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The University of Minnesota Duluth
BRIDGE - Fall 2006, Volume 24, #2
Karen Stromme's coaching career at UMD may have come to an end in 2005, but her impact on the women's basketball program will live well into the future. A group of Bulldog alumni saw to that by establishing the Karen Stromme Women's Basketball Scholarship.
"Karen touched the lives of countless women's basketball players at UMD," said Sue Fiero, one of the scholarship organizers, who also served as an assistant under Stromme before succeeding her as head coach. "She taught us how to be strong, positive and successful in every aspect of our lives -- and did so with a tremendous amount of passion and energy. On the court, Karen had the uncanny ability to find excellence in every player."
After taking over the UMD head coaching duties when she was just 24 years old in 1984-85, Stromme went on to amass a 440-184 overall record, capture 12 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference championships, earn eight NCAA Division II playoff berths and appear in seven NAIA National Tournaments during a prosperous 21-season run. Not once in those 21 years did the Bulldogs fail to post a winning record.
"I can't think of a higher honor than to have my name on a scholarship which will help give young women the opportunity to play collegiate basketball, and, most importantly, to receive a top-flight education from UMD," said Stromme, who now serves as UMD's assistant athletic director and senior woman administrator.
The UMD Department of Intercollegiate Athletics now oversees 33 named scholarships.
Kerrick Johnson, who was born and raised in Carlton, Minn., holds the distinction of being the first Bulldog male athlete to ever capture an NCAA individual title in any sport. He accomplished that feat twice by winning the 1993 NCAA Division II outdoor discus crown and the 1992 NCAA II indoor shot put championship. During his four-year stay with the Bulldogs (1990-93), Johnson attained NCAA II All-American status on six occasions and qualified for four national outdoor meets in the discus. A four-time Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference outdoor discus title holder, Johnson also claimed a pair of league indoor and outdoor shot put crowns. He left the Bulldog track program in 1993 holding all shot put (indoor and outdoor) and discus records.
Nicky Johnson concluded his collegiate basketball playing days in 1982-83 by becoming UMD's first NAIA All-American. A fixture in the UMD backcourt for four seasons (the Bulldogs rolled up an 84-29 record during that span), the Milwaukee, Wis. native was chosen for the All-NSIC Team for two seasons. He captained the Bulldogs to their second league championship in as many years. Johnson, a two-time NAIA All-District 13 team pick in 1981-82, topped the Bulldogs in assists all four of his seasons and established a then-school career record. He wound up on the all-time scoring charts with 1,332 points in 110 games and currently holds down the No. 18 spot on that list. This past winter, Johnson was selected to UMD's All-75th Anniversary Team.
An All-Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference selection as a senior in 1957, Forbort was a two-way starter (offensive and defensive end) for four seasons. The Duluth, Minn. native twice received UMD's Duce Rasmussen Outstanding Lineman Award (1956 and 1957) and served as co-captain of the 1957 Bulldogs. After being voted the school's Outstanding Senior Athlete for 1957-58, Forbort remained at UMD the following fall to work on the coaching staff for newly-appointed head coach Jim Malosky. He then embarked on a 14-year head coaching career at a pair of Duluth high schools (Morgan Park and Central, his alma mater). Forbort spent 12 seasons (1960-71) at Morgan Park High School and guided the Wildcats to three undefeated seasons and to the first two Prep Super Bowl games against the Iron Range Conference champion. He took over as Central High School's head coach in 1972 (succeeding John Vucinovich, a charter member of the UMD Athletic Hall of Fame) and held that appointment for three seasons.
-- by Bob Nygaard,
Sports Information Director
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