Morningside College will induct former standout athletes Jay Depner, the late Martin Fischer, Jessica Taff, and Keith Warner into the M-Club Hall of Fame as part of its Homecoming 2013 festivities on Saturday, Oct. 12.
In addition to the Hall of Fame inductees, Trish Martin will be recognized as the 2013 M-Club Coach of the Year.
The induction ceremony will take place at the annual M-Club Brunch on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 10:30 a.m. in the Yockey Family Community Room of the Olsen Student Center, 3609 Peters Avenue. Cost for the brunch is $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Advance reservations can be made by calling (712) 274-5315. Reservation deadline is Friday, Oct. 4.
Depner, a 1982 Morningside graduate who resides in Mechanicsburg, Pa., was a standout defensive back for the college’s football team. Depner graduated as Morningside’s all-time leader with 15 career interceptions and was a two-time All-North Central Conference (NCC) performer.
He led the NCC in interceptions during the 1980 season when he picked off four passes in the Mustangs’ seven league contests. Depner finished his junior campaign with six interceptions he returned for 101 yards and was the team’s top punt return specialist with 19 returns for 122 yards for an average of 6.4 yards per return.
As a senior, Depner led Morningside with six interceptions he returned for 179 yards for an average of 29.8 yards per return. He was also Morningside’s top kick return specialist with 13 punt returns for 100 yards for an average of 7.7 yards per return and 18 kickoff returns for 340 yards for an average of 18.8 yards per return.
Fischer, a 1937 graduate who died in 2011, was a standout distance runner and six-time NCC champion for the Morningside track & field team. He won the mile and two-mile runs at the 1935, 1936, and 1937 NCC Track & Field Championships and was the only athlete in NCC history to win both events three times when the races were retired after the conference converted to the metric system in 1976. Fischer’s best winning time in the mile was a 4:43.5 in 1936 and his best winning time in the two-mile was a 10:29.7 in 1937.
Fischer was a graduate of Morningside’s School of Music. In order to graduate with his degree in music education, Fischer was required to participate in a music concert that was held the day before the 1937 NCC Track & Field Championships in Grand Forks, N.D. After the concert, Fischer’s brother drove him to Grand Forks, where he won his third NCC titles in the mile and two-mile.
He was a member of the music faculty at Brown University of the Ivy League for over 30 years and retired in 1981 as an associate professor and conductor of the Brown University Orchestra.
Taff, a 1998 graduate who resides in New York, N.Y., was a four-year starter in center field for the Morningside softball team. She graduated with a school-record 50 stolen bases and was an All-NCC performer as a junior and senior. Taff collected 162 hits in 538 at-bats for a .301 career batting average.
Following an all-state prep career at Sioux City West High School, Taff made an immediate impact at Morningside when she hit .294 and set a school record with 19 stolen bases as a freshman.
Taff hit over .300 in both of her all-conference seasons. Taff hit .314 with two doubles, three triples, and nine stolen bases during her junior campaign. As a senior, Taff hit a career-high .344, led the Mustangs with 13 stolen bases, and had career-high totals of eight doubles and 39 runs scored.
Warner, a 1957 graduate who resides in Saint Paul, Minn., was a standout men’s basketball player. He was a three-year varsity letterwinner and earned first-team All-NCC honors as a junior and senior. Warner scored 860 points during his Morningside career to graduate as the second leading all-time scorer in school history.
Warner scored 666 points and averaged 14.5 points per game over his junior and senior all-conference campaigns. He was Morningside’s leading scorer with an average of 12.8 points per game as a junior. As a senior, Warner helped lead Morningside to a 12-12 record for the college’s highest victory total during a six-year span from 1953 to 1958. He scored 384 points as a senior, which was the third highest single-season point total in school history at the time, and averaged 16.0 points per game.
Martin, a 2007 graduate, is the head girls basketball coach at Lawton-Bronson High School, where she has guided the Eagles to a 44-8 record for a .846 winning percentage in her two seasons with the team.
She guided Lawton-Bronson to one of its greatest seasons in school history during the 2012-13 campaign when the Eagles posted a 26-2 record and finished as the runner-up at the Class 2A state tournament. Lawton-Bronson led the state in scoring with an average of 79.5 points per game and was ranked second in the state in the final Class 2A regular season poll. Aside from a 75-58 loss against No. 1 Hull Western Christian in the state championship game, the Eagles’ only other loss was a 67-65 setback against No. 3 IKM-Manning, a loss they later avenged with an 82-63 victory in the Western Valley Conference tournament.