Four extraordinary Beloit athletes named to Hall of Honor
Beloit College is proud to add four former student-athletes to the Hall of Honor. These inductees into the Buccaneers’ Athletic Hall of Honor include Djuvane Browne’04, Casey Nelson’03, Mary Parker’10, and Katie McCool Nichols’08.
Djuvane Browne was as gifted and unique an athlete as there has ever been at Beloit. Those are just some of the accolades Browne received from former coach Brian Bliese. “Djuvane was a special athlete,’’ Bliese said. “Everyone at meets knew when he was competing. He elevated the level of competition – not just for his teammates, but also for those competing against him.”
Browne, a two-time NCAA All-American-Outdoor Track and Field athlete in 2003 and 2004, and three-time Midwest Conference Champion in the High Jump in 2001, 2003, and 2004, was driven to succeed at the national level.
“His skill set was amazing, and yet his style and charisma at meets was off-the-charts intimidating to his competition,” Bliese said of Browne. “The bigger the meet, the more Djuvane showed up. He loved to perform on the biggest stage possible.”
Browne, who graduated in 2004 with a psychology degree, shares the Beloit College record in the indoor high jump with a height of 2.02 meters (6’7.625”) with Scott Schleich’93. During his senior year, Browne finished fifth in the high jump at the national championship (jump of 6’9”). Browne finished fourth at the national meet the previous year.
As a great teammate, Browne had a tremendous appreciation of talent — both of his fellow Beloiters and the athletes competing against him. “He was just an absolute joy to coach,” Bliese remembers. “I wish he was still on my team!”
Bucs baseball player Casey Nelson racked up numerous major awards on the field, earning honors for his bat, his glove, and his arm.
“Casey is one of the most versatile athletes in the history of the Beloit College baseball program,” said coach Dave DeGeorge. “He excelled as a hitter, pitcher, and
defender. His best position on defense was first base, where his play was outstanding. He applied tags like he was hammering a nail. For the good of the team, for one season, Nelson played second base. At 6’3”, he may be the tallest second baseman in league history. Even away from his best position, Nelson earned all-conference recognition,” adds DeGeorge.
Teammates and coaches remember Nelson as a gifted athlete and a true friend off the diamond. “On the field, Casey was a fierce competitor; off the field, he has always been kind, gentle, and sincere,” DeGeorge said.
The California native followed friend Roy Stockton to Beloit. Nelson was a late summer addition to the baseball roster. Lucky for the team, his impact was huge. At the time of his graduation in 2003, Nelson held career marks ranking in the top five all time for batting average (.354), doubles (30), total bases (172), putouts (481), triples (4), home runs (9), runs batted in (67), hit by pitch (18), hits (107), and fielding percentage (.973). In addition, he achieved multiple game and season records, including smashing five hits in a single game and registering 14 strikeouts, while on the mound (both records still stand).
The league coaches held Nelson in high regard, as he was selected First Team All-MWC in 2001, 2002, and 2003. Nelson’s teammates voted him Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2003, Hitter of the Year in 2001 and 2003, and Pitcher of the Year in 2003. Those honors, including a 2003 Team MVP award, acknowledge his unusual versatility and outstanding play.
Katelyn McCool Nichols’08
Katie McCool Nichols, aka “Big Mac,” was an offensive powerhouse on the basketball court and an intimidating blocker in the volleyball arena.
As a four-year starter and letter winner in volleyball, McCool Nichols was a front-row specialist. In 2006, as a junior, she helped the volleyball team win its second Midwest Conference Championship and qualify for its first NCAA Tournament. “She was a talented middle hitter and an awesome blocker, as her records show,” remembers former coach Ken Yasukawa. “She always played with a smile and was good-natured, but also a fierce competitor.”
“Big Mac” earned First Team All-MWC recognition (volleyball) for three consecutive years in 2004, 2005, and 2006. McCool Nichols was one of the best at the net in program history, ranking sixth in the conference record book in career kills and eighth in career blocks.
McCool Nichols set multiple match and season records. Upon graduation, she ranked in the career top five in sets players (492), kills (1477), hitting percentage (.285), block assists (363), and total blocks (549).
On the basketball court, McCool Nichols was named First Team All-MWC in 2007 and Second Team All-MWC in 2008, scoring over 800 points and grabbing more than 450 rebounds while blocking nearly 100 shots during her career. Her basketball records include third in points in a game (31) vs. Dominican in 2007 and third in career blocks (97).
McCool Nichols’ stellar performance on the courts and in the classroom earned her the 2007 Donald “Red” Janssen Award, which honors Beloit’s top female athlete through the junior year. In 2008, McCool Nichols was honored with the Ruth Peterson Award for being Beloit’s top senior female student-athlete.
Mary Parker held influence over her teammates so much that they often asked, “What would Parker do?” when they were challenged on the court.
Parker (affectionately nicknamed “MP-4”) was a four-year starter and letter winner for both the volleyball and basketball teams. She helped lead the volleyball team to the 2010 Midwest Conference Tournament Title and a berth in the NCAA tournament. She garnered First Team All-Midwest Conference honors in 2008 and 2009 and was named second team all league in 2010.
“In volleyball, many excellent players are specialists, playing only in the front row (offense/blocking) or back row (defense), but because of her skill, leadership, and competitive spirit, MP was a player who needed to be on the court at all times, a so-called six-rotation player,” remembers former coach Ken Yasukawa.
Parker did not play volleyball in her first year at Beloit College but was able to earn four letters in the sport because she was student teaching during the 2010 season. That year, her team qualified for the NCAA tournament by defeating arch-rival St. Norbert College in the Midwest Conference Tournament’s final match.
Parker’s volleyball skills earned her status in the Beloit College record book. She set top five marks in sets and matches for kills and digs. She concluded her career third all-time with 1,954 digs.
Parker was equally impressive each season when she transitioned to the basketball floor. She was named First Team All-Conference in 2008-09 and 2009-10. She ranks in the top five for game and season records for steals and rebounds. Her career top five marks include assists (408), steals (265), and free throws (297).
Parker’s extraordinary talents, achievements, and commitment to academics earned her two of the college’s most coveted awards. In 2009, she earned the Donald “Red” Janssen Award, which honors Beloit’s top female athlete through the junior year. In 2010, Parker was honored with the Ruth Peterson Award for being Beloit’s top senior female student-athlete.