MSU-Northern Alumni Association
Cowan Hall 307
Since it’s inception in 1994, forty-four outstanding coaches and athletes have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. This year the honorees are Sheila Green Gerding an All-Conference Skylight’s guard, of Minot, North Dakota, Jason Liles a two-time National Championship wrestling coach, now with South Dakota State University, in Brookings, South Dakota, and two of Northern’s basketball standouts from the 1930’s Arnold M. Reed, of Billings, Montana, and J. Worth Timmons, formerly of Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
Sheila Green Gerding, is the all-time leading scorer in the Skylight’s program. One of the most highly sought after players out of high school, she was an impact player as a freshman and a three-year starter for the most successful women’s basketball program in Frontier Conference history. During her four years at Northern, they won four Frontier Conference Championships and made four trips to the National Tournament with a record of 126 wins and 12 losses. During their 1990 trip to the National Tournament, Green-Gerding finished third in the three-point shootout. An Academic All-Conference player for two years, she was known for her work ethic and her leadership. She was an All-Conference player three of her four years and in 1992, she was the District 12 MVP and the Frontier Conference Co-MVP when the team was ranked #1 in NAIA Division II. She was also named an NAIA II Kodak All-American.
After graduating from Northern, she was a graduate assistant coach at MSU-Billings for three years followed by a year in New Zealand playing semi-professional basketball. She was recognized as a New Zealand Top Five All-Star. She returned to finish her master’s degree in school counseling and took the head women’s basketball coaching position at Minot State where she has coached for the last eight years. In her first season, the team won their first ever conference title and went to the NAIA II National Tournament for the first time in school history. Since then, they have repeated twice and last season, they finished second in the DAC-10, losing in the conference championship game.
Jason Liles, was a 1979 graduate of Bowling Green State University in Ohio and a four year starter with more wins than any wrestler in that university’s history. He was the Most Valuable Wrestler his last three seasons. In 1982, he earned his master’s degree at Miami University where he was the assistant wrestling coach and helped develop three NCAA Division I All-Americans. The team won the Mid-America Conference title in 1984 and one wrestler was an alternate to the 1984 USA Olympic Freestyle team. Liles became the head coach at Northern Montana College in 1984 to take a successful program with to the next level. During his nine years at Northern, his teams won back-to-back National Championships in 1991 and 1992 and were runner-ups in 1990 and 1993. He recruited and developed six wrestlers who captured individual National Championships, forty-one wrestlers garnered All-American honors, and eight were Academic All-Americans. When he moved on to coach at South Dakota State University, he left the program in position to recruit and build on the success. The program has continued to excel and now has a total of six national team championships, 18 individual national champions, 119 All-American’s, and 15 Academic All-American’s. His protégés have enriched the coaching ranks of Montana’s prep programs with many selected as Coach of the Year in their respective leagues.
His first year with SDSU, his team earned their highest national finish in twenty five years placing fourth in the NCAA Division II with two individual national champions. In 2001 the team placed second at the national tournament and he was named Coach of the Year. Last year, the team placed third at the national tournament and it was the school’s eighth straight top five finish. His teams have won the Division II National Duals twice. The program has produced 37 All-Americans, 11 National Champions, 29 All-Academic selections and three wrestlers have been named Outstanding Wrestler at the National Tournament. Their dual record stands at 80-36-1 with one of the toughest schedules in Division II.
Arnold M. Reed and J. Worth Timmons, played basketball for Northern Montana College from 1936-38. This team was playing the game of basketball as the game of basketball itself was evolving. The required center jump after every basket had just been eliminated and it was the year before the one-handed jump shot was legal. Typical game scores were 58-34, 50-31, 41-25. Certainly, the next two inductees were head and shoulders above their peers in the fledgling small college basketball programs in the State of Montana.
After graduating from NMC with a two-year engineering degree, he transferred to Montana State College in Bozeman, Montana where he became a defensive standout for the Bobcats from 1938-1940. He chose not to play his last year of eligibility to take a teaching and coaching job at Stanford High School in Stanford, Montana where he taught math and science and coached all of the sports offered at the school. Reed continued to compete in various invitational tournaments and in 1947, he played on the top Pacific Northwest team, the Alpine Dairy when they placed 4th out of 64 teams at the National Amateur Athletic Union tournament in Denver, Colorado. During his career he played against such notable players as Bob Kurland, a 7’ center from the University of Oklahoma, Hank Luisette from Stanford University who introduced the one-handed shot to the game of basketball, Jim Pollard, Ace Grueing, Bud Browning, and original Globetrotters, Duke Cumberland and Babe Pressley of the Minneapolis Lakers. Reed retired from playing in 1949, but began a lifetime of assisting at basketball games. For many years until 1992 when he retired, he kept score at many a game. He still keeps time, picks place winners at Billings’ track meets, and is a timer and judge for the Big Sky State Games.
For over 35 years, he has worked with Montana schools and universities as the Jostens’ representative and is credited for helping build the Jostens’ company. He was named to the Jostens’ President’s Cabinet for his outstanding sales. For seventeen continuous years, he was the guest speaker at the annual salesman’s awards banquet. He was President of the Pacific Northwest Shrine Association, the oldest in North America, and he chaired the fundraising committee to build the Masonic Center in Billings, Montana. Active in Kiwanis, he was a member of the Golden “K” Club. In 1997, the Billings community recognized him with a “Celebration of Life” Award for distinguished service.
J. Worth Timmons, was born in Havre, Montana and grew up an avid sportsman, and participated in fishing, hunting, and bowling, but it was in baseball and basketball that he distinguished himself. As a teenager, he won a batting title at a competition camp in Missoula and received a bat that had been signed by Babe Ruth. Timmons competed for Havre High School on the football and basketball teams during the time that they acquired the name Blue Ponies after a sportswriter described the team executing a fast break.
An outstanding athlete for Northern, he played first base for the baseball team and was known for his defense and his home runs. He was named the Most Outstanding Center by the MCCA (Montana Collegiate Coaches Association) in his last year of competition for NMC. In addition to being voted to every All-Conference team, the Havre native finished that year as the 8th leading scorer in the conference with 121 points, in a tie with teammate Edward Morrison. Under the guidance of first year coach, the legendary R.V. “Sandy” Sandven, the All-Conference duo with Timmons at center and Reed, from Outlook, Montana at guard led the team to the SCC Co-Championship in 1938 with Billings Poly (now Rocky Mountain College) after placing second the year before. . A stalwart on defense, Timmons led the team in rebounds and shots blocked and was also the assist leader, passing to teammate and co-inductee, Arnie Reed.
The son of well-known Havre and Hill County residents, R. C. “Doc” Timmons and his wife Clara, Worth studied engineering at Northern and in 1939 he was hired by the Montana Highway Department as a survey assistant. He joined the army in 1940 and was stationed in Seattle when Pearl Harbor was bombed. He served until 1946 in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in an artillery battalion and participated in the Battle of the Bulge in Germany. After the war, he resumed his career with the Montana Highway Department and, in 1949 he was transferred to Shelby, Montana as a project engineer. He often played basketball for the Shelby town team and it was in Shelby that he developed a passion for golf. He returned to Havre in 1967 to complete his career. Retiring in 1979, he and his wife Florence (McGuinn) moved to Arizona for an extended retirement of golf and travel. Worth Timmons passed away December 2, 2002, at the age of 84, in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.