Eight to join ‘M’ Club Hall of Fame

Former athletes from a variety of sports will join the Hall of Fame this September.

Minnesota will be recognizing eight former athletes that left a great impact on their programs this September by adding them to the âÄúMâÄù Club Hall of Fame . âÄúTheir impact has been outstanding,âÄù âÄúMâÄù Club President Jean Freeman said. âÄúWe really want it to be the cream of the crop.âÄù The class of 2009 for the âÄúMâÄù Club Hall of Fame will include three Gophers legends: Jack DeField from menâÄôs track, Dale Hanson from wrestling and Andy Uram from football. DeField was a pole vaulter for Minnesota, capturing NCAA titles in 1942 and 1943. He was also one of the first Gopher track athletes to earn All-America honors. Hanson won his first Big Ten individual championship in 1939, and after defending his championship the following season, became the first wrestler in Minnesota history to win two individual conference titles. Uram played as a fullback for Gopher football and was a three-year letterwinner, having played on the 1935 and 1936 NCAA Championship teams. Joining the legends are Dennis Dale of menâÄôs swimming and diving, Mike Antonovich and Aaron Broten of menâÄôs hockey, Judy Knight of womenâÄôs softball and Lori [Townsend] Monaghan of womenâÄôs cross country. Freeman said that the biggest factor in determining hall of fame nominees is the athletic success theyâÄôve had competing for Minnesota as an undergrad, or for some athletes, success in their professional career. Additionally, coaches may be honored for the success theyâÄôve brought to an athletic program. As head coach of menâÄôs swimming and diving since 1985, Dale is a six-time Big Ten Coach of the Year and has led Minnesota to seven Big Ten championships during his 24-year tenure. While Dale was also an All-American swimmer for Minnesota in 1967, his success with coaching has helped him earn his hall of fame nomination. Other inductees can attribute their nomination mainly to the personal athletic success they had competing at Minnesota. Monaghan had school records in three events for the womenâÄôs cross country team when she graduated in 1996 and still ranks third in the events today. She was named Minnesota Senior Athlete of the Year in 1995-96. Monaghan said the honor was a welcomed surprise and she was proud to have received the recognition. âÄúIt shows that they continue to honor their athletes long beyond their time there and how their impact can go on years later,âÄù Monaghan said. âÄúIt brings back great memories that you had with your teammates and your coaches and the travels.âÄù Knight also reminisced about her time at Minnesota where she played softball from 1978 to 1981. She finished her senior season as the team leader in assists for a single game, season and career. âÄúIt was an unbelievable experience,âÄù Knight said. âÄúTo be able to compete in athletics and have a little niche, it gives you infrastructure so you don’t get lost in the greater University.âÄù Hockey players Antonovich and Broten went on to greater athletic endeavors when they both took on professional careers after playing for the Gophers. Antonovich had his Gopher playing career cut short because of an injury, but continued a professional career for 11 years which included stints with five professional teams. He played with the Gophers from 1969-72 and led the team in scoring as a freshman. He had some of the teamâÄôs highest totals in goals, assists and points. âÄúI was a small town kid at a big school, but I knew I was there to play hockey more so than anything and thatâÄôs what I did,âÄù Antonovich said. âÄúI probably regret not playing longer. It was a great experience, and IâÄôm glad I had the opportunity.âÄù Antonovich said the most important thing this honor says is that they appreciated the way he played and the way he conducted himself. Broten played just two seasons (1979-1981) with the Gophers, but set a single-season record for 106 points his sophomore year. He was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007 after having played a 12-year professional career. BrotenâÄôs brother Neal Broten is also in the âÄúMâÄù Club Hall of Fame. Neal Broten also played two seasons with Minnesota but left after his first season to play for the 1980 U.S. MenâÄôs Olympic Hockey team. Neal Broten earned a gold medal before returning to play for the Gophers again in the 1980-1981 season. Freeman said the goal is to honor the achievements made by these athletes and also help preserve their tradition. The event is more of a production, as they dedicate careful attention and time to generating each hall of fame class, she said. This is the seventh class to be inducted since 2003 when both menâÄôs and womenâÄôs hall of fame inductions were combined. The inductions will occur at the new TCF Bank Stadium on Sept. 17. The class will also be honored at halftime of the GophersâÄô football game against California on Sept. 19.