Meet this year’s Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame inductees

Published 11:51 am Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Earlier this spring, the Albert Lea Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame committee announced it would be inducting 12 new members to be honored at the 2021 ceremony.

Here are four of this year’s inductees:

The boys 1978 state champion 200-yard medley relay team

The swimming program was only five years old when the team of Gary DeRoos, Ray Keating Jr., Jon Schmitz and Jim Wendorff won the 1978 state championship in the boys 200-yard medley event. Their winning time, just a fraction shy of the state record, also qualified them for All-American status in 1978. This group is given a lot of credit for helping raise the visibility of the program and giving it important momentum. The team also would like to acknowledge the positive impact that coaches Lang, Shuldes and Andy Sanders had on them and the rest of the swimmers.

Gary DeRoos

As a varsity swimmer since ninth grade, Gary DeRoos was named All-Big Nine in each of his four years. DeRoos broke school records in the backstroke, medley relay, 50- and 100-yard freestyle while winning several conference championships. He also earned All-State and All-American honors. DeRoos was also a two time All-Conference hurdler in track, and also set a school record in the intermediate. DeRoos took his talents to Iowa State where he had an impressive career as well.

DeRoos currently lives in Huntington Beach, California with his wife Teresa and two children Matthew and Christine.

Ray Keating, Jr.

Ray Keating was a four-year varsity letterwinner. He was All-Conference, All-Region, All-State, and an honorable mention All-American for the Tigers. He was also Big-Nine and section champ in the 200-yard individual medley. Keating was a member of  the 1978 ALHS baseball team which won the Big Nine title. After graduation, Keating signed on to swim at Iowa State where he was a four-year letterwinner and two-year All-Big Eight Conference performer.

Keating currently lives in Norfolk, Virginia with wife Angela and they have two children, daughter, Chandler and son, Grady.

Jon Schmitz

Jon Schmitz was a four-year letterwinner while earning All-Conference and All-State honors. He was the 1979 state champion in the 100-yard butterfly while setting school, conference and regional records along the way. Schmitz was an honorable mention All-American in high school, and swam at Bemidji State where he was a four-year All-American. Schmitz came back to Albert Lea where he successfully coached the boys’ and girls’ swimming program for 26 years.

Jon currently lives in Kasson and has two daughters, Carly and Alexandra.

Jim Wendorff

Jim Wendorff was a three-year letterwinner for the Tigers as a swimmer and competed in track and cross-country. In addition to the medley event, his strength was as a sprinter in the 50- and 100-yard events. Wendorff earned All-American honors in 1978 as part of the state champion medley relay team and participated in swimming and water polo for one year at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Wendorff currently lives in Byron with his wife Stephanie, son James and daughter Brooke. Jim has three adult children; Jill, Anne and Jenna.

The  committee has announced the 2021 Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet will be Sept. 25 at Wedgewood Cove in Albert Lea. Social hour will begin at 5 p.m. with dinner and inductions to begin at 6 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend, but must register ahead of time.  Registration forms can be found at aledfoundation.org/athletic-hall-of-fame or be picked up at The Albert Lea Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Registration deadline is September 15th.

The Tigers Athletic Hall of Fame was established in 2010 for the purpose of acknowledging athletes, coaches and state champion teams that have made a historical contribution to the Albert Lea Tigers athletic program. Proceeds from the event go to the Albert Lea Education Foundation for the sole purpose of lowering student participation fees. The event in 2018 raised over $7000 and has raised over $50,000 since its inception.

Other inductees in this year’s class are:

Chrissy Monson (2013), Chuck Schneider (1956), Marilyn Claasen (1976), John Goodmanson (1963), Bill Dress (1978), Karli Kriewall (2013), coach Don Kropp and coach Mary Beese.

Look for their profiles in upcoming editions of the Tribune.