Peru State inducted five individuals into its Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 25 and 26. This was the 28th group to be inducted into the College's Hall of Fame.

Scott Gerdes (Omaha/formerly Auburn), Norris Hale (posthumously) (Pella, Iowa), Tabitha Foster Keating (Plattsmouth), Al Urwin (LaVista), and William Witty (Syracuse) were the five inducted.

A formal banquet was held Friday evening where the individuals were honored.

Interim chief executive officer of the Peru State Foundation, Becca Jewell, served as the emcee for the Friday night banquet. Jewell welcomed the honorees and those in attendance and noted that the five being inducted represented legions of Bobcats who inspired us with their competitiveness and skill. Also, Jewell noted that many had served the College and beyond through their meritorious service.

Jewell also thanks Bridges Trust for being a primary sponsor for the banquet.

Following the dinner, each of the honorees were announced by Jewell and presented with their plaques by Peru State president Dan Hanson. Each spoke briefly of their time as a Bobcat and beyond.

The following was noted of each during their respective announcement.

Scott Gerdes – Football Student-Athlete – 1992

•  Scott Gerdes was one of main cogs in the Bobcat running game during Peru State's only championship title in 1990. That Bobcat team topped Westminster (Pennsylvania) to win the NAIA Division II crown.
•  The 1992 graduate was named the most valuable player in the NAIA first round playoff game against Wisconsin-LaCrosse and also in the semifinal matchup against Baker (Kansas).
•  Following the championship season, Gerdes earned NAIA All-American Honorable Mention. In addition, he was named to the All Tri-State Athletic Conference First Team and to the Omaha World-Herald NAIA All-Nebraska First Team.
•  During the 1990 season, Gerdes set single-season records for catches (71), punt returns (32), and tied the mark for punt returns for touchdowns (2). Those marks still stand today. He finished seventh nationally in the NAIA averaging 6.43 yards per catch.
•  At the time his career concluded, Gerdes held the career records for yards per carry (5.7), receptions (161), and punt returns (91). In addition, to single-season and career records, Gerdes is tied for the most yards in one contest with 252 yards which he had against Baker in the semifinals. Finally, Gerdes is still listed as the sixth-best in terms of receiving yards with 2,045.

Norris Hale – Meritorious Service – 1951

Janie (Grindle) Hale, wife of the late Norris Hale, accepted his plaque and spoke.
•  Norris Hale is being recognized in the Peru State College Athletic Hall of Fame for Meritorious Service.
•  Norris "Scooter" Hale was a Beatrice native who graduated from Peru State in 1951. While a Bobcat, Hale participated in track with his main event being the 880 yard run. In addition, he served as the Sports Editor of the Pedagogian.
•  Hale gained his notoriety after graduating from the College as he was a very successful high school football and track and field coach.
•  He coached football for 41 years while compiling a record of (252-132-7) 252 wins to 132 losses to 7 ties. As of 2000, that mark was the seventh-best in Iowa history. Hale's teams racked up 15 conference/district championships in a 25-year span.
•  In addition, he coached track and field for 25 years and had one state championship in 1986 and several individual state winners over the years.
•  Hale was also considered as a master organizer of coaching clinics which he set up for quarterbacks, kickers, and punters. Also, he established and produced the Iowa Football Coaches' booklet summarizing the years of football in the state.
•  Due to his remarkable efforts, Hale has numerous coaching awards. They include 21 Coach of the Year Honors at the conference/district level. He also was inducted into the Iowa Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1982. Hale's other awards included Iowa Football Coaches Distinguished Service Award (1992), the Gatorade Coaches Care Award (1992), and the Iowa High School Athletic Association News Media Award (1997).
•  Hale was inducted posthumously into the Peru State Athletic Hall of Fame.

Tabitha (Foster) Keating – Softball Student-Athlete - 2007

•  Tabitha Foster Keating demonstrated outstanding athletic ability as a student athlete and member of the softball team which has earned her induction into the Athletic Hall of Fame.
•  A 2007 graduate, Tabitha (Foster) Keating is just the second Bobcat to ever be named as an NAIA First Team All-American. In addition, she was a National Fast Pitch Coach Association First Team selection, the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference (MCAC) Player of the Year, the NAIA Region IV Player of the Year, and was the Omaha World-Herald NAIA All-Nebraska Team Captain.
•  It was not just because Keating was successful at the plate, but she was an outstanding pitcher as well. At the end of the 2007 campaign, she was ranked in six different NAIA individual rankings: first in home runs – an NAIA record at that time, second in saves, third in runs batted in per game, seventh in total bases per game, eighth in slugging percentage, and 20th in total wins.
•  Presently, Keating is still on top of several Peru State single-season records. Her top single-season marks are hits – 76, home runs – 29, and runs batted in – 86. In addition, she is in three other top ten single-season categories.
•  Career-wise, Keating holds the top career mark with 36 home runs. She is also listed in four other career hitting categories.
•  On the mound, Keating is noted in five single-season pitching categories with her 20 wins tying her for second. For her career, she is listed in six different fields with her victories and strikeouts each ranking fourth.

Al Urwin – Meritorious Service/Football Student-Athlete - 1982

•  Size and stature are not always necessary to be a successful offensive lineman. That would be the case for 1982 graduate Al Urwin.
•  Urwin proved his worth and was a four-year starter for the Bobcats and was a lead blocker for All-American and Peru State Hall of Fame members Alvin Holder and Roosevelt Brown.
•  During his junior and senior seasons, Urwin was one of the captains for Peru State. Following his junior season, he was an Omaha World-Herald NAIA All-Nebraska Second Team Selection while earning honorable mention in the Lincoln Journal-Star. As a senior, he was named to the first team by both major papers. In addition, Urwin was an NAIA District 11 Honorable Mention following his senior campaign.
•  Through his four years as a Bobcat, the Peru State football team went 28-10-2 which is one of the better four-year marks.
•   Since 2013, Al has also served Peru State College as a member of the Foundation Board of Directors.

William Witty – Football-Basketball-Track and Field Student-Athlete - 1966

•  Bill Witty demonstrated outstanding athletic ability as a student athlete and member of the football, basketball and track teams which has earned him induction into the Athletic Hall of Fame.
•  A 1966 graduate, William (Bill) Witty is one of very few who graduated from Peru State having earned 12 letters. He earned four letters in football, basketball, and track having been a starter and/or major contributor in each sport.
•  Witty was twice nominated for the Nebraska College Athlete of the Year. During his freshman year, he was the starting quarterback on a 5-2-2 football team having outplayed two contenders to earn the top role. Not only was he the quarterback, but he punted as well.
•  Witty started all 25 games in a basketball season while averaging 11.3 points per game, but was lauded by his coaches for his defensive play. The Bobcats won the Nebraska College Conference (NCC) championship and represented Peru State in the NAIA tournament.
•  Witty earned numerous medals in track and field competitions while throwing the javelin and discus.
•  After his senior year, Witty was one of the state's best athletes. He earned NCC football honorable mention – this time while playing center. In addition, he continued to have successful campaigns on the basketball court and in track and field.
•  Witty was a Swenson Award winner which recognizes a top student-athlete. Also, while at Peru State, Witty was a member of the P-Club, the Blue Devils, and was a residence hall counselor. He was one of just 16 who graduated with high distinction upon graduation.

In addition, the honorees were recognized at halftime of the football game versus Culver-Stockton (Mo.) on Saturday.

About the Peru State Athletic Hall of Fame

When the Al Wheeler Activity Center was dedicated in 1986, the Peru State College Athletic Hall of Fame was established. The purpose of the Hall of Fame is to recognize, honor and preserve the memory of those individuals and teams whose contributions have greatly enhanced Nebraska's first college.

The Hall of Fame gallery resides in the lobby of the Wheeler Center, named after the first inductee into the Hall of Fame, Alfred G. Wheeler. A candidate can be nominated in one of four categories:  coach, player, team, or meritorious service.

A committee of alumni make the selections annually each spring.

Nominations are welcomed and can be submitted to PSC Athletic Hall of Fame, c/o Alumni Office, Peru State College, P.O. Box 10, Peru, NE 68421. For additional information, call (402) 872-2304.

2020 Hall of Fame

The 2020 Peru State Hall of Fame has been set for Friday and Saturday, September 18 and 19. The football opponent on Saturday will be MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.).