Athletic Hall of Fame – 2015 Inductees

2015AthHoFScroll to see all biographies from this induction class.










TomZrudsky15Tom Zrudsky

Coach  /  MHS Class of 1967  /  Inducted in 2015

Tom was a physical and health education teacher and basketball coach in the Marion Independent School District for 33 years from 1972 to 2005.

From Tom’s initial hiring in 1972 until his retirement in 2005 he coached 7th grade boys’ basketball. He also coached 8th grade girls’ basketball when he was first hired, and then finished his career coaching 7th grade girls’ basketball. Tom emphasized that every child on the team had the opportunity to grow in skill and enjoyment of the sport. In Tom’s final season of coaching, both the boys and girls teams had undefeated seasons. In addition to coaching at the middle school, he also helped as a scout for the varsity basketball programs.

Tom also coached several youth teams. He not only served as coach, but also provided transportation for many of the children to practices and games. He coached YMCA soccer, flag football, and basketball. He also coached Metro Youth Football, Salvation Army Youth Basketball, and Little League Baseball.

Tom has been an active volunteer in the track and field programs since 1993, most often working the high jump at high school meets. He has also volunteered at middle school and youth track meets. Tom helped write a grant that was approved and resulted in the development of the asphalt track at Francis Marion Intermediate in 2000.

Tom and his wife Diana have one son, Chad, and currently reside in Marion, Iowa. He is thrilled to be back in coaching helping his son coach his grandson Elliot’s youth basketball and football teams.


ToddTharp15Todd Tharp

Administrator & Athlete  /  MHS Class of 1984  /  Inducted in 2015

Todd was a multi-sport athlete at Marion High School who went on to become a successful high school and state association administrator.

Todd participated in baseball, football, and basketball at Marion High School. In baseball, Todd was a First Team All-Conference and Honorable Mention All-State performer. He was selected to play in the Iowa Baseball Coaches Association All-Star game his senior year. Todd was the starting quarterback his senior year, led the football team to an undefeated regular season, and was named First Team All-Conference.

Todd had a 16-year career in secondary education. He earned his bachelor’s degree from University of Northern Iowa. In 2001, he completed a masters degree from Iowa State University. He started his teaching career at Clark in Osceloa for two years before serving as Activities/Athletics Directors at Alden, Starmont, and LeMars. He oversaw major improvements in athletic facilities at Starmont and LeMars. He was very active in the Iowa High School Athletic Director’s Association. In addition, he was a registered game official in football, basketball, and baseball.

In 2005, Todd was hired as Assistant Executive Director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association. In 2015, he received the National Federation of State High School Association award for distinguished service to member high schools in the state of Iowa and also the country. He is a frequent presenter at the national Athletic Director conferences and moderator at NFHS meetings. Todd will become Chairman of the NFHS Football Rules Committee in 2017.

Todd and his family live in Ames where he continues to work for the Iowa High School Athletic Association.


JerryWikert15SuzanneWikert15Jerry & Suzanne Wikert

Community Members  /  Inducted in 2015

Jerry and Suzanne Wikert have dedicated countless hours to helping Marion athletics, our school district, and student-athletes in a variety of ways.

Suzanne was a teacher at Marion High School for eight years. While Jerry coached girls basketball, she would do the scorebook at home and away games. After Jerry stopped coaching basketball, Suzanne continued to do the scorebook at home games for 20 years. Suzanne also volunteered with the tennis program while Jerry was the tennis coach at Marion High School. She also was a ticket taker for ten years at the high school baseball and softball games.

Jerry served Marion Athletics in numerous ways over his career. He coached freshmen football, girls basketball and girls/boys tennis at Marion High School. Jerry also served as Activities Director, Associate Principal, and Math Teacher during his career at Marion. He has volunteered many years doing the basketball scoreboards, track meets, and football ticket taker. Jerry won the Cedar Rapids West Rotary Outstanding Educator Award. He taught and coached for 38 years with the last 25 being at Marion.

Jerry and Suzanne have two children (Christopher and Wendy) and currently reside in Marion, Iowa where they run Martin Creek Farm.


JimRoth15Jim Roth

Community Member  /  MHS Class of 1977   /  Inducted in 2015

Jim has been a long-time, enthusiastic supporter of all levels of athletics and physical education in the Marion Independent School District. Jim served as a coach for 10 years in the Marion Youth Boys’ Basketball program. He has also been an organizer and participant for many years in the Marion Open Gym program for adults which has raised money to benefit many worthy causes in the Marion schools.

Jim and his wife Debby have made many material donations to Marion athletics, including purchasing basketballs and other equipment, jerseys for the middle school boys’ basketball teams, and complete uniform sets for the entire middle school girls’ program. They have also provided gym clothing and over 200 pairs of athletic shoes for the younger students in school.

Jim and Debby have been very generous to many causes, including contributing to the FMI fitness program, underwriting the cost of team posters and calendars, and becoming the first Platinum Club members of the Marion Athletic Booster Club – a level that they have maintained through the years. They have also purchased numerous bricks in the MISD Foundation Wall of Support. In the past, they have served on Booster Club committees and Athletic Council, hosted team dinners, and helped tutor Marion athletes. They also have monetarily supported other community causes including Mount Mercy athletics, Marion YMCA, and Marion Little League.

Jim and Debby have one son, Phillip, and reside in Marion. They still show strong support for Marion athletics by attending numerous events at all levels.


DenniOliphant15Dennis Oliphant

Athlete  /  MHS Class of 1970  /  Inducted in 2015

Dennis is one of the most successful wrestlers in Marion High School history. He also participated in baseball and cross country while at Marion.

Dennis compiled a three-year record of 68-10 while wrestling at Marion High School. As a junior, he finished with a record of 27-3 and was a WaMaC Conference champion.  He also won Sectional and District titles and finished third place in the Iowa High School State Wrestling Tournament. This was the highest finish ever by a Marion wrestler up to that time. Dennis also earned First Team All-Metro honors as a junior.

As a senior, he finished with a record of 30-1. In a repeat of his junior year he won the WaMaC Championship along with Sectional and District titles. In the State Tournament he again took third place losing only once to the state champion that season. He was named as a repeat member of the First Team All-Metro wrestling team.

Dennis wrestled at Coe College for one season. He served in the Navy from 1974-78. In 2001, Dennis finished in the Top 20 in two races of the Masters National Championship Bicycle races in Spokane, Washington for his age group. He currently lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with his wife Colleen where he is a school teacher.


GregMorris15Greg Morris*

Athlete  / MHS Class of 1970  /  Inducted in 2015

Greg Morris was an all-around athlete who earned eight varsity letters in football, basketball, and track.

In football, Greg was selected Honorable Mention All-State, First Team All-Metro, and First Team All-Conference at running his senior year. He was the team’s leading rusher, receiver, and scorer as a senior. He scored 122 points as a senior while leading the WaMaC in rushing and scoring. He ranks high in numerous categories of all-time school football records, including fourth in total touchdowns in a season and game and first in yards from scrimmage in a game.

In basketball, Greg received Honorable Mention All-State, All-Metro, and All-Conference honors as a senior. He led the team in scoring his senior year and ranks in the Top 20 in many all-time statistical categories including second all-time in season assists with 118.

After high school Greg was recruited to play football at Normandale Community College Bloomington, Minnesota. During his two years at Normandale, he was a prolific running back, leading the team into the junior college playoffs his sophomore year. For his final two years of college football he played at St. Cloud State in Minnesota.

After college, Greg worked with his father Waldo in Marion businesses that installed underground utility lines and built custom-designed homes. He passed away in October of 2011. Accepting on Greg’s behalf were Waldo and Jon Morris.


BenMesserli15Ben Messerli

Athlete  /  MHS Class of 2006  /  Inducted in 2015

Ben Messerli earned 13 varsity letters while playing four sports at Marion High School and was a four-sport participant each year.

Ben was named First Team All-State as a linebacker his junior and senior year. He was also named First Team All-Metro and All-District Football for three years. Ben led Marion in tackles his sophomore and senior seasons and played in the Shrine All-Star game.

In golf, Ben made two state tournament appearances and was named First Team All-Metro and First Team All-Conference for two seasons. Marion placed 8th in the state Ben’s junior year and 6th in the state his senior year. Ben helped lead the team to two WaMaC Championships. Ben still holds the all-time Marion season record for birdies with 26 and posted a 39.1 average his senior year.

Ben also participated in basketball and baseball at Marion. Ben played on the varsity basketball team for three seasons and was a two-time captain. Marion won the WaMaC title his senior year. He was also a two-year captain and three-year starter in baseball. In Ben’s senior year, he was a member of the first Marion baseball team to appear in the state baseball tournament.

Ben attended Wartburg College where he played football for two years and was a student-coach for two years. He also played college golf at Wartburg for four years. While at Wartburg, Ben interned at the Air Force Academy and University of Iowa Football Office. He attended graduate school at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville where he had the opportunity to work at Super Bowls 45 and 46. Ben also worked in the compliance departments at North Dakota and Tennessee-Chattanooga before becoming the Assistant Athletics Director for Compliance at the University of Northern Iowa.

Ben is married to his wife Jess, and they currently reside in Waterloo, Iowa.


JacquelineKane15Jacqueline Kane

Athlete  /  MHS Class of 2008  /  Inducted in 2015

Jacqueline was a three-sport standout at Marion participating in cross country, basketball, and track and field. She was named the 2008 Linn County Female Athlete of the Year.

Jacqueline was a member of the 2004 cross country team at Marion that was the Class 3A State Champions. She was a member of three WaMaC Conference Championships, and her teams qualified for the State Cross Country meet all four years. The also finished third in the state meet in 2005 and 2006. In basketball, Jacqueline was a two-time team captain who helped lead Marion to the 2008 WaMaC Championship and the semifinals of the Class 3A State Basketball Tournament.

Jacqueline had an illustrious track and field career at Marion culminating in her winning the 800 Meter Run and anchoring the 4×800 Meter Relay at the State Track Meet her senior year. She was a three-time Drake Relays and four-time State Track participant. She was a state meet place-winner in eight events and won six WaMaC Conference event titles during her career. She still currently holds six track and field records at Marion High School.

Jacqueline went on to have a decorated track and field career at Mount Mercy University. She won six individual conference championships in indoor and outdoor track while at Mount Mercy. She also was an NAIA Indoor All-American in the 600 Meter Dash in 2011 and 2012, and an Outdoor All-American in the 400 Hurdles in 2011. She ranks as the all-time best and Top 5 in numerous indoor and outdoor events in Mount Mercy University.

Jacqueline currently resides in Woodbury, Minnesota where she works for the Rochester Public Schools and is a manager at the Buckle.

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