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NOTABLE ORGANIZATIONAL ALUMNI

Pauly Cudd Jr.


Hall of Fame Inductee

Grad Year: 1971

Position:  Fullback / Linebacker

Accomplishments:

Paul (Pauly) Cudd Jr. graduated from River Falls High School in 1971 and UWRF in 1999. Pauly was a champion on the gridiron and on the wrestling mat, earning fourteen letters during high school and college in these sports.

Pauly played football for the Wildcats throughout high school. In 1969, his junior year, River Falls won the Middle Border Conference Championship in a stunning win over the #1 ranked Durand powerhouse. Also in 1969, Pauly was an all-conference linebacker making the 2nd team All Northwest.  As co-captain his senior year, he made 1st team all-conference offense, 2nd team all-conference defense, 1st team All Northwest, and was awarded the Berger-Kolberg award for leadership.  In his senior year Pauly served as Class President.

Pauly first became involved in wrestling during his freshman year. He placed at regionals and sectionals his sophomore and junior years and was a 185# state entrant in '69-70. After mending from a broken leg incurred during a football game his senior year, the team placed third at state, and Pauly brought the first individual state wrestling championship title to River Falls. This feat would be repeated by his son Joe in 1997 and 1998, making them one of three father-son state wrestling champions in Wisconsin history at that time. 
Athletic success followed Pauly into the collegiate arena.  He continued his athletic career with the UW-RF Falcons, lettering four years in football, and being named twice to All-Conference and twice Offensive Player of the Year along with the Best Blocker designation.  In addition Pauly lettered three times in wrestling.  He was a conference runner-up as a freshman, conference champ in 1973, a three time national qualifier, and a member of the conference championship team in 1981-1982. For his athletic accomplishments at UWRF, Pauly was inducted into the UWRF Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999.

The end of his participation in sports, Pauly took a new role of organizer, coach, and commentator.  Pauly was instrumental in starting the River Falls Youth Wrestling Club in 1977, an organization still active today.  He also served as the assistant wrestling coach at RFHS from 1987-90 and began serving as a commentator for high school wrestling events on local cable in 1991.

Pauly has been a volunteer firefighter for the River Falls Fire Department since 1981, and was named the 1996 Fireman of the Year.  He also ran the Corner Youth Center from 1989-2000.

Mike Jenkins


Hall of Fame Inductee

Grad Year: 1971

Position:  Halfback / Linebacker

Accomplishments:

Mike Jenkins graduated from River Falls High School in 1971 and UW-Madison in 1975. Mike was a 4 sport athlete in high school participating in football, basketball, wrestling, and track. He earned 12 letters throughout high school and college.

In high school, Mike earned All-Conference honors for 3 years in football and was a 2 time conference champion in the shot put in track.  His senior year he qualified for the state meet in the shot put, discus, and high hurdles.  He currently holds the shot put school record at 56' 6-1/2".  After lettering in basketball his junior year, Mike switched to wrestling and won the state championship in the heavyweight division.

Mike earned a full-ride scholarship in wresting to UW-Madison and was invited to "walk on" to the football program.  After a successful freshman football season, the university allowed him to switch his scholarship to football so he could concentrate on one sport. He went on to start and letter for 3 years at the nose tackle position, amassing 261 total tackles. He led the Big 10 in tackles his junior year and was a team captain his senior year.  He went on to sign a free agent contract with the St Louis Cardinals of the NFL.

Paul Wehking


Hall of Fame Inductee

Grad Year: 1983

Position:  Linebacker

Accomplishments:

Paul Wehking graduated from River Falls High School in 1983. He was a three-year letter winner in football, wrestling and baseball.
Playing under Coach Tom Carroll in football, Paul was two time all conference selection, and in 1982 served as a co-captain. In the 1982 season he was selected as team MVP, all-state linebacker, and played for the North Team in the 1983 Shrine All-Star game.

Under wrestling Coach Dave Amdahl, Paul was a three-time Middle Boarder Conference Champion, and three-time Regional Champion. In 1983 he earned an individual Class B WIAA State Championship.

Paul played baseball for Coach Bill Halverson. He was selected to the All-Conference baseball team in both his junior and senior years.

Paul went on to wrestle for two years at St. Cloud State University and then transferred to UW-Stout where he played football.

Paul received a bachelor’s degree from UW-Stout in Manufacturing Engineering in December of 1988 and has worked at Omnipress in Madison, Wisconsin in various roles for the last 22 years. He is currently their Vice President of Strategic Accounts traveling extensively to clients across the country.

Of all things, Paul is most proud of his volunteer work. He has volunteered for 10 years with the Community Meal Program in Madison, the Dane County Paint-a-thon having assembled volunteer crews and painted 11 homes during a span of 9 years, and being the President of the Marshall Lions Club where he recently received the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Lions Club International President.

Mike Benedict


Hall of Fame Inductee

Grad Year: 1989

Position:  Running Back / Linebacker

Accomplishments:

Mike graduated from River Falls High School in 1989 and received his Bachelor of Science in Construction Management from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in 1994.

Benedict was a three -sport athlete over the course of his high school career.  He participated in football, wrestling, and baseball all four years.  In football Benedict was a running back and linebacker, he was named two-time All Conference and his senior year was also named to the All Northwest Team.  His senior year Coach Carrols team battled to the Division 2 state semi-finals.  He was also named as co-captain of the football team.  He was an MVP and leading rusher in the conference with 1000+ yards rushing as a junior and 1200+ yards as a senior. He was named the Shopper’s “Middle Border Player of the Year”.  In wrestling, he won two conference championships, two regional championships and one sectional championship. He competed in the state wrestling tournament twice with his best finish of 5th place and a 34-1 record.  

Benedict went on to start as a freshman for the University of River Falls football team (defensive linebacker) but was injured early in the season. He also played baseball for the University for three seasons before transferring to University Wisconsin –Stout to complete his education.

Benedict started at Frana and Sons Construction in 1995 as a Project Manager/Estimator.  In 2005 he was promoted to Executive Vice President/Owner and splits his time managing projects, overseeing field and corporate office operations and working on the preconstruction phase on multiple projects. 

Mike Danielson


Hall of Fame Inductee

Grad Year: 1965

Position:  Fullback / Linebacker

Accomplishments:

Mike Danielson was a three sport athlete at River Falls High School before graduating in 1965. He enjoyed all three -- basketball, track and football -- and was captain on all three teams his senior year.

Danielson played varsity basketball all four years and was the team's leading rebounder his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. He was also named All-Middle Border Conference as both a junior and senior.

Danielson's featured event in track and field was the shot put, and he set the conference record in the shot put as a sophomore and continued to break his own record repeatedly until leaving with the record of 54-feet, 4-inches as a senior. He finished second just once during his career at the conference level in the shot put.

Danielson was the leading point-maker on the track and field team his junior and senior seasons and qualified for the WIAA State Championships his sophomore through senior years where he earned a fourth place medal.

Football proved to be Danielson's standout sport. He played high school varsity for three years and was the leading tackler as a junior and senior while playing both offense and defense. He earned All-Conference honors his junior and senior seasons and was named to the All-Northwest Team as a senior.

Many colleges were interested in Danielson. He received full scholarship offers from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Wyoming and North Dakota. Danielson chose Minnesota, becoming the first high school senior in the Middle Border Conference to receive a full ride athletic scholarship, and was the starting fullback for the Gophers in the first game he was eligible his sophomore season.

A neck and nerve injury caused him to leave Minnesota, and after enrolling at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, he returned to the football field and attempted a comeback. He played five games for the Falcons but the same injury ultimately forced his retirement from the game. He had, however, played enough games to receive All-Conference honors that year.

Joe Cudd


Hall of Fame Inductee

Grad Year: 1998

Position:  Offensive / Defensive Lineman

Accomplishments:

Joe Cudd graduated from River Falls High School in 1998 and earned his Bachelor of Business Administration – Real Estate and Urban Land Economics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2003.  He earned his Mathematics teaching certificate from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls in 2012

Joe played football and wrestled for the Wildcats, earning captain honors in both sports during his senior year.  Cudd was a member of wrestling teams winning 4BRC Championships, 4 Regional Championships, 3 Sectional Championships and State Runners-Up in 1996 and 1997. Cudd won two individual state titles in wrestling during his junior and senior years and qualified for the state tournament as a sophomore.  During his junior and senior seasons, Cudd compiled a record of 82-1.  He was named MVP his junior year as numerous dual meets came down to the outcome of his match.

In his football career at River Falls High School as an offensive and defensive lineman, Cudd was Most Valuable Defensive Player twice, 2nd Team All-Conference as a Junior, Most Valuable Player, 1st Team All-Conference (Offense and Defense), All-State (Defense) and Shrine Bowl Team Member as a senior.

Cudd’s academic honors during high school include: honor roll all 4 years, Northwest Wisconsin Academic Wrestling Honors, Wildcat Wrestling Academic Award, Cross Face Magazine All State Academic Team Award and a WIAA Scholar Athlete nomination.

Cudd attended UW-Madison where he played football and wrestled.  A back injury during football of his redshirt season steered Cudd to focus on wrestling during his redshirt freshman year.  He was the varsity starter at heavyweight in his redshirt freshman season when another back injury forced him to end collegiate athletics. Cudd was Academic All-Big Ten during his redshirt freshman year at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Cudd moved to Colorado after earning his BBA from University of Wisconsin - Madison where he worked in the real estate industry until he chose to work for himself by starting a construction company in 2006.  In 2008, Cudd moved back to River Falls to pursue his desire to become a teacher and a coach.  Cudd was a coach for Victory School of Wrestling in 2008-2009 and was co-head coach of RFHS wrestling with his cousin Brady for two seasons, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011.  Cudd took over as head coach for the 2011-2012 season.  During his 3-year RFHS wrestling coaching career, he had 7 state qualifiers, an Individual state 2nd and 3rd place. Cudd was also the defensive line coach for Wildcat football in the 2010 and 2011 seasons.  He was a member of the River Falls Fire Department 2011-2012.

Cudd moved to Alaska after earning his Mathematics teaching certificate from UWRF in 2012.  He is a math teacher, football and wrestling coach.  He is an assistant wrestling coach for a program that has produced 28 individual state champions, 4 State Team titles and 2 State Team Runners-up.
Cudd lives on the Kenai Peninsula in Soldotna, Alaska with his wife Ami and son Maximus.

Jerry Carter


Hall of Fame Inductee

Grad Year: 1949

Position:  

Accomplishments:

Jerry Carter graduated from River Falls High School in 1949. In high school he participated in baseball, basketball, track and football. He was captain of the 1949 basketball team and played on two Middle Border Conference championship teams in 1948 and 1949.

He also participated in the marching band, high school orchestra, and the River Falls Drum and Bugle Corps, and played American Legion baseball.

After four years of enlisted service in the U.S. Navy aboard an aircraft carrier during the Korean War, Carter enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, where he played on the basketball team. From 1960-65, Carter coached American Legion baseball and in 1968 he coached Little League baseball in River Falls. He also coached junior varsity basketball at River Falls High School and basketball at St. Bridget's Parish School.

Carter coached football at UWRF from 1970-75 and has been a member of the 'Chain Gang" at college football games for 54 years. In the mid-1980s, he was a goal judge for the UWRF hockey team and was part of the 1988 NCAA Division III National Championship program.

Carter officiated at high school football games in Wisconsin and Minnesota for 37 years, which included numerous playoff games and four state championship games at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison. For the past five years he has volunteered to work on the chain gang at Wildcat home football games.

In 1997, Carter was awarded many community service awards for his commitment to River Falls, including the Citizen of the Year award for his dedication and involvement in the River Falls Youth Fund, the Lion's Club Roger Horness Service to Youth and Community Award, the River Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Good Citizen of the Year Award, the Pierce-St. Croix Officials Association Award for 37 years of sports officiating, the River Falls Methodist Church Special Mission Recognition Award. He also received the 3M Company Retiree Community Volunteer Award for his efforts and service to River Falls in both 2002 and 2007.

Carter is a longtime member of the local American Legion and the Legion Color Guard. He was a member of the River Falls Park Board, Cemetery Board, River Falls Caring and Sharing Families, and the church council at United Methodist Church.

For the last 19 years Carter has been involved in charitable efforts which included collecting clothes, food, blankets, socks, coats, caps  and gloves.

In 2004 he started a local food drive and has collected over $47,000 and 51 pickup truckloads of food. He collected $11,000, which was sent to the Fire Department of New York City following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and in 2005, he collected $5,300 that was donated to the Red Cross for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Ron Wunrow


Hall of Fame Inductee

Accomplishments:

Ron Wunrow served the River Falls School District for more than 34 years. Ron was hired as a biology teacher and assistant football coach in 1960. The adjacent outdoor athletic fields at current Meyer Middle School were dedicated in his name a month before his passing in 1994. It was a fitting tribute to Ron where he spent eighteen consecutive football seasons as either assistant or head football coach. The baseball field there is the result of his resurrecting a dormant baseball program in 1963. Wunrow Field is where he spent countless hours turning what once was used for farming into the present day configuration of football, baseball and soccer fields. Wunrow Field is where he also taught many River Falls youth the life lessons only learned by participating in team sports. Coach Wunrow believed that regardless of the score at the end of the game, there is no failure as long as you could look yourself in the mirror and say that you gave it your best shot.

Ron served in many capacities at River Falls High School: assistant and head football coach, head wrestling coach, head baseball coach, biology teacher, driving instructor, class advisor, “R" club advisor, assistant principal and athletic director.

Ron gladly performed the tasks that needed to be done so the coaches could focus on their job of coaching. Tasks like painting the lines on a field, washing uniforms and sweeping the basketball court at half time were not uncommon.

While serving the district as athletic director, male sports offered grew from 3 to 10 and female sports offered went from 0 to 8. In 1993, Ron was recognized by the Wisconsin DPI with a certificate as an advocate for equality in male and female athletics. In the same year he was named the District III and the State of Wisconsin Athletic Director of the year.

Throughout his career at the River Falls High School, Ron had many duties and responsibilities, however his top priority was always focused on the kids. He would be the first to acknowledge their efforts and accomplishments as individuals and as a team. Ron strived to provide his teams with an environment where they were able to work hard, play hard, succeed and fail, win and lose and most importantly, grow and learn. He challenged his students to learn outside of the books and classroom. Biology was best taught in the out of doors. Shortly before his death, Ron was interviewed by a local reporter and he was quoted: "There was not a day that I did not enjoy going to work." In some ways it seems he passed on at a young age of 59. In many ways it is evident his was a life well spent.

Warren P Knowles


Hall of Fame Inductee

Accomplishments:

Warren P. Knowles, Jr. was born on Aug. 19, 1908, in River Falls to father, Warren P. Knowles, and mother, Anna D. Knowles.

During his high-school career he lettered in football and basketball twice, was in "R" club for two years, student council and glee club for one year each, and was the class president his senior year.

After graduating from River Falls High School in 1926, he then attended Carleton College where he received his bachelor's degree. After getting his bachelor's degree he attended the University of Wisconsin Law School where he earned his law degree.

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin Law School he moved to New Richmond and started his law practice, Doar and Knowles. This law practice lasted from 1933 to 1955, when he resigned to focus on his political practices.

Knowles was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate in 1940, and became Majority leader in 1943. He served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy aboard the U.S.S. Nevada during World War II.

Following his military service he returned to the Wisconsin State Senate and was elected Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin in 1954, 1956 and 1960. He was elected Governor of Wisconsin in 1964, re-elected in 1966 and elected to a third term in 1968 before retiring on Jan. 4, 1971.

Shortly after Knowles was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate, he married Dorothy Guidry in 1943, but after 25 years they decided upon a divorce.

Although Warren Knowles had no children of his own, he raised a foster son, by the name of Ron Auringer, who served as a pilot for Eastern Airlines for 26 years.

In 1971 Knowles decided to retire, but he continued to be involved with the Department of Natural Resources and preservation of Wisconsin's natural resources.

After retiring, Knowles was elected chairman of the Heritage Wisconsin Corporation, where he dealt with Heritage Bank, Newton funds, and Marshall funds.

Warren passed away doing what he loved. At the annual Governor's Fishing Tournament in 1993 on Lake Arbutus, he suffered a heart attack after a long day of fishing.

Tom Murphy


Hall of Fame Inductee

Accomplishments:

Thomas (Tom) J. Murphy, attended St. Bridget Parochial School and received his Diploma from River Falls High School in 1967.  He attended the University of Wisconsin - River Falls beginning in 1967 and was inducted into the U.S. Army in January of 1969.  Tom was sent to Vietnam one year later and was killed in action on April 1, 1970.

Tom was the youngest of ten children of Leo and Lucy Murphy of River Falls.  All of Tom's siblings were graduates of River Falls High School with the exception of one sister who died shortly after her birth.

Tom thoroughly enjoyed his years at River Falls High School and was active in athletics as well as school government, and civic and religious organizations.  Tom was awarded an "R" for his participation in football and baseball.  He was an All-Conference selection in football three years and an All-Conference selection in baseball 2 years.  He also participated in basketball and wrestling.

Tom served as Class President, was a member of the Student Council, and was selected as a representative for the American Legion Badger Boys State.  During his years at River Falls High School, Tom's behavior and attitude earned him the reputation of being a credit to his school and community.

Tom's high school and college years prepared him well for his foreshortened future.  During Tom's service in the U.S. Army, and prior to his death, he received the Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal.  Posthumously, Tom received the Silver Star in which the Department of the Army citation quoted Tom for "gallantry in action while engaged in military operation ....." and "distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous action on April 1, 1970."

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Want to participate in your local community? Become a  sponsor for River Falls Football and support youth in your area.