UWSP’s Blair, Miech, O’Brien will be inducted in WIAC Hall of Fame
This weekend, the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) will honor three members of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) athletic department as part of the conference’s Hall of Fame class.
Former UWSP swimming and diving head coach Lynn “Red” Blair, former UWSP women’s soccer head coach Sheila Miech and former UWSP director of athletics Frank O’Brien are part of the conference’s third Hall of Fame class, which will be enshrined during a banquet at UW-Eau Claire Saturday, July 28.
They are among a 27-member class that will enter the WIAC Hall of Fame, which was started in 2012 to coincide with the conference’s 100th anniversary.
“Quite frankly, there are dozens, if not hundreds, more individuals deserving of this honor,” said WIAC commissioner Gary Karner. “Therefore, it remains our intention to continue to induct future Hall of Fame classes every three years with the ultimate goal of recognizing those student-athletes, coaches, administrators, officials and others whose contributions and achievements have established and solidified the WIAC’s status as the most accomplished Division III conference in NCAA history.”
Blair was the UWSP men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach from 1965 to 1997, when he coached 477 First Team and Honorable Mention All-Americans.
He was named the NAIA Coach of the Year in 1990 and the NCAA Division III Coach of the Year in 1997. Blair was named the Conference Coach of the Year three times, and led the UWSP men’s team to 14 Top-10 finishes and the women’s team to three Top-10 finishes.
He coached 13 Individual National Champions and was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1985. Blair was also the recipient of the College Swimming Coaches Association of America Master Coach Award and Distinguished Coach Award.
Miech was the UWSP women’s soccer head coach from 1987 to 2011, when she compiled a 365-117-31 record (.742 winning percentage).
Her 365 wins are the most in conference history and were the 12th-most of any coach in NCAA women’s soccer history at any level when she retired. During her career, Miech’s teams won 14 WIAC Regular Season Titles and 15 WIAC Tournament Titles.
From 1997 to 2003, the Pointers established a NCAA Division III record as they won 70 conference matches in a row, which currently ranks third all-time. UWSP also made 15 NCAA Tournament appearances under Miech.
In 2012, she was selected as the WIAC Women’s Soccer All-Time Coach in conjunction with the conference’s Centennial Celebration.
O’Brien was the director of athletics at UWSP from 1991 through 2011, while he returned to handle the role on an interim basis in 2016. He is the longest-serving director of athletics in UWSP history at 22 years.
During his tenure, the Pointers won 82 Conference Championships and seven NCAA Division III Team National Titles, as well as the WIAC Men’s All-Sports Award nine times, the WIAC Combined All-Sports Award four times and the 2005 WIAC Women’s All-Sports Award.
In the Directors’ Cup Standings, which measures the overall success of an athletic department’s teams based on finishes at the NCAA Championships, UWSP finished in the Top 10 in the nation in eight of the first 16 years under O’Brien, which included a pair of Top-Five finishes.
He was also the president/commissioner of the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association for six years. The WIAC Women’s Ice Hockey Championship Trophy is named the “O’Brien Cup” in his honor.
Blair and Miech will be the first former UWSP coaches to join the WIAC Hall of Fame, while O’Brien will be the school’s first administrator inducted.
Former UWSP athletes Clint Kriewaldt (football), Terry Porter (men’s basketball) and Leah (Juno) Salzmann (women’s cross country and track and field) were part of the 2012 WIAC Hall of Fame class, while Randy Boelk (men’s swimming and diving), Michelle Jacob (women’s soccer) and Kari (Groshek) Zdroik (women’s basketball) were inducted in 2015.