Bob Bradovich, Seth Hoyer, Derrick Swanigan and Nancy Lovaas are slated to receive special awards at the Blugold Hall of Fame banquet Friday night.
Bob Bradovich, the sports director at WQOW TV 18, will receive the Jim Mueller Blugold Spirit Award. Seth Hoyer, assistant track and field coach at UWEC, will receive the Joe Merten Coaching Award. Derrick Swanigan, director of football operations and player development at UWEC, will receive the Ade & Margaret Olson Coaching Award. Former Blugold volleyball player Nancy (Tietz) Lovaas will receive the Sandy Schumacher Courage Award.
The Jim Mueller Blugold Spirit Award, named in honor of its first recipient, recognizes a non-staff individual for long-term support of the Blugold athletics program. The recipient must have demonstrated exemplary interest in and concern for Blugold student-athletes and coaches. Their pride and spirit as a friend and ambassador of the Blugold program epitomizes the true meaning of a Blugold.
The Joe Merten and Ade & Margaret Olson Coaching Awards are cash stipends available to any part-time assistant coach, graduate assistant or community coach in any sport in the Blugold sports module. Nominated by their head coach and selected by a vote of Blugold head coaches, the recipient must “demonstrate a deep commitment to the student athletes and embody a passion for lifelong learning and a ‘love of the game’.” Joe Merten was a Blugold basketball Hall of Famer who died in 2008. Ade Olson was a Blugold athlete and coach and a charter member of the Blugold Hall of Fame in 1973.
The Sandy Schumacher Courage Award is presented to a female Blugold student-athlete or alumna who, when confronted with a life-altering situation, used perseverance, dedication and determination to overcome the event. Schumacher, who was inducted into the Blugold Hall of Fame in 1995 as a pioneer of Blugold sports and the Wisconsin Women’s Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, battled cancer for more than two decades but lost her battle in 2011.
Bradovich has been covering Blugold sports since he joined the local ABC affiliate in 1996. He is a regular fixture at Blugold home events, shooting action footage of every team, in addition to doing preview and post-game interviews with players and coaches. His station and sister station WXOW in La Crosse annually televise the Blugold-La Crosse football game live. Among his many awards as a sports broadcaster, the Minnesota native was a recipient of the 2005-06 Tom Butler Award, given annually by the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for outstanding coverage of WIAC athletics.
Hoyer is in his 10th year as an assistant track and field sprints coach. The Ellsworth native was a quarter miler on the Blugold track team. Upon completion of his collegiate eligibility, Hoyer was immediately hired as a student assistant and after he received his degree in sport pedagogy as an assistant coach. He has specialized in working with women sprinters including national 400-meter champ Liz Kooistra and five-time national champ Carly Fehler. The Blugold women sprinters have broken every sprint and sprint relay school record during Hoyer’s tenure with the team. That includes six individual and four relay records. For the past eight years, Hoyer has been working for the Eau Claire School District’s Head Start/EC4T program. In the district’s Prairie Ridge Early Learning School, he serves as a Teacher’s assistant, Date with Dad facilitator and coach for the Young Athletes program.
Swanigan is in his third year with the Blugold football program after coaching stints at Thornton Township High School in Illinois, Eau Claire Memorial High School and with the Eau Claire Crush. The Thornton, Illinois native was an offensive and defensive lineman at William Penn University and Eastern Michigan University where he was a psychology major and communications minor. Blugold head coach Todd Glaser pointed out that Swanigan’s strengths are “his communication skills with players, staff and alumni.” He also said that at the basis of his professionalism is “his great work ethic.” He said that Swanigan “is able to create a positive environment when working with a group of people through his caring and energetic personality.”
Nancy Lovaas, who was Nancy Tietz as a Blugold volleyball player in 1992 and 1993, found out during spring break of 1994 that she had leukemia. After learning of her diagnosis, Lovaas knew it wasn’t a matter of “if” she got back to UWEC to resume her studies, but “when.” She quickly took on an attitude of ”let’s beat this thing,” undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and an autologous bone marrow transplant. Lovaas credits her strong faith, her parents, her husband Brett, a positive attitude along with a sense of humor and her Blugold volleyball family with helping her through the ordeal. Although there have been some side effects from the chemo and full body radiation, the leukemia has not returned after 21 years. Lovaas is currently a wife, mother, a pediatric physical therapy assistant and a certified personal trainer. She has been very active in her church and has shared experiences with her son on church mission trips to an orphanage in Mexico. She is also active in helping coordinate a few of the Twin Cities kids fundraising triathlons.
The Hall of Fame banquet will take place Friday evening in the Dakota Ballroom of the W. R. Davies Center with a social at 4:30 p.m., dinner at 5:30 p.m. and banquet at 6:30 p.m. Coralie Lockner Beckman, Molly Cope Breunig, Jess Cole, Gary Paulson and Brian Krueger will be inducted into the Blugold Hall of Fame during the ceremonies.