NMU HOF Inductee: Ken Godfrey

Courtesy of NMU Athletics

MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University Sports Hall of Fame will induct four new members on Saturday, April 13, 2013 in the Great Lakes Room of the University Center. The dinner and program begins at 6 p.m. and the Sports Hall of Fame ceremony will once again be held in conjunction with the Student-Athlete Awards Banquet.

The first inductee in the class of 2013 is Ken Godfrey. Godfrey spent over 32 years working at NMU. He started as a graduate assistant in 1978 and was the Special Assistant to the President/Athletic Director through May 2011.

Godfrey’s contributions to the Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreational Sports Department and the University can’t be measured by only statistics and wins, but can be seen while attending home Wildcat athletic and regional sports complex events today. The Superior Dome, Vandament Arena and Berry Events Center all opened during Godfrey’s tenure and his leadership and oversight of the facilities developed them into some of the
best facilities in NCAA Division II.

“Ken has been a critical part of NMU athletics from the time he managed all the recreational services to his time as the director of athletics,” said Jack Mauro, a member of the NMU Sports Hall of Fame and All-American football player. “While attending NMU athletic events, Ken’s presence was obvious, both physically and personally. He worked tirelessly for the University, was a dedicated manager who always carried a smile regardless of the circumstances or the external pressure. Recently, we have admired
Ken for everything he gave our athletic program despite a difficult illness. He is a person of commitment and a true fighter.”

Godfrey was hired as the Director of Athletics in June 2003. He hired six active coaches: Matt Granstrand, Walt Kyle, Troy Mattson, Jenny Ryan, Heidi Voigt and Dominic Yoder.

“During his tenure, Ken provided stellar leadership to the entire athletic program,” NMU Sports Hall of Famer and former Special Assistant to the President Tom Peters said. “He brought students, staff and the entire University community together in a commitment to excellence on the field, in the classroom as well as in the community. Ken worked tirelessly to promote the athletic program locally, regionally and nationally. He spent many hours to help raise funds for the support of all of our sports teams.”

In 2009-10, the hockey, women’s basketball and volleyball teams all competed in the NCAA Tournament. The volleyball team qualified for the NCAA Tournament three years in a row (2008-10). The soccer team qualified for its first-ever NCAA Tournament in 2010. The men’s and women’s Nordic ski teams also compete as a full team every year at the NCAA Championship and made history in 2007 when Lindsey Weier, Lindsay Williams and Morgan Smyth finished in the top three in the both the classic and freestyle races.

“Ken remains the most ardent Wildcat fan in existence,” former NMU president Les Wong said. “His mark on NMU and the athletic program will remain a cornerstone of the rich history of the University. He created and integrated a high performing athletic program with the academic and student life found on campus. A rare achievement for anyone involved in college sports.”

NMU received two awards for its Fall Sports Kickoff event held before the first home football game of the season, an idea formulated by Godfrey. In 2008, the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) selected Northern as the inaugural winner of the National Community Engagement Award of Excellence. NMU received the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Community Engagement award in the 2009-10 season for the same event.

“He was responsible for the community engagement national award from the NCAA,” Wong added. “I would add that community engagement by athletics under his direction brought the university closer to Marquette in ways no other department could claim.”

Godfrey led many initiatives during his time at NMU. He served on the GLIAC Executive Committee and Chair of the CCHA Executive Committee. Godfrey was also a member of the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association, Marquette Kiwanis Club, Lake Superior Community Partnership Board of Directors and Recreational Tourism Commission.

Godfrey is a native of Maywood, Ill. Ken and his wife Kathie have two sons, Ken and Keith,and two daughters, Kristine and Kimberly. All four are Northern graduates. Ken and Kathie also have four grandchildren.

Godfrey earned a bachelor’s degree in social science from Illinois State University in 1971 and a master’s degree in recreation from NMU in 1984. Prior to his time at Northern, he was a junior high teacher, coach and school administrator in Maywood.

Godfrey can still be seen watching and cheering for his favorite team, the NMU Wildcats.

Tickets for the evening are $20 for adults and $15 for students. They can be purchased at the NMU Superior Dome Ticket Office or by calling 906-227-1032.