Four outstanding alumni athletes get top honors at Beloiter Days
Djuvane Browne’04, Casey Nelson’03, Katie McCool Nichols’08, and Mary Parker’10 were inducted last fall into Beloit’s Athletic Hall of Honor. The distinctions, given to outstanding former student-athletes, were presented during Beloiter Days.
AHOH recipient Djuvane Browne’04 was a two-time NCAA All-American-Outdoor Track and Field athlete and a three-time Midwest Conference Champion in the high jump. He shares the college’s indoor high jump record of 2.02 meters (6’ 7.625”) with fellow Beloiter Scott Schleich’93.
A psychology major and member of Black Students United and Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, he was as gifted and unique a student-athlete as there has ever been at Beloit, says Brian Bliese, his former coach. During his senior year, Browne finished fifth in the high jump at the national championship (with a jump of 6’9”). He finished fourth at the national meet the previous year.
“Djuvane was a special athlete,’’ Bliese says. “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.”
After Beloit, Browne founded One Great Studio, a digital agency based in his home country of Jamaica. He continues to serve as the company’s CEO.
Casey Nelson’03 was one of the most versatile athletes in the history of Beloit’s baseball program.
“He excelled as a hitter, pitcher, and defender,” says coach Dave DeGeorge’89. “His best position on defense was first base, where his play was outstanding. He applied tags like he was hammering a nail.”
By the time he graduated, 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). He also 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.
Nelson majored in economics and today is a claims adjuster for American Family Insurance, based in Janesville, Wis. He is married to fellow Beloiter Amanda Sugden’05.
Katie McCool Nichols’08
Katie McCool Nichols’08, aka “Big Mac,” was an offensive powerhouse on the basketball court and an intimidating blocker in the volleyball arena.
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.”
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. She earned First Team All-MWC recognition (volleyball) in 2004, 2005, and 2006. 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).
After Beloit, she completed her Doctorate of Pharmacy degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a clinical pharmacy specialist for the Department of Veterans Affairs and is married to classmate Ryan Nichols’08.
Mary Parker’10, a four-year starter and letter winner for Beloit’s volleyball and basketball teams, helped lead Beloit’s volleyball team to the 2010 Midwest Conference Tournament Title and to 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.
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).
Today, the double major in education/youth studies and business administration teaches social studies at Burlington (Wis.) High School, her high school alma mater, where she also serves as the girls’ volleyball coach.