Jefferson College Athletics 2012 Hall of Fame Class Announced
December 17, 2012
The Jefferson College Athletics Hall of Fame Selection Committee is pleased to announce three inductees as the Athletics Hall of Fame class of 2012: Rita Fischer-Bauman (Volleyball, 1986-1988), Willie Lee (Men’s Basketball, 1966-1967) and Men’s Soccer National Champion Team (2006).
Rita Fischer-Bauman, volleyball team member from 1986-1988, was awarded nearly every accolade possible in the 1987 volleyball season by being named MCCAC First Team All-Conference, NJCAA First Team All-Region XVI, NJCAA All-District, NJCAA All-American, AVCA All-American and All-Tournament for the 1987 NJCAA National Tournament. In her sophomore season, she helped lead the Vikings to a 45-15 overall record, an MCCAC conference title, a Region XVI title and a runner-up finish in the NJCAA National Championship game. At one point in the national title game, she received a standing ovation for a play she made to save a ball for her team.
Rita also holds the Jefferson College volleyball record for the most digs in a single season with 783. Rita’s Jefferson College academic performance was also outstanding. She earned NJCAA Academic All American status by maintaining a 3.95 cumulative GPA. Upon completing her athletic eligibility at Jefferson College, Fischer attended Central Missouri State University where she continued her collegiate volleyball career on an athletic scholarship. As a 1986 Ste. Genevieve High School graduate, Rita was recruited by Jefferson College Hall of Fame volleyball coach Jo Ellen Stringer. While attending Jefferson Rita was faithfully supported by her parents Mary and the late Glennon Fischer who were said to rarely miss a Viking Volleyball match. Today, she offers the same loyal support she received from her family by coaching her daughters’ Tess and Rachael volleyball teams. Professionally, Rita is employed by Prairie State Generating Company in Marissa, Illinois, as a Human Resources Manager and she, her husband Greg, and two daughters, currently reside in Ste. Genevieve.
Willie Lee was the first minority athlete to receive an athletics scholarship to attend Jefferson College when he played on the 1966-67 men’s basketball team. Prior to attending Jefferson College, he received a basketball scholarship to the University of Missouri for the 1964-65 season. Willie transferred to Jefferson College the following year, but did not participate as a Jefferson College athlete until the 1966-67 basketball season. He was one of the leading scorers and rebounders on a Jefferson College basketball team that won 20 games, and, during the 1966-67 season, was named MVP of the Mineral Area Invitational Basketball Tournament where Jefferson defeated Mineral Area College and broke a 12 game MAC win streak. Upon completing his sophomore year at Jefferson, Willie transferred to McNeese State University where he was the first minority basketball squad member and was an outstanding player on highly successful teams.
Willie’s basketball skill development at the University of Missouri, Jefferson College and McNeese State earned him several professional basketball tryout opportunities which resulted in him being
drafted by the Denver Rockets of the ABA where he attended Rookie Camp in 1969. Immediately following rookie camp with the Denver Rockets, he was drafted again--by the U.S. Army. Willie served in the Army until his discharge in 1971. After completing his military service in 1971, he was invited to the Los Angeles Lakers training camp but did not make the team. Instead, he caught the eye of other professional scouts and was invited to the training camp of the ABA’s Miami Floridians where he was seen by an overseas scout and was offered a professional basketball playing contract with the Sporting Club in Lemans, France. Willie accepted the Sporting Club contract and played professional basketball from 1971-1975, earning an impressive salary. Willie’s professional basketball career was followed by employment with the Continental Oil Company, where he worked in the daily operation of the company as well as being a team member on the company travelling basketball squad.
Willie and his wife of 44 years, Barbara, have made their home in Oberlin, Louisiana, and are the proud parents of two sons, one daughter and also have two grandchildren.
In the second year of Jefferson College’s men’s soccer program, the 2006 team claimed the Men’s Division I Soccer crown by winning the title game of the NJCAA National Tournament. The 2006 Viking soccer team, which carried a roster of 27 players, finished their season with a 21-3-2 overall record and is the only Jefferson College athletics team to ever win a national title.
The trek to the 2006 NJCAA National Title began when the Vikings captured a 4-1 semi-final win over East Central College and a 6-1 final win over St. Louis Community College-Forest Park to claim the NJCAA Region XVI title. Those wins allowed Jefferson to advance to the NJCAA Central District where they defeated Coffeyville Community College, Coffeyville, KS, 6-0 in the first play-off game and Laramie County Community College, Laramie, WY, 4-2, in the final game of the district play-off.
In the first round of the 2006 NJCAA Men’s Division I Soccer National Tournament held at Tyler Junior College, Tyler, TX, Jefferson faced Illinois Central College, East Peoria, IL, an opponent the Vikings had defeated 1-0 in a regular season game. Two goals by Hassan Ibrahim and a single goal by Claudio Dantas gave the Vikings their first round, 3-1 victory over Illinois Central.
In the semi-final round, thanks to a goal by Claudio Dantas, the Vikings were able to defeat College of DuPage 1-0, moving the team into the national title game after playing its second, full season of intercollegiate soccer.
In the national title game, one goal by Judner Joseph and another by Rhamon Silva, provided the scoring needed to defeat Mercer County Community College, Trenton, NJ, 2-1 in an overtime thriller. At the award ceremony after the national title game Jefferson College head coach Steve Peck was named 2006 NJCAA Tournament Coach of the Year and NJCAA All-American Claudio Dantas was named as the tournament Most Valuable Player while Judner Joseph and Hassan Ibrahim were each named to the All-Tournament team.