Denfeld Hall of Fame, Part 2More on the Denfeld Hall of Fame
By: Joe Vukelich, Duluth Budgeteer News
Last week, we learned how the Denfeld Hall of Fame got its start in 1966, when a group of six Denfeld men got together and — from a list of 65 men — selected and inducted the first 12 members.
In 1970, eight more were added to the original list.
Hall of Fame, Class of 1970
William Baumgartner, 1939
William led the football team, as an end, to a 7-0-1 record his senior year on a team that outscored our opponents, 130-20. The defense posted an incredible five shutouts that season.
William went on to become an All-American football player at the University of Minnesota and played pro football (National Football League) for the Baltimore Colts in 1947.
Bobby Daniels, 1949
In his senior year, Bobby helped lead the 1949 football team to a state championship as a running back. He also was high point man at the 1949 state track meet which helped lead us to the State Track Championship. Bobby won the 100 and 200 yard dash and anchored the half-mile relay team that won the state title and finished the year 18-0. In addition, he won the state’s Golden Gloves boxing title as a sophomore.
The 1949 football team went undefeated and defeated Aberdeen (South Dakota’s state champs), 19-14. Aberdeen beat the state champs of Iowa, North Dakota and Nebraska that season. Also, we beat the Wisconsin state runner’s up, Eau Claire, 34-6 before winning the Litkenhaus Ratings Trophy, emblematic of the official Minnesota State Championship with a 25-0 victory over Central.
Chuck Hren, 1949
Charlie helped lead the 1949 football team go 9-0 and win the State Championship his senior year as one of our running backs. In the city and state championship game against Central, Chuck scored two touchdowns in a 25-0 victory. He was also homecoming king the same year.
A two-way player, Charlie led the Big 10 in rushing at Northwestern University and was named their most valuable player his senior year playing the year with a broken leg. He was drafted by the NFL’s (National Football League) Philadelphia Eagles, but injury prevented participation and he entered military service. He returned to Denfeld as a social studies teacher, coached football from 1960–1971 and became athletic director. His wife, Betty, shared with us that he always looked forward to returning in the fall to Denfeld.
Mickey McClelland, 1956
Mickey was the first recipient of the Walt Hunting Award, given to the top male athlete of the year. Mickey lettered three times in football, baseball and track. He won the high hurdles at the out-state track meet in 1956 and was elected homecoming king.
Mickey played freshmen football at the University of Minnesota came back home to go to college at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Also, he was in the Minnesota Air National Guard, 148th Fighter Group for seven years.
Bob Monson, 1955
Bob led the basketball team to back-to-back conference titles his junior and senior seasons. During his high school career from 1952-’55, Bob became the all-time scoring leader in Denfeld boys basketball history with 1,129 points. His record lasted for 46 years and without the aid of the three point shot.
Bob lead the basketball team to two conference titles in 1954 and 1955. He was the starting quarterback on the football team his junior and senior year and was All-State in 1955. He also was on the 1954 State runner-up baseball team and participated in track.
Bob went on to star at the University of Minnesota-Duluth in basketball and played guard there with Denfeld teammate, Jon Sampson.
Cliff Monsrud, 1933
Cliff was all-conference in football his senior year helping lead the Hunters to a 7-1 record where we outscored our opponents, 179-38. In basketball his senior year, the team went 9-6-1….that’s right, a tie! The final score with Cathedral was, 25-25. That may be a unique record of some kind!
Cliff’s junior year saw the football team go 4-2-2 and the basketball team went 11-3 winning city and district titles before losing the region championship.
Paul Nace, 1947
Paul was a starter on Denfeld’s 1947 state basketball champions. Paul’s basket with 17 seconds left in the semi-finals of the state tournament provided Denfeld with the winning margin in a 30-29 victory over Mountain Lake. He was an all-state selection that year.
Paul became a teacher, coach and athletic director at Morgan Park High School. He also coached track, football, skiing and drove the school bus to games. In addition, he was one of the first coaches of the Denfeld girls basketball program from 1982-1987.
Larry Tessier, 1947
Larry may be the greatest all around athlete that Denfeld has ever produced. He was one of the starting five on the 1947 state basketball champions, was all-state in football leading our team to the city championship and all-state in baseball leading our team to the state tournament. In 1944, he was a Golden Gloves boxing champion.
Larry played pro baseball in the Detroit Tigers organization and one of his favorite moments was when he hit two grand slam homeruns in one game…and both on a 3-2 count with two out! Larry continued to give back to the community when he and his wife Connie established the Tessier-Waltman softball tournament that lasted 35 years. He also established a Tessier-Waltman scholarship at Denfeld for a girls softball player.
Written by Denfeld Economics teacher, alum and president of the Denfeld Alumni Association, Joe Vukelich.
Hall of Fame event
To celebrate the 100th graduating class from a high school in West Duluth, the Denfeld Alumni Association is sponsoring a double event starting at 2 p.m. Saturday Aug. 1, in the Denfeld Auditorium.
At that time, the previous 29 inductees into the Denfeld Hall of Fame and/or their families, are coming back home. They have never been all together before. In addition, they are going to welcome 10 new people into the Denfeld Hall of Fame for their induction the same day.
The second event is an all-class dance in the Denfeld gym from 7 to 10:30 p.m. Music from the 1940s-2000s will be provided. You do have one more chance to go to a dance in the gym, after all! Both events are free to the public with donations accepted.
The Budgeteer will be running various stories and biographies from Denfeld’s past until the anniversary celebration Aug. 1.