Paul Kienitz

Induction Year: 2004

Paul Kienitz

Recipient of the Lydia C. Thering Meritorious Service Award

Paul Kienitz was among the all-time great Yellowjacket football players who became a successful entrepreneur in health and fitness.

In football, Mr. Kienitz led the Yellowjackets in scoring and rushing in 1977 and 1978. He is the third all-time leading ground-gainer in school history with 1,947 yards.

Mr. Kienitz graduated in 1979. Two years later he opened the first health club in Merrill, Wis., and soon added two clubs in Wausau, Wis. He sold the Wausau businesses in the late 1980s to concentrate on his new Riverside Athletic Club in Merrill.

Mr. Kienitz has steadily expanded his business, substantially improving the fitness and health facilities available in his community. His Riverside Athletic Club includes a licensed weight management program, full-size gymnasium, fitness areas and indoor pool along with space for associated businesses.

Over the years, Mr. Kienitz has worked with numerous local employers to develop exercise and wellness programs for their employees.

Among his many community activities, Mr. Kienitz was co-chair of a community committee that raised $2.3 million to construct the Merrill Area Recreation Complex, a 40-acre site that includes an indoor ice rink, baseball and softball fields, soccer fields and walking path.