Feb. 7, 2019
By Ed Byrne The Brillion News
HILBERT – There was a packed gym Friday evening at Hilbert High School for the boys’ basketball game against Cedar Grove-Belgium.
It included a special ceremony at halftime of the game where the school inducted three new members of its Sports Wall of Fame (WOF) – a display in the hallway that connects the entrances to the large and small gyms at the school.
This year marked the second year of the WOF, with retired coach Daniel Strauss, alumni star football player Matt Ruhland and alumna track star Dorothy “Dot” Bunnell McMahan enshrined.
They joined the first-year inductees: philanthropists Paul and Carol Gehl, retired coach-teacher Mike Moreau and retired coach-teacher Pat Rigoni.
McMahan said her successes as one of the nation’s top marathon runners has its roots in Hilbert.
Ruhland is the chief executive of a corporation he founded, and he credits his successes to what he learned from growing up in Hilbert: “Two words come to mind immediately: hard work.”
“We were not a very big school, we didn’t have a lot of kids, but we always were and, still [are] to this day, very competitive in athletics,” Ruhland said. “I really attribute this to the way we were raised and what became part of our daily lives was just simply, hard work. Without question, this theme has stayed with me over the years and contributed to my successes since high school.”
Ruhland said that the other people honored by selection to the Wall of Fame all made a positive impact on him. He said he was honored to be included with Dot McMahan, because of all she has accomplished in athletics.
Daniel Strauss, who lives in retirement these days in Appleton, got a job teaching history at Hilbert High School and never wanted to leave. He stayed for 33 years before retiring.
History is still his passion – World War II especially – and he also admits to just enjoying talking to people.
“I read everything I can on World War II, and I’m a very good friend of Gordy Hauser,” Strauss said. He met Hauser, who was a guard at the Nazi War Crimes Trials in Nuremburg, after a ball game in Hilbert. “I got him to come in and talk to my classes for many years. It was invaluable for the kids.”
Strauss said he always has great support, as a teacher, from the community and the school administration.
Please see the complete version of this story with quotes and biographies on each inductee in the Feb. 7, 2019 print edition of The Brillion News.