baseball player (1979-84) has coached all levels of baseball, from T-ball to American Legion, as well being a head girls basketball coach from 1984-1991 and assistant boys basketball coach from 1984-2005. He was especially successful as a head baseball coach, leading his teams to 13 regional championships and six state tournament berths. He was named regional Coach of the Year in baseball seven times, the District Coach of the Year for girls basketball twice, and was the NDHSCA Coach of the Year for baseball in 2001. He was highly effective as a role model and mentor, teaching both players and his classroom students to participate “the right way,” to want to listen, learn and work hard to become the best teammate and person they could be. An example of his influence is that his Midkota baseball team was awarded the National Federation/NDHSAA Award of Excellence for Exemplary Display of Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity. Christianson helped create the Iron Fist award that honors a high school baseball player who has had to fight through adversity, have good moral character and be a team player. Fittingly, in 2021 the Region 3 Athletic directors and coaches presented the award to Christianson as well as to a student, acknowledging that the coach had experienced health adversity in his family.
Jim Dew ('67)
Jim Dew coached in Racine, Wis., and at Bemidji State University and the University of Wisconsin LaCrosse before becoming head coach for football and baseball at Valley City State University in the early 1970s. He coached football at VCSU from 1974 to 1993 and achieved an overall record of 116-65-2, and he coached baseball at VCSU from 1974 to 1991 (275-323 overall record). Under his leadership, VCSU won five NDCAC baseball championships along with a VCSU first-ever District 12 baseball championship, advancing to the Area III Regional Tournament. He is the all-time wins leader in VCSU baseball history (275) and won conference titles in 1978, 1981, 1982, 1985, and 1987. Dew’s Viking football teams won eight NDCAC football championships and his teams were nationally ranked in 1976, 1980, and 1988, when they competed in the national playoffs. In 1980, Dew was named North Dakota Sports Media College Coach of the Year when his team advanced to the NAIA national semifinal game and finished as the fourth-ranked team in the national poll. Dew is a member of the Mount St. Joseph High School Hall of Fame and the Mayville State University Athletic Hall of Fame.
Tim Kolsrud ('80)
Coaching is about teaching and building relationships, and Tim Kolsrud has proven to be an excellent example of how to succeed in those roles. A well-rounded student, he participated in a variety of campus activities at Mayville State, including track and field in 1977-79 and spring football in 1977. The Mayville native majored in biology and physical education with minors in chemistry and coaching, graduating in 1981. He began coaching as an assistant in high school basketball and football at Hope (N.D.) High School, followed by Wachter Junior High and Century High School, both in Bismarck. In 1985 he was asked to join the B.H.S. girls track team as a sprint and hurdle coach. In 2001, after having been an assistant coach for 16 years, Kolsrud stepped up to be the head coach. Career highlights include helping coach BHS football teams to six AAA championships and being named the N.D. Girls Track and Field Coach of the Year in 2005 plus earning four West Region COTY honors. Kolsrud cites his success in coaching to his ability to develop “outstanding relationships” in helping his student athletes excel and achieve their goals. Attending coaching clinics throughout the nation has helped him develop his own motivational skills and techniques. Kolsrud earned a master's degree in anatomy at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins in 1995.
Randy Vigen ('75)
Comet baseball player Randy Vigen graduated from Mayville State in 1975 with a major in physical education and minors in business education and health education. He began his 41-year career as a teacher, coach, and athletic director at Central Valley School near Buxton, N.D. that year. He was the head football coach for 37 years, leading teams to the playoffs 14 times. His 1999 team won the state 9-man championship. He was named NDHSCA 9-Man Football Regional Coach of the Year eight times, Region Coach of the Year several times, and the NDHSCA 9-Man Coach of the Year in 1981. He was also the head coach for basketball at various levels. In 2011 he was inducted into the North Dakota High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He was recognized nationally with the Class Nobel Educator of Distinction by the National Society of H.S. Scholars in 2004; the NSAA-USA Football Championships Award by USA Football in 2005; and was an American Football Coaches Association Power of Influence Award finalist in 2009 and 2010. He earned success as an athletic director as well as for coaching after being named the Central Valley AD in 1978. He was named district and region AD of the year several times. In 2012, he was honored as the NDHSCA State Class B Athletic Director of the Year. In 2015 he was inducted into the N.D. Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Hall of Fame. His leadership extended into various committees locally and statewide. In 2007, in honor of his accomplishments at Central Valley High School, the football field was named the Randy Vigen Field.