Gophers football coach Jerry Kill will take quarterback MarQueis Gray, offensive lineman Ed Olson and linebacker Keanon Cooper to Chicago later this month for the Big Ten Football Media Days.
Congratulations to former Gophers wide receiver Sam Richter who is the author of Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling. Richter won the Sales Book of the Year Award from the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals.
Former Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi told Sports Headliners he favors a new basketball practice facility as a separate project from a new or renovated Williams Arena. Maturi’s position is the Gophers will need a modern practice facility when 84-year-old Williams Arena is torn down or renovated while playing home games at another building such as Target Center.
“I’ve said for five years Williams Arena has to be addressed,” Maturi said.
That assignment now will be for new University of Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague. Maturi hopes to see an elevated floor be part of a new or renovated arena.
The University is spending $90,000 to ensure that the Williams Arena roof will bear the weight of the new scoreboard that will be in place for next season.
The funeral for former Gophers All-American offensive tackle John Williams will be from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday at Speak the Word International Church in Golden Valley. A wake will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday at Estes Funeral Chapel in north Minneapolis. John passed away on Sunday in Minneapolis.
Al Nuness just finished his Gophers basketball playing career in the spring of 1969 when coach Bill Fitch asked him to help recruit Corky Taylor, a high school prospect in Detroit. Nuness and others paid tribute to Corky last week at the Plymouth Covenant Church in Plymouth. Corky, 60, died in late June from lung cancer.
Nuness, who described the 6-9 Taylor as a “big teddy bear with a great smile,” told Sports Headliners how he learned more about his friend at the funeral. “He was very private to begin with. He was deeply religious,” Nuness said. “It showed in the way his funeral was handled. It was very moving.”
Former Gophers teammates from Corky’s 1972 Big Ten championship team attending the funeral included Ron Behagen, Jim Brewer and also Clyde Turner who gave a eulogy. Gophers from other eras included Walter Bond, Willie Burton, Nate Tubbs and Trent Tucker.
Nuness acknowledged that Taylor’s name will long be associated with the 1972 Gophers- Ohio State brawl. Taylor was a major participant in the fight between the two teams. “That was totally out of character for Corky what happened,” Nuness said.
The Gophers will host the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four next March 22 and 24 at Ridder Arena. The Gophers are defending national champions. There have been 12 NCAA women’s champions over the years and all the titles have been won by three schools – UMD (five), Wisconsin (four) and Minnesota (three).
The Minnesota Wild Development Camp that started earlier this week at Xcel Energy Center includes free scrimmages open to the public tomorrow night starting at 7 p.m. and on Sunday beginning at 11 a.m. Among the prospects participating are Makael Granlund, the talented 20-year-old center from Finland who is likely to make the Wild roster next season. Trying out also is Will Merchant, a senior forward at Eagan High School last season. Record development camp crowds of 5,000 are possible.
Wild owner Craig Leipold said on Monday the organization’s “great” prospects was a factor in the willingness of free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to sign with his franchise. He also said the Wild has sold “almost” 2,000 new season tickets since the signings of Parise and Suter was announced last week.
Leipold indicated a winning Wild team can have a domino effect on the franchise for the building of a new practice facility across from Xcel Energy Center and for helping secure the NHL Winter Classic for the Twin Cities.
How often does a grandfather catch his grandson in an official baseball game? Tink Larson isn’t sure of the answer but he was the catcher for grandson Clint Larson in a town baseball game last month. Playing for the Waseca Braves, 20-year-old Clint was throwing to 70-year-old Tink.
“It just so happened this particular night that we were ahead so it was a good time to have him pitch and me catch since no one feels that there has ever been a grandfather that has caught his grandson,” Tink wrote in an email. “…Most people that age have long been retired and most couldn’t still catch. He (Clint) had two strikeouts and a comebacker to the mound so it was a pretty easy inning.
“When I was 60 I caught my son Mike, who was close to 40, in an amateur state tournament game at Miesville. That was in 2002. I also caught an inning in the state amateur tournament in 2003 at Northfield. …”
Eight MIAC football players have been selected as preseason Division III All-Americans by Beyond Sports Network. St. Thomas offensive lineman Curtis James and Saint John’s defensive back Bobby Fischer are first team picks.
Tommies defensive lineman Riley Dombeck and defensive back Chinni Oji are on the second team while St. Thomas linebacker Harry Pitera and punter Garrett Maloney are third teamers. Also on the third team is Bethel offensive lineman Josh Wolfe and Concordia offensive lineman Tom Knowlton.