Game 507 | January 24 | Tom Fazio
Generally recognized as America's top golf course architect, Fazio has designed 14 of Golf Digest's "Top 100 Golf Courses in America." He is the consulting architect for Pine Valley, Augusta National, Oakmont, Winged Foot, Merion and Riviera. Among his more recent award-winning designs is Scottsdale's Estancia, which is the winter home of a number of Dunkers members.
Game 508 | February 6 | Glen Mason
Hired in the off season to replace Jim Wacker, Mason came to Minnesota from Kansas where he had rebuilt the program into a top 10 team in 1995. A former Ohio State linebacker, Mason had previously coached at Kent State where his team built a 7-4 record in 1987, the team's first winning record in more than a decade. Before coming to Minnesota from Kansas, Mason had briefly accepted an offer to coach the Georgia Bulldogs, a perennial SEC powerhouse.
Game 509 | February 13 | Paul Molitor
The former Gopher and St. Paul native returned home to play for the Twins in his final three seasons of 1996-1998. During the 1996 season, Molitor recorded his 3,000th hit and became the only person in baseball history to do it with a triple. Already in the 19th year of his Hall of Fame career, Molitor played in all but one of the Twins' games in 1996, batting .341 with nine home runs, 113 RBIs and 18 stolen bases at age 39.
Game 510 | February 28 | John Anderson, Hormel Classic Baseball Coaches
This year's visiting teams included Nebraska, Washington and UCLA. Coach John Anderson views the Classic each year as a way to expose his team to the best competition in the nation. His 1997 team had a rare off year, finishing 30-24, fifth in the Big Ten.
Game 511 | April 10 | Norm Coleman
The Mayor of St. Paul brought Dunkers up to date on his city's efforts to convince the National Hockey League to award an expansion franchise to St. Paul. At a meeting of team owners 76 days later, Bob Naegele and his Minnesota Hockey Ventures group were given approval to begin play in St. Paul in the 2000-'01 season. Coleman talked of the need for a new facility as part of his city's promise to the NHL. The Xcel Energy Center hosted its first NHL game on Sept. 29, 2000.
Game 512 | May 13 | George Mikan, Vern Mikkelsen
It had been 47 years since Mikan had made his first Dunkers appearance, along with Jim Pollard, at the Dunkers seventh meeting. Mikkelsen, a Dunker since 1963, had been inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 1995. Mikan was honored at the 1997 All-Star Game as one of the 50 greatest players in the first 50 years of the NBA.
Game 513 | June 10 | LPGA Players, Jim Ritts
Duncan MacMillan developed Rush Creek Golf Club in Maple Grove to be able to host professional tour events. In 1997 he was successful in luring what had been the Edina Realty Classic from Edinburgh USA to Rush Creek. Former Arizona State star Danielle Ammaccapane won the 1997 event.
Game 514 | July 15 | Dennis Green, Dwayne Rudd
Vikings Coach Green introduced his first-round draft choice, Alabama linebacker Rudd, who played four seasons with the team. The Vikings that year finished the season with a 9-7 record and won their first playoff game before losing 38-22 at San Francisco in the NFC Division Playoffs.
Game 515 | July 17 | David Graham
Founded in 1993 as the Burnet, the annual men's senior event was played in its early years at Bunker Hills in the northern suburb of Coon Rapids. David Graham, in town to play in the senior event, won two major championships, the 1979 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills near Detroit, and the 1981 U.S. Open at Merion, just west of Philadelphia. He also finished third at the 1985 Open Championship, after sharing the third-round lead.
Game 516 | August 14 | Lou Holtz
After his two-year stint as football coach of the Minnesota Gophers, Holtz spent the next 11 years as the head coach at Notre Dame. Between 1988 and 1993, Holtz's Notre Dame teams posted a 64-9-1 record including the 1989 National Championship. His sudden departure from Notre Dame sparked rumors that several members of the Vikings Board of Directors were interested in having Holtz replace Denny Green as Vikings coach. He accepted the head coaching job at South Carolina in 1999 and remained there until retiring after the 2004 season.
Game 517 | August 26 | Glen Mason, Football Captains
On the eve of his first season as Gopher football coach, Mason introduced his four captains to Dunkers. The group included quarterback Corey Sauter, wide receiver Tutu Atwell, linebacker Pare Williams and defensive back Crawford Jordan. The team finished 3-9 in Mason's first season.
Game 518 | September 25 | Mark Rosen, Joe Schmit, Randy Shaver, Mike Max
This was a return engagement for the sports reporters and anchors. The group included Mark Rosen, Joe Schmit, Randy Shaver and Mike Max, and all four talked about the career path that led them to their current positions.
Game 519 October 2 | Laura Halldorson, Mike Hebert, Cheryl Littlejohn
All three of the Gophers' largest women's sports added new coaches in 1996 and 1997. Laura Halldorson took over the new hockey program in 1996. The team started play in 1997 and finished 21-7-3 in its first season. Mike Hebert came from a successful program at Illinois to take over Gopher volleyball in 1996. Over the next 12 years his teams became a national power with a record of 301-lll. Things didn't work as well for Cheryl Littlejohn who took over the basketball program from Linda Hill-MacDonald in 1997 and went 29-81 before being fired four years later.
Game 520 | October 14 | Stu Voight, Trent Tucker, Tom Reid, Bert Blyleven
This was an unusual meeting for the Dunkers in that it focused on the color analysts for the four professional sports teams. Voigt, the former Wisconsin Badger and Vikings tight end, talked about the Vikings. Tucker, the former Gopher and NBA sharpshooter, covered the Timberwolves. Reid, the former North Star, worked as an analyst on North Star broadcasts before the team left for Dallas. He covered Gopher hockey until the arrival of the Minnesota Wild. Blyleven joined the Twins broadcast team in 1995.
Game 521 | November 5 | Clem Haskins, Sam Jacobson, Eric Harris
It was the best season in Gopher basketball history with Minnesota finishing regular-season play with a 27-3 record, good enough to emerge as the number one seed in the Western Region of the NCAA field of 64. The team, with a starting lineup featuring Jacobson, Harris, Bobby Jackson, John Thomas and Courtney James, with strong bench play from Quincy Lewis and Miles Tarver, defeated SW Texas State, Temple, Clemson and UCLA before losing to Kentucky in the Final Four in Indianapolis. Haskins was named AP Coach of the Year, but all the records were wiped out in a subsequent investigation of the program.
Game 522 | November 12 | Glen Taylor, Stephen Marbury
The biggest trade in the early history of the Minnesota Timberwolves occurred immediately after the 1996 draft when they shipped Ray Allen to Milwaukee for Marbury, the All-American point guard from Georgia Tech. Owner Taylor's original plan was to team the explosive Marbury with the rapidly developing Kevin Garnett. Marbury was named to the NBA All-Rookie team, and the pair led the Timberwolves into the NBA playoffs in both 1997 and 1998.
Game 523 |November 25 | Doug Woog, Casey Hankinson, Ryan Kraft
Coach Woog introduced his captains, Casey Hankinson and Ryan Kraft. The team that year experienced a rare losing season, finishing 17-22-0 in sixth place in the WCHA. Wyatt Smith, Reggie Berg, Dave Spehar and Kraft led the team in scoring.
Game 524 | December 18 | Tim Herron, Carson Herron, Alissa Herron
Minnesota's first family of golf appeared together at Dunkers just before the 1997 Christmas holidays. Father Carson, a Dunker since 1993, dominated the Minnesota golf scene for years and played in the 1963 U.S. Open. Tim played on the winning 1993 U.S. Walker Cup team at Interlachen and won four times on the pro tour between 1996 and 2006. Tim sister, Alissa, won the 1999 U.S. Mid-Amateur.