Family, friends, classmates and teammates gathered at Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU), Mitchell, S.D., Sept. 29 as the university athletic department dedicated its offices to the memory of former DWU athlete Barry Kusel.
Kusel was a four-year starter and letter winner in football, playing offensive and defensive end. He distinguished himself as one of the best ends in the South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference. For his efforts, he won All-Conference honors in 1967 and 1968 and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletic All-District XII honors in 1968. Kusel was also an outstanding track performer. His most memorable victory came in 1967 when he set a school record in the half mile, becoming the first DWU runner in history to break the two-minute barrier by winning the SDIC half-mile championships with a time of 1:57.04.
“Barry was a prime example of the core values of Dakota Wesleyan, and it’s apparent he touched the lives of many during his time at DWU,” Director of Athletics Jon Hart said. “It is an honor and privilege to work in a facility and space dedicated to him.”
In remembrance of Kusel, there is now a plaque that hangs in the DWU athletic offices. The plaque reads, “This gift is given in memory of Barry Kusel ’69 and his teammates. Many former athletes are equally deserving to be recognized; however, as a team captain and member of the DWU Athletic Hall of Fame, it is fitting that Barry’s name be chosen as the representative from his era of former student-athletes. Barry personified leadership on the football field, on the track and in the campus community.”