Five inducted to Seawolf Hall of Fame's 2002 class
ANCHORAGE (Oct. 20) - Featuring four former student-athletes and a coach, the second class of the Seawolf Hall of Fame was inducted Sunday in ceremonies at the UAA Sports Center. The inductees were Brush Christiansen (hockey coach, 1979-96), Jesse Jackson (men’s basketball, 1985-87), Britta Kjellstrand (women’s cross country running/skiing, 1978-82), Jon Pauole (swimming, 1989-92), and Mike Peluso (hockey, 1985-89).
The ceremonies were held in conjunction with UAA’s annual homecoming celebration and the Nye Frontier Classic hockey event.
“We are proud to honor five such outstanding individuals for the lasting impression they left on Seawolf Athletics,” said athletic director Dr. Steve Cobb. “The Hall of Fame committee did an outstanding job of recognizing those who not only represented UAA well as student-athletes and coaches, but also have excelled in their community since then.”
Former UAA student-athletes and teams are eligible for nomination 10 years following their last competition at UAA. Former UAA coaches and staff members are eligible five years following their university service.
Here is a brief biographical look at each of the 2002 inductees:
As the first coach and founding father of Seawolf Hockey, Kelvin “Brush” Christiansen guided the UAA hockey team from its collegiate debut in 1979 until his retirement in 1996. Under Christiansen’s leadership, the Seawolves went from an obscure Division II program to Division I independent status, and eventually joined college hockey’s most storied conference, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. In 17 seasons, the Fort Frances, Ontario, native led UAA to a 287-229-30 record, including five 20-wins seasons. From 1990-92, Christiansen’s teams made the NCAA Tournament every year, stunning the college hockey world in 1991 with a first-round road upset of highly ranked Boston College. The 1992 team posted UAA’s best-ever record at 27-8-1. Since October 1996, Christiansen’s No. 79 – signifying the first season of Seawolf hockey – has hung from the Sullivan Arena rafters as the program’s first retired jersey. Christiansen has remained active in Anchorage’s hockey community, coaching at the high school and little-league levels, as well as numerous camps and clinics. In 2001, he was honored with the Snooks Kelly Founders Award, presented by the American Hockey Coaches Association to coaches who have contributed to the overall growth and development of hockey in the United States. He and his wife Marilyn are the parents of a daughter, Sarah.
A native of Indianapolis, Ind., Jesse Jackson helped pave the way to national prominence for the UAA men’s basketball team in the mid-80s. A freewheeling guard, “J.J.” piloted the 1985-86 and 1986-87 squads to a 45-17 overall record, a conference title and a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances. The Great Northwest Conference Player of the Year and a first team All-American in 1987, Jackson left with 17 and still holds seven UAA records, including career scoring average (27.1) and points in a season (813). Jackson often saved his best games for the largest stages, contributing to wins over Missouri, Texas and Washington in the 1985 and 1986 Great Alaska Shootouts, and scoring a school-record 43 points in a February 1986 defeat of rival Seattle Pacific. Just six months after finishing their playing careers, Jackson (No. 12) and teammate Hansi Gnad (No. 33) became the first Seawolves in any sport to have their numbers retired. After serving five years in the Marine Corps and earning an associate’s degree from Imperial Valley (Calif.) College in 1985, Jackson transferred to UAA, finishing his bachelor of social work degree in 1990. He returned to Imperial Valley in 1995, coaching men’s basketball and women’s volleyball there. Since 1997, he has worked as a counselor for the California Department of Corrections in Calipatria. Jackson and his wife Alyson are the parents of four children – Jesse III, Natasha, Brenna and Ariana.
Bursting on the scene in 1978 and not slowing down for four years, Britta Kjellstrand left her mark on UAA Athletics with five All-America certificates and a national title. Although she also ran cross country all four seasons, she was best known for her Nordic skiing exploits. The Hedemora, Sweden, native began her college career in 1979 by becoming UAA’s first individual national champion in any sport, winning the gold medal at the AIAW (then the governing body of women’s collegiate sports) national meet. Kjellstrand anchored UAA’s gold medal-winning relay team in that meet, boosting UAA to the team title as well. In 1980, she took silver in both the individual and relay races, and as a senior she anchored UAA’s third-place relay team. Known for her fiery spirit and team dedication, Kjellstrand was also an excellent student. She earned numerous academic honors, including the 1979 Broderick Award, presented by the AIAW for success on the playing field and in the classroom. Since graduating from UAA in 1983 with a bachelor’s in education, Kjellstrand has stayed active in her community, starting a scholarship fund, working on a beautification project for the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, and coaching peewee hockey. Currently a deputy sheriff in Los Angeles County, Kjellstrand has a son, Logan Johannes Harrington.
From 1989-92, Jon Pauole established himself as the greatest swimmer in UAA history. The Seawolves’ only four-year All-American, he garnered 14 total certificates, including an amazing seven in his senior campaign. The Hilo, Hawaii, native set five individual school records and was a member of three school-record relay teams. Pauole was a classroom success as well, earning the swim team’s highest grade point average all four years. In 1992 he received the department’s Athlete of the Year award, becoming the first and only swimmer to win the honor. After earning his bachelor’s of health sciences from UAA in 1993, Pauole went on to graduate school at the University of Northern Colorado, where he received a master’s in kinesiology in 1995. Currently a commercial helicopter pilot in Seattle, Pauole has continued his training and become one of the top triathletes in the nation. In 2001, both USA Triathlon and Inside Triathlon magazine ranked him in the 30-34 age group’s top 10. He has completed each Ironman World Championship Triathlon from 1999-2001.
Before embarking on a highly successful career in the National Hockey League, Mike Peluso patrolled the Seawolf blue line from 1985-89, appearing in 130 games. The Penguilly, Minn., native finished his UAA career as the program’s all-time defenseman scoring leader, and upon his induction to the Hall of Fame 13 years later, still holds the school’s defenseman marks for points in a season (37, 1987-88) and career (113), and assists in a season (33, 1987-88) and career (92). A three-year captain and two-time All-Great West Conference selection, Peluso led the Seawolves to a 55-37-8 record over his final three seasons. As team MVP in 1989, he helped UAA to the championship of its own Jeep/Nissan Classic in a thrilling 5-4, double-overtime victory over Western Michigan. Peluso’s pro career started on a high note as he skated for the International Hockey League champion Indianapolis Ice in 1990, before going on to the NHL and playing for the Stanley Cup runner-up Chicago Blackhawks in 1992. In 1995, he became the first Seawolf to have his name engraved on sports’ most prestigious trophy when the New Jersey Devils won the Cup. Including playoffs, Peluso skated in 520 NHL games for the Blackhawks, Devils, St. Louis Blues and Ottawa Senators. Through the NHL, Peluso became active in charity work and continues to stay involved with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the American Cancer Society and the Great American Smokeout. He and his wife Heather live in Edina, Minn.
Seawolf Hall of Fame Classes
Brush Christiansen, hockey coach, 1979-96
Jesse Jackson, men’s basketball, 1985-87
Britta Kjellstrand, women’s skiing & cross country, 1978-82
Jon Pauole, swimming, 1989-92
Mike Peluso, hockey, 1985-89
Tom Besh, ski coach, 1977-90
Teri Frankie-LaVallee, gymnastics, 1985-90
Hansi Gnad, men's basketball, 1983-87
Robin Graul, women’s basketball, 1985-89
Dr. Lee Piccard, administrator, 1976-94
Dennis Sorenson, hockey, 1980-84
Tracy Zink, volleyball, 1987-90