It was only a matter of time before Stu Julius was inducted to Lakehead University’s Wall of Fame.
That time arrived on Saturday.
Julius, the architect of women’s basketball at the Thunder Bay campus, entered the prestigious wall alongside his former player, Katya Masun, the third-leading scorer in LU history. Also honoured were wrestler Mark Jodoin and the 1973-1976 women’s field hockey team.
“It’s an honour and privilege for sure,” said Julius, who spent 18 years at the helm of the women’s basketball team, coaching them twice to berths at nationals.
Now a high school coach in southern Ontario, Julius also served as athletic director at Lakehead from 1991 to 1999, was twice named Ontario coach of the year and compiled an overall record of 311-250, the standard by which every LU coach since has been measured by.
“I think Lakehead is a very special spot, compared to all other Ontario universities. There’s no other university that gets the support from the community that this institution does. There have been some outstanding athletes on the wall of fame – and coaches – and I’m thrilled to death to about it,” he said.
He looks back fondly at what he and his players were able to accomplish, both on and off the court.
“We were able to put women’s basketball on the map. The first five years we went to back-to-back national championships. We had 100 per cent graduation rate from our athletes and we hosted the national championship here four or five times,” Julius said.
“We really got women’s basketball going. When I look back at those things, it was a lot of time and effort and the community came on board with it. But I’m pretty proud of it.”
Masun, Lakehead’s female athlete of the year in 1997, joined the then Nor’Westers late in Julius’ tenure. She said she was surprised at the size of Saturday’s event.
It’s an unbelievable honour, Masun added.
“I was floored when I was told that I was going to be inducted. You have four or five months to think about what happened and this flood of memories, things you haven’t thought about in years,” she said. “It’s been pretty wonderful, pretty exciting and great to see a lot of familiar faces.”
It’s been more than 30 years since Jodoin hung up his tights.
The CIAU champion in 1982 in the 57-kilogram category, Jodoin was also named Canada’s most outstanding wrestler that year, 12 months after being named Lakehead’s male athlete of the year.
Looking back, he’s proud about what he was able to accomplish.
Like his fellow inductees, he was surprised to get the nod.
“I was humbled when I got the phone call this spring that I’d been chosen by the selection committee that I’d received this honour,” he said Saturday.
“It’s given me a chance to reflect back and think about what my accomplishments were and some of the individuals I was able to share those with.”
In the team category, the field hockey team dominated the sport in the mid-‘70s, winning four straight Great Plains Athletic Conference titles, losing only a handful of games over the stretch.
“It’s a great honour for our team to be here,” said coach Joan Stevenson, speaking on behalf of the team.
The wall of fame was opened in 2005. Inductees are honoured every other year.
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