2012 Inductees: Loren Baker, David Ray, Turk Lords
Montana State University-Northern has a tradition of excellence both in the classroom and with our athletics, a tradition that goes back to the very beginning of the school and that has continued throughout our 85 year history. The Northern Alumni Association recognizes the students and coaches who built that tradition by inducting three outstanding individuals into the Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame. For 2012 Loren Baker of Ramsay, Montana, David Ray of Troy, Illinois, and Turk Lords of Belt, Montana, will be presented commemorative awards in ceremonies during the Founder's Excellence & Hall of Fame Banquet on the Northern campus Friday, May the 4th
Loren Baker, the Skylights basketball coach from 1981 to 1990, which to this date are the most successful years in the Skylights history. Baker earned 12 Conference and 4 District Coach of the year awards. The Skylights were ranked as high as number one in the nation. This ranking was well deserved because the Skylights averaged 24 wins a season for 10 years, which made Baker the 4th Winningest Coach in the NAIA History. During Baker's career as head women's coach, he and the Skylights had 244 wins - 70 losses: winning percentage of 78%. They had seven conference and 4 district championships, along with 4 National Tournament appearances placing in the top 16 two of the four years. Besides all of the success on the court, Baker graduated all players in his 10 year period, and Northern was #1 in the Country for NAIA attendance for home games. In 1991 Baker took over as head coach of the Lights Basketball team. Baker once again brought the Lights to the forefront of the Frontier conference. The Lights were ranked as high as 10th in the nation, which was the first time in school's history. The Lights averaged 22 wins per season. The lights ended with 132 wins and 47 losses with a winning percentage of 74%. The Lights had 3 conference championship and 2 national tournament appearances, which in 1995 they defeated the #2 team and ended the tournament #8. During this time, the Lights broke 45 team records, had a team GPA of 3.1 and continued the success of being the #1 in conference attendance.
David Ray, the Lights Wrestling coach from 1993 to 2005, brought the Lights Wrestling to the top of the Frontier conference and the nation. Ray was named Coach of the Year 10 times during his 12 years at Northern. Ray also was National Coach of the year 4 times as he led his team to 4 NAIA National Championships. Ray's time coaching the Lights Wrestling ended with a dual coaching record of 135-30-4. Besides leading his team to 4 national titles, Ray coached 6 individuals who received the Outstanding Wrestler of the National Tournament Award. Ray produced 85 All-Americans, 21 national champions, and finished in the top 3 at the NAIA national tournament 7 times in 12 seasons. David also coached Emmett Willson who won three 197 lb. national championships and in 2003 was named the Hodge Trophy winner. The Hodge Trophy is the Heisman Trophy of wrestling. This means that Emmett was voted the top wrestler in the nation among all divisions, NCAA division 1, NCAA II, NCAA III, and NAIA. Ray also gets to share this night with one of his former wrestlers Turk Lords who won 4 national titles
Turk Lords is one of the most accomplished athletes ever to compete at Northern. Lords attended Northern from 1998 to 2001. He is the only Northern Wrestler to ever win four national championships. Lords also is a 4-time regional champion, 4-time All-American, and the 2001 Outstanding Wrestler of the National tournament. Lords' career records are 126 wins and only 10 losses, 7th with all-time wins, 5th with 50 pins on all time falls. In 2000 Lords was the Little Sullivan Award recipient, and placed two times at the prestigious Midlands Championships. During the start of Lords' second season with the Lights he was ranked #1 of all divisions (NAIA, NCAA Div. 1, 2, & 3) by Amateur Wrestling News and Wrestling USA Magazine. To top off Lords' amazing career at Northern, he was also inducted to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.