August 4th, 2020
The Class of 2020 is volleyball athlete Trisha Clark (Terada), basketball player Frank Flores, and long-time Bethel coach and teacher Russ Graber.
They will be inducted Oct. 2 at the annual Hall of Fame Banquet during Fall Festival, and recognized at halftime of the homecoming football game, when Bethel hosts Southwestern College Oct. 3 in Thresher Stadium.
Coming to Bethel by way of Bishop Carroll High School in Wichita, Trisha Clark, now of Shawnee, Kan., brought with her the determination and success that makes her one of Thresher volleyball’s all-time greats.
Clark began her career by being named KCAC Freshman of the Year in 1997, followed by three straight seasons as a unanimous All-KCAC First Team selection.
In 1999 and 2000, Clark had the honor of being named conference Player of the Year. Other awards included being named the KCAC Setter of the Week eight times, NAIA All-Region in 1999 and 2000, and the George Rogers III Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year for 2000-01.
Clark was part of Bethel’s 1999 and 2000 KCAC Championship squads, as well as three different KCAC Tournament champion teams.
She is currently second all-time at Bethel with 4,257 career assists, and still holds the single-season record with 1,327 assists in 2000.
Currently among the Top 10 in 16 different statistical categories for Thresher men’s basketball, Frank Flores, Academy, Colo., put together a great playing career at Bethel.
He was a two-time NAIA All-American, including being named NAIA Third Team in his senior season. Also in his senior campaign, Flores helped lead the Threshers to an outright KCAC regular-season championship, resulting in the first (and so far only) NAIA National Championship appearance in program history.
Flores capped off his career at Bethel by being named KCAC Player of the Year. He was also a two-time unanimous All-KCAC First Team selection.
Flores still owns program records for steals in a season (88 in 2002-03) and steals per game for a career (2.1), as well as being second all-time in career points (1,381) and third in free throws made (313).
Russ Graber, Hesston, Kan., will receive a Meritorious Service Award as part of the 2020 Hall of Fame recognitions.
A Bethel graduate of 1974, Graber played offensive line for Thresher football as a student, then went on to spend many years as an assistant coach for football, women’s basketball and track and field.
As a coach, Graber pushed his athletes to hone their craft with proper technique while motivating them to reach their full potential. He had a hand in many KCAC Championships and NAIA National Championship appearances.
Graber finished his career by taking a new role at Bethel, as the institution’s first board-certified athletic trainer. He provided hundreds of Bethel student-athletes with top-notch health care, and was a dedicated proponent of creating the ACCK Athletic Training Consortium.
Graber’s work helped Bethel earn accreditation for its athletic training program in 2004. His work can still be seen and felt at Bethel since his 2014 retirement, and he continues to be a physical presence for Thresher athletics.
Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Known for academic excellence, Bethel is the highest ranked Kansas private college, at #12, in Washington Monthly, Top 200 Bachelor’s Colleges; ranks at #23 in U.S. News & World Report, Best Regional Colleges Midwest; is Zippia.com’s highest ranked Kansas small college with the highest earning graduates; stands at #57 among 829 U.S. colleges and universities listed by lendEDU as “Best for Financial Aid”; has the #10 RN-to-BSN program in Kansas according to RNtoBSN.com; and earned its second-straight NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star gold award, based on student service and academic achievement, all for 2019-20. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu
In sports, Bethel competes in the 13-school Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference and the NAIA. For more information, see bethelthreshers.com –Josh Booth