GRAND FORKS, N.D. – University of North Dakota Director of Athletics Brian Faison and UND Letterwinners Association President Karen Braaten announced today the 2012 inductees into the UND Letterwinners Athletics Hall of Fame.
John Christen (tennis/wrestling, 1983-87), Jim Kleinsasser (football, 1995-99) and Louise Ronnerman (cross country/track & field, 1991-94) will be inducted as individuals, while the 1997 NCAA Division I national championship men’s hockey team will be inducted in the team category.
Additionally, former UND swimming standout and current University of Utah head swimming coach Greg Winslow (1994-98) will receive the Tom Clifford Award, while Ralph and Dee Stocker will receive the Honorary Letterwinner Award.
The 38th annual Athletics Hall of Fame event will take place with a brunch and induction ceremony on Sept. 29 prior to UND's Big Sky Conference football game against Cal Poly. The Class of 2012 will also be recognized during halftime of the football game.
“We have an outstanding class of inductees into the Hall of Fame this year,” said Braaten, who lettered in tennis at UND in 1971 and 1972. “Not only did they have outstanding athletic records while at UND, but they continued with their success beyond their collegiate years.
Additionally, there are no more deserving recipients of the Honorary Letterwinner Award than Ralph and Dee Stocker, who have been ardent fans and benefactors of UND sports for many years.”
This year's three inductees bring the total number of individuals in UND's Letterwinners Athletics Hall of Fame to 234. The 1997 men’s hockey team will be the 32nd team inducted.
The 2012 UND Hall of Fame Class:
John Christen (Tennis/Wrestling, 1983-87): Two-time NCAA Division II All-American in wrestling … Placed third at 1986 NCAA DII Championship … 1986 North Central Conference champion … Tied for second on UND’s career wins list with 98 … Went 98-33-2 during his wrestling career … Won a school-record 35 matches in 1985-86 … A two-time NCC champion in tennis at No. 3 singles … Also won an NCC doubles championship … Originally from Minot, N.D.
Jim Kleinsasser (Football, 1995-99): A two-time NCAA Division II All-America tight end (1997, 1998) … A three-time All-NCC First Team selection … Helped UND to a four-year record of 32-10 and two appearances in the NCAA DII playoffs during his collegiate career … Member of UND’s 1995 NCC championship team … 1999 Senior Bowl starter … Also played basketball during his freshman season of 1995-96 … Drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the second round (44th overall) of the 1999 draft … Remains the highest NFL draft pick in UND history … Went on to enjoy a 13-year NFL career, all with the Vikings, as a tight end/fullback … Blocked for seven of the top eight single-season rushing marks in Vikings history, including Adrian Peterson’s franchise-record and NFL-leading 1,760 yards in 2008 … Retired following the 2011 NFL season having played in 181 career games … A 2008 inductee into the North Dakota Sports Hall of Fame … Originally from Carrington, N.D.
Louise Ronnerman (Cross Country/Track & Field, 1991-94): A five-time NCAA Division II All-American, earning four honors in cross country and one in track and field … A two-time all-region performer … Earned All-North Central Conference honors in every cross country and track and field championship in which she competed … Won the NCC title in the 1,500-meters in both 1992 and 1993 … Set NCC record in the 1,500-meters in 1992 … Earned NCAA Division II Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic honors in 1992 … An aviation major, was named National Collegiate Pilot of the Year in 1993 and 1994 … Originally from Gothenburg, Sweden.
1997 Men’s Hockey Team: Celebrated the 50th season of UND men’s hockey by winning the NCAA Division I national championship under head coach Dean Blais … Defeated Boston University 6-4 in the national title game … Scored six goals in each of its three NCAA tournament games, defeating Cornell (6-2) in the regional final and Colorado College (6-2) in the national semifinal … Went 31-10-2 overall and 21-10-1 in the WCHA … Also won MacNaughton Cup as WCHA regular season champion and Broadmoor Trophy as WCHA playoff champion … One of only two teams in league history to win national title and WCHA regular season and playoff championships in same season … Blais was named American Hockey Coaches Association Coach of the Year and WCHA Coach of the Year … Forward Jason Blake was named a Hobey Baker Award finalist … Defenseman Curtis Murphy and forward David Hoogsteen were named second-team All-Americans … Matt Henderson was named NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player … Hoogsteen, Murphy, Henderson and freshman goalie Aaron Schweitzer earned NCAA all-tournament honors … Blake (1st team), Murphy (1st), Hoogsteen (1st) and Dane Litke (3rd) earned All-WCHA honors … Hoogsteen was named WCHA Final Five MVP … Hoogsteen, Murphy and Schweitzer earned WCHA Final Five all-tournament honors … Litke served as team captain and Kevin Hoogsteen and Mark Pivetz served as assistant captains … Six players went on to play in the National Hockey League: Jason Blake, Brad DeFauw, Lee Goren, Matt Henderson, Curtis Murphy and Jeff Ulmer … Blake also represented the United States at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Italy.
Tom Clifford Award
Greg Winslow (Swimming, 1994-98): Graduated from UND in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in English … Currently in his seventh season as head swimming and diving coach at the University of Utah … Coming off a 2011-12 season in which 15 school records were broken and the Utes earned a NCAA Championship berth in their first season in the Pac-12 … Has coached more than a dozen swimmers who qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials … Spent four years as an assistant coach at Arizona State, where he coached 12 All-Americans, before taking over at Utah … Other coaching stints have included head coach of Sun Devil Aquatics swim club (2005), assistant coach at Air Force (2001-03), head coach of Air Force Academy Falfins swim club (1999-2003), assistant coach at St. Cloud State (1998-99) … Originally from Colorado Springs, Colo.
The Tom Clifford Award was established to honor former UND President Thomas J. Clifford and his long-time support of UND athletics. The award recognizes UND alumni who serve as athletic coaches at the high school or college level and have been notably successful in their sport the year preceding the award.
Honorary Letterwinner Award
Ralph & Dee Stocker: Ralph and Dee Stocker are long-time supporters of UND Athletics and if there is a home athletics contest you will certainly find them in their seats, no matter what the sport. The East Grand Forks, Minn., residents raised 10 daughters and now embrace 25 "adopted daughters" from the women's hockey team. Ralph is Betty Engelstad's brother and the Stocker's are Champions Club members who have been financial supporters of UND Athletics for many years.
The Letterwinners Association Honorary Award is given upon official action by the club's Executive Committee to persons who, in the opinion of the committee, have contributed significantly to the furtherance of UND athletics.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony, proudly sponsored by the UND Letterwinners Association, will be held at the Alerus Center on Sept. 29 at 11 a.m. For ticket information, please call UND Athletics at (701) 777-2794.
– UND –