Minnesota’s all-time winningest high school coach, a former world-record masters running champion, a former NFL All-Pro, the first American-born goaltender in NHL history and a longtime prominent figure skating coach comprise the DECC Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2015.
The class, announced Tuesday, includes former Chisholm boys basketball coach Bob McDonald, who compiled more than 1,000 prep victories before retiring in 2014 after 59 years behind the bench; Superior’s Dan Conway, who once held the world indoor mile record in three age divisions; Proctor graduate Tom MacLeod, who was drafted by the Green Bay Packers and went on to be named first-team All-Pro with the Baltimore Colts; Aurora-born and Eveleth-raised Mike Karakas, who became the first U.S.-born goalie in the NHL when he joined the Chicago Blackhawks in 1935; and Zoe Hill, a former accomplished figure skater who is ending a 52-year run coaching at the Duluth Figure Skating Club later this month.
The quintet will be enshrined Thursday, May 14, in the DECC’s Harbor Side Ballroom. The event, which is open to the public, begins at 6 p.m. with a social hour, followed by dinner at 7 and the program. Former Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey coach Mike Sertich is the keynote speaker.
Tickets cost $35 and may be purchased at the DECC Ticket Office (350 Harbor Drive) or by phone at (218) 727-4344. Tickets will not be available at the door.
McDonald had short stints coaching at Barnum and McGregor before spending 53 years at Chisholm. He took the Bluestreaks to 11 state tournaments - winning three titles - and his 1,012 career victories are the most in any sport in Minnesota prep annals. The Hibbing resident is a member of several local, state and national halls of fame.
Conway is a four-time national masters champion at the 10- and 15-kilometer distances and a seven-time national champion in the mile and two-mile distances. He is a four-time Grandma’s Marathon masters champion and still holds age-division records in the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon.
MacLeod was a multi-sport athlete at Proctor High School in the late 1960s and played college football for the Minnesota Gophers. The linebacker started with the Packers and was third in balloting for rookie of the year before spending four seasons with the Baltimore Colts. The resident of Spokane, Wash., was named All-Pro alongside legendary Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers Jack Lambert and Jack Ham in 1975.
Karakas, who died in 1992 at age 81, played seven-plus years with Chicago and won a Stanley Cup championship with the Blackhawks and was a runner-up another season. He was an original member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth.
Hill, who participated in the 1959 and 1961 Midwestern Sectional Championships, stayed in Duluth to pass along her knowledge as a coach. She positively influenced thousands of youths, many of whom competed in national and international events, in her 52 years of coaching.
The DECC Athletic Hall of Fame inducted its charter class on June 4, 1968, into what was then known as the Duluth Arena Sports Hall of Fame. Those associated with athletics, and having grown up in Northeastern Minnesota or Northwestern Wisconsin, or with ties to the area, are eligible. Nominations are made by the public and then voted on by a panel of Northland journalists, administrators and former athletes.
DECC Athletic Hall of Fame