Swimming and Diving, 1981-84
Inducted February 7, 2004
Don Fearon was a three-year SMS standout for the swimming and diving Bears, and was the first SMS athlete in any sport to compete in an NCAA Division I championship. A native of Raytown, Mo., Fearon joined the SMS swimming and diving program in 1981, transferring to SMS after his freshman year at University of Missouri-Rolla, where he had earned NCAA Division II All-America honors for the Miners. Upon becoming a Bear, Fearon was the top SMS diver for three seasons. Fearon competed for three different coaches in his SMS seasons, diving under the direction of Barry Hartwyk in 1981-82 when Fearon was a sophomore, for Kent Kirchner in 1982-83 in Fearon’s junior season and for Jack Steck in 1983-84 as a senior. Under the three coaches, Fearon and the Bears won Mid-Continent Conference championships all three years, including the the 1982 league title in the final SMS year in Division II, and the 1983 and 1984 conference championships as SMS moved to Division I. Fearon won the one-meter and three-meter conference championships in 1982, won the one-meter league title in 1983, and captured the three-meter MCC crown in 1984 when Fearon was an SMS co-captain. In the last SMS year in Division II, Fearon placed third on the three-meter board at the NCAA meet at Clarion, Pa., to earn Division II All-America honors, and thereby qualified to become the first SMS participant ever in a Division I event as he went to the NCAA meet in Milwaukee, Wis. Fearon graduated with SMS one-meter and three-meter diving records, the league one-meter record and the Hammons Pool three-meter mark.