Northern Sun Conference

When the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference inducts six new members into its Hall of Fame in July, two are individuals who made big impacts at area schools.

Former Northern State men's basketball coach and athletic director Bob Olson, and Southwest Minnesota State football player Alvin Ashley will join the NSIC's elite at a July 12 ceremony in Burnsville, Minnesota.

Northern Sun Conference

Olson played legendary coach Bob Wachs at NSU in the 1970's and later served as a graduate assistant under Wachs. When Coach Wachs retired in 1985, Olson took over the program and led the Wolves for the next 14 seasons, posting a 305-129 career record.

Under Olson, NSU made five NAIA National Tournament appearances, making championship runner-up campaigns in 1994 and 1995. After moving to NCAA Division II for the 1995-96 season, the Wolves earned national post-season berths in their first four seasons, highlighted by a North Central Region Championship and Elite Eight berth in 1997-98.

In 1999, Olson took as the school's athletics director, holding the job for 13 years.  He was inducted into the Aberdeen Central Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013 and the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame in spring of 2016.

Northern Sun Conference

Ashley finished his football career (1990-93) with 252 receptions for 4,335 yards and 59 touchdowns, all still SMSU records today. His 59 career receiving touchdowns is still an NAIA national record. Along with his seven scores on two-point conversions, he ended his four-year career recording a school record 392 career points, 174 more than the second place individual.

Ashley earned first team NAIA All-America honors in both 1992 and 1993, while he was an honorable mention NAIA All-America in 1991. He was a second team AP Little All-America in 1991 and earned all-conference accolades all four seasons of his career.

Ashley still holds more than 20 single-game, single-season or career records at SMSU, including single-game records for receiving yards (320 vs. Minot State, 1991), touchdowns (six vs. Michigan Tech, 1993) and all-purpose yards (397 vs. Minot State, 1991).

In 1991, Ashley set an NAIA single season record with 21 touchdown receptions while also setting a conference record with 13 receiving touchdowns. In 1992, Ashley tied for the NAIA receiving title (9.0 receptions/game) and ranked third in scoring (9.7).

Following his senior season in 1993, Ashley became the first ever SMSU player to play in the Snow Bowl, an all-star game for NCAA Division II players. He then spent 10 seasons in the Arena Football League where he still is among the all-time leaders in kickoff returns, combined returns, kickoff return yards, combined return yards, all-purpose yards, receptions, receiving touchdowns, receiving yards and points scored.

Ashley's high school jersey was retired for football at Mariner High School in Cape Coral, Florida., in fall of 1995 and he was inducted into the SMSU Hall of Honor in 2007.

The remaining members of the NSIC Class of 2016:

  • Jane Dusich - Bemidji State University
  • Sara Lee Minnesota State University Moorhead
  • John Manganaro - Wayne State College
  • Larry Holstad - Winona State University