Former Bulldogs football standout, Saints basketball coach Nachtsheim dies

The UMD Athletics Hall of Famer who played at UMD in the 1960s and coached at St. Scholastica from 1985-1993 died this week at age 81.

No. 5 Wayne State downed No. 16 Minnesota Duluth 28-26, 25-19, 19-25, 25-17 Friday, Sept. 17, 2021, in their NSIC opener at Romano Gym.

Former Minnesota Duluth football standout and St. Scholastica men’s basketball coach John Nachtsheim died this week at age 81 .

A transfer from University of Colorado and native of Robbinsdale, Minnesota, Nachtsheim was a halfback for the Bulldogs for three seasons from 1960-62 and was a three-time All-Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference selection. As a senior in 1962, he was the MIAC co-most valuable player and an NAIA second-team All-American.

In 1961, Nachtsheim scored 17 touchdowns while leading the Bulldogs to a 8-1 record and 7-0 mark in the MIAC to win back-to-back league titles. He graduated with the UMD record for career rushing yards at the time, having accumulated 1,843.

Nachtsheim was inducted into the UMD Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004 and his hometown’s hall of fame in 2016. His son, Mark, was also a halfback for the Bulldogs from 1983-86.


"John was an instrumental part of the success of our program as a player, alum, and supporter,” said UMD football coach Curt Wiese. “His son carried on his legacy on the field as a player, and the Nachtsheim family has been an important part of the program for nearly 50 years. John will always hold a special place in the hearts of his former teammates and all those he impacted at UMD and beyond, and he will be missed by many."

After college, Nachtsheim coached high school football and basketball in Wisconsin for five decades in Hurley, Bayfield, Washburn and Drummond. He was an assistant football coach at UMD in 1985 and from 1985-1993, coached the Saints’ men’s basketball team.

Nachtsheim posted a 92-118 record in eight seasons as coach of the Saints. He led the Saints to a conference title in 1985-86 and to national tournaments on five occasions.

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