2007 Inductees: Dan DeKaye, Al Faechner, Jodi Kruta, Anthony Taylor
Since first awarded in 1994, the Northern Alumni Association All-Sports Hall of Fame has inducted 53 individuals who have contributed to the tradition of excellence both in the classroom and on the playing field at Montana State University—Northern; a tradition that goes back to the very beginning of the school and has continued throughout its 78-year history. MSU-Northern and the Northern Alumni Association will again recognize four outstanding individuals during the Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame inductions Homecoming Week October 5-6, 2007. Dan DeKaye of Argyle, Texas, Al Faechner of Great Falls, Montana, Jodi Kruta of Douglasville, Georgia, and Anthony L. Taylor of Laurel, Maryland will be presented commemorative awards in ceremonies on the Northern campus Friday, October 5th during the Homecoming Alumni Games.
Dan DeKaye, a Cut Bank, Montana native, competed from 1992-1996, wrestling at the 177 pound weight class for Northern. After redshirting his first year, he competed on the varsity team, placing 5th or higher three times at the NAIA National Tournament. DeKaye was ranked second nationally in 1995 and held the #1 ranking for ten weeks in 1996, finishing 2nd at the national tournament. A 3-time Northern Regional Champion, he was the team captain his junior and senior year. DeKaye won 6 of 8 tournaments his junior season and 6 of 7 his senior year, where he was voted tournament Outstanding Wrestler twice. His over-all college record was 97 wins and 23 losses. His junior and senior years he had an impressive 63-8 record with a total of 19 falls 88% win ratio. DeKaye graduated in 1996 with a degree in civil engineering technology with an associate’s degree in drafting. He is currently employed with Kiewit Corporation in management in their Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas Branch and has participated in 17 different projects including construction of a dam, bridges, airport runways and highway construction throughout Montana, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Louisiana.
Receiving the Veteran Award this year is Al Faechner, of Great Falls, Montana. He attended MSU-Northern (then Northern Montana College) on a basketball scholarship for two years from 1951-53 graduating in the Pre-Business program. During his freshman year, Faechner scored 350 points in 24 games ranking second on the team to teammate Gene Espeland and led the team his second year. He set a record for scoring at the Junior College Regional Tournament at Dixie Junior College in Provo, Utah netting 37 points and a spot on the All-Tournament team in 1952. At that time, there were no 3 point shots and the quarters were only 8 minutes long. NMC was also the only Junior College in the league, so they competed against more seasoned juniors and seniors. Faechner also played baseball both years for Northern. After leaving Northern, he served two years in the Korean War. Returning to Montana, he married his college fiancÃ©e, Joyce Ferrin, and continued his education at the College of Great Falls. After graduation, he worked in banking in Glasgow, Montana and, as President of the Glasgow Sports Club, he was instrumental in arranging a football game between Minot State and the NMC Lights in Glasgow which drew over 2,000 fans in 1969. He was President of Multisports which built the softball complex in Great Falls, in 1965
Jodi Kruta was a recruit from Thief River Falls, Minnesota and played for the MSU-Northern Skylights basketball team from 1992 to 1996. As a three year starter, she played a key role in the four Frontier Conference Championships, four National Tournament appearances, and the 1993 District 12 Tournament and the 1993 National Championship for the Skylights. This is still the only National Championship to date of any Frontier Conference Women’s Basketball team. During this time, the teams won 100 games with only 18 losses. Kruta is the Skylights second all-time leading scorer with 1562 points and is one of only 9 Skylights to be an NAIA All-American. Her senior year she was an All American Honorable Mention, First Team All-Conference, and First Team Pacific Northwest Region. She was named the Frontier Conference Player of the Week four times during her career. The Skylights teams she played on also won the Bahamas Tournament in 1993, The Colorado College Holiday Tournament in 1994, and the Pacific Northwest Regional Championship in 1996. Kruta graduated in 1997 with a degree in Health and Physical Education. She lived in Norway to play team handball and became a member of the 1999 USA Team Handball National Team. She participated in the 1999 Pan American Games placing 4th in an attempt to qualify for the 2000 Olympic Games. She is currently teaching 6th-8th grade Physical Education and Health in Lovinggood Middle School in Georgia.
Anthony L. Taylor wrestled in high school in Ohio and finished with 80 wins and 15 losses. He attended Lassen Community College in California in 1990 and after injuring his right ankle, he received a medical hardship his first year in which he had already amassed a 16-2 record. In 1992, he claimed the California Junior College State Championship with a record of 30-3 and transferred to Northern in 1993 where he placed second in the NAIA National Tournament as a sophomore and as a junior, losing first place by only one point. Both years, he was 24-4 at the 158 pound weight classification. In 1994, his senior year, he received a season ending knee injury and was ranked #1 in the NAIA National Ratings at the time. He was a two-time All-American and a National runner-up at 158 pounds. His record at Northern was 60 wins and 9 losses and his over-all collegiate career record was 106-14. Taylor was instrumental in the 1992 National Team Championship and the 1993 National Team Runner-up on teams that won two NAIA District 12 and Frontier Conference Championships along the way. Anthony Taylor was also a NWCA Academic All-American. He was an assistant coach at Northern for three seasons, during the remainder of his senior year and for the following two years, 1995 and 1996, while working on his Masters degree. Taylor is now working in Washington D.C. as a Federal Probation/Parole Officer with new responsibilities for training his colleagues.