SEASON: 29 | YEAR: 1977
HEAD COACH: GERALD P. UTLEY


Game 249 | January 22 | Ingrid Beltzer

One of the top young tennis players coming out of Sweden, Beltzer was in the area for an exhibition match and was the Dunkers guest of long-time member and tennis promoter Norm MacDonald.


Game 250 | May 25 | Tommy Kramer, Mike Lynn

Fresh from being selected in the first round of the 1977 NFL draft, Rice University quarterback Tommy Kramer met with Dunkers. Two years later he became the Vikings' starter after the retirement of Fran Tarkenton. He played with the Vikings for a dozen years and once threw for six touchdowns in a game against the Green Bay Packers. He earned the nickname of "Two-Minute Tommy" for the number of times he led the team to comeback victories in the final two minutes of the game.


Game 251 | June 7 | Larry Hisle, Geoff Zahn

Coming to the Twins in a 1972 trade for pitcher Wayne Granger, Hisle was one of the best Twins hitters in the 1970s. The team led the major leagues in batting with a .282 in 1977. Teammate Rod Carew led the majors with a .388 average and made the cover of Time magazine, and Hisle had his personal best year, batting .302 with 28 home runs and 119 RBIs. Zahn won 12 games in his first of four seasons as a starting pitcher.


Game 252 | June 14 | Sam Bick, Kent Kramer, Freddie Goodwin,
Alan Merrick, Ade Coker, Alan West

The Minnesota Kicks soccer team was an unexpected huge success in the opening season of 1976. There were so many fans at the opener that owner Jack Crocker decided to open the gates and let them all in so that the game could eventually start. Merrick, Coker, West and Bick were players, Goodwin was the coach, and former Gopher tight end Kramer was the general manager.


Game 253 | July 12 | Bruce Jenner

Named the top amateur athlete in the United States in 1976, Jenner became an instant celebrity when he won the decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. After being declared the winner Jenner accepted an American flag from a fan and took a victory lap in what has since become an Olympic tradition. He was in Minneapolis in his role as a spokesperson for General Mills' Wheaties brand.


Game 254 | July 15 | Ray Dandridge

When the Minneapolis Aquatennial offered Dandridge a chance to be the Grand Marshal in their Torchlight Parade, the former Millers third baseman was happy to accept. With a minor league career batting average of .355, Dandridge was already in his late 30s when he played for the Millers and was considered too old to be promoted to the majors. He was named to the Hall of Fame in 1987 and died in 1994 at age 80.


Game 255 | August 19 | Cal Stoll

The biggest win of Stoll's Gopher coaching career came in October of 1977 when his team shut out by a score of 16-0 a Michigan team that was ranked number one in the nation. That team, featuring Kent Kitzman, Marion Barber, Gary White, Mark Carlson, Stan Sytsma, Mark Merrill and Paul Rogind, became the first Gopher team since 1962 to go to a post-season bowl game, losing to Maryland 17-7 in the Hall of Fame Bowl.


Game 256 | August 25 | Pat Meyers, Carole Jo Skalla

Each summer in the 1970s most of the top female professional golfers in the United States came to St. Paul's Keller Golf Course to play in the Patty Berg Keller Open. Meyers and Skalla were two of the bright young stars on the women's tour in 1977.


Game 257 | October 4 | Brad Maxwell, Tom Younghans

With sagging attendance and mounting financial pressures, the 1977-78 Minnesota North Stars hit rock bottom. The team finished with a record of 18-53-9, worst by far in the National Hockey League. At year end the team was merged with the Cleveland Barons.


Game 258 | October 21, 1977 | George Gibson, George MacKinnon, John Morrell

Most of the living members of the 1927 University of Minnesota football team came together for a reunion and halftime introductions at the Gopher upset of Michigan the day after appearing at Dunkers. That team, playing for the fourth year in the new Memorial Stadium, tied Illinois for the Big Ten title. In addition to the three guests, that team featured Bronko Nagurski, Herb Joesting, Shorty Almquist, and Harold Hanson.


Game 259 | December 14 | Karl Kassulke

Nine years after he first appeared at Dunkers as a starting defensive back for the Minnesota Vikings, Kassulke was back to talk about life after his nearly fatal motorcycle accident in 1973. Confined to a wheelchair, Kassulke showed that he still had his sharp sense of humor as he talked about his years playing for both Norm Van Brocklin and Bud Grant. He died in late fall of 2008.