Skip Navigation

Text Only/ Printer-Friendly

1969 Hall of Honor

Thomas Emmer Mills
Of the Class of 1905

The name of “Tommy” Mills is synonymous with athletic greatness at Beloit College.  A home-grown product, he captained and performed exceptionally as infielder on baseball teams which defeated Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Purdue and Northwestern and as football quarterback.  Possessing theatrical and oratorical talent, he turned to the stage after graduation, but soon found greater pleasure in working with young athletes.  Beloit noted his success in high school and at Creighton University and in 1920 summoned him as athletic director and football, basketball and baseball coach.  His six-year tenure is heralded as Beloit’s “second golden age of athletics”; it produced two championships in football and three in basketball, including two undefeated seasons.  He also continued the “Teddy” Wright tradition by directing a Greek play.  Mills’ decision in 1926 to become Knute Rockne’s assistant at Notre Dame shocked the campus, and students paraded to his home in hopes of changing his mind.  Later, after coaching at Georgetown and Arkansas State, plus doing national radio sportscasting, he returned to Notre Dame to teach speech and to direct Rockne Memorial Field House.  A man of strong convictions, deep loyalties and broad interests, Tommy Mills has remained a College hero and idol long after his death in 1944.

John Michael Orr
Of The Class of 1949

"Johnny" Orr came to Beloit with an impressive basketball and football reputation.  He led Taylorville High School to 45 consecutive victories in 1943-44, as the team became Illinois’ first undefeated basketball champion.  After a year at Illinois, where he won Big Ten honors in both sports, Orr entered the Marine Corps.  He rejoined Dolph Stanley, his high school coach, in 1946 and helped trigger Beloit’s rise to national basketball prominence.  Named most valuable player three successive years, he was a three-time All Midwest conference and a two-time All NAIB choice.  His 1,347 points rank him as Beloit’s second all-time scorer.  In addition to excelling in basketball, he won two football letters.  Following graduation, Orr played professional basketball with the St. Louis Bombers and Waterloo Hawks.  But he soon turned his talents to high school coaching and immediately realized great success.  In 1959, former teammate John Erickson appointed him assistant coach at Wisconsin.  Four years later, Massachusetts selected him as head basketball coach, and his teams posted a winning record over three seasons.  Off left coaching in 1966 to become an insurance executive, but returned a year later as an assistant at Michigan.  He was named the Wolverines’ head coach in 1968.