Game 613 | January 31 | Bert Blyleven, Doug Mientkiewicz
Veteran Twins pitcher Blyleven introduced Mientkiewicz, the man with the longest last name in Twins history. Mientkiewicz played briefly with the Twins in 1998-2000 and took over the first base job in 2001. He was traded in mid-season 2004 to the Boston Red Sox and made history later that fall when he recorded the final out in the Red Sox World Series victory.
Game 614 | February 28 | John Anderson, Dairy Queen Classic Baseball Coaches
The 2003 season was another good one for John Anderson's Gophers, who won the Big Ten championship for the second year in a row. Luke Appert became the first player to win back-to-back Big Ten Player of the Year Awards since Michigan's Barry Larkin in 1984-85. Future Twins pitcher Glen Perkins was named Big Ten Freshman Player of the Year with a 10-2 record, an ERA of 2.91 and 117 strikeouts. Early season Dairy Queen Classic opponents were Wake Forest, Notre Dame and Nebraska.
Game 615 | March 19 | Glen Taylor
The Timberwolves owner explained his philosophy of putting a winning team together. The formula paid off well for the team in 2002-'03 as they finished 51-31 with Kevin Garnett and Wally Szczerbiak leading the team in scoring. They lost to the Lakers 4-2 in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Game 616 | March 25 | Bob Bruininks
President Bruininks succeeded Mark Yudof as the 15th President of the University of Minnesota in November 2002. A 40-year campus veteran, Bruininks had served the University as a professor, dean, executive vice president and provost. He said that the University and the Minnesota Vikings had recently concluded that a joint-venture football stadium on campus was not going to work. Shortly thereafter, the Gophers approached the State Legislature for help in financing what was to become TCF Bank Stadium.
Game 617 | April 7 | Doug Risebrough, Tod Leiweke
Leiweke was named the Wild's first president in 1999 and became chief operating officer two years later. Before joining the Wild he held management positions with the First Tee Foundation, the PGA Tour; Vancouver Canucks and Golden State Warriors. He left the Wild later in 2003 to become CEO of the Seattle Seahawks. Risebrough joined the Wild management group in September 1999, three months after Leiweke was hired.
Game 618 | May 15 | Kyle Lohse
Acquired from the Chicago Cubs in a 1999 trade for Rick Aguilara, Lohse made his Twins debut in the 1991 season, winning four games as a right-handed starting pitcher. In 2002 he had his best year with the Twins, finishing 13-8 with a 4.23 ERA. He and Brad Radke each won 14 games for the 2003 Twins which won the American League Central Division race.
Game 619 | May 29 | Gov Tim Pawlenty
The former South St. Paul hockey player became the second Minnesota governor to appear before Dunkers. Arne Carlson was the first. Gov. Pawlenty took office in January 2003 after defeating Mike Hatch in the November elections. Many of the questions he fielded that day concerned the expressed needs of the Twins, Gophers and Vikings for new stadiums, all of which would require some degree of state participation.
Game 620 | June 24 | Suzie McConnell-Serio
A guard on both the 1988 and 1992 U.S. Olympic Women's Basketball teams, McConnell-Serio was named head coach of the Minnesota Lynx in 2003 and held that position until she resigned in mid-season 2006. As a WNBA player she was named Newcomer of the Year and All-WNBA First Team with the Cleveland Rockers in 1988. In 2007 she was named head coach at Duquesne University.
Game 621 | July 22 | Glen Mason
The football Gophers in 2003 had their best year under Coach Mason, finishing 10-3 and ending the year with a 31-30 victory over Oregon in the Wells Fargo Sun Bowl. The team finished the season ranked 17th nationally by ESPN USA Today. The team featured a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Marion Barber III and Laurence Maroney.
Game 622 | August 6 | Gary Koch
Like many before him, Koch, upon turning 50, had immediate success on golfs Senior Tour, winning the 2003 Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf event before coming to play in Minnesota. In addition to competing on the Senior's Tour, Koch is an active golf course designer and NBC golf commentator.
Game 623 | September 16 | Mike Tice
The Vikings improved to 9-7 in their second full season under Coach Tice. Defensive lineman Kevin Williams and linebacker E.J. Henderson were the team's two top draft choices. The passing combination of Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss supplied most of the offensive pressure, but the running game languished with Moe Williams and Onterrio Smith getting most of the carries.
Game 624 | October 16 | Doug Risebrough
Scoring goals was a problem for the 2003-'04 Wild hockey team. They finished 30-29-20-3, good for lOth overall in the Western Conference. The season was marked by the outstanding goaltending of Dwayne Roloson and Manny Fernandez, as Roloson won the Roger Crozier award for the league's best save percentage. Alexander Daigle, Andrew Brunette and Marian Gaborik led the team in scoring, but Gaborik missed 17 games because of injuries.
Game 625 | October 23 | Don Lucia
In Lucia's fifth year, coming off back-to-back National Championships, this team finished fourth in the WCHA, but roared back to win the conference Final Five before losing to Minnesota Duluth in the Midwest Regional NCAA finals. Thomas Vanek, in his second and final year with the Gophers, led the team in scoring with 51 points.
Game 626 |November 13 | Dan Monson, Pam Borton
The men's basketball team struggled to a 12-18 record and finished lOth in the Big Ten. Freshman Kris Humphries led the league in both scoring and rebounding and left for the NBA after one season. On the other hand, the women's program excelled in 2003-'04, making it to the Final Four for the first time in school history. Attendance soared as the team, led by senior guard Lindsay Whalen and junior center Janel McCarville, finished 25-9 in Borton's second year as head coach.