The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) was formed in 1920. Years later, Carole Herzog helped bring it into the computer age.

Starting in the mid-1970s, Herzog and her husband, Bill, modernized the conference’s operation. Bill Herzog was hired by the MIAC in 1975 to coordinate the assigning of basketball and football officials for the conference. The next year, sports information for the MIAC and the printing of the conference directory were added to his duties, and Carole joined him. Their duties continued to expand in their shared role as the conference’s first “coordinator.” They worked together for the MIAC for the next 18 years before retiring in 1994.

“The team of Bill and Carole Herzog was the first attempt at centralizing some activities of the MIAC,” said University of St. Thomas athletic director Steve Fritz. “Previous to Bill’s and Carole’s work, schools operated on their own in hiring officials and other conference functions.

“The work started slow and slowly added other sports being centrally assigned and eventually being paid by the conference office. Bill and Carole were pioneers in this work. The conference office today is a direct reflection of all the good the Herzogs did.”

Carole died on Aug. 31 in Naples, Fla. She was 81.

“The Herzogs did so much for the conference over the years. Carole was a huge piece of [its] history,” said MIAC executive director Dan McKane.

Initially, Carole prepared the conference’s weekly statistics by hand. She eventually streamlined the process.

“She did all their stat work for 18 years starting with just an adding machine,” said Bill Herzog. “She would take all the info from each school by phone, put stats in order and send out the completed stats by Wednesday.

“In her last five years we started using a computer and she would have the stats out by Monday afternoon. She had the respect of all the faculty reps, ADs, coaches and officials because of her attention to detail and her pleasant smile. They loved her.”

Carole (nee Bakken) was born in Abercrombie, N.D., a small town on the Red River south of Fargo. She grew up in Moorhead, Minn., where her family moved when she was in elementary school. Bill was raised in Alexandria, Minn.

The Herzogs met while students at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. They were married on St. Patrick’s Day in 1955, in Aiken, S.C., where Bill was stationed for military training. Carole joined Bill in Germany, where he served for two years.

After returning to the United States, Bill graduated from the University of Minnesota. They lived in Thief River Falls, Minn., before moving to Stillwater in 1966.

“I know that people appreciated her organizational skills and that they liked working with her,” said son Paul, who lives in Afton. “Mom liked sports and going to games and picked up golf in retirement.”

Bill started officiating basketball games while teaching in Thief River Falls. He eventually began officiating college basketball games and was a referee in the Big Ten Conference for 11 years.

After officiating more than 3,000 games, Bill Herzog retired from refereeing in 1994. The Herzogs then split their time between Naples, Fla., and a home on Lake Vermont near Miltona, Minn.

In addition to her husband and son, Carole is survived by daughters Kay Wittman, of Billings, Mont., and Leah Herzog, of Crystal, and six grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Faith Lutheran Church in Miltona.