Class of 2008: Chris Marinucci, Ron McClure,
Chris Neumann, Jodi (Swenson) Becker and Darrel "Lefty" Warner
In October 2008, Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner Chris Marinucci, two-time NCAA II wrestling All-American Ron McClure, NCAA Division II national high jump champion Jodi (Swenson) Becker and three-time all-conference selections Chris Neumann (basketball) and Darrel “Lefty” Warner (football) were paid a lasting tribute when the University of Minnesota Duluth Athletic Hall of Fame held its 11th enshrinement ceremony.
Marinucci became UMD’s third Hobey Baker Memorial Award recipient (most outstanding player in college hockey) in 1993-94 and received two other prestigious honors -- the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Player of the Year and USA Hockey College Player of the Year -- that winter in addition to securing a spot on the NCAA I All-American first team. The Grand Rapids, Minn. product paced the WCHA in both points and goals as a senior team captain and had a hand in a league-leading 43.1 percent of his club’s regular season goals en route to being named to the All-WCHA first team. Marinucci, who is the only one among the 28 Hobey Baker Memorial Award winners to have come from a team with a below .500 record (UMD was 14-21-3 overall and placed seventh in the 10-team WCHA standings), collected more points during his final two collegiate seasons (138, including 61 in 1993-94) than any other collegian in the nation. He also eclipsed the 30-goal mark on two occasions (1992-93 and 1993-94) -- just the fourth Bulldog to ever do so and closed out his UMD career by skating in a then record-tying 149 consecutive games. In the spring of his senior year, Marinucci participated in the 1994 East-West College Hockey Classic in Bangor, Maine and in the 1997 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship as a member of the U.S. National Team. He was subsequently named UMD’s Co-Outstanding Senior Male Athlete for 1993-94. A fifth round draft pick of the National Hockey League’s New York Islanders in 1990, Marinucci went on to suit up in 12 games with that club and one game with the Los Angeles Kings in 1996-97. His professional hockey resume includes International Hockey League stints with the Denver/Utah Grizzlies (1994-97), the Phoenix Roadrunners (1996-97) and the Chicago Wolves (1997-2000). Marinucci spent his last two professional seasons (2002-04) skating for the Idaho Steelheads of the East Coast Hockey League/West CoastHockey League after playing the prior two years in Japan (Kokudo) and Europe (Berlin Polar Bears).
McClure, a native of Golden Valley, Minn., is the only Bulldog to ever attain NCAA II All-American wrestling honors on more than one occasion. (He was so recognized in both 1994 and 1993 when he placed fourth at the national tournament). During his farewell collegiate season in 1993-94, he amassed a 27-1-0 record -- his lone defeat came in the 142-pound title match at the NCAA II Championships – his last bout as a Bulldog -- for a school-record .964 winning percentage. McClure, who laid claim to the 142-pound crown at the 1994 NCAA II Midwest Regionals in Duluth, became, at the time just the eighth individual wrestler overall – and the first from UMD -- to win four Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference championships (134 pounds in 1991 and 142 pounds in 1992-94). He closed the books on his remarkable collegiate career with a 108-17-0 record with 40 pins and won his final 27 dual meet matches (going back to his freshman year). In all, McClure qualified for three NCAA II national tournaments and one NAIA Championship event (in 1991) and was chosen UMD’s Most Valuable Wrestler an unprecedented three times.The two-year team captain shared t UMD’s Outstanding Senior Male Athlete Award for 1993-94 with fellow 2008 Hall of Fame inductee Chris Marinucci.
Neumann, who starred at guard and forward with the Bulldogs from 1980-84, started in a then-school record 115 consecutive games and helped UMD post a 93-22 overall record during his four-year stay. As a senior, he scored 499 points -- the highest scoring total by a Bulldog in 19 years -- while captaining UMD to a share of its third straight NIC title. For his efforts, Neumann was named the NIC’s Most Valuable Player in addition to attaining NAIA All-American (honorable mention), NAIA All-District 13 and All-NIC recognition. The Milwaukee, Wis. native was a three-time All-NIC honoree and UMD’s leading point producer as a sophomore, junior and senior. Neumann held down the No. 3 spot on the Bulldogs’ all-time scoring charts (1,708 points) when he left the UMD basketball program (he's now fifth in that category) and was selected to UMD’s All-75th Anniversary Team in 2006. He spent one season (1984-85) as a UMD student assistant coach after his playing days were over.
Jodi (Swenson) Becker
Becker, a Crosby, Minn. native, holds the distinction of being the first -- and only -- female NCAA II individual titleholder UMD has ever produced in any sport. She reigned as the NCAA II indoor high jump champion in 1990 and placed second in that same event later that year at the national outdoor meet. The following spring, Becker turned in another runnerup finish at the NCAA II outdoor championships as a senior to land All-American recognition for a fifth time. In addition, she captured the Northern Sun Conference outdoor high jump title three of a possible four years (1989, 1991 and 1992) and the indoor crown twice (1990 and 1991).. Becker, whose school records in both the indoor and outdoor high jump still stand, was the co-recipient of UMD’s Outstanding Female Senior Athlete award in 1991-92.
Darrel "Lefty" Warner
Warner, who arrived on the UMD campus from Grand Rapids, Minn. in 1953, started all four years with the Bulldogs at halfback/quarterback and safety and was also one of UMD’s primary return specialists and punters. The three-time All-Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honoree (first team in 1954 and 1956 and second team in 1955) paced UMD in total offense and scoring four straight seasons and set then-UMD career records in each of those two departments. He was also named the Bulldogs' Most Valuable Player as both a junior and senior. A member of the Bulldog freshman basketball team in 1953-54, Warner was bestowed with the 1956-57 Anderson-Dahle Award as UMD’s top scholar-athlete
The addition of this distinguished group brings the UMD Athletic Hall of Fame membership to 88. For more information contact Bob Nygaard at 218-726-8191.
Did you find what you were looking for? YES NO