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UMD to induct six into Athletic Hall of Fame

Bulldogs to induct six into Hall

Minnesota Duluth will induct five former All-Americans, the late Gary Birkholz (football), Matt Christensen (hockey), Brett Hauer (hockey), Kendall Kelly (basketball) and Trevor Lundgren (wrestling), as well as former coach Pati Rolf (volleyball) into its Athletic Hall of Fame in a Jan. 17 ceremony.

Birkholz, who died of a heart attack on Oct. 12, 1985, at the age of 26, was a three-year starter on UMD’s offensive line, playing guard and center. He helped the Bulldogs go 26-3 during that span, including a 10-0 mark in 1980. The native of Rosco, Ill., received an NFL tryout with the New York Jets the summer following his senior year.

Christensen, of Hoyt Lakes, is tied as the second-highest scorer in UMD men’s hockey history, with 76 goals and 143 assists for 219 points. His career was tragically cut short by a pair of strokes suffered in the final month of the 1985-86 regular season, coming up just three points shy of the all-time program record. He was a part of two Frozen Four teams and centered the likes of Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner Bill Watson and future Hockey Hall of Famer Brett Hull.

Hauer, of Richfield, Minn., earned All-America honors in 1992-93 after scoring more points (56) than any other defenseman in the country. He helped the Bulldogs win the WCHA regular-season title while advancing to the NCAA Division I quarterfinals. He went on to a 15-season professional career, including stints with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers and Nashville Predators. He also played for Team USA at the 1994 Winter Olympics.

Kelly, of Milwaukee, started three years at point guard for the Bulldogs, earning Northern Intercollegiate Conference Most Valuable Player honors as a senior in 1985-86. He still holds the UMD single-season record with 201 assists, and he exited the program ranking first in career assists (496), second in steals (180) and 11th in scoring (1,162 points).

Lundgren, of Staples, Minn., made an immediate impact at UMD after transferring from Gustavus Adolphus in 1986-87. He had a 95-10 career record and won all 22 of his dual matches during his UMD tenure. Lundgren went 40-6 as a senior, posting a team-high 20 pins and capturing his second straight NIC 142-pound title. He placed third at the NAIA National Championships.

Rolf, of Hopkins, Minn., led UMD to 11 conference titles during her 14-season tenure from 1988 to 2001. She amassed a 310-169 overall record while guiding the Bulldogs to three NCAA Division II North Central Region appearances. She coached 10 American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Region selections and the school’s first AVCA All-American in outside hitter Jodi Jost (1996). Rolf went on to coach at NCAA Division I Marquette University and East Carolina University. She is also a registered national volleyball official, working as a line judge at the 1996 Summer Olympics.

The addition of these six will bring the UMD Athletic Hall of Fame membership up to 121 individuals in 21 sports.