Three star athletes who went on to careers of distinction in collegiate teaching and coaching are the newest inductees in the Central College Athletics Hall of Honor.
Initiated in 2002, the hall expanded to 39 members with the induction of football fullback Rich Kacmarynski ’92 (left), women’s tennis competitor Shannan Mattiace ’90 (right) and football and track and field standout Kevin Sanger ’93 (top). They were honored as part of Central’s homecoming festivities Sept. 30-Oct. 1.
Central’s hall of honor is intended to recognize those who were exceptional performers in the athletics arena as student-athletes, coaches or administrators and who have distinguished themselves in life after graduation through service and leadership. To be eligible for consideration, a nominee must have graduated or served as a Central coach/administrator at least 15 years earlier.
Selections are made each spring by a committee that includes former Dutch athletes from each of the past four decades. This year’s chair is Kyle Nelson ’91.
Nominations can be submitted to athletics director Al Dorenkamp.
Plaques recognizing each of the 39 honorees are on display in the Schipper Fitness Center lobby.
Shannan Mattiace ’90
Able to combine a love for tennis and a passion for international study, Mattiace excelled at both before graduating with honors in 1990. She was a four-time Iowa Conference placewinner. Only once did she finish lower than third in the league in singles or doubles, and she captured the No. 2 singles title in 1989, as well as the No. 1 doubles crown in 1988. She was a two-time De Haan Award winner as team MVP and served as team captain in 1989.
Also active on campus, Mattiace was named to the first-ever USA Today All-Academic team, which was based solely on distinction gained in the classroom. She was awarded Central’s Julia Van Houweling Scholarship Medal and the John Allen Writing Award before being named a Fulbright Scholar, returning to study in Chiapas, Mexico, in 1995-96. She then spent a year as a visiting fellow at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at UC San Diego, and taught at Bates College (Maine).
After earning master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Texas at Austin, Mattiace joined the faculty at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., in 1996 and is an associate professor of political science.
She spent another semester in Mexico in 2004 after being named a Rockefeller Foundation Resident Fellow in the Humanities at the Centro Regional de Investigaciones Multidisciplinarias. She has authored and co-authored numerous books, book chapters, book reviews and journal articles.
Ardently committed to the student-athlete ideal, Kacmarynski earned distinction at Central as both a football player and a coach.
A 1992 honors graduate of Central, he also earned a master’s degree at Iowa State University. A first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American and NCAA postgraduate scholar, Kacmarynski was the 1991 Iowa Conference MVP as a fullback. He rushed for 2,725 career yards and 37 touchdowns while helping Central gain three NCAA playoff berths.
Kacmarynski was a three-time all-Iowa Conference honoree and Central team co-captain, receiving the school’s O’Donnell Award as most valuable freshman, Mentink Award for leadership and sportsmanship, Lankelma Award as the outstanding underclass player and Heerema-Schilder blanket as team MVP. He was selected as an inaugural member of the NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and served a year as the national chair.
After five years as an assistant at Central, Kacmarynski succeeded his coach, Ron Schipper, compiling a 62-15 (.805) record from 1997-2003, piloting the Dutch to four NCAA playoff berths and four league titles.
A former assistant at Pella Christian High School and at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke, Kacmarynski has served as Pella Christian’s head football coach since 2008, leading the program to its first three state playoff berths.
Football, track and field, coach
Sanger’s tireless efforts helped build a track and field powerhouse at Central. An all-Iowa Conference performer in football and track and field in college, Sanger continued to have an impact in both sports as a coach for 15 years.
Sanger starred at defensive end and helped Central compile a 36-5 record with two league titles and two NCAA playoff berths. Sanger was also a conference placewinner in the shot put and discus, helping the Dutch win three conference men’s track and field crowns.
After earning a master’s degree at Iowa State University, Sanger returned to Central in 1994, serving as assistant men’s and women’s track and field coach for a year before taking over as head men’s coach in 1995. He became head women’s coach as well in 2000 and served as assistant football coach for 15 seasons.
A relentless recruiter, Sanger piloted Central to five conference men’s track titles and was named the league’s coach of the year six times, guiding the Dutch to top-10 national team finishes in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Sanger’s men’s and women’s outdoor squads recorded 11 national top-25 team finishes, with the men reaching third place in 2000 and the women climbing as high as 14th in 2004. His athletes claimed 10 individual NCAA national championships and received All-America recognition more than 90 times.
In 2001, Sanger received a presidential service standard award for his work for the college. After leaving Central he earned his doctoral degree at Iowa State.