Induction Year: 2002
James Viaene of Oregon, Wis., was a standout wrestler and football player who was named the University of Wisconsin-Superior's Male Athlete of the Year for three consecutive years.
As a wrestler, Mr. Viaene compiled a 110-23-2 record in the heavyweight class. He was a three-time All-American who was named the university's Most Valuable Wrestler in 1982, 1983 and 1984. He also was a member of the NAIA wrestling team that competed in Japan and South Korea. He placed second in the 1982 NAIA national tournament, fifth in the 1984 NCAA Division III national tournament, and fourth in the 1984 NAIA national tournament.
In football, Mr. Viaene played defensive tackle, earning All-American, First Team All-Conference, and First Team District 14 honors in 1982 and 1983. Those same years he was named the university's Most Valuable Lineman. His achievements in wrestling and football earned Mr. Viaene the title of Male Athlete of the Year in 1982, 1983 and 1984.
After receiving his bachelor's degree in communications in 1984, Mr. Viaene signed as a free agent with the NFL's Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions and New York Jets over the 1985 and 1986 seasons. He later completed an additional bachelor's degree and earned a master's degree in education. At the time of his induction, he had spent 13 years at Parkview High School in Orfordville, Wis., teaching physical education and coaching wrestling and football.