Fisher among first Tech hoops greats
HOUGHTON – She played in an era when women’s basketball at Michigan Tech was still in the formative stages, but Mary Fisher managed to set records that stand to this day.
Fisher, a Bergland High School graduate, never played on a team with a winning record at Tech. But she was a pace-setter for later success by the Huskies.
“The program was sort of finding its way in those days,” recalled Mary Kaminski, who was her coach part of one season and an assistant one other year. “But Mary Fisher was the kind of player who made an immediate impact. And she always gave 100 percent in every game.”
Fisher’s 1,250 career points between 1983-87 was the MTU record until it was surpassed by by Jenny Postlewaite in 1993.
Her career 85.3 percent mark at the free-throw line still stands as the standard, as does the 14 straight free throws she made in a 1986 game versus Saginaw Valley.
If her career in Houghton wasn’t marked by great team success, Fisher was in on a lot of winning games at Bergland High.
Former Ewen-Trout Creek High girls’ skipper Nancy Osier coached Fisher during her junior high days.
“You could see even then that she was going to be a great player,” noted Osier, who would later set the all-time Upper Peninsula record for victories at Ewen-Trout Creek. “She had the size (5-foot-11) and she could use either hand … but she also had the talent and desire to succeed.”
Fisher’s teams at Bergland lost just a handful of games in her final three seasons. Unfortunately, two of those defeats were inflicted in regional tourney play.
“We always seemed to have a tough time in the regionals,” Fisher commented a few years ago. “There was always a team there who was just a little bit better.”
Still, Fisher managed to accumulate more than 1,300 points and 1,000 rebounds – stats reached by only a few players – in her prep career as she gained all-U.P. and all-state honors.
Also an an outstanding volleyball player, she helped Bergland to a couple of district crowns when that sport was in its infancy.
She was recruited to play in at Michigan Tech by then Huskies’ coach Diane Morea. But Morea was dismissed at mid-season of Fisher’s first season and Kaminski took over for the rest of the campaign.
Fisher was a model of consistency in the next three seasons as Cindy Corlett took over the head coaching duties.
“You always knew you were going to get 14-16 points and at least 10 rebounds a game from Mary,” Corlett said at the time. “She was also a fine defensive player.”
Kevin Borseth was hired a year after Fisher graduated, but she stayed on as an asssistant student coach for one season.
“I was doing graduate work after I graduated, but the year I spent as an assistant for Kevin was an interesting one,” she said. “He had a definite plan.”
After one losing season, Borseth went on to establish the Huskies’ program as one of the very best in NCAA Division II women’s play.
Borseth has since coached women’s basketball teams at Wisconsin-Green Bay and the University of Michigan. He returned to UWGB this past season.
Fisher remembers her days in Houghton fondly.
“I would have liked to have been on the winning side a few more times,” she commented. “But overall, my days at Michigan Tech were very rewarding.”
Voted into the MTU Sports Hall of Fame in 1998, Mary was also named on the Tech Women’s Basketball Silver Jubilee team.
Today, she works for Raytheon Inc. as manager of facilities and engineering, and resides in Belmont, Mass. with her husband and young daughter.