The Magazine of the University of Minnesota Duluth

Volume 22 • Number 1 • Winter 2005


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Pictured from left to right: Dale Race, Mike Petrich, Denise (Holm) Olson,
Kelli (Ritzer) Thomas, Jon Sampson, Jerry Wherley, and John Nachtsheim.
Dan Lempe was unable to attend the event.


Eight individuals were paid a lasting tribute this past October when they were officially inducted into the the University of Minnesota Duluth Athletic Hall of Fame.
The distinguished group included:

Denise (Holm) Olson -- Olson capped off her rewarding UMD basketball career in 1989 as the school's career leader in assists (813), steals (236) and games played (118) . The two-time All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and All-NAIA District 13 first team honoree paced the NCAA Division II ranks with a school-record 291 assists (9.1 per game) in 1988-89. Holm started three years in the Bulldog backcourt and captained UMD to its first two NAIA National Tournament appearances (1987-88 and 1988-89) and its first outright NSIC title (1988-89). She was the co-winner of the 1988-89 UMD Outstanding Senior Female Athlete award.

Dan Lempe -- Over a quarter century has passed since he last laced up his skates as a Bulldog, but Lempe still continues to occupy the No. 1 spot on UMD's all-time scoring list with 222 points on 79 goals and 143 assists in 149 outings. An All-Western Collegiate Hockey Association second team honoree as both a freshman and senior, Lempe established UMD marks for points (64) and assists (40) by a rookie in 1976-77. He placed second among all WCHA newcomers-and was seventh overall-in scoring that winter (54 points) while being chosen the WDAZ-TV WCHA Rookie of the Year in a vote of league players. Lempe, who was selected by the Colorado Rockies (now the New Jersey Devils) in the 1977 National Hockey League draft and spent parts of four seasons in the professional ranks after departing UMD.

John Nachtsheim -- Nachtsheim secured All-Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football honors all three of his seasons in a Bulldog uniform (he transferred to UMD from the University of Colorado in 1960) and was named the conference's co-Most Valuable Player as a senior. That same year, he was selected to the NAIA All-American second team selection and landed UMD's Most Valuable Player Award for a second straight time. Nachtsheim, who rushed for a then-UMD record 1,843 yards during his Bulldog tenure was a key component on two MIAC championship teams. The Robbinsdale, Minn., native finished second among all NCAA small college players in scoring (112 points, including 17 touchdowns) in 1961 while helping lead UMD to an 8-1 record and a perfect 7-0 league mark. He went on to launched a lengthy and prosperous Wisconsin high school basketball and football coaching career in 1963 and spent spent eight years (1985-93) employed as the College of St. Scholastica's head men's basketball.

Mike Petrich -- Arguably one of the most gifted all-around athletes to ever sport a Bulldog uniform, Petrich exited the Bulldog baseball program owning 19 career and single-game records and was a three-time All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference pick (1987, 1988 and 1990). He still owns club lifetime marks for runs (150), slugging percentage (.721) and total bases (292) and sported the school's best career batting average (.397) up until last spring . Petrich, who was picked by the Houston Astros in the June 1990 Major League Baseball Draft, also started at free safety, wide receiver and punter during his Bulldog football career and was UMD's primary kick and punt returner as well. He finished as the school's all-time leader in interceptions (19), interception return yardage (363) and average yards per pass reception (22.9) and attained All-NSIC acclaim in 1987 after pacing all NCAA II players in interceptions (a school-record nine thefts) UMD's Outstanding Senior Male Athlete Award recipient for 1989-90, Petrich came away with a school-record tying three interceptions three different times as a collegian and was on the receiving end of the longest pass play (94 yards) in school history in his injury-shortened 1988 season.

Dale Race -- Race amassed more victories and the best winning percentage (.709) of any coach in storied history of the UMD men's basketball progam. He was 293-120 in his 14 years (1984-98) at the UMD helm and guided the Bulldogs to nine 20-win seasons, eight Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference championships (1986-92 and 1997), eight NAIA National Tournament appearances (1985-92) and one NCAA Division II playoff berth (1997). Race received NSIC Coach of the Year recognition six times and his 1990-91 squad eclipsed the school-season record for wins by going 27-5. Following the 1997-98 season, he stepped down from his head coaching post to become the first coordinator of the Bulldog club, a duty he fulfilled for four years. Race subsequently accepted an assistant men's basketball coaching position at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, a NCAA Division I institution, in 2002.

Kelli (Ritzer) Thomas-- Ritzer made here mark on both the basketball floor and softball diamond at UMD, earning All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference recognition seven out of a possible eight times in those two sports. She became the first Bulldog (and just the second player ever) to be named to the All-NSIC women's basketball team on four occasions and complemented that with three All-NSIC softball selections (1987-89). Ritzer, UMD's Outstanding Female Senior Athlete honoree in 1990, turned in the second highest lifetime scoring total (1,887 points) in team history in addition to setting team marks in every three-point shooting category. She played in a school-record 128 consecutive games over the course of four seasons with the Bulldogs, who were 99-29, captured three NSIC titles, and made four visits to the NAIA National Tournament during that time. As a pitcher and outfielder, the Stillwater, Minn., native, rolled up a 48-9 career record and a 1.29 earned run average in 63 career mound appearances and maintained a .316 lifetime batting average. In 1988, Ritzer won a UMD-record 20 games (she was 20-3 on the year) in 1988 while helping pitch the Bulldogs to a runner-up finish at the NAIA National Tournament.

Jon Sampson-- A four-year starter with the Bulldogs, Sampson teamed with fellow UMD Hall of Fame inductee (and Duluth Denfeld High School classmate) Bob Monson to form one of the most potent guard tandems in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference during the late 1950s. He co-captained the Bulldogs to their initial two MIAC championships and NAIA National Tournament berths (1957-58 and 1958-59) and was an All-MIAC first team selection and UMD's Most Valuable Player both of those seasons. A 1958-59 Little All-America honor mention pick, Sampson departed the Bulldog program ranking fourth on the school's all-time scoring list. He received a tryout with the National Basketball Association's Minneapolis Lakers after his college playing days were over and returned to UMD to serve as an assistant coach with the 1959-60 Bulldogs.

Jerry Wherley -- Wherely was a four-year lettermen in two sports (football and hockey). He attained All-Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football status on both offense and defense during each of his final three collegiate seasons (1960-62). The recipient of UMD's Outstanding Lineman Award in 1962, the International Falls, Minn., native played a major role in UMD's conquest of two MIAC crowns (1960 and 1961) and one runner-up conference finish (1962). Wherely is one of only three Bulldogs (the other two, John Nachtsheim and the late Terry Egerdahl, are also UMD Athletic Hall of Fame enshrinees) to be named to the All-MIAC Football Team three or more times . On the ice, he compiled a 10-15-0 goaltending record in 28 lifetime hockey appearances and was a part of two MIAC championship teams (1959-60 and 1960-61).

The UMD Athletic Hall of Fame was established in 1991 and now contains 70 members, all of whom are honored with plaques in the UMD Sports and Health Center complex.


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