Monday, July 7, 2014

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Adler Thrives Under Pressure

Adler running the Palatine Hills Golf Course cross country course in 1974 (left) and running the AIDS Phoenix 5K Run fundraiser in October of 2013 (right). (David Adler)
PALATINE, Ill. – While the natural talent of a runner in the sport of cross country is very important, will, determination and the ability to handle pressure are also key factors in success. For former Harper College cross country and track and field athlete David Adler, who competed for the Hawks in 1973 and 1974, he learned those lessons at the collegiate level and used his experience at Harper as a springboard for success in the future.

Adler graduated from Evanston High School in 1973 and chose Harper based on its location and a positive school visit. Despite his diminutive stature (5-foot-6), Coach Bob Nolan convinced him to come out for the team, and Adler grew as a runner at Harper.

While he perceived himself as just an "average, hard-working guy", Adler flourished in his time as a Hawk and learned several lessons as a student and an athlete.

"Coach Nolan taught me the concept of concentration and preparation both in the classroom and out on the track," he said. "Coach Nolan gave me a strong work ethic and understood how to instill this in all different personalities on the team. I watched and learned."

As a college athlete, Adler learned how to handle pressure and credits Coach Nolan to keeping him calm prior to events. He admits he was not a star athlete, but Nolan still spent quality time working with him to improve.

After graduating from Harper, Adler received an athletic scholarship to Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago and ran cross country for the school. Following his time at Northeastern, he moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1977 and became interested in the hotel business.

Once settled in Phoenix, he spent 14 years in the hotel business with Westin Hotels, holding 11 different positions.

"I was using all the organization and killer instinct drive I learned at Harper. Many of my accomplishment are due directly to the learning experience I gained at Harper and with coach Bob Nolan," Adler said.

Among those accomplishments is being married to his wife, Patricia, and having two kids who both participated in athletics. His son graduated from Arizona State University while his daughter graduated from the University of Arizona.

In 1982, Adler was selected to serve President Ronald Reagan and his family dinner in his Phoenix home. By 1989, he was a hotel executive with Westin and was moved to San Francisco and Chicago. After entering the food service business as a general manager (GM) in 1991 in the country club industry, Adler hosted President Bill Clinton twice and was able to talk to him.

Among other celebrity athletes Adler has taken care of includes: Michael Jordan, Ernie Banks, Green Bay Packers' legends Bart Starr and Brett Favre, Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabaar and Dallas Cowboys great Emmitt Smith.

Adler currently works as a GM in the food service industry in Phoenix after changing jobs numerous times due to the 9/11 attacks.

"I used all my training at Harper to be well-prepared for the pressure I was under. Coach Nolan taught me how to plan and prepare," Adler said. "The school took a simple kid of average ability and prepared me for high-pressure situations that only a kid could dream of."

Adler has stayed involved in the sport of running, as he runs five days a week and has done over 30 5K's, most of which have been fundraisers for great causes. He is extremely grateful for his Harper experience and what he gained following life at Harper.

"Coach Nolan and my teachers were terrific. I considered myself just a regular guy and still am an average guy," he said. "There's so much opportunity (at Harper) that you just have to take advantage of it."

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Women's Soccer Tryouts Set for August 4

PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College women's soccer team will be holding open tryouts beginning Monday, August 4 at 2 PM for those interested in playing for the fall 2014 team.

All interested student-athletes will need a current physical and must have it completed prior to tryouts. The paperwork can be picked up in the Athletics office in M Building (M219) or found here: 
Athletic Physical Packet  Student Checklists Interested student-athletes can also fill out the Prospective Athlete Form

Please contact head coach Dwayne Cruz ( or 224-381-2832) for more information.

The Harper women's soccer team will hold tryouts beginning Monday, August 4. (Jim Cummins)

Men's Soccer Tryouts Set for August 1

PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College men's soccer team will be holding tryouts beginning Friday, August 1 for those interested in trying out for the fall 2014 team.

All interested student-athletes will need a current physical and must have it completed prior to tryouts. The paperwork can be picked up in the Athletics office in M Building (M219) or found here: Athletic Physical Packet  Student Checklists. Interested student-athletes can also fill out the Prospective Athlete Form

Please contact head coach Dan Klaus ( or 847-925-6467) for more information.

The Harper men's soccer team will hold tryouts beginning Friday, August 1. (Jim Cummins)

Hurwitz Commits to Calumet College of St. Joseph

PALATINE, Ill. – Harper student-athlete Stephanie Hurwitz (Rolling Meadows, Ill./Fremd), who starred on the soccer field and was also a standout sprinter for the Hawks' track and field team, will continue competing in both sports next year for NAIA Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, Ind.

On the soccer field, Hurwitz played forward and earned Second Team All-Conference and All-Region distinctions. She scored eight goals in nine games, including an incredible five-goal performance in the Region IV Semifinals against Triton College on Oct. 15, 2013.  

Hurwitz will play soccer for the Crimson Wave and head coach Justin Olson. Calumet St. Joseph (CCSJ) went 6-11-1 overall and 3-7-1 in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) in 2013.  

On the track, Hurwitz placed sixth in both the 100m and 200m at nationals last month, running PR times of 12.87 seconds and 26.69 seconds, respectively. She earned Team MVP honors and was also named Harper College Athlete of the Week.

"Stephanie's dedication to her workout and goal to improve her times are what I appreciated about her during her two years," said head track and field coach Renee Zellner. "She definitely was a great role model for our women sprinters. I was fortunate to have had her and her determination on the team. It sure makes coaching fun."

The track and field team at CCSJ is coached by Kevin Paterson.
Hurwitz likes that the school is not too far from home, fits what she needs for her double major in criminal justice and psychology and has two athletic teams on the rise that will allow her to play and run competitively.

Reflecting on her Harper career, Hurwitz will miss the bonds she made with her teammates.

"I'll miss being close to home and the friends I've made," she said. "I feel prepared for the opportunity (at CCSJ), and I know what to expect."

Hurwitz will continue her collegiate career at Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, Ind. (Jim Cummins)

Men's Basketball to Host Summer Camp

PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College men's basketball team and head coach Justin Welke will host a Harper College Basketball Summer Camp for kids who are in 2nd-8th grade from Aug. 4-7 in the Harper College gymnasium in Building M.

This four-day basketball camp will help young players improve skills, compete and have fun, all while being coached by Welke and his current college and high school varsity players.

The camp will begin each evening at 6 PM and end at 8:30 PM. The cost of this four-day camp is $75. Send an email to if you are interested in signing your child up for camp, or fill out the camp registration form. For more information, visit the Harper College Basketball Camp Facebook page or email Coach Welke your questions.

Not only will campers receive top-notch instruction, but they will also receive a Harper camp t-shirt and custom-made basketball mouthguard courtesy of Smiles for Kids Dentistry.

"This camp is going to be a great way for kids to improve their game, learn about mouthguard safety and have fun," Welke said. "My goal is to make this an annual event that serves Harper's greatest fans, the children of our community."

Fall 2014 Baseball Information

PALATINE, Ill. – The Harper College baseball team has announced that there will be an informational meeting on Monday, August 25, for those interested in trying out for the Harper College Baseball team.

The meeting will be in Room M244 and begin at 4:00 PM. All interested student-athletes will need a current physical and must have it completed prior to the meeting.  That paperwork can be picked up in the Athletics office in M Building (M219) or found here: Athletic Physical Packet  Student Checklists

Please contact head coach Cliff Brown ( or 847-925-6485) for more information.

Those interested in playing for the 2014-2015 team are encouraged to enroll in KIN-210 Teaching Methods: Baseball (Fall 2014: Tuesday/Thursday 2:00 PM – 3:45 PM). Participation in the course does not guarantee a position nor is it required to be on the spring 2015 team, but it is recommended that you participate if you are planning to try out for the team.

The baseball team will hold a meeting on Monday, August 25 for those interested in trying out for the team. (Jim Cummins)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Former Hawk Plaza Pitches UW-W to DIII National Title

Baseball: Scott Plaza UW-W DIII World Series 2014
Plaza pitched UW-Whitewater to the NCAA Div. III World Series title. (Alex Saager)

APPLETON, Wis. – Former Harper College pitcher Scott Plaza was the ace of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater pitching staff this year. He proved it with two victories on the mound in the NCAA Division III baseball national championship, including a complete game shutout as the Warhawks (44-7) topped Emory University 7-0 in the title game on May 27.

"Being that it was the last game of my college career, it was a great way to go out," Plaza said. "It was a great experience, and we had so much fan support there, too. We overcame a lot to reach this goal, and it was an awesome feeling to go 4-0 in the World Series."

The national title gave UW-Whitewater national titles in football, basketball and baseball in the same academic year, the first NCAA school to ever accomplish the feat in the 67-year history of the NCAA.

Plaza allowed seven hits and two walks while striking out nine in the complete game against Emory (38-13). He also led Whitewater to an 8-1 World Series opening victory over University of Southern Maine with seven innings of scoreless ball.  

Plaza, who was featured in the Harper College Alumni Spotlight series last June, finished his senior year with a 9-2 record, 2.53 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 96 innings and earned First Team All-Conference (WIAC) honors and First Team All-Midwest Region honors. As a junior, he went 6-1 with a 2.65 ERA.

As a sophomore at Harper College, the right-handed pitcher went 6-4 with a 1.86 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 77 1/3 innings, earning him First Team All-Conference N4C, First Team All-Region, and Team MVP honors.

Plaza received his bachelor's degree in Business Education in May and plans to get his master's degree starting this upcoming fall. He credits his Harper experience as playing a key role in his success at UW-Whitewater.

"My two years at Harper prepared me mentally and physically for a four-year university atmosphere. I now have the groundwork for success in the future, whether it be baseball or in the job market," he said.