Truman State welcomes four new members into the Hall of Fame
The Truman State University Athletics Hall of Fame will induct Softball All-American Kristi Bredbenner, Women's Golf coach Sam Lesseig, Baseball coach and Assistant Athletics Director Sam Nugent and Men's Basketball All-American Cory Parker during Homecoming festivities on October 10-11.
Bredbenner played for the Truman Softball team from 1998 through 2001 and broke nearly all batting records during the process.
She was a four time all-Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) player, earning the league's most valuable player award in 2000.
She was the program's first two-time NFCA All-American, earning first-team honors in 2000 and third team accolades in 2001.
She still holds the Truman record for three home runs in a game and eight RBIs against Emporia (Kan.) State in 2000 and 143 total bases during the 2000 season.
During that 2000 campaign, Bredbenner hit .469 with 16 home runs and 51 RBIs while the Bulldogs claimed the MIAA championship for the first time since 1986.
She is now second in Bulldog history in career batting average (.405), hits (243), doubles (55), home runs (33), total bases (401) and RBIs (166).
After playing four seasons for the Bulldogs and on three straight NCAA tournament teams, she was named interim coach for the 2002 season and led the Bulldogs to a 31-19 record while capturing the MIAA's postseason tournament and automatic berth into the NCAA regional.
Bredbenner went on to pursue her master's degree at Azusa Pacific (Calif.) University and returned to head coaching in 2006 taking over at Emporia where she promptly led the Lady Hornets to a 62-7 record and a runner-up finish in the Division II World Series.
From there, her Lady Hornet teams would win three more regular season MIAA titles and five straight postseason tournaments. In 2008, the Lady Hornets again reached the championship game of the Division II World Series but came up just short.
In 2012, she left Emporia as Division II's winningest active coach with 326 victories and moved up to Division I to take over the Wichita (Kan.) State University program.
After two straight sub .500 seasons, Bredbenner's Shockers captured the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference regular season championship with a 21-6 league mark and a 34-21 overall record while setting several offensive school records in the process.
Her staff was recently named the MVC Coaching Staff of the Year.
Lesseig helped start and then coached the Truman Women's Golf team for 28 years until his untimely passing in 2013.
Lesseig coached two All-Americans and 14 academic All-Americans while leading the Bulldogs to 11 postseason appearances at the National Golf Coaches Association Division II National Championships and the NCAA Division II and III Women's Golf Championships.
In 1999-2000, four members of the team were named to the NGCA all-academic team, the most in school history.
The Bulldogs qualified as a team for the inaugural NCAA meet and returned as a team following a thrilling second place playoff finish at the NCAA regional in 2007. Truman finished eighth that year at the national meet held in Houston, Texas.
Lesseig served on the NCAA Women's Golf Committee for a total of nine years, was Truman's interim athletics director during the 1988-89 school year, worked as the official scorer for home basketball games and served on the Board of Directors at the Kirksville Country Club.
Nugent served in the roles of Head Baseball Coach, Head Football Athletic Trainer and Assistant Athletics Director in the 34-years he was employed by the university.
Nugent was appointed to the University faculty at the beginning of the 1963-64 academic year and was the athletic trainer for the Bulldog Football program.
In 1966, he helped restart the Baseball program that had went dormant following World War II and guided the program for 24 years between two different stints. At one time, Nugent had three former players all pitching in the major leagues with Dave Wehrmeister, Bruce Berenyi and Al Nipper representing the Bulldogs.
Nugent retired from coaching in 1989 and served as Assistant Athletics Director for Facilities and Operations until his retirement in 1995.
He is credited with starting the Senior Babe Ruth program in Kirksville and guiding the local team to a state title in 1970.
He was also involved in the Kirksville Baseball Softball Association following his retirement from Truman and worked with the city of Kirksville on the maintenance of the local playing fields.
Parker finished his Bulldog Basketball career as the program's all-time leading scorer at 1,835 points while being a three-time first team all-MIAA selection and a two-time honorable mention All-American.
Parker was a key component of the Bulldogs run to the national semifinals in 1999.
He scored the final six points, including the game-winning basket with 1.6 seconds left to propel the Bulldogs to 76-74 win against Pittsburg (Kan.) State sending the Bulldogs to the MIAA Tournament finals.
After winning the league tournament, Parker scored in double figures during all three games of the NCAA regional, capping off the championship with a 24-point 12-rebound performance against Abilene Christian (Texas).
Parker averaged 16.0 points in his 115 career games and is first in career free throws made and attempted (607/784).
He is second in career rebounds with 955. Parker was an honorable mention all-MIAA pick as a freshman then following a medical redshirt season, earned three straight first-team honors as well as three MIAA Player of the Week Awards and three all-South Central region selections.
He was honorable mention on the Division II Bulletin All-America team following both the 1998-99 and 1999-00 campaigns.
Parker played professionally overseas for the Kongsberg Penguins of the Norwegian Professional League.
The Truman Athletics Hall of Fame will take place as part of the Alumni and Friends Banquet on October 10 in the Student Union Building.
The group will also be honored at halftime of the Homecoming football game the next day.
Courtesy Truman State University