2013 Inductees: Emmett Willson, Larry Sapp
Montana State University Northern has a tradition of excellence both in the classroom and with its athletics; this tradition goes back to Northern Montana College's first athletes and has continued through its 86-year history. The Northern Alumni Association recognizes the students and coaches who built that tradition by inducting two outstanding men into its Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame. Emmett Willson of Miles City, Montana, and the late Larry Sapp of Havre, Montana, will be presented commemorative awards in a ceremony during the Founder's Excellence & Hall of Fame Banquet on the Northern campus Friday, May 3rd.
Emmett Willson, a Lights Wrestler from 2001-2004, is one of the most accomplished athletes to ever compete at Northern. He is a three time National Champion, four time All-American, and the 2003-2004 outstanding wrestler of the National tournament. In 2004, Willson was also the Las Vegas Invitational Champion and the Midlands Champion. His career record is 163 wins and only 16 losses.
In 2004, Emmett Willson became the Dan Hodge Award Winner; the Heisman Trophy of Wrestling. He received the award his senior year when he went 50-0. The award is usually given to a NCAA Division I Wrestler, so for a NAIA wrestler to win this award is a great accomplishment.
While at Northern, he received his degree in secondary education with a social science broad field minor. He also received the Northern Student Excellence Award in 2004. The Student Excellence award is the highest honor a student can receive. Willson also worked for Korb Construction while he lived in Havre, and now is a construction foreman in Miles City.
Emmett and his partner Jill Diedrich have two children Rafe (2) and Lane who will be one on May 24th. Emmett and Jill are also pleased to be welcoming a new member of the family this fall.
Larry Sapp, a Lights basketball player from 1950 to 1952, was one of the top athletes in Montana during those two years. He came to Northern in 1950 as a freshman with no scholarship. The year before Sapp joined the team the Lights only won 1 game. After he joined the team they enjoyed a season with 21 wins. Sapp's ball handling skills and team leadership brought Northern basketball to great success including runner up at the prestigious Western Montana Christmas Tournament (1950-51). He was the lead scorer for the Lights for the two years he played, scoring 408 points in 25 games his sophomore year.
During Sapp's time at Northern he was: Mr. Basketball (1950-51), Most Valuable Team Player (1951-25) by the Athletic Committee, Second Team Conference All Star Team (1951-52), and Captain of the team (1951-52). Sapp was elected vice president of his class at Northern. Larry's major was Business Administration.
In his junior year, Sapp transferred to Gonzaga University. Unfortunately, before he could play for the Zags, Sapp's basketball career was ended by a serous injury from a car wreck.
Larry Sapp became a businessperson in Havre and was part of many organizations. He gave much of his time to the Elks and Eagles, Big Sky Girl Scout Council, Red Cross, Optimist Club, Toast Master Club, Chamber of Commerce, Blue Pony Booster Club, MSU-Northern Alumni and Booster Club. He and his wife Marge have three children, nine grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren.
The Athletic Hall of Fame recognizes players, managers, and coaches for achievement of athletic honors in their sport and to individuals for their outstanding and meritorious service to Northern Athletics. We are proud to induct these two amazing men to our Athletic Hall of Fame!