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2008 Hall of Fame Inductees
2008 Inductees

Inductees, From left; Jack Nelson (accepting for his father,Harold Nelson), Jim O'Brien, and Lou Bach.

Louis “Lou” Bach:  Lou Bach coached football and track and taught physical education at RLHS from 1951 to 1960. As head football coach for the Warriors, he compiled a 9 year record of 46 wins, 23 losses and 3 ties, including three Ho’N championships and three second place finishes. From 1957 to 1959 his teams were undefeated at home. His 1959 team was the first undefeated team at Rice Lake since 1943 with an 8-0 record that included 6 shutouts, 19 points allowed and ranked 8th in the state for all schools under one class. While at Rice Lake he developed and gave strength to the junior varsity and freshman football teams. In track and field, his teams won 3 conference championships with several individual state participants. He was also Bob Tone’s assistant in basketball, garnering a 4th place finish in the WIAA State Tournament.

Lou graduated from Baraboo High School in 1944 as a three-sport athlete in football, basketball and track, as well as a Golden Gloves boxing champion. From 1944 to 1946 he served in the Navy in the South Pacific. He graduated from La Crosse State College in 1950 with a B.A. in physical education. In 1959 he earned his Masters from La Crosse.

Prior to coming to Rice Lake, in 1950 and 1951, Lou coached championship teams in football, basketball and baseball at Cameron High School. After leaving Rice Lake in 1960 he was the football line coach, wrestling coach and track coach at Ripon College. From 1962 to 1988 he was athletic director, head football coach and golf coach at Franklin High School in Franklin, WI.

Awards include being selected as an all-conference guard in football at La Crosse State in 1949 while earning 3 letters. In 1950 he was honored at the Eau Claire Leader “Champion Coaches Banquet”. In 1959 he was the guest speaker at the “Pug” Lund Appreciation Banquet. In 1988, Lou was recognized for 38 years of service by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. He currently resides in Greendale, Wisconsin.

Harold Nelson “Friend of Sports”:  As co-owner of the Coca Cola Bottling Company in Rice Lake for 48 years, Harold Nelson shared his success as a civic leader with his interest in sports that benefited the recreation scene in Rice Lake, Barron County and surrounding counties for nearly five decades. Harold and his brother Earl built, owned and operated the Coca Cola Bottling Company from 1938 to 1986.

Harold provided the game programs for football and basketball games for the Warriors and area teams for over 30 years. He also printed schedules for the Warriors, sponsored radio broadcasts of games for the entire area and advertised in the local newspapers for the benefit of athletics. In addition, he and his company provided scoreboards for the football, baseball and softball fields.

Harold helped form, organize, and chaired the committee that hosted the popular annual sports banquets for Rice Lake athletes which featured such nationally known figures as Bart Starr, Ray Nitschke, Forrest Gregg, Norm Van Brocklin, Don Riley, John Erickson and Milt Bruhn in the late 50’s and 60’s.

He also arranged transportation for the Warrior basketball teams from the late 40’s to the mid 50’s to attend Minneapolis Laker basketball games. Harold served on the committee in the dedication of the Francis “Pug” Lund football field in 1979.

Harold Nelson was born in Green Valley, MN and graduated from Pine City High School before coming to Rice Lake. He entered the U.S. Army in 1942, serving in New Guinea. His numerous civic contributions include being a charter member and past president of the Barron County Campus Foundation and the Dean’s List, a member of the Rice Lake Rotary Club where he received the Paul Harris Fellow Award, past president of the Chamber of Commerce, and founder of Salute to Industry Day. Harold passed away in May of 2004.

Jim O’Brien:  Jim graduated from Rice Lake High School in 1967 as a three-sport athlete in football, basketball and track. In 1966 he was captain of the Ho’N undefeated champion football team at 7-0 and 7-1 overall. This celebrated team doubled the opposition in most statistical categories and had an outstanding defense that allowed an average of less than 5 points per game, including three shutouts. Jim played tackle on both sides of the ball and was a rare three year letter-winner for the Warriors. He was named to the First Team in the Ho’N, Eau Claire Leader’s All Northwest team, and the Wisconsin All-State Team. In 1967, he accepted a full scholarship from the Minnesota Gophers under Murray Warmath where he became a two-year starter and letter-winner at defensive tackle. Considered skinny by his coaches, he had to rely on leverage and technique to compete against oversized opponents.

In basketball Jim had a reputation as an aggressive rebounder and defender on a team that finished 14 and 4 his senior year. Announcer Dick Kaner referred to him as 005 as that was usually his box score statistic. As a three year letter-winner in track, Jim was a member of a record-setting mile relay team and won the Ho’N conference shot put title in 1967. He helped the Warriors to conference championships in 1965, ‘66 and ‘67.

Jim also played with the University of Minnesota rugby team which won the first Big Ten rugby tournament championship. He continued to play rugby several seasons for teams in Atlanta, Georgia. Jim has worked as a volunteer coach in youth football and basketball.