Aug. 2, 2006
Cedar Falls, Iowa -
Five former University of Northern Iowa athletes will be inducted into the 2006 UNI Athletics Hall of Fame during Panther Homecoming festivities the weekend of Oct. 7.
The newest Hall members are former UNI men's basketball coach Jim Berry; former quarterback Mike Smith; former volleyball player Maryellen (McCann) Durow; and former track and field athlete Ron Sturch. Bill Smith, a former men's basketball player and longtime supporter of Panther athletics, will receive the Dr. Jitu D. Kothari Meritorious Service Award.
Berry, a native of Waterloo, Iowa, took the reins of the men's basketball team at UNI in 1973 with 13 years of coaching experience already under his belt. He led the Panthers for the next 13 seasons and oversaw the program's jump from NCAA Division II to the Division I ranks.
He led the Panthers to the Division II playoffs in 1978-79, and the Panthers earned a share of the Mid-Continent Conference title in 1981-82. Berry also oversaw an 18-10 season in 1983-84, just three years after the Panthers made the move to Division I.
During his time at the helm of the UNI program, Berry coached 12 all-conference picks, including three-time honoree Randy Kraayenbrink, who also was an honorable mention all-America selection in 1984-85. Berry's 354 games coached remains a UNI record. He is a member of the Iowa High School Basketball Hall of Fame.
Smith was a three-year starting quarterback for the Panthers from 1985-87. He was the 1985 Gateway Conference Offensive Player of the Year, and helped lead the Panthers to their first ever I-AA playoff win that year.
The Panthers advanced to the semifinals of the playoffs twice during Smith's time at the helm, in both 1985 and 1987. A three-time honorable mention all-American, Smith posted a record of 28-9-1 as a starter, threw for 9,067 yards and 68 touchdowns over his career. He ranks second all-time at UNI in pass attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns and total offense.
Also a baseball letterman for the Panthers, Smith served as an assistant football coach at UNI from 1989-94. He currently works as a speech teacher and dean of students at Wakulla High School in his hometown of Crawfordville, Fla., with his wife Denise and sons Spencer and Conner.
McCann-Durow was a star for the Panthers from 1984-87. With McCann-Durow on the team, and under the direction of head coach Iradge Ahrabi-Fard, UNI volleyball made its transformation into the volleyball powerhouse it has been for the past 20 years.
McCann-Durow's career totals for kills (1,226) and service aces (146) are both seventh-best in UNI history, while she also owns the record for solo blocks in a game-game match with seven. In 1986, McCann-Durow finished the season with a then-record .352 hitting percentage, a mark that is still third-best in UNI history. That year, the Panthers made their first appearance in the NCAA tournament.
As a senior co-captain, McCann was a first team all-Gateway and all-Midwest Region pick after leading the Panthers in kills with 494, and finishing second on the team in digs with 361, still the 10th best season total in school history. She lives with her husband, Wes, in Cary, N.C.
Sturch, a native of Waterloo, Iowa, was a two-sport star for the Panthers in track and field and football. He enrolled at UNI (then called Iowa State Teachers College) in 1954 and made his mark in both sports.
He competed in the high jump, pole vault, long jump and hurdles, and became the first sophomore in school history to lead the track team in scoring. He was a two-time all-North Central Conference performer, and coach Art Dickinson, who at the time had coached the Panther track and field teams for 33 years, called Sturch "the most outstanding all-around performer since I've been at Iowa Teachers".
He was also a three-year letterwinner for Clyde Starbeck's football team, playing end and halfback, while also serving as the team's punter. A member of numerous halls of fame, including the Iowa Track Coaches Hall of Fame, he lives in Waterloo with his wife, Aline.
Smith was a member of the Panther basketball team from 1969 through 1973 under head coach Zeke Hogeland. He was team captain as a senior in the 1972-73 season, and has continued to support his alma mater with both his time and money since his graduation in 1973.
He has financially supported a full men's basketball scholarship for the past 10 years, and served on the university's "Students First" campaign that raised more than $100 million in improvements to campus facilities and programs. He is also a trustee for the University of Northern Iowa Foundation.
Smith is president of William Smith and Co., an institutional investment research company and registered broker-dealer in Denver, Colo. He and his wife, Luann, reside in Englewood, Colo.
The inductees will be honored during a luncheon on Saturday, Oct. 7, prior to UNI's football game against Missouri State, as well as during halftime ceremonies. For luncheon ticket information, contact the Sheri Bishop at 319-273-2470.