by Wayne Boykin II
The players and coaches of the 1998 Cougar volleyball team represent the first Columbia College team to bring home an NAIA championship title and the first full team to be inducted into the Columbia College Athletic Hall of Fame. The squad had an impressive year, ending with a 45-0 record. Mariuska (Hamilton) Buckner was one of the members of the 1998 team. Buckner said, “The 1998 team was well-balanced, even the sixth player was very equal.” Teammate Patti Atay said, “Everyone had a part in it.”
“This team showed all Cougar sports teams that teamwork is what gets a championship,” said Burchard. When asked if inducting the whole team was right, Atay said, “I would not want it any other way.” Buckner agreed, saying, “It would be selfish to nominate just one of us.”
The emcee for the night, John Bassford, communications coordinator at Ameren UE, began by talking about the week in Missouri sports. He mentioned how sad it was that the St. Louis Cardinals, the St. Louis Rams, the Kansas City Chiefs and University of Missouri football team suffered rough losses. Columbia College was not in that rut, he said. “It is a great time to be a Cougar.”
Inductees of the 2009 Athletic Hall of Fame. Photo courtesy of Columbia College Public Relations.
Missy Wilt. Photo by Wayne Boykin II.