‘M’ Club to add class of 9 inductees

The University announced nine inductees for its 2011 “M” Club Hall of Fame.

Andrew Krammer


The University of Minnesota announced nine inductees Tuesday into this yearâÄôs âÄúMâÄù Club Hall of Fame class.

Ex-baseball major leaguer Robb Quinlan and newly retired womenâÄôs volleyball coach Mike Hebert are among the list of the nine Gophers standouts to be enshrined in 2011.

The remaining inductees are: Mike Crowley, Ben Hamilton, Joe Pollack, Garth Lappin, Urban Odson, John Whitaker and Nicole Branagh, according to an âÄúMâÄù club director.

This class marks the ninth since the menâÄôs and womenâÄôs halls of fame were combined into the âÄúMâÄù Club Hall of Fame in 2003.

Former student-athletes become eligible five years after they leave the University and former coaches must serve the department for five years to become eligible.

The official induction will take place at the Ted Mann Concert Hall on Thursday, Sept. 22.

Here is a breakdown of each of the honorees, separated by sport.


Robb Quinlan is a current volunteer coach and hitting instructor for the GophersâÄô baseball team. After setting numerous records for Minnesota, he went on to play Major League Baseball.

He won three gold gloves and played in two All-Star games.

The 1999 Big Ten Player of the Year, Quinlan set school records for hits (107), runs scored (87), home runs (24) and total bases (189).

Quinlan led the Gophers to a record of 91-33 in his last two seasons, in which the team made two NCAA Regional appearances.

Quinlan was taken by the Anaheim Angels in the 10th round of the 1999 amateur draft.

He finished his career with a .282 batting average and 699 RBI.

Joe Pollack had three postseason complete-game wins to lead Minnesota to a national title in 1964, their third in eight years.

The right-hander went 7-2 during the regular season and set a Big Ten record for fewest hits allowed in a season by only giving up 17 hits in 42 innings pitched.

With the postseason included, he finished with an 11-2 record and a 1.75 ERA. He struck out 81 batters in 14 starts and allowed only 66 hits in 108 innings pitched.

After his senior season, Pollack was drafted in the 26th round of the first-ever Major League Baseball amateur draft in 1965. He spent four years in the GiantsâÄô farm system before an arm injury ended his career.


Mike Hebert is the most successful volleyball coach in GophersâÄô history. After leading the womenâÄôs team to three NCAA Final Fours, he retired from coaching last year with a 381-125 record.

Hebert spent 15 years with the Gophers beginning in 1996 and won more than 75 percent of his games. After leading the Gophers to their first Big Ten title in 2002, Herbert was named the 2003 National Coach of the Year. He is also a five-time Big Ten Coach of the Year.

He is the only coach in Division I womenâÄôs volleyball to ever lead two programs from the same conference âÄî the other being Illinois âÄî to Final Four appearances.

Hebert was also inducted into the American Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2006.

At the end of her Gophers career, Nicole Branagh owned the Big Ten record for career kills. Branagh was an All-American in both 1999 and 2000 and earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors in 2000. She was a three-time All-Big Ten First Team selection.

When she graduated, she ranked sixth all-time in NCAA history for career kills. Branagh went on to become a top beach volleyball player.

She was named the Association of Volleyball ProfessionalâÄôs Most Valuable Player in 2009 and continues to dominate the sport.


Ben Hamilton played center for Minnesota from 1997-2000 and won the 2000 Bronko Nagurski award as the GophersâÄô MVP.

A four-year letter  winner, Hamilton earned All-American and All-Big Ten honors in both 1999 and 2000.

Hamilton was drafted in the fourth round of the 2001 National Football League Draft and played in 10 NFL seasons.

Urban Odson was a star tackle on MinnesotaâÄôs 1940 and 1941 National Championship teams. A three year letter winner from 1939-1941, Odson earned All-American and All-Big Ten honors in 1940.

He was a first-round draft pick by the Green Bay Packers, but chose to enter the Navy and serve a tour aboard the USS Amsterdam.

After returning, he went back to the Packers and played under Curly Lambeau for four seasons until retiring from the NFL in 1949.


Garth Lappin was a two-time All-American at 121 pounds in 1947 and 1949.

After collegiate wrestling, he went on to become the president of the State High School Wrestling Association in Minnesota and meet chairman for the U.S. Wrestling Foundation. He also coached Anoka High School to two state titles and mentored 17 individual state champions.

Lappin was also inducted into the Minnesota chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame for lifetime service and is a member of the Minnesota High School Coaches Hall of Fame.

John Whitaker established dominance in Gophers wrestling in 1937.

Whitaker was MinnesotaâÄôs first NCAA Champion that year in just the 10th-ever NCAA tournament.


Mike Crowley is the only other Gopher defenseman in school history besides the legendary Lou Nanne to lead the team in scoring. He had 56 points in 42 games during the 1997 season.

Crowley also holds the two highest scoring seasons by a defenseman in school history with 63 points in 1996 and 56 points in 1997.

He is also the record holder for assists in a single season by a defenseman, with 47 in 1997 and 46 in 1996.

He was a two-time Hobey Baker Award finalist and was the fourth two-time All-American in school history in 1996 and 1997 and also earned WCHA player of the year in 1997.