COB Alumni Brennan and Furrer Selected for Blugold Hall of Fame
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire College of Business alumni Jim Brennan and John Furrer are among seven athletes selected for induction into the 2011 UW-Eau Claire Blugold Hall of Fame.
Brennan won seven out of eight conference diving titles during his Blugold career and was runner-up to a teammate the only time he did not win. He also had four top four finishes at nationals including a second on the 1-meter board in 1978. Furrer came to Eau Claire to play football but made his mark with the Blugold baseball team. He started 16 of 20 games as a defensive back during his freshman and sophomore football seasons for Coach Link Walker but left the school with most of the school's offensive records in baseball.
Brennan is vice-president for sales & marketing for Arlington Industries in Waukegan, Illinois. Furrer is a Senior Financial Advisor for M&I Bank in Menomonee Falls and a basketball official for the WIAA and WIAC.
The Blugold Hall of Fame was established in 1973 to pay tribute, give deserved recognition and enhance school tradition by honoring former athletic letterwinners, coaches or administrators who showed distinctive, unique or exceptional ability while on the campus at Eau Claire and have distinguished themselves in their profession or personally since leaving the institution.
For women athletes, there must be a lapse of 12 years from their final season of eligibility before they can be considered for induction and for men 15 years.
The class will be recognized at halftime of the football game vs. UW-River Falls Saturday, September 24 and inducted that night during a banquet in the Council Fire Room of the W. R. Davies Center on campus. For more information, contact the UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association at (715) 836-3266 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Brennan, who prepped at Notre Dame High School in Niles, Illinois, competed on the 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981 Tom Prior-coached swim teams that not only won four WSUC crowns but placed second twice, sixth and fourth in the NAIA Nationals. Besides winning seven conference titles in four years, Brennan set WIAC records in 1979 and 1980 and was voted NAIA District 14 Swimmer/Diver of the year in 1980. As a four-year All-American, he finished second on the one-meter board in 1978 and third on the three-meter board in 1980 while accumulating eight top 12 finishes at the NAIA national meet. He was a three-year captain and Blugold team most improved once and team MVP once.
After earning his bachelor's degree in business administration in 1981, he worked 13 years in Chicago for IBM as an advisory marketing representative, area staff representative and marketing manager in General Business and Higher Education. After one year as product manager at Systems Group, Inc. in Schaumburg, IL; Lexmark International, Inc. was his next stop for 15 years, serving as district sales manager, systems engineering regional manager, director software alliances, director of practice development and director of systems engineering-US. Over his career he has been recognized for his ability to successfully develop and build high performance teams.
Jim has worked with the local community Adventure Guides youth organization and for the past 15 years has coached age group soccer and basketball for the Spring Lake Sports League.
Brennan and his wife Erin have three sons.
John Furrer, who prepped at Janesville Craig High School, played two years for Glenn Meidl and two years for Steve Carson on the Blugold baseball teams of 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1983. He was a two-time All-Conference pick as well as the team MVP in 1983. He broke the school single season home run record in back to back seasons with eight in 1982 and 10 in 1983. Furrer led an assault on the school single season record book in 1983 by setting new standards for at bats (114), hits (46), RBI (37), doubles (10) and home runs (10). His .404 batting average was the second best in school history and he finished the season with a .754 slugging percentage. The 16-14 record in '83 was the first winning record in a dozen years and the most wins by a Blugold baseball team in a season at that time. Furrer batted .318 in 116 career games with 21 home runs and 24 doubles for a .558 slugging percentage. He also stole 37 bases in 45 attempts.
Following his UWEC graduation in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in marketing, Furrer attended Western Illinois University for advanced studies in Sports Management. Following an internship with the Tucson Toros, he was hired by the Chicago White Sox and spent nine years with the major league team, leaving in 1994 as the Director of Group Sales and Private Party Sales.
He joined Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company for five years as an insurance agent, dealing in life and disability insurance and annuities.
In December, 1999, he began work for his current employer, Marshall and Ilsley Bank.
Outside of his work responsibilities, Furrer has spent his career coaching baseball and officiating basketball as well as utilizing his business capabilities in community service. He has been a member of the Menomonee Falls Optimist Club for 10 years; is a past board member of the Menomonee Falls Leadership Foundation; has been a coach, board member and treasurer for the Menomonee Falls Falcons select baseball program; has been a board member and treasurer of the Menomonee Falls Youth Basketball Association, has been a board member of the Menomonee Falls High School Scholarship Foundation and is a past member of the WIAA Officials Advisory Board.
Furrer has been a WIAC basketball official since 1998, working the conference championships in 2008 and 2011. He has also done three NCAA Division III sweet 16 games. He has officiated five WIAA state tournament games including three state championship games. He worked the 2002 girls' Division I state championship game between Hudson and Waukesha South with his father.
In 2009, Furrer was honored with the Menomonee Falls Friend of Education Award for his volunteer work with youth activities in the village as well as presentations to high school classes on money management and teaching in the local Junior Achievement program.
Furrer and his wife Cheri, a teacher's aide in the Menomonee Falls School District, have two sons.