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2009 Hall of Fame Inductees
2009 Inductees

Inductees, from left: Lee and Scott Folstad, for their father Merlin; Brook Olson, for her father, Forrest; Bruce Lillyblad and Katherine Stauffer for her husband, James

Merlin (Buster) Folstad: Merlin graduated from RLHS in 1949.  He was a three-year letterman in football and basketball and two years in track.  He played four different positions in football; guard, tackle, fullback and linebacker.  As linebacker in 1947 and 1948 he led the team in tackles.  He was Captain of the team his senior year.  Buster helped Rice Lake win undefeated Ho’N football championships in 1946 and 1947.  In 1948 Rice Lake finished second in the conference with an overall record of 5-1-1.  In basketball, he played point guard for three years leading the team in rebounds each year.  The team won conference championships in 1947 and 1948 with conference records of 11-1 each year.  In track, he was a high jumper and relay runner.  Buster Folstad received the American Legion Award for Outstanding Athlete in the Class of 1949. Buster enlisted in the Air Force in 1950 and became a control tower operator.  He served in Korea and was stationed at Nellis Air Force Base.  He attended UW-Madison in 1954 where he played guard and linebacker on the University of Wisconsin freshman team.  He graduated from the Minnesota Business School in 1957 and became a CPA with Wipfli Ullrich Bertelson in Eau Claire, becoming a partner in 1968.  He retired in 1993 after 32 years in public accounting and currently resides in the Long Lake area.

Bruce Lillyblad: Bruce provided the impetus and leadership in the formation of the Rice Lake Youth Hockey Association in 1968.  He is considered to be the father of modern day hockey in Rice Lake.  In 1971, Bruce and his family co-signed the loan for the existing Rice Lake Hockey Arena, one of only three in Northwestern Wisconsin at the time.  He volunteered and served in every capacity in the operation of Rice Lake Hockey.  He was on the Board of Directors for 15 years and coached for over 30 years, winning youth state championships at every level; Squirts, Pee Wees and Bantams.  He established the Rice Lake Youth Program in the Central Suburban Squirt Hockey League in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area in 1973.  Bruce was one of the leading fundraisers and contributors towards Rice Lake Hockey; providing hockey sticks, helping families to skate, and donating over 2,000 cords of firewood for the annual hockey auction fundraiser.  At the State level, Bruce was a director and vice-president of W.A.H.A. for ten years.  He was the founder of the highly successful NOR-WIS Hockey League in 1977 and pioneered Rice Lake into the Indianhead Hockey League in 1971.  Bruce was also the founder of the Rice Lake Youth Soccer Association in 1980. Bruce graduated from Grand Haven High School in Grand Haven, Michigan in 1954 where he was a letter winner in track placing third in state competition in the 100 yard dash his senior year.  He graduated from Michigan State in 1962 where he also lettered in track for the Spartans.  He was the owner of Birchwood Manufacturing Company in Rice Lake, retiring in 1996.  Bruce was inducted into the Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame in September of 1992 and currently resides on Lake Lac Courte Oreilles.

Forrest Olson: A graduate of Rice Lake High School in 1992, Forrest was a multiple letter winner in basketball and as a senior he lettered in football as a defensive back and in baseball as a first baseman and pitcher.  He helped lead the Warrior basketball team to a Big Rivers Championship in 1991 and two consecutive sectional final appearances in 1991 and 1992 with the latter a gripping 60-58 loss to eventual state champion Onalaska.  His ability to shoot from the outside, take the ball inside and also rebound earned him 1992 Big Rivers Player of the Year, All-Northwest and Team MVP.  The 6-6 co-captain scored 408 points for an average of 17.7 in leading the Warriors to a 14-9 record.  He also had a team high 21 points in the 1992 High School Division II All Star game. Forrest went on to start in 95 of the 100 games that he played for the UW-Oshkosh Titans men’s basketball team from 1992 to 1996.  He accumulated 1387 career points; the 9th highest total in that school’s history.  His career also featured 530 rebounds, 125 assists and 110 3-point baskets.  Olson was the owner of 5 double-doubles and scored a career high of 29 points.  The 6’6”, 240 pound forward earned All-WIAC First Team accolades in 1995 as a junior when he started in all 25 games, scoring 465 points for an average of 18.6.  In 1996, Olson again received All-WIAC First Team honors as he started in all 27 games, averaging 14.1 points per game to help the Titans to a 23-4 record and an appearance in the NCAA Division III Championship.  Olson followed his UW- Oshkosh playing career by earning his B.A. degree in teaching from Finlandia University and Michigan Tech University.  From 2001 to 2006 he taught social studies, coached girls varsity basketball and served as the athletic director at Hancock High School in Michigan.  Forrest passed away in 2007 at the age of 33.

Jim Stauffer: Jim taught biology at Rice Lake High School, where he was also assistant football coach and wrestling coach from 1957 to 1967.  He was the first wrestling coach at RLHS when the sport was established in 1957.  Under Stauffer, the Warriors posted a dual meet record of 90-16-1.  In Heart O’ The North duals, his record was 46-5-1.  The Warriors won 5 Heart O’ The North Conference Championships, 5 Regional titles, and 1 Sectional title.  In his 10 years as a Warrior wrestling coach, Jim had 20 wrestlers qualify for the WIAA State Wrestling Tournament.  Stauffer then went on to establish the wrestling program at UW-Barron County Campus.  From 1968 to 1976 the Chargers won 5 Wisconsin collegiate conference titles. Prior to coming to Rice Lake, Jim graduated from Naperville High School in Naperville, IL in 1942.  He served in the US Navy from 1943 to 1046 as a member of Underwater Demolition Team #3.  In 1948, he received his B.A. degree at Carleton College, in 1952 he received his B.S. degree at UW-Eau Claire, and in 1970 he received his Masters Degree from the University of Montana.  Jim taught high school biology at Swawano high school from 1952 to 1957.  Jim was also a founding father of the Rice Lake Ducks Unlimited chapter, served as chairman from 1972 to 1975 and as a committee member for 20 years.  He passed away in 1992 at the age of 67.