The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga inducted five new members into the Athletics Hall of Fame Friday night at the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club. Those honored were Mary Jane Middelkoop, April Miller Raschke, Keith Nelson, Curtis Rouse and Mike Royster.
MARY JANE MIDDELKOOP
CROSS COUNTRY AND TRACK, 1994-97
Mary Jane Middelkoop is one of the most decorated female student-athletes in UTC athletics history.
An outstanding distance runner, Middelkoop was selected as the 1997 Southern Conference Female Athlete of the Year.
She won nine conference distance championships in indoor and outdoor track. Among her conference titles are the outdoor 5000 meter run in 1995, 1996 and 1997, the indoor 5000 in 1996 and 1997, the outdoor 3000 in 1995 and 1996, the indoor 3000 in 1995 and the distance medley relay indoors in 1995.
She placed among the top eight in all four of the Southern Conference Cross Country Championships in which she competed, including a third-place finish as a freshman in 1994.
A member of the school record-holding indoor 4x800 and 4x1600 relay teams, Middelkoop was named the SoCon Cross Country Freshman of the Year and the SoCon Women’s Indoor Freshman of the Year. She was the school’s nominee for the NCAA Female of the Year in 1997 and earned a spot on the GTE Academic All-District IV At-Large Team.
Middelkoop was a Dean’s List student every semester, elected to Alpha Society and graduated Magna Cum Laude. In 1997 she was awarded the UTC A. C. “Scrappy” Moore Award and the Dorothy Hicks graduate scholarship from the Southern Conference.
APRIL MILLER RASCHKE
Miller is the first in a long line of outstanding softball players for this relatively young sport at UTC.
A member of the first team fielded at the school in 1994, Miller excelled at the plate and on the pitcher’s mound. She earned All-Southern Conference accolades as a sophomore for her play at first base and was voted the Conference Tournament’s Most Valuable Player as a pitcher in her senior season.
Miller, who pitched back-to-back no-hitters in a doubleheader in 1995, set the school single-season record for wins with 27, most games started as a pitcher (44), most complete games (30) and most innings pitched (279.2). She also holds the career pitching record for complete games (62), ranks fourth in career strikeouts (287), appearances (93) and innings pitched (548.2) and fifth in shutouts (15). She boasts a career earned run average of 1.65.
Offensively, as a sophomore, Miller sported a .358 batting average. She compiled 43 hits, 24 RBI, five triples, five home runs, 73 total bases and a .608 slugging percentage.
MEN’S BASKETBALL, 1990-92
Although playing for the Mocs for just two seasons, Keith Nelson reached the 1,000-point plateau and was one of the program’s dominating players in the early 1990s.
A two-time All-Southern Conference performer in 1991 and 1992, Nelson scored 580 points as a junior and 467 his senior season. His career total of 1,047 points ranks 12th on the school’s career scoring chart.
The Louisville, Ky., native also dominated in the rebounding department. He led the Southern Conference in rebounds both seasons with 264 in 1991 and 259 in 1992.
Nelson ranks among the top five in five career categories at UTC including first in rebounds per game (9.2), second in scoring average (18.4) and free throw attempts (471) and fourth in rebounds (523) and made free throws (311).
He stands among the top five in six season record lists including first in rebound average (9.3) and free throw shots (263), second in free throws made (168), third in points (580) and rebounds (264) and fourth in points per game (20.0).
Nelson earned Second-Team All-SoCon Tournament honors in 1991 and was voted the team’s Most Valuable Player in 1992.
Curtis Rouse was one of the greatest offensive linemen to ever play football for the Mocs.
Rouse was a member of the 1979 Southern Conference Championship Team as a sophomore. He was part of a three-year run for the Mocs where the team compiled an impressive 24-8 overall record from 1979-81.
Nicknamed Boo Boo during his playing career, the 300-pound lineman was versatile enough to excel at downfield and pass blocking. He earned All-Southern Conference accolades as a senior and was selected to participate in the prestigious Senior Bowl All-Star Game.
The Augusta, Ga., native’s talents were recognized by the National Football League, and he was an 11th-round draft choice by the Minnesota Vikings following his UTC career. He played offensive line for the Vikings from 1982 to 1986 and finished his professional career in 1987 with the San Diego Chargers.
Rouse was elected to the UC/UTC Chattanooga Times Free Press All-Century Football Team in 2003.
ASSISTANT ATHLETICS DIRECTOR FOR FACILITIES
AND EQUIPMENT/EQUIPMENT MANAGER
Mike Royster has served the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and its athletics department for 30 years. He was appointed Equipment Manager and Assistant Athletic Director for Facilities and Equipment in January of 2000. He was Assistant Athletic Director for Facilities and Equipment from 1997-2000 while working as Director of Athletic Equipment the 23 years prior.
Royster’s current responsibilities include overseeing the equipment purchases and inventory of UTC’s 16 intercollegiate athletic programs as well as the repair and maintenance of athletic equipment. He also coordinates travel for the football and men’s basketball teams.
In his role as Assistant Athletic Director, he directs the many facets of gameday management for all UTC sports, including game administration, game officials, promotional event coordination and facilities scheduling and use. He also represents the Athletics Department on the university-wide Facilities Use Committee and the Exempt Staff Council. He also serves as director of UTC’s annual Dr Pepper Classic basketball tournament.