Golden Nugs 6.16.14 The Gopher Sports Abyss

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Well...if you don't like soccer or baseball...good luck to you.  With the NBA and NHL seasons ending this weekend, its nothing but soccer and baseball until the Gopher football team begins practice on August 1st.  But there is still some news coming in, so here's a few nugs to keep you interested.

Five Gophers competed at the NCAA Track and Field Championships this past weekend.  All five men earned All-American honors! John Simons finished in seventh place in the 1,500 meters, Wally Ellenson finihsed second in the high jump, Dominique Howard finished ninth in the discus, Zach Siegmeier finished fifth in the pole vault, and Jon Lehman finished 10th in the hammer throw.

The Gophers also had two entrants into the Women's NCAA Track and Field Championships. Devin Stanford was named a second team All-American with a 15th-place showing in the hammer throw.  The Gophers 4x 400 meter relay team finished in 19th place.

This endd all Gopher sports competition for the 2013-14 season.  The next time a Gopher player/squad takes the field/court it will be in the 2014/15 season.

The Green Line is finally open running from downtown St. Paul to downtown Minneapolis.  As Micheal Rand of the Star Tribune puts it, this will be a "gamechanger" for getting to Gopher Sports venues:

Almost every Gophers facility, including Mariucci Arena, Williams Arena and TCF Bank Stadium, can be accessed by multiple stops on the new line.

The biggest game-changer (pun intended?) is being able to get to the U of M campus on the Green Line. The logistics of vehicle traffic and parking on campus are hit-or-miss, and the critical mass only figures to swell with the Vikings playing there for two years. There is a stop that is basically front-door service at TCF Bank Stadium. It took me 35 minutes to get to it, and I started at the 38th Street Station on the Blue Line. This is something I can easily picture doing again, with a family.

This will be great for fans coming to games where traffic can be a hassle (see opening Thursday Night FB game, 6 PM basketball starts) and for anyone who doesn't want to tailgate and wants to take an easy ride to the game.  Couple this with the new Surly Brewery opening in a year or so, and railgating suddenly becomes a serious option for some Gopher fans.

The 2014 Gopher "M" Club announced its 2014 Hall of Fame Class. This class will be enshrined Homecoming weekend in October.  Thirteen new members will be added and they are:

  • Laura Halldorson (Women's Hockey Head Coach) - three-time National Champion and three-time National Coach of the Year
  • Quincy Lewis (Men's Basketball) - All-American, Big Ten scoring champion, top six all-time in program history for points and steals
  • Pat Micheletti (Men's Hockey) - All-American, second all-time in program history for goals and points, third all-time in assists
  • Tanya Schuh (Women's Swimming) - Nine-time All-American, six-time Big Ten champion, Big Ten Athlete of the Year (1996)
  • Bernie Zeruhn (Men's Swimming) - Second-most decorated swimmer in Minnesota history, 17-time All-American, three-time Big Ten individual champion
  • Bill Light (Football) - Two-time First Team All-Big Ten selection, graduated as program's all-time leading tackler, still holds single-game and single-season tackle records
  • Keita Cline (Men's Track and Field) - Five-time Big Ten champion, two-time All-American and two-time Olympian
  • Kari Blank (Softball) - First softball player in school history to be named three-time All-Big Ten, co-Big Ten Player of the Year (1991)
  • George Tuck (Men's Basketball) - First All-American basketball player at Minnesota, led team to 29 consecutive victories to begin his career
  • Frank McCormick (Baseball Head Coach, Director of Athletics) - Led baseball team to a pair of Big Ten titles as head coach while also serving as director of athletics, left Minnesota to serve in World War II and returned following the war
  • Bob Hanning (Men's Gymnastics) - Two-time All-American, Minnesota's first-ever NCAA Champion gymnast (parallel bars)
  • Jim Hill (Men's Swimming) - Two-time NCAA Champion, including both an individual championship (150 backstroke) and a relay championship (300 medley relay)
  • Ken Haycraft (Football) - All-American, two-time All-Big Ten, member of 1927 Big Ten Championship team

Of course the top three enshrines are the three names that are most familiar to current Gopher fans.   Laura  Halldorson was the first coach in the history of Minnesota's varsity women's hockey program. Her team captured the first women's team national title for Minnesota in any sport in 2000, winning the AWCHA National Championship. It would be the first of three national titles for Halldorson's Gophers. During her 10 years as head coach, the team won nearly 80 percent of its games and reached the NCAA Frozen Four eight times. For her efforts, Halldorson was recognized as the National Coach of the Year three times.

Quincy Lewis was a standout performer for the Gopher men's basketball team in the late 1990s, punctuating an outstanding career in 1998-99 by leading the Big Ten in scoring (23.1 points per game) and earning both First Team All-Big Ten and Third Team All-America honors. Lewis finished his career in Maroon and Gold sixth on the program's all-time scoring list and fourth all-time in steals and was chosen in the first round of the 1999 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz. He played a 10-year professional career, including four seasons in the NBA.

Pat Micheletti was one of the greatest scorers in the history of Gopher men's hockey. He ranks second all-time in goals (120) and points (269), trailing only the great John Mayasich in the record books. Micheletti is also third all-time in assists (149). His 96 points in 1984-85 were the second-highest single-season total in program history and earned him a collection of accolades, including First Team All-WCHA, First Team All-America and a spot as a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.

Congrats to all the enshrines!!

GET YOUR GOPHER FOOTBALL TICKETS!!!!!

Gopher Football 2-Packs go on sale to the general public at 9 am on Tuesday.  You get to choose one non-conference game and one big ten game for as low as $60 for both games.  You don't want to mis this years team, so get your tickets now.

Basketball recruiting dead period is over, and Richard Pitino wasted no time trying to attract several outstanding Minnesota players in the class of 2016.



With luck he will have some success keeping some of these kids home.

Lets Play Hockey brings us this little titbit on the improvments coming to Mariucci Arena:


Of course Mariucci Arena this Wednesday will not be home to awesome hockey, but awful singing. Auditions for the next season of American Idol will occur at Mariucci on Wednesday.  So..just stay away if you have a will to live.

Stewart Mandel at Sports Illustrated looks ahead to the top ten most anticipated non-conference games of the 2014 College Football Season. Number one on the list? Michigan State at Oregon on September 6th.  Other Big Ten teams?   LSU and Wisconsin in Houston on the first Saturday of the season is #4, Michigan at Notre Dame on September 6th is #7, Miami at Nebraska on September 20th is #9, and Penn State vs UCF in Dublin on August 30 is #10.  Looks like the evening of September 6th will be must watch viewing for Big Ten Fans.

And finally, RIP to one of the sweetest swingers in baseball history Tony Gwynn.  He died at the age of 54 today from mouth and throat cancer.  He was the best pure hitter of my generation, and can be argued as one of the best in baseball history.  To make sure there is a Gopher tie-in to this, I'll leave you with this:


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