PSU Athletic Hall of Fame to induct five new members

PSU Athletic Hall of Fame to induct five new members

Class of 2016 to be enshrined on Oct. 22

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Plymouth State University will honor its athletic heritage this fall when five new members are enshrined into the PSU Athletic Hall of Fame.

            This year's induction ceremony, set for Saturday, October 22, will mark the 32nd class to be enshrined into the PSU Athletic Hall of Fame.  The quintet honors some of the elite Panther student-athletes over the last four decades, representing the sports of football, basketball, soccer, and skiing.

             The 2016 inductees are:

* Bryan Biederman ('07), a four-year starter and three-year co-captain for the Panther men's soccer team who earned two All-New England and three All-Little East Conference honors as well as the 2005 Little East Defensive Player of the Year, leading the team to four ECAC post-season appearances.

* Mike Gittleson ('77), a former Panther three-sport letterman (football, wrestling, track) who is a pioneer in the field of weight training and conditioning, serving 30 years at the University of Michigan, coaching more than 100 All-Americans and two Heisman Trophy winners.

* Liz Hazel Savage ('96), a four-year standout and team captain on the Plymouth State ski team, qualifying for the US Collegiate Ski Association's national championships all four years and earning All-America honors in the giant slalom as a senior.

* Kristin Mainella ('93), an All-American and four-year standout for the Panther women's soccer team, one of the career scoring leaders and a three-time All-Little East Conference selection who helped the team to four NCAA Tournaments, two Final Fours, and an overall record of 60-8-3.

* Matt Swedberg ('91), a standout for the Panther men's basketball team who earned All-Little East Conference recognition after leading the team to a combined record of 49-28; also very successful as a high school basketball coach, winning more than 250 games with three state championships.

            The Hall of Fame activities on Oct. 22nd will be held at The Savage Welcome Center in the PSU Ice Arena. The evening's festivities include a reception at 5:00 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:00 p.m. and the induction ceremony at 7:00 p.m. This year's group increases the total number in the Hall since it began in 1985 to 183 individuals and six teams.

            The entire list of inductees and profiles on each member, as well as a nomination form open to the public, is available on the PSU Athletics Website at For tickets or more information, call 603-535-2770.


               BRYAN BIEDERMAN ('07) A standout on defense and a three-year captain for the Plymouth State men's soccer team from 2003-06, Bryan Biederman started every game for the Panthers during his four years. He earned All-New England honors twice after achieving All-Little East Conference First Team recognition three times and was named the Little East Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2005.

               A native of Holderness, N.H. (Plymouth Regional H.S.), Biederman helped anchor a defense his freshman year that allowed just 13 goals in 19 games. He earned his first All-Conference selection as a sophomore after the Panther defense surrendered just 22 goals in 18 games. Biederman went on to receive All-New England and First Team All-Little East accolades his junior and senior seasons, including the LEC Player of the Year honor as a senior.

               Biederman helped the Panthers to four straight ECAC post-season berths and a combined record of 43-23-10 under head coach Rob Wright. He led the team to two LEC regular season titles and a berth in the 2006 LEC Championship game. Biederman capped his outstanding career with an appearance in the New England Senior All-Star game. 

               MIKE GITTLESON ('77):  A three-sport athlete at Plymouth State (football, wrestling, track) and a state weightlifting champion, Mike Gittleston is a pioneer in the field of weight training and conditioning, making a mark on the field in the area of neck injury prevention. He was the first strength coach in the history of the Big 10 Conference, hired in 1978 for the University of Michigan Athletic Department by legendary coach Bo Schembechler.

               A native of Manchester, N.H. (Central H.S.), Gittleson's 30-year career at Michigan included coaching more than 100 All-Americans and two Heisman Trophy winners. He was recognized by the Professional Football Strength and Conditioning Coaches Society as the 2003 National Collegiate Football Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year.

               Gittleson played football on Plymouth State teams under coach Tom Bell. He graduated summa cum laude and was named the outstanding physical education student in his class. A Vietnam veteran, Gittleson went to Michigan and completed a master's degree in exercise science and earned the prestigious Paul Hunsicker Award as an outstanding graduate student at the University. An adjunct lecturer in Sports Management and Communication for the Division of Kinesiology, Gittleson was honored with the distinction of becoming an "Honorary 'M' Man" in 1997.

            LIZ HAZEL SAVAGE ('96):  A former standout for the Plymouth State ski teams from 1992-96, Liz Hazel Savage qualified for the US Collegiate Ski Association's national championships all four years as a Panther. She helped the team to two Eastern Regional team titles and one runner-up finish under head coach Kim Bownes, and earned All-America honors as a senior in 1996.

            A native of Waltham, Mass., Hazel reached a No. 3 ranking in the Eastern Collegiate Ski Association as a freshman before a breaking a leg on a fall that ended her season. After lengthy rehabilitation, she returned as a sophomore and worked her way back to a top-15 ranking and a visit to the nationals. Hazel also posted top-eight finishes at the regional championships as a junior in both the slalom and giant slalom, and capped her collegiate career at the nationals as a senior, placing 10th in the giant slalom to earn All-America honors. She also finished 19th in the slalom, leading the Panthers to a fifth-place showing in the team standings.

            Hazel Savage entered the coaching profession after her collegiate career, guiding the Mt. Rose Team in Reno, Nev., to the Junior Olympics.


               KRISTIN MAINELLA ('93): A four-year soccer stalwart at Plymouth State, Kristin Mainella was a key member of Panther teams that competed in four NCAA Tournaments from 1989-92, including two Final Fours. She was a three-time First Team All-Little East Conference selection, following the first three years of the LEC (1990-92), and she earned All-New England and All-America honors as a senior in 1992. Mainella graduated as one of the school's all-time scoring leaders with 31 goals, 30 assists and 92 points.

               A native of Barrington, R.I., Mainella helped Plymouth State to a combined record of 60-8-3 and the first three Little East Conference titles under coaches Phil Rowe and Nancy Feldman. The Panthers advanced to NCAA Tournament play all four years, reaching the Final Four in 1989 and 1991. Mainella was a scoring standout her entire career, and set the school record for assists in a season with 15 as a senior in 1992. She currently is the co-record holder for career assists, and ranks fourth all-time in goals and points.

               Also a two-year member of PSU's lacrosse team, Mainella was voted Plymouth State's Female Athlete of the Year in 1992-93. She remained active in soccer following graduation, starting a women's league team in Fort Collins, Colo.

            MATT SWEDBERG ('91): A three-year starter on the Plymouth State basketball teams from 1988-91, Matt Swedberg earned Little East Conference honors and All-Academic Team accolades as a senior, finishing his career as a 1,000-point scorer. Swedberg has also made a name for himself as a high school boys basketball coach, serving as head coach at Moultonborough Academy since 1996 with more than 250 victories and three state championships.

            A native of Moultonborough, N.H., Swedberg transferred to Plymouth State following his freshman year at Brandeis University. He became a standout for the Panthers, averaging 10.1 points and 7.3 rebounds as a junior and 12.6 points and 6.2 rebounds as a senior, and finishing his career with 1,062 points. He helped the team to a combined record of 49-28 with two ECAC post-season appearances under coaches Phil Rowe and Paul Hogan, and served as team captain as a senior.

            Swedberg started his coaching career at Pittsburg High School before moving to Moultonborough. He has amassed a record of 253-196 (66.8%), with state championships in 1996, 2009 and 2012 and a runner-up finish in 2003. He is a four-time New Hampshire Basketball Coach of the Year (2002, 2003, 2006, 2012), and led the team a pair of undefeated regular seasons in 2005-06 and 2011-12. 

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