Four to Be Inducted into McKendree University Sports Hall of Fame
Ceremony Set for Oct. 22
Lebanon, Ill. —The McKendree University Sports Hall of Fame will welcome four new members during induction ceremonies that will be held on Saturday, Oct. 22. The Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place at the Regency Conference Center in O’Fallon.
The members of the Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2011 include Hank Feldt, Class of 1959; John Batson, Class of 1988; Jamie Dienell, Class of 2004 and the late Cory Wilson, Class of 2005. The McKendree University Sports Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who, through leadership and character, have made exceptional contributions to the honor and prestige of the University. Honorees can be inducted in one of three categories: former athletes, former coaches, and alumni coaches/sports professionals.
Hank Feldt is being honored as an alumni coach/sports professional. In a career that has spanned six decades, Feldt has coached seven different sports at Lebanon, both at the junior high and high school levels. Combining his knowledge of each sport, a simple philosophy combining hard work and attention to detail, and the uncanny ability to develop talented athletes, Feldt has enjoyed success with all of those programs. At Lebanon High School, he posted 174 victories in his 12 years as the boys’ basketball coach, then added 72 wins in four years at the helm of the Greyhounds’ baseball program. Feldt also started the LHS cross country/track and field programs and tennis squads during the late 1960s, producing successful teams in the process. Most notably during this stretch, Feldt helped develop Craig Virgin as a five-time state champion for the Greyhounds in cross country and track. Lebanon teams captured numerous conference and district championships under Feldt’s guidance.
Not limiting his success to boys’ sports at Lebanon, Feldt has also coached girls’ basketball and softball at the high school level. His most recent accomplishments have come with the Lady Greyhound softball program, which he has coached since 1989. Feldt has led Lebanon to 355 victories during that time, along with eight regional titles, five sectional championships and six appearances at the Illinois High School Association State Championships. Lebanon posted Class A state runner-up finishes in 1997 and 2010, along with a fourth-place showing in 2008.
Feldt, who hails from nearby Mascoutah, Ill., also brought his coaching success to the junior high level at Lebanon, starting early in his career with the boy’s baseball and basketball squads, and more recently with the girls’ softball program. In 2007, Feldt led Lebanon to a Southern Illinois Junior High School Athletic Association Class M state championship.
The remaining three inductees for this year will be honored in the former athlete category. John Batson, from Chicago, distinguished himself as a leader both on and off the court for the McKendree men’s basketball program. A four-year varsity performer, Batson was a three-year starter at point guard for the Bearcats during their initial rise to NAIA national prominence. His offensive and defensive skills played a hand in 92 victories during this four-year span. Batson scored 1,211 career points, becoming a member of the Bearcats’ 1,000-Point Club. Batson’s knack for finding the open player on the floor enabled him to lead the team in assists throughout his playing days. He also proved his skills as a tenacious defender and playmaker for the Bearcats.
As a senior, Batson was a starter on a McKendree team that led the NAIA in scoring at better than 105 points per contest. That year, he earned honorable mention All-District 20 honors. Batson completed requirements for a bachelor’s degree in 1988. Among his most successful post-McKendree ventures is the founding of the First Step Youth Foundation, a not-for-profit basketball, mentoring and tutoring organization in the greater Chicago area.
In just two years as a student-athlete, Jamie Dienell helped lay the foundation for the McKendree women’s soccer teams that dominated American Midwest Conference play in the first decade of the 21st century. Anchoring the midfield for the Bearcats in the 2001 and 2002 seasons, the St. Louis native earned NAIA honorable mention All-America honors in both years. She was a first-team honoree in the American Midwest Conference and NAIA Region V as a junior and senior. In addition, Dienell was selected as the AMC Newcomer of the Year following her junior season of 2001 after helping McKendree claim the AMC regular-season championship.
Statistically, Dienell was among the first to rewrite the McKendree women’s soccer record book. She established a team record with 13 assists during the 2001 campaign. In 2002 Dienell topped her own record with 17 assists, a mark that still stands atop the McKendree record book. Her 30 career assists rank second all-time for the Bearcats’ program, and is the highest career total for a two-year player. Dienell also netted 19 goals in two seasons at McKendree, including 11 as a senior. She finished second on the squad in scoring both seasons. Dienell scored 39 points as a senior in 2002, which ranks fifth in program history.
Following her playing days, Jamie has continued to contribute to the McKendree women’s soccer program as an assistant coach. At the time of induction, Jamie was on a staff that helped guide the Bearcats to five AMC regular-season championships, two AMC Tournament titles, a pair of NAIA Region V crowns and five appearances at the NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championships. Jamie earned her bachelor’s degree from McKendree in 2004 and went on to complete requirements for her Master’s degree from McKendree in 2009.
From the time he recorded six tackles in his first collegiate game as a freshman at Drake University in 2000 through his final career contest – a 15-tackle performance at Carroll College in 2003 – Cory Wilson figured prominently into the defensive scheme of the McKendree football team. First as a defensive lineman and then as a linebacker for the Bearcats, A native of Collinsville, Ill., Wilson was a starter on four teams that reached the NAIA post-season and posted a total of 34 victories. He was the anchor of a defensive unit that led McKendree to its only NAIA Football Championship Series semifinal round appearance and a school-record 11 victories in 2002.
Wilson led McKendree in tackles in each of his final two seasons, posting 94 stops as a junior in 2002 before setting a team record with 98 tackles in his 2003 senior campaign, a mark that still stands today. In addition to the season tackles record, Wilson set a team mark with 21 tackles in a 2003 game against Saint Xavier University. He is also tied atop the McKendree career list with two blocked kicks.
For his career, Cory registered 238 total tackles, which sits in third place on the Bearcats’ all-time list. He was named as an NAIA second-team All-America selection following the 2003 season. Wilson is one of just two McKendree linebackers to receive NAIA All-America honors. He was also a two-time All-Conference honoree in the Mid-States Football Association-Midwest League, earning first-team accolades in 2003 and second-team mention in 2002.
Before finishing his bachelor’s degree at McKendree in 2004, Wilson served as a student coach on the Bearcats’ staff. He was also a volunteer coach for his alma mater at Collinsville High School. Wilson’s life was tragically cut short at the age of 27 in January 2010 in a workplace shooting. However, his memory continues to live on in the Cory Wilson Scholarship Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that was founded shortly after his death.
The induction of the Class of 2011 brings the total number of members in the McKendree University Sports Hall of Fame to 96.