2021 Athletic Hall of Fame and Wall of Champions Induction

Register for the Induction


St. Thomas More High School will induct five alumni into the Athletic Hall of Fame and five teams into the Coach Jim Haluska Wall of Champions on Saturday, December 4th, at 11:00 a.m.

When the Coach Jim Haluska Wall of Champions was dedicated in September 2015, it set us on a journey to recognize the truly outstanding teams from our school’s history. We also look back at the excellent performances of individual athletes throughout their high school careers. As we move through these outstanding teams and individuals chronologically, we are proud to welcome these five teams and five individuals to the Wall of Champions and Athletic Hall of Fame. The five teams inducted this year are all from the 1979-80 school year – football, cross country, wrestling, basketball, and baseball – and were coached by Jim Haluska, Norb Wishowski (DB ’57), Tom Knitter, Mike Fons (DB ’66), and Joe Zolecki (DB ’57). The individuals inducted – wrestler Steve Baker (TM ’81), basketball player Neal Degner (TM ’81), runner John Rydeski (TM ’77), basketball player Don Stachowiak (TM ’77), and wrestler Brian Weber (TM ’78) – each have resumes that speak for themselves, and they elevated their teams to championship levels.

Congratulations to all of our 2021 inductees!

1979 Football
Metro Conference Champions

The 1979 Cavaliers dominated opponents en route to an undefeated regular season, scoring 20 or more points in every game while only once allowing more than 12.   They opened with a 20-8 victory over Milwaukee Tech and finished the regular season with a 36-0 shutout of Pius XI.  Coach Haluska’s offense was led by senior quarterback Tom Spousta and the defense was led by team captain Bob Bishop.  On the lines, Jeff Boehm, Peter Gates, Tony Savaglio, Tim Schulgen, and Dan Schmidt were recognized for their performance, and seniors Greg Batchelor and Jim English and juniors Dave Timmer, Matt Schimenz, and Mark Rutkowski were also noted for their strong contributions to the team.  Despite having only 12 seniors on the 42-man roster, the Cavaliers finished 9-1 and had carried the #1 ranking in the Milwaukee Sentinel prep football poll for most of the season and six players received All-Conference nods with three named to the All-Area team.

1979 Cross Country
Metro Conference Champions
3rd Place in State

The Cavaliers earned their seventh consecutive Metro Conference title and were well on their way to a fifth WISAA State title when illness struck junior Dave Kaluzny, causing him to pass out halfway through the race while in first place.  Had he finished, the team would have easily won State.  Senior co-captain Jeff Newcomb took over as the top runner at State, finishing fifth overall.  At the Metro Conference meet, Kaluzny won the race, while Newcomb, sophomore Greg Kolodzinski, sophomore Kevin Gatzow, and senior Paul St. Germaine all placed in the top twelve.  Coach Norb Wishowski was pleased with the team’s turnaround from the beginning of the season.  “I was proud of the work of this team.  They proved to me that they cared about what was happening and showed what hard work could do.”

1980 Wrestling

Metro Conference Champions
WISAA State Runner-Up

Coach Tom Knitter’s wrestling team finished an undefeated season in the Metro Conference and came up just a half -point shy of a State title.  Senior Jeff Boehm and juniors Tom Wargolet and Steve Baker won individual State titles, with Boehm earning the title of Most Valuable Wrestler at the WISAA State tournament.  Their undefeated conference record of 7-0-1 includes a 40-17 victory over Kenosha St. Joseph Academy, a 27-18 victory over Pius XI, and a 23-23 tie against Marquette.  The team ran off a string of 14 consecutive matches without a loss.  Boehm finished his three-year career with his second consecutive State heavyweight championship, suffering only one loss during his career and setting a team record for pins.

1980 Basketball
WISAA State Runner-Up

Senior transfer Nigel Wallace led the Metro Conference in scoring with 21.6 points per game with senior Bob Burke and junior Neal Degner chipping in 10.9 and 8.8 points per game, respectively.  One game from the season stands out – a three-overtime thriller on January 28, where Degner hit a free-throw with four seconds remaining to earn a 58-57 victory over Dominican, ending the Knights’ 62-game winning streak.  Coach Mike Fons said of the victory, “It’s incredible; it went from happiness to amazement.  It’s been quite a while since I was in tears, I hope we have a few more.”  Controversy over Wallace’s eligibility led to the team’s disqualification from the WISAA State tournament, but a court ruling overturned the disqualification just hours before the tournament was to begin.  The Cavaliers defeated St. John’s Military Academy 65-58 in overtime and then defeated Appleton Xavier 49-43 in the semifinals before falling short in the championship game.  It was quite a memorable season for Coach Fons and the Cavaliers.

1980 Baseball
Metro Conference Champions
3rd Place in State

Coach Joe Zolecki led the Cavaliers to a 13-3 record, leading the Metro Conference from wire-to-wire.  Seniors Dave Zolecki and Steve Maciolek, along with juniors Dave Timmer and Bill Lutz earned All-Conference honors.  Zolecki and Timmer gave strong performances on the mound, leading a pitching staff that allowed just a .215 batting average against by midseason.  Entering the WISAA State tournament as the top overall seed, the Cavaliers won their first game 9-5 over Appleton Xavier, and a local media outlet commented that the team “looks more like a college team than a high school team.”  In fact, a significant number of players from the team went on to play baseball or football at the collegiate level.  After a disappointing loss in the semifinals, they bounced back in the 3rd place game and won by the run-rule.

Steve Baker (TM ’81)

Earned three major letters in wrestling
Metro Conference Champion in 1979
(105 lbs.), 1980 (114 lbs.), and 1981 (119 lbs.)
Regional Champion in 1979 (105 lbs.)
and 1981 (119 lbs.)
WISAA State Champion in 1980 (112 lbs.)
3rd Place at State in 1981 (119 lbs.)
Co-Captain in 1980 and 1981
Set school record for takedowns





Neal Degner (TM ’81)

Earned three major letters in basketball
1st Team All-Conference in 1981
1st Team All-Area in 1981
8th in Metro Conference Scoring in 1979
4th in Metro Conference Scoring in 1981
Member of WISAA State Runners-Up in 1980
Featured by The Sporting News as one of Midwest’s top college prospects






John Rydeski (TM ’77)

Earned three major letters in track & field
Member of 1976 Metro Conference Champions
Conference Champion in 100 and 220 in 1977
WISAA State Champion in 100 Yard Dash in 1977
Member of WISAA State
Champion 880 Yard Relay in 1977






Don Stachowiak (TM ’77)

Earned three major letters in basketball
Captain of 1977 Metro Conference Champions
13th in Metro Conference Scoring in 1976
4th in Metro Conference Scoring in 1977
1st-Team All-Conference in 1977







Brian Weber (TM ’78)

Earned three major letters in wrestling
WISAA State runner-up in 1976 (112 lbs)
Conference Champion in 1977 and 1978 (112 lbs.)
Regional Champion in 1977 and 1978 (112 lbs.)
State Champion in 1978 (112 lbs.)
Member of 1976, 1977, and 1978 Metro Conference Champion Teams
Co-captain of 1977 and 1978 Team
Member of 1976 WISAA State Champion Team
Member of 1978 WISAA State Runner-Up Team





Support STM Athletics

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.*

Translate »