Lake Forest College legendary head handball coach Mike Dau ’58 will be inducted into the Illinois Handball Association Hall of Fame on Saturday, July 15. The ceremony will take place at the 28th Annual LaGrange 3-Wall Tournament at Gordon Park in LaGrange, Illinois, at 1:00 p.m.
Handball was added to the College’s slate of varsity sports after the construction of the Lake Forest College Sports and Recreation Center in 1968. Dau was instrumental in the birth of the program and has been the head coach ever since.
Under Dau’s direction, the Foresters claimed their first United States Handball Association National Collegiate title in 1971 and then rattled off six national championships in a seven-year span beginning in 1974.
Women’s handball made its debut at the College during the 1980-81 academic year and Dau led Lake Forest to first place in the nation in the combined team standings five times in the 1980s, running his national championship total to 12.
Dau’s teams began an incredible two-decade run of dominance in 1998 when the Forester men started a streak of four straight national championships. Lake Forest added four consecutive combined titles from 2000-03 and made history in 2001 when the program’s first women’s championship made it a clean sweep of all three categories. Dau and his Foresters also claimed all three titles in 2005, accomplished the feat four years in a row from 2009-12, and added a seventh “trifecta” in 2015. Lake Forest’s first-place finish in the combined team standings in 2016 was Dau’s 38th national title in the last 20 years and his milestone 50th overall.
Handball players at the College have also had remarkable success as individuals over the last 49 years. Dau coached Wes Yee and Steve Jamron to a runner-up finish in doubles at the national championships in the program’s inaugural season and Yee captured the team’s first two national titles in singles in 1971 and 1972. Lake Forest has had at least one player earn All-America honors in all but four seasons in program history with 74 players combining to achieve All-America status 189 times. Yee’s first-place finishes are among the 50 Dau’s Foresters have posted in singles or doubles action, a total that also includes eight from 2004 graduate Meghan Mehilos, the only player from any school to capture both titles in all four years of eligibility.
A talented handball player himself, Dau won numerous local singles championships and advanced to the national Masters Doubles finals in 1980. At the age of 56, he also won the United States Marine Corps Open Doubles championships with his son, Perry.
The IHA is not the first organization to induct Dau into its hall of fame. His accomplishments as a Lake Forest College athlete and coach made him part of the Forester Athletic Hall of Fame class of 1977 and he has been in the USHA Hall of Fame since 1988.
“It was a no-brainer to induct Coach Dau into the Illinois Handball Association Hall of Fame,” said IHA President James Komsthoeft, a 1996 graduate of Lake Forest College. “His track record speaks for itself. He has defined generations of handball in Illinois.”
The IHA welcomes all family and friends of Mike Dau, as well as faculty, staff, alumni, and current students of Lake Forest College to join in the celebration on Saturday, July 15. For more information, please click here.