75 years of UIC memories


Dr. Dennis “Doc” Schuldt was instrumental in the creation of “The Legacy Continues!” It is an 88-page commemorative publication recognizing the 75th anniversary of the Upper Iowa Conference. Here, Dr. Schuldt holds a copy of the finished product, which contains photos, records, and a variety of other information regarding the conference and its athtletes.



75 years of UIC memories



Brian Smith
Contributing Writer



Make no mistake about it, Dr. Dennis “Doc” Schuldt is passionate about sports history. As a young boy growing up in Sumner, he has memories of playing catch with his two older brothers and following sports news about the Brooklyn Dodgers, Iowa Hawkeyes, and the local Sumner Aces high school teams. It wasn’t long before his mother, Pauline (Wendland) Schuldt, noticed her son’s intense interest in sports and made an observation.

            “Why don’t you make a scrapbook using all the sports articles you are reading?” she suggested.

            That was more than 60 years ago, and from that time forward Schuldt has followed his mother’s advice. One of the results of his labors is a publication that commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Upper Iowa Conference (UIC).

            “I don’t think any other Iowa high school conference has its history recorded in such a way, and I have always thought it is important to record history. It is also something of personal interest to me, and I have really enjoyed doing it over the years,” explained Schuldt.

            The idea for publishing the history of the UIC first came to him in 2003, when the Upper Iowa Conference Museum was opened in Sumner. Schuldt realized that the 75th anniversary of the conference was approaching, and he didn’t want the occasion to slip away without some recognition.

            “I made a note on one of my ‘to do’ lists about the anniversary coming up in 2014. I actually started working on compiling the materials in 2012, then mentioned the idea to Mike Van Sickle at The Fayette County Union in January 2013,” recounted Schuldt.

            An agreement was reached to publish an 88-page magazine that would highlight the history of the Upper Iowa Conference from its inception in 1939 up to the present day. Schuldt would provide the historical information, records, and pictures for the publication. The Union would take care of the layout, design, and advertisements.

            Collecting the information was a big job, but one that Schuldt had already mostly accomplished with his years of clipping newspaper articles. He had continued following sports news from northeast Iowa, even while he was living in California, by continuing his subscriptions to the local newspapers. Then, in 1993, he returned to northeast Iowa to work for Gundersen Lutheran Health System. Schuldt worked as a radiologist and traveled to a number of communities across the area. Many of the communities happened to be the home of schools in the Upper Iowa Conference.

            “I would stop by the school or the library in town and find someone who could help me with information or contribute memorabilia to the museum. I was able to gather a lot of material that way,” noted the retired radiologist.

            One of Schuldt’s favorite features of the publication is the front cover. It showcases Jack Dittmer (Elkader High School), Mike Eischeid (Fayette High School), Raef LaFrentz (MFL-MarMac High School), and Gene Schultz (Kee High School), four well-known UIC representatives who have achieved at a high level in athletics over the years.

            “I also especially enjoyed putting together the top 75 list of what I thought were the top career athletes in UIC history. I am sure someone will disagree with me somewhere along that line on those, but I did the best I could with the information I had available to me,” said the sports history enthusiast.

            The special commemorative issue of “The Legacy Continues!” celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Upper Iowa Conference. It is valued at $5, but is currently available free of charge (for a limited time only, one per family) at the following locations:

            Clermont – Kerndt Brothers Savings Bank and The Art Gallery;

            Fayette – First State Bank;

            Gunder – The Irish Shanti;

            West Union – The Fayette County Union, Kerndt Brothers Savings Bank, Bank First, Farm Bureau, Phone Connection, and 122. 

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