NORTHERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY SPORTS HALL OF FAME: Dewitt, Fehrs, Maartmann honorees
EDITOR’S NOTE: Thursday, today and Saturday, Northern Michigan University’s Sports Hall of Fame inductees will be profiled, leading up to the new members being enshrined this weekend.
From NMU sports Information
MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University athletic department on Saturday will be inducting five individual athletes and the 1979-80 and 1980-81 men’s basketball team into the NMU Sports Hall of Fame.
Jovan Dewitt was a linebacker for the Wildcats from 1993-96. He was named the team’s Most Valuable Linebacker in 1995 and 1996, and was a Dr. C.M. Frank Honorable Mention All-American in 1995. Dewitt was recognized on the All-MIFC Defense First Team and NCAA All-Northeast Second Team Defense in 1995, and was All-MIFC Defense First Team and NCAA II All-Northeast Region Second Team in 1996. Additionally in 1996, he was selected as the MIFC Defensive Back of the Year.
Dewitt earned his degree in physics and mathematics from Northern Michigan in 1999. He had an opportunity to work for NASA following graduation, but he turned that down to pursue a career in athletics. He played three seasons in the Arena Football League and later entered the coaching profession.
Dewitt has coached for over 24 years, starting back with the NMU football team as a student assistant coach in 1997 and also as a graduate assistant in 2000 and 2001.
His first full-time coaching job was as an assistant coach at Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College in 2002 before becoming the assistant coach at Division II Fairmont State.
He then returned to NMU to serve as the defensive coordinator at Northern Michigan University in 2004 and ’05.
Following this, Dewitt was the defensive coordinator at Division III St. Norbert for three seasons (2006-08), as well as Northern Iowa (2009-11) as defensive coordinator; Florida Atlantic (2012-13) as a linebacker coach and interim defensive coordinator; Army (2014-15) as special teams coordinator and outside linebacker coach; and Central Florida (2016-17) as associate head coach, special teams coordinator and linebacker coach.
Dewitt also coached at Nebraska (2018-19), where he held the title of special teams coordinator, associate head coach and outside linebacker responsibilities. His punt coverage unit in 2019 finished seventh nationally allowing just 2.3 yards per return.
After Nebraska, Dewitt became an outside linebacker coach and special teams coordinator at North Carolina (2020-21), Dewitt’s group of outside linebackers produced 36 sacks in their 2022 campaign. This was tied for fifth nationally.
Currently, Dewitt is the defensive coordinator at Florida International University, joining in 2022. In his first season at FIU, the Panthers had three players honored with selection to the 2022 College Football News Freshman All-America squad.
Jovan and his wife, Lisa, have two daughters, Maya and Kira, and one son, Jovan Jr.
Robert Fehrs was the head coach of the NMU men’s wrestling team from 1975-78. During his tenure at Northern, Bob coached 22 All-Americans, including two Division I All-Americans and two Division II National Champions, and recruited several wrestlers who are now in the NMU Sports Hall of Fame.
Each of his four Wildcat teams finished in the top 20 for NCAA Division 2 Championships (13th, 19th, 13th, and 6th) and Fehrs was nominated for the NCAA Division II Coach of the Year in 1978.
He is a member of the Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame, the Central Penn All-Sports Hall of Fame, and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. However, he is most proud of the fact that 100% of his All Amercians graduated from college.
Fehrs’s father passed away when he was young. Because of this event, and various other reasons, including that he was the youngest of three and by his own choice, Fehrs enrolled in Milton Hershey School, which at that time, was only open to poor orphan boys. Fehrs credits the school for teaching him discipline, hard work, and giving him a basic foundation for the rest of his life.
At Milton Hershey School, Fehrs excelled at wrestling and football, and he earned a wrestling scholarship to the University of Michigan. At Michigan, Fehrs was a three-time Big Ten champion and three-time NCAA finalist with an overall record of 67-5-1.
After having coaching jobs at the University of Pittsburgh, Harvard University, Milton Hershey School, and Muskegon Community College, Fehrs came to NMU as head coach where he coached to a 36-8 record. When given the opportunity to coach at Nebraska, Fehrs succeeded there as well with teams finishing 6th, 6th, and 4th in the NCAA Championship. His program boasted two NCAA Champions and one finalist.
After 20 years of coaching, Fehrs changed careers, becoming a public school teacher, then principal, then superintendent, and finally the Head of the Middle Division back home at Milton Hershey School. As the head of the Division, Fehrs was responsible for the student homes, their staff, the educational programs for 5th through 8th grades, and the general welfare of the students, which now included girls, including arranging health care and counseling. By far Fehr’s most significant accomplishment was the $125 million, four-year renovation of the iconic of Milton Hershey School facility.
Currently, Bob resides in Hummelstown, Pa., with his family.
Halvor Maartmann, who resides in Oslo, Norway, was a member of Northern’s 1975-76-77 Nordic ski teams.
He was a three-time All-American, finishing second overall at the NCAA Championships in 1976. He also placed seventh in 1975 and fourth in 1977.
Maartmann was a three-time NCAA Regional Champion, capturing the titles in 1975, 1976 and 1977. He graduated in 3 years with a degree in computer science/mathematics.
Following graduation Halvor worked as a system developer for TELENOR, a state owned Norwegian telephone company. He then worked at Rank Xerox Norway developing packages for reporting back to headquarters in London.
When oil was found in the North Sea, he was hired by a company called NPC (Norwegian Petroleum Consultants) to provide IT services needed for building the big oil platforms. NPC was sold after a few years, so he and two coworkers started their own company. They soon became a company of 40 employees and they maintained it for more than 20 years before it was sold.
Maartmann stayed in relatively good shape during all these years and even competed a bit. The highpoint was the silver medal with his club, Heming, in the 3*10k relay in the 1981 National Championship. In 2019, he completed his 14th Birkebeiner and finished first in his 65+ age group.In his retirement, Maartmann enjoys spending time with his four grandchildren and doing outdoor activities.
The class will be recognized at the Homecoming game taking place at 2 p.m. on Saturday in the Superior Dome.