HOUGHTON – Seven individuals will be inducted into the Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame on October 12. Former football players Joe Berger and Jim Peters, former hockey players Steve Coates and Kip Noble, former men’s basketball player Mike Kissman, former Nordic skier Kristina Owen, and former sports information director Dennis Hanks will all be honored.
Joe Berger, a 13-year NFL veteran, donned a Michigan Tech uniform from 2001-04. He racked up a number of accolades his final two seasons, including being named a First Team All-American, Second Team All-American, Third Team All-American, and CoSIDA First Team Academic All-American. He was also twice named the GLIAC Offensive Lineman of the Year and twice an All-GLIAC First Team selection.
The Huskies went to the NCAA Playoffs for the first time ever after finishing as GLIAC Co-Champions in 2004 and played against Grand Valley at Michigan Stadium in the “Bash at the Big House.” Berger was also a four-time GLIAC All-Academic, twice Tech’s offensive lineman of the year, and received the Bill Hauser Memorial Award as the top spring player and the Harold Meese Sportsmanship Award recipient.
The Newaygo, Michigan native was picked in the sixth round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers and appeared in 145 career games with the Carolina Panthers (2005), Miami Dolphins (2005-06), Dallas Cowboys (2006-08), Miami Dolphins (2009-10), and Minnesota Vikings (2011-17). He retired this offseason, making his final NFL appearance in the NFC Championship Game.
Steve Coates played 100 games for the Huskies from 1969-73. He scored 25 goals and had 29 assists in his career for the Black and Gold. He received the Norbert Matovich Memorial Award in 1970 as Tech’s top outstanding freshman and then the Raymond L. Smith Award as the outstanding senior student-athlete. The 5-foot-9 enforcer played pro hockey from 1972-80. He appeared in 467 games as a minor leaguer in the IHL, AHL, and CHL, plus five NHL games (one goal, two fights) for the 1976-77 Detroit Red Wings.
Coates, a native of Toronto, is the color commentator on the radio for the Philadelphia Flyers who he has been with since 1980. He served in a TV role with the Flyers from 1999-2014 as a color commentator and between-the-benches reporter before returning to the radio booth. Coates won a pair of Mid-Atlantic Emmy awards in 2000 and 2004 for Best Live Sports Coverage Series.
Dennis Hanks was Michigan Tech’s Sports Information Director from 1969-84, coming from Eastern Michigan University.
Hanks served as the color commentator for hockey radio broadcasts, working with Glen Weller for his first two seasons and continuing with Bob Olson after WMPL took over.
During his tenure, Tech was the first school to distribute hockey depth charts to the press box media and the first to display game notes on a screen hanging in front of the press box. Hanks also worked with WCHA statistician Ralph Turtinen to introduce the save percentage statistic for goalies, which is used throughout the hockey world now.
Hanks served on the first-ever Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame Council and received Michigan Tech’s Clair M. Donovan Award for outstanding service to the University in 1982.
Mike Kissman was a basketball player from 1993-98 and currently ranks 14th on the career scoring list with 1,446 points. He is also 11th on the career field goal percentage list after shooting 50.3 percent. Throughout his career, Kissman appeared in 107 career games and averaged 13.5 points per contest. The Huskies won nearly 60 percent of their games during that time.
The native of Eaton Rapids, Michigan led the Huskies in rebounding (5.5 per game) in 1997-98, serving as a co-captain on a team that won its first GLIAC Championship and appeared in the NCAA Tournament. He was named All-GLIAC Honorable Mention in 1995-96 after putting up 14 points per game and a team-leading 6.6 rebounds per game and was named to the GLIAC All-Tournament Team in 1996 and 1998.
Kissman led the team in both free throw percentage (74.5) and field goal percentage (54.0) during his sophomore campaign and put up a career-best 17.9 points per game while being an All-GLIAC Honorable Mention. He received the Bob Olson Award as the outstanding newcomer after his freshman year.
Kissman is a member of the Michigan Tech Basketball Advisory Council and has been a contributor to the team since graduation, inducing helping fund locker room upgrades and the John Haivala Wall of Fame.
Kip Noble is the highest-scoring defenseman in Michigan Tech history with 123 points in 156 games. He played from 1986-90 and was a Second Team All-American and WCHA First Team selection as a senior when he led the Huskies in scoring. He was a three-time recipient of the Bobby Gitzen-Dick Loutit Award as the team’s most outstanding defenseman and the Merv Youngs team MVP award. Noble was also a two-time All-WCHA Honorable Mention pick. He holds Tech records for career goals by a defenseman (36), career assists by a defenseman (87), goals in a season (1989-90) by a defenseman (17), and points in a season (1989-90) by a defenseman (50). Noble had 35 (9G-26A) points as a sophomore, 30 (8G-22A) as a junior, and 50 (17G-33A) as a senior.
Noble played 11 years of professional hockey with 10 in Europe. He also won a pair of Allan Cups given to the national senior amateur men’s ice hockey champions of Canada. Noble is currently the head coach of the Elite 15 team at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, British Columbia.
Kristina Owen starred in Nordic skiing, cross country, and track and field from 2003-07, earning all-conference honors in all three sports. She was the first-ever Nordic skier to secure All-American honors in three consecutive seasons after finishing seventh in the classic in 2005, ninth in the 5K classic in 2006, and eighth in the 15K classic in 2007. Owen was a three-time team captain, three-time team MVP, and earned All-Region and All-CCSA honors. She was also named to the to National Ski Coaches Association All-Academic Team in 2005-06.
The native of East Wenatchee, Washington qualified for the 2006 NCAA Cross Country Championships a year after missing the 2005 season to train for the US Olympic Nordic Skiing Trials. She was also All-GLIAC in cross country in 2003 and All-GLIAC in track and field after a third-place finish in the 10,000-meter run at the conference championship meet. Owen received the Raymond L. Smith Award in 2007 as the outstanding senior student-athlete.
Jim Peters was a four-year member of the football team from 1954-58 and two-time team captain. He led the Huskies in rushing and scoring in his final three seasons. Peters was named Honorable Mention All-Michigan as a senior after totaling 322 yards on the ground on 70 carries, 196 yards through the air on 13 catches, and scoring four receiving touchdowns while adding a pair of extra points.
In 1956, he led the ground game with 69 rushes for 345 yards and finished second in receiving yards with 129 on five catches. Peters also piled up seven touchdowns while playing on the other side of the ball as the top defensive halfback. He received the Alan Bovard Award as the team MVP after 1955 when he led the Black and Gold with 405 rushing yards on 67 carries while scoring four touchdowns. Peters was also a member of the men’s basketball program for a season and a half, once scoring 30 points on the JV team against Northern Michigan.
Jim’s daughter Jodi Peters (Maley) was a four-time MVP from 1979-83 on the women’s basketball team. She was inducted into the Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.