January 8, 1998
KALAMAZOO -- Willard A. "Bill" Brown, a 1950s football standout, and women's tennis coach Betsy Kuhle, are the 1998 Western Michigan University Alumni "W" Club "man" and "woman of the year." They will be honored in halftime ceremonies of the 2 p.m. January 17 men's basketball game matching the Broncos against Central Michigan in University Arena.
Brown, a native of Park Ridge, Ill., lettered as a halfback in 1950-51-52 and was Western's "most valuable" player as a senior. He led that club in rushing yardage (583), receptions (14 for 162 yards) and scoring (42 points).
In 1955 he began a career with Rubloff, Inc., of Chicago, one of the nation's largest full-service real estate companies. Brown became vice president and director of its industrial brokerage division in 1965, executive vice president of the company in 1973, president and CEO in 1980, and chairman and CEO in 1982. He retired in 1996.
Brown has served on the board of directors of numerous corporations and non-profit organizations. He currently is a member and formerly chaired the Western Michigan University Foundation Board and is co-chair of the Bronco Alumni Football Center campaign. He received the WMU Alumni Association's distinguished alumni award in 1983 and the volunteer of the year award in 1992 from the WMU Academy of Volunteers.
Kuhle, a native of Decatur, Ill., is in her 16th year of directing Western's women's tennis program. She has a 247-132 (.652) dual meet record and a Mid-American Conference mark of 74-15 (.831). She was the MAC and ITA-Volvo Midwest "coach of the year" in 1990 and also won the league award in 1985 and 1997.
During Kuhle's tenure, the Broncos won four MAC titles, including 1997, and have never finished lower than third in the championship tournament.
Kuhle is a 1976 graduate of the University of Illinois where she played No. 1 singles. She earned a master's in business administration from WMU in 1987 and is currently working on a doctoral degree in education. As an active player, she won the 1994 ITA 35-and-over championship and has been ranked as high as fourth in the Western Tennis Association.
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