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College football: UMD alum Fleissner dies at 61

Kelly Fleissner, a fixture in the Minnesota Duluth football secondary during the late 1970s and a former Bulldogs team captain, died early Monday after a two-year battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. He was 61.

Fleissner, a native of Anoka, Minn., was a three-year starting cornerback and captained UMD in 1978. As a junior the previous fall, he set what was then a team single-season record for interceptions with eight (including a Northern Intercollegiate Conference-leading seven picks). A two-time All-NIC honorable mention honoree (1977-78), Fleissner capped his collegiate career by being named UMD's Top Male Scholar-Athlete (E.L. "Duce" Rasmussen Award) for 1978-79.

Fleissner served as a UMD volunteer football coach for three years (1981-83) and later married the former Betty Oland, a long-time Bulldogs men's hockey athletic trainer and UMD basketball and softball alumna who now teaches in the UMD Health Physical Education and Recreation Department. They raised three daughters, with the youngest (Emily) starring on the Bulldogs soccer team from 2014-17.

Fleissner, who earned a degree in forestry from the University of Minnesota, retired in 2017 as Duluth maintenance operations manager after more than 30 years working for the city.

Funeral arrangements are pending.