Lansing couple land in Baker U. hall of fame
Tom Young is well acquainted with the Baker University Athletic Hall of Fame.
Since his graduation from Baker in 1981, the Lansing resident and president of Young Sign Co. in Leavenworth has been commissioned to produce most of the 87 portraits that grace the plaques at the hall.
This weekend, when five plaques are added at the hall, two faces will be eminently familiar to Young: his own and that of his wife, Teresa.
The two will return Saturday to the campus of their alma mater in Baldwin City to become the first husband-wife duo to be inducted into the hall. Induction ceremonies are scheduled for halftime of Baker's homecoming football game against Central Methodist.
From 1977 to 1981, Tom Young, a Lansing High School graduate, was a four-year letter winner on the Wildcat basketball team and was team captain his senior year.
Teresa Young, who is now a director with the Federal Occupational Health unit of the Department of Health and Human Services, was a star pitcher on the Baker softball team.
From 1977 to 1981, her pitching record was 75-29, including a 29-5 mark her senior year.
Tom Young downplays his athletic prowess and says his induction is more a nod to his artistic endeavors associated with the hall, which is housed in the Collins Sports Complex, home for the Baker basketball and volleyball teams.
"I always figured I'd get my name on a plate on the side of the room over in the corner that would say, 'Oh by the way, the artist also played basketball here or went to Baker or whatever,'" he said. "I didn't dream that they would put me in the hall."
In the biography included on his hall of fame plaque, he's referred to as a "defensive specialist and shot-blocker."
His wife's entry into the hall, Tom Young said, is a different story. "Teresa, I could see why: She was their best pitcher for four years; she had a pretty incredible career," he said.
Teresa Young said her husband was too modest.
"I told Tom there might have been better athletes, but that's not all they take into account; it's the academics, the campus activities and those things, too," she said.
To Teresa, who came to Baldwin City from Gridley, the thought of being inducted into the Baker hall of fame was distant in her early years on campus.
"At that time, the hall of fame was upstairs at the gym and behind a locked door. It really didn't exist to me," she said.
That all changed in 1985 when Baker opened the new Collins Gymnasium and the hall of fame was moved to the gym's west rotunda. Now, the hall and its plaques featuring Tom Young's portraits are out in the open for all to see.
Tom Young produced a self-portrait - a professional first for him - for his hall of fame plaque.
"Actually, it kind of looks like me," he joked.
He also did his wife's portrait.
"He did a great job on mine," Teresa Young told Baker officials. "I guess he has looked at my face enough over the last 25 years to know it by heart."
The two met at Baker as freshmen in 1977 but didn't start exclusively dating each other until their junior year. They were married in August 1981 in Baldwin City.
Now, they're the parents of two budding athletes: Clayton, who turns 11 years old this weekend, and Trevor, who will be 9 next month, both play basketball competitively.
Baker's inaugural Hall of Fame class was inducted in 1977. The school annually inducts a minimum of two former athletes into the hall. Three people, including Baker Athletic Director Dan Harris, sit on the selection committee. When selecting inductees, the committee considers athletic accomplishment, civic service, contributions to Baker and success in their professional career.
Joining the Youngs at Saturday's halftime ceremonies will be fellow inductees Ed Lierz, Earnest "Swede" Swenson and Jack Flickinger, all of whom are former football players at Baker.