National Championship Team Headlines 2011 Raven Hall of Fame Class

John Schmiedeler, Class of ’52, the late Mike Hosty, Class of ’80, and Mary DeGroot-Gonzalez, Class of ’97, also join Hall

  • Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Benedictine College Athleitc Department will induct its newest class to the Raven Hall of Fame on Saturday evening as part of the 2011 Homecomeing Weekend.

This years class features  John Schmiedeler, Class of ’52, the late Mike Hosty, Class of ’80, and Mary DeGroot-Gonzalez, Class of ’97, along with the entire 1954 St. Benedict's NAIA National Championship team. The induction ceremony is set for Saturday 6:45 p.m. in the College Café. Cocktails and dinner precede the ceremony.  Tickets are $30 each and registration is available online through the college’s website or by contacting Sue Durkin at 913/360-7401.

“For the first time, we are inducting an entire team into the Hall of Fame,” said Stephen D. Minnis, president of Benedictine College.  “Along with three other very deserving individuals, the 1954 men’s basketball team will be honored, and many of those players will be here on campus for the event.  It will be great to remember those glory days with them.”

The 1953-54 basketball season started the same as any other, high hopes, and questions after losing the home opener.  Ten successive home victories erased most doubts, and championships in the Central Conference and Kansas small colleges association sent them to Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium for the NAIA National Tournament.  The winner of that 32-team field had to win five games in one week against the best competition in the country.  Old St. Benedict’s did just that, taking the 1954 national championship by defeating East Carolina State, St. Ambrose, Pasadena, Arkansas Tech, and Western Illinois.  And the Ravens had to come from behind in four out of those five contests.

Head coach Ralph Nolan had told them it would take heart to win the tournament, and this group of Ravens proved to have plenty.  The starters included Buddy Lord, Gene Lazzo, Benny Peters, Bill Samuels, and Joe Stueve.  And though only five players start each game, everyone agreed that the strength of the bench was just as important in achieving the outcome.  The supporting cast included Tom Blottman, Harvey Massarand, Dave Moritz, LeRoy Roberts, Jim Scaletty, Joe Stenger, and Joe Teasdale, as well as team manager, Bill Agnew and student SID Bob Slater.

These players, led by hall-of-fame coach Nolan and assistant coach Ivan Schottel, put everything they had out on the court and brought to Atchison and St. Benedict’s College its first national championship.  They made the dream come true.

John Schmiedeler has been a prime example of the Benedictine spirit throughout his life.  As a player, coach, father, and grandfather he has demonstrated the Benedictine values of work and prayer and he has enjoyed success.  He came to St. Benedict’s in 1948 as a “sharpshooting” forward and paved the way of success for a team that would win a national championship just two years after he graduated.  He earned the “sharpshooter” name each year he played, hitting 50% from the field his senior year and helping the team finish fifth in scoring in the nation that year.

John went on to earn a Master’s degree in education administration from DePaul University in Chicago and taught and coached at the high school level for 13 years.  He also served from 1958 - 1965 as the manager of the visiting team clubhouse for the Kansas City Athletics baseball team at old Municipal Stadium.  He described that as the “very best summer job” he ever had.  In 1965 he joined St. Mary of the Plains College in Dodge City, Kansas, as athletic director and head basketball coach.  In addition to finding success on the court, his record was 75-38 over five seasons, he also prepared the college for entrance into the Kansas College Athletic Conference.  He had players drafted by the Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons, and Cleveland Cavaliers and one of his stars, Don Dee, played on the U.S. Olympic team in 1968.  John left St. Mary in 1970 to go to Israel to coach the Israeli National Basketball Team as they prepared for the Olympics.

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) honored John with the Frank Cramer Award in 1993.  The award recognizes longtime dedication to the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.  John and his wife, Rosemary, have seven grown daughters and currently live in Westwood, Kansas.

Mike Hosty was known as an outstanding natural athlete from childhood.  He played football and ran track in high school and was also a phenomenal swimmer and diver.  He came to Benedictine College his sophomore year and proceeded to rack up record after record for offensive production as a wide receiver.  In just three years, he rose to #1 on the Raven career receiving list with an average of 20.95 yards per catch.  He also holds the Benedictine record for most receptions in a game (10), most receiving yards in a game (182), most touchdown receptions in a game (3) and most receiving yards in a single season (585).  On top of that, he holds a record that still stands as the longest pass play in college football.  In 1978 he caught a pass from quarterback Paul Durkin in a game against Colorado College that ended up in the end zone 99 yards away.

Mike graduated in 1980 with a degree in accounting and went to work in the business world, eventually serving as a managing consultant for the CPA firm BKD, LLP.  He earned a Master’s in Business Administration from Rockhurst University in 1991.  Mike married Debbie Carr in 1987 and they had two children, Elise and Connor.  He always looked upon sports as a “character builder” and continued to coach football, soccer and baseball teams for his two children.  He was a quiet leader and role model while on the Raven football squad and his family attests to the fact that he continued to be a quiet leader, role model and positive influence throughout his life.  He passed away in March 2010 at the age of 52.

Mary DeGroot came to Benedictine College in 1993 as a shooting guard at a time when the women’s basketball program was struggling.  In her freshman year, the team went 0-25.  But Mary did not give up on the team, she persevered and used her skills and leadership ability to help.  In the 1994-95 season the team went 11-20, showing some improvement.  The next year they were 16-15, with Mary leading the team in rebounding and contributing over 13 points per game.  Completing the spectacular turn-around in just four years, the Lady Ravens went 26-6 during her senior year and made it to the national tournament.  

Mary scored 501 points that season, putting her at number 4 on the all-time single season scoring list.  She also hit over 44% of her 3-point shots that year, which is in the top-10 all time.  Mary is No. 4 in career scoring, tallying 1,402 points in her four years.  She is also fifth in all-time rebounding, with 772 in her career.  She was a two-time first Team All-Conference player and was selected as a third Team All-American her senior year.

After Benedictine, Mary graduated from the William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine in 2001, and completed her surgical residency training at the Philadelphia Veteran’s Hospital and Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago.  During her time in medical school, she volunteered as a basketball coach for a youth league at the Christian Youth Center.  While on a two-week winter break, she also took time to donate a kidney to her father who suffered from a genetic kidney disorder.    

Upon graduation from medical school, she joined a partnership in Chicago.  In 2007 she opened her own private practice, the Degroot Foot and Ankle Clinic, in her hometown of New Lenox, IL, outside of Chicago.  She is enjoying serving the community in which she was born and raised.  She is a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association, Illinois Podiatric Medical Association, and the American Board of Podiatric Surgery.  Mary is very family-oriented and blessed to have her parents and all five of her siblings and their families living nearby.  She loves spending time keeping up with her 12 nieces and nephews and their various activities.  Mary and her husband, Joe Gonzalez, are active members at their church, Harvest Baptist Church in Oswego, IL.  They live nearby in Yorkville, IL.