Russell Sovde attended Willamette from 1986 through 1990. He was a four-year letterman in soccer and basketball. As a soccer goalkeeper, Sovde was named Second Team All-NAIA District 2 in 1986, 1988, and 1989.
In 1987, he was chosen Honorable Mention All-NAIA District 2. He was named First Team All-NCIC in 1986, 1988, and 1989, and received an Honorable Mention All-NCIC in 1987.
In basketball, Sovde played guard and helped the Bearcats reach the top of the conference standings. In 1986-87 and 1989-90, the team tied for the NCIC title. In 1987-88 and 1988-89, the team won back-to-back outright conference titles. The 1989-90 team also claimed the NAIA District 2 championship.
Sovde holds several school records in soccer and basketball. In soccer, he recorded the most shutouts in a season with 10 in 1988. He achieved the most career shutouts with 21, and registered the lowest goals against average at 0.78 in 1988.
In basketball, Sovde earned the fifth highest career free throw percentage in Willamette history at 79.9%. He also tied the school record for the highest free throw percentage in a single game by hitting 11 of 11 charity tosses against Pacific University on Jan. 16, 1990. He set the single game record for steals with eight versus Pacific Lutheran University on Jan. 12, 1990. He was named Willamette University Male Athlete of the Year following the 1989-90 season.