Saturday afternoon, the St. Bede Hall of Fame will welcome six members to its prestigious ranks.

Among this year's honorees are five multi-sport athletes along with a fan/friend of Bruin athletics.

The 2009 Hall of Fame inductees are the late William Pelkey (Class of 1933), Col. John F. Gaughan II (‘70), Jon Liesse (‘77), Walt Manijak (‘78), Lauren (Gidcumb) Mingus (‘99) and Brother George Matsuoka.

The inductees will be honored at a ceremony in St. Bede's Abbot Vincent Gymnasium at noon. The induction ceremony will be followed by the varsity football game against Fulton.

Below is a look at the accomplishments of each of the Hall of Fame inductees:

Lauren (Gidcumb) Mingus,

Class of 1999

When she was young, Mingus' father told her she could accomplish anything she wanted if "I had a goal, worked really hard and had God as part of my life."

Mingus took the advice to heart and achieved a lot of her success during her career at St. Bede and beyond.

Playing basketball and softball, Mingus established herself as one of the top female athletes to ever don the green and white.

"It's a great honor to be inducted into the hall of fame," Mingus said. "It's a privilege to be in a group of people who achieved so much whether it was during high school or after."

Mingus graduated as the fifth-leading scorer in Lady Bruin basketball history. She was a three-year letter winner. As a senior, she captained a team that went an unexpected 20-5 in coach Tom McGunnigal's first season.

She earned all-conference and NewsTribune Third-Team All-Area honors after averaging 12.5 points and 2.9 steals per game.

"My senior year I was the only senior and everyone in the area thought we were going to have a rebuilding year, that we weren't really going to do much," Mingus said. "We ended up with 20 wins. We really improved under (McGunnigal's) coaching."

Mingus also won three letters in softball. During her senior season, Mingus batted .397 and went 4-6 in the pitching circle with a 2.79 ERA. Her performance earned her team MVP and all-conference honors.

After high school, Mingus continued her softball career at Wabash Valley Community College, where she earned all-conference and academic all-American honors as a third baseman. She helped Wabash to back-to-back conference titles and a seventh-place finish in the 2001 NJCAA World Series.

Mingus went on to play at Olivet Nazarene, where she helped the Tigers to consecutive conference titles and a third-place finish in the 2003 NAIA World Series. Mingus earned all-American status both seasons, and broke the school's single-season RBI record as well as the NAIA record for putouts in a season.

Mingus graduated from Olivet with a degree in engineering and later earned a Masters in education. She taught and coached softball in high school from 2005-08.

She lives in Bourbonnais with her husband, Joel, and their two daughters.

Walt Manijak,

Class of 1978

Manijak excelled in football, basketball and baseball for the Bruins. He was honorable mention all-state and team MVP in football as quarterback his senior year, two-time all-area defense in basketball as a guard/forward and team MVP and IHSA all-area in baseball as a pitcher/shortstop.

"Obviously, it's a great honor," Manijak said about being inducted into the hall. "I know there are a lot of deserving (candidates). I'm pretty excited about it."

Manijak's fondest memories of his Bruin career are of competing with larger schools such as La Salle-Peru, Ottawa and Streator.

During his senior season, Manijak and the Bruins went 20-8 and had a 10-game winning streak, which included a win over L-P. In baseball, Manijak pitched the Bruins past the Cavaliers.

"We always played the big schools - Ottawa, L-P, Streator. We always played them tough," Manijak said. "We did not always beat them, but we played them pretty competitively. Senior year we took Streator, who went to the playoffs, to double overtime. We were beating L-P in the fourth quarter, but ended up losing down the stretch. They went on to play for the state championship. We split with L-P in basketball and in baseball we always had pretty good luck with them."

Manijak went on to earn three letters as a pitcher/infielder at Illinois State. He graduated from ISU with a degree in finance and a minor in economics.

He lives in La Salle with his wife, Lisa, and their two children. He works at First Federal Savings Bank in Ottawa and spends his free time coaching and playing basketball and softball.

Joe Liesse, Class of 1977

Liesse played football, basketball, tennis and baseball, but made a name for himself as a football player.

He was a tri-captain as a senior and also earned the team's spirit award.

Liesse went on to play linebacker at IVCC before continuing his football career at Winona State University in Minnesota where he started for two seasons and served as a captain as a senior.

He lives in Rochester, Minn., with his wife, Janna, and their two sons. He works as a buyer at the Mayo Clinic and is an avid cyclist.

Col. John Gaughan II, Class of 1970

John Gaughan II came to St. Bede as a sophomore when his father, John, a 1945 Academy graduate, was hired as football coach.

Playing for his father, Gaughan didn't get any special treatment. In fact, he had to work harder than anyone else to earn his spot.

As a junior, Gaughan started the season on defense, but in the third game of the season, he had his first start at quarterback.

Gaughan's performance erased any doubt about whether he earned his spot as he threw for five touchdown passes against Bloomington Central Catholic.

Gaughan threw 10 touchdowns as a junior and tossed 16 more as a senior. He helped the Bruins to an 8-1 record as a junior and a 7-2 mark as a senior. He led the Bruins to an Illinois Valley Conference title.

Gaughan said one of his worst memories was losing to La Salle-Peru, but he fondly recalls beating Hall on a last-second touchdown pass.

"When we beat Hall to win the Illinois Valley Conference, I threw the pass and got hammered," Gaughan said. "I was on the ground. I didn't see (the catch). I just heard everybody yelling."

Gaughan enters the hall for the second time as the 1969 football team was previously inducted. Gaughan joins his father in the hall as an individual. John Gaughan will be in attendance Saturday to see his son get inducted.

"It's a tremendous honor. I'm very humbled," Gaughan II said. "I'm glad that my teammates beat me in from the perspective that the team was in before I was in as an individual. It's also an honor to go into the same organization as my dad. It's an honor that I can go and be recognized for some of the same things he was recognized for."

Gaughan was the leading scorer on the 1969-70 basketball team, which was Harold Gaffney's final Bruin team.

"I got to play for the last Harold Gaffney team. He was such a teacher, such a coach and such a tremendous man," Gaughan said. "It was pretty impressive that we got to be exposed to him. I think that was probably one of my better memories."

Gaughan teamed with Jeff Gilligan, Doug Conroy and Goody Toraason to set the 480-yard high hurdle relay record at the Pontiac Relays. The record still stands today.

After high school, Gaughan played football for three years at the Air Force Academy. Upon graduation, he attended Pilot Training and began a career as an officer. He served on active duty for 31 years before retiring as a colonel in 2005.

Gaughan earned a masters degree from the University of Southern California, served as a professor of Aerospace at the University of Michigan and currently teaches Air Force Junior ROTC at Sand Creek High School in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Gaughan and his wife, Rebecca, have three children three grandchildren.

William Pelkey,

Class of 1933

During grade school, Pelkey was sick with rheumatic fever for two years, which left him with a permanent heart ailment. Against doctor's advice, Pelkey played football during his junior and senior years at St. Bede. He also played second base and center field on the baseball team.

After high school, Pelkey helped organize the Illinois Valley Parochial Basketball League, the La Salle Little League and Ptak TNT's, a football team that evolved into Pop Warner football.

Pelkey filmed the Bruin football team and served as the scoreboard operator for the basketball team for many years.

He is being inducted posthumously.

Brother George Matsuoka

Brother George has been a fan and friend of St. Bede athletics since arriving at the Academy in 1942.

He worked in the Abbey bakery for three years before working in the print shop.

Brother George enjoys a daily walk around campus, baking cookies for students and shaking hands with students before and after school.

He celebrated his 88th birthday in August.

Kevin Chlum can be reached at 223-3200, ext. 138, or at sports@newstrib.com.

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