Six to be inducted into Lawrence Hall of Fame

basketball action Ryan Kroeger and Kelly Mulcahy
Ryan Kroeger, left, and Kelly Mulcahy, right are two of the six 2019 Lawrence Hall of Fame inductees.

APPLETON, Wis. -- Six new members are set to be inducted into the Lawrence University Intercollegiate Athletic Hall of Fame this fall.

Baseball star Stephen Bernsten, class of 1966, men's soccer standout John Laing '79, women's soccer star Kim Geiser '00, women's basketball and volleyball standout Kelly Mulcahy '08, men's basketball star Ryan Kroeger '09 and sports information director Rick Peterson will be inducted Oct. 4 in a ceremony at the Warch Campus Center.

The group also will be honored at halftime of Lawrence's football game vs. Illinois College on Ron Roberts Field at the Banta Bowl on Oct. 5.

Stephen Bernsten, Class of 1966

Stephen Bernsten was the first great pitcher in Lawrence baseball history, and his name remains all over the school's record book more than 50 years after his career ended.

A native of the Chicago area, Bernsten was a three-time All-Midwest Conference selection (freshmen weren't eligible to play varsity sports at that time) and tossed a pair of one-hitters during his career. Bernsten earned first-team all-conference honors in 1964, 1965 and 1966.

Bernsten set Lawrence's career earned run average of 3.64, and he remains second on that list today. The team MVP in 1965 and 1966, Bernsten also set the season ERA record of 2.68 in 1964, and that record stood until 1994.

Bernsten picked up two shutouts and tossed two one-hit games in 1966, a 4-1 victory over Lakeland and a 2-1 victory over Beloit. He is the only pitcher in Lawrence history to throw two one-hitters in the same season. Bernsten, who also played on the infield when he wasn't pitching, allowed only 0.768 hits per inning over his career, and that remains second on Lawrence's career list.

A two-year team captain, Bernsten collected a record 101 strikeouts during his career, and that record stood until 1979. He whiffed a career-high 11 batters in a win over St. Olaf in 1965, and that still ranks fourth in Lawrence's record book.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Lawrence, Bernsten earned a bachelor's degree in psychology. He received his M.D. as an Alpha Omega Alpha graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1970. After completing plastic and reconstructive training in 1976, Bernsten served in the United States Air Force from 1976 to 1978. He worked in private practice in Madison, Wis., from 1978 until his retirement in 2019 and also was a clinical professor of plastic surgery at UW-Madison.

An avid and accomplished tennis player following his years at Lawrence, Bernsten participated in multiple prestigious international competitions. He played in The Gordon Trophy, a competition between teams from the United States and Canada for players 45 and older. Bernsten also played in the Osuna Cup, an international event featuring players from the United States and Mexico.

Bernsten and his wife, Trudy, have three children (all Lawrence graduates), Kimberly, Stephen Jr., and Benjamin, and nine grandchildren. The Bernstens split their time between Madison, Wis., and Boca Grande, Fla.

John Laing, Class of 1979

John Laing was the first great player in Lawrence soccer history as the program attained varsity status in the mid-1970s.

Laing, a native of Milwaukee, Wis., was a center midfielder during his career and earned All-Midwest Conference honors four times. Laing joined the Lawrence soccer program in just its second season as a varsity sport in 1975 and was a four-year starter for the Vikings.

An accomplished scorer and distributor of the ball, Laing was an all-conference selection each of his four seasons, and he also was chosen for the 1978 All-Wisconsin Team that encompassed all the college squads in the state. A two-year team captain for coach Harry Kelderman, Laing also was chosen as the team's MVP in 1975, 1976 and 1978 and won the Bruce Brown Leadership Award in 1978.

Laing helped the Vikings to the 1975 Midwest Conference Tournament as the Vikings collected a pair of second-place finishes in the North Division during his career. Laing also played a role in the development of women's soccer at Lawrence as he started the women's team at the college in 1979. Women's soccer achieved varsity status in 1982.

Laing earned a degree in art history from Lawrence and has done significant graduate work. In addition to graduate studies in elementary education at Pacific Oaks College, Laing earned a master's degree in elementary education from North Carolina State University and certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in 2003. He also received his ESL certification from North Carolina State in 2006.

Laing is an elementary ESL teacher in the Durham (N.C.) Public Schools, and he also coached boys' and girls' soccer at East Cary Middle School in Cary, N.C., for 13 seasons. He and his wife, Janet, have two children, Madeline and Max, and live in Apex, N.C.

Kim Geiser Jolley, Class of 2000

Kim Geiser was the backbone of the Lawrence defense as women's soccer started a rise to prominence in the Midwest Conference in the late 1990s.

A native of Hopkins, Minn., Geiser was a four-time All-Midwest Conference goalkeeper for the Vikings. Geiser earned first-team honors in both 1997 and 1998, was a second-team pick in 1999 and received honorable mention in 1996.

A two-year team captain, Geiser piled up a school-record 31 wins and collected a school-record 19 shutouts. She set the season record with 11 victories in 1998 and had a school-record seven shutouts during the same season. Geiser holds the career record of 649 saves and set the season mark of 212 in 1996. She continues to hold the game record of 35 saves, a mark she set against Carthage in 1996.

Geiser compiled a 1.39 goals against average and continues to hold Lawrence's career record. Geiser's best season GAA was 1.06 in 1997, and she held three of the top four season marks when she graduated. She also has the career mark with an .884 career save percentage and posted a season-best .898 save percentage in 1997. Her four seasons ranked second through fifth on the season save percentage list when she graduated.

The Vikings became one of the Midwest Conference's best teams during Geiser's tenure. Lawrence had just one double-digit season win total prior to 1998 but picked up two more with Geiser in goal. Lawrence went 11-6-1 in both 1998 and 1999 and reached the MWC Championship Game in each of those two seasons.

Geiser, who earned a degree in history and her teaching certificate at Lawrence, is working on her master's degree in public administration and non-profit management at the University of Baltimore. Geiser is the Director of LINK Leaders at the Village Learning Place and is a Cohort Leader and Mentor Coordinator at Girls Empowerment Mission. Geiser and her wife, Jenn Jolley, have a daughter, Eleanor (and a dog, Bernie), and live in Baltimore, Md.

Kelly Mulcahy Wendel, Class of 2008

Kelly Mulcahy starred in two sports for the Vikings and earned All-Midwest Conference accolades in both. A volleyball and basketball standout, Mulcahy was a six-time all-conference selection.

A native of Glendale, Wis., Mulcahy was a four-time All-MWC selection in volleyball as she earned first-team honors in 2005 and 2007 and second-team honors in 2004 and 2006. Mulcahy was a first-team pick in basketball in both 2005-06 and 2006-07 and would have almost certainly earned another first-team selection but multiple injuries derailed her senior season.

An outside hitter for the volleyball squad, Mulcahy piled up 1,355 kills, which ranks third in Lawrence history. She also ranked fifth with 1,081 digs, fifth with 227 blocks and fifth with 122 aces. Mulcahy became the second player in Lawrence history (Hall of Famer Shannon Arendt was the first) to record 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs.

Mulcahy set the Lawrence record with 29 kills in a 2006 match against MSOE, and she has four of the top 10 match kill totals in school history. Mulcahy's 383 kills in 2006 ranked fifth, and she has three of the top 10 season kill totals in school history. 

Mulcahy, who won Lawrence's Outstanding Freshman Athletic Award for Women, led the Vikings to three consective MWC Tournament appearances in basketball. In her first three seasons, the Vikings went 50-22, including a 32-14 record in conference play. Lawrence posted a 19-5 record in 2005-06 to tie the school record for victories in a season.

Mulcahy finished her career seventh in scoring with 956 points and ranked 11th with 435 rebounds. A powerful player in the post, Mulcahy is second in school history in field goal percentage at 55.2 percent. She set the school record in 2004-05 at 60.4 percent. Mulcahy scored a career-high 30 points in January 2006 against Carroll and is one of just seven players in Lawrence history to score 30 points in a game.

Mulcahy graduated from Lawrence with a degree in studio art with an emphasis in art history and also earned her teaching certificate. Mulcahy also earned a master's degree in visual studies from Cardinal Stritch University in 2012. She is in her first year as an art and photography teacher at Nicolet High School after teaching at Greenfield High School for the past 10 years.

Mulcahy and her husband, former Lawrence basketball player Ryan Wendel '08, have four children, Walker, Brady, Lawrence and Winter, and live in Glendale, Wis.

Ryan Kroeger, Class of 2009

Ryan Kroeger stands as one of the finest shooting guards and all-around players in Lawrence basketball history and is one of just two Vikings to earn All-America honors.

A All-American in 2009, Kroeger was a two-time Midwest Conference Player of the Year. Kroeger was a key player as the Vikings went 79-21 over a four-year stretch, won three Midwest Conference Championships, three MWC Tournament titles and made three NCAA Division III Tournament appearances. The 2005-06 squad posted the best record in the nation and advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament Sweet 16.

A career 53.1 percent shooter from the floor, Kroeger finished third on Lawrence's career scoring list with 1,537 points, and his name is all over the school's record book. The top 3-point shooter in school history, Kroeger connected on 45.2 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. He finished second in school history with 184 3-pointers, and his career scoring average of 15.4 points ranked eighth. A prolific free-throw shooter, Kroeger finished fourth in career foul shooting at 81.8 percent, and he is second with 381 free throws made, just one behind career leader Chris Braier.

Kroeger, who ranked sixth with 263 career assists, also holds three game records. He has the school marks for field goal percentage (100 percent, 11-11 vs. Grinnell), 3-point shooting (100 percent, 5-5 vs. Ripon) and free-throw shooting (100 percent, 16-16 vs. Carroll and 13-13 vs. Knox).

A native of Glendale, Wis., Kroeger was a rookie but played a key reserve role in 2005-06 when the Vikings posted an undefeated regular season and spent more than a month as the nation's No. 1-ranked team. That team went on to record a 25-1 record and reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Kroeger was a second-team All-MWC pick in 2006-07 as the Vikings finished 13-10.

Kroeger led the Vikings to the MWC title and a 22-3 record in 2007-08 while earning MWC Player of the Year honors. Kroeger repeated as MWC Player of the Year in 2008-09 as the Vikings put together a 19-7 record and claimed another MWC championship. Kroeger and Braier are the only Vikings to earn two MWC Player of the Year honors. 

Kroeger graduated with a degree in history from Lawrence and earned a pair of master's degrees, one in urban education and another in educational leadership, from Cardinal Stritch University. He is the Dean of Students at Atwater Elementary School in Shorewood, Wis. Kroeger and his wife, Grace, have a son, Cameron, and live in Glendale, Wis.

Rick Peterson

Rick Peterson joined Lawrence University's Office of Public Affairs in 1979 as a publications assistant/sports information director after spending a year-and-a-half as sports editor of the semiweekly newspaper The Kaukauna Times. His duties eventually evolved into a full-time sports information director position.

As SID, Peterson promoted the accomplishments and achievements of Lawrence varsity sports teams and individual athletes. Among his proudest successes were landing a feature on running back Scott Reppert in Sports Illustrated and a profile of fencer Peter Ruprecht on ESPN after he was named a Rhodes Scholar. He also worked with award-winning columnist Jerry Izenberg of The Star-Ledger in New Jersey on columns about why Scott Reppert should win the Heisman Trophy and Lawrence's 2005-06 undefeated men's basketball team.

In 1980, he helped coordinate the first-ever live television broadcast of a Lawrence football game. He worked with a production crew from ABC Sports for a regional broadcast of the Vikings' season opener against Cornell College.

During his first five years as SID, he served as "the Voice of the Vikings," handling play-by-play radio broadcasts of home and away Lawrence football games on the campus radio station, WLFM. He created and produced game programs and recruiting brochures that were honored with four national publication awards by the College Sports Information Directors of America organization, including three "Best in the Nation" awards.

Peterson spent 11 years as a member of the Pizza Hut Division III All-America selection committee for football (later the Champion U.S.A. D-III All-America committee), during which time 31 Lawrence football players received All-America recognition. A passion for statistics motivated Peterson to update and expand school records for all of the university's existing varsity sports and establish records for new varsity teams as they were launched.

In 1993, Peterson was promoted to manager of media relations for the university, where he continued to promote the university's people and programs and contributed regularly to the alumni magazine Lawrence Today (now just Lawrence), including writing numerous cover stories. He has remained tethered to the athletic department for the past 26 years, serving as clock/scoreboard operator for all home Viking football, men's and women's basketball games.

Originally from Oak Creek, Wis., Peterson earned a bachelor of science degree summa cum laude from UW-Whitewater with a double major in journalism and speech communication with a radio/TV/film emphasis. After a nearly 39-year career at Lawrence, he retired in August 2018. He and his wife, Sharon, live in Neenah, Wis., with their four-legged fur child, Bella.