Eight Former Gophers Set For Hall Induction

Go Gophers! All-American Ben Hamilton is one of eight 2011 M Club Hall of Famers.
Go Gophers!
All-American Ben Hamilton is one of eight 2011 M Club Hall of Famers.
Go Gophers!

Sept. 13, 2011

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The legacy of University of Minnesota athletics will be celebrated Thursday, Sept. 22 when eight former Golden Gopher student-athletes are inducted into the "M" Club Hall of Fame.

The 2011 class of the University of Minnesota "M" Club Hall of Fame includes Mike Crowley (hockey, 1994-1997), Ben Hamilton (football, 1997-2000), Mike Hebert (volleyball coach, 1996-2010), Joe Pollack (baseball, 1963-1965) and Robb Quinlan (baseball, 1996-1999) along with legends Garth Lappin (wrestling, 1947-1949), Urban Odson (football, 1939-1941) and John Whitaker (wrestling, 1935-1937).

The class is the ninth since the men's and women's halls of fame were combined into the University of Minnesota "M" Club Hall of Fame in 2003.

The official induction of the 2011 class will take place during a ceremony to be held at the Ted Mann Concert Hall (2128 Fourth Street South, Minneapolis, MN 55455) on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011. A social hour beginning at 6 p.m. will kick off the event, with the main program starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase online through the University of Minnesota ticket office at www.tickets.umn.edu or by calling the Northrop ticket office at 612-624-2345.

The class of 2011 will also be honored at the Gophers' football game vs. North Dakota State on Sept. 24 at TCF Bank Stadium.

The University of Minnesota "M" Club is a nonprofit organization representing all letterwinners from University of Minnesota athletics teams. The purpose of the Hall of Fame is to honor achievements and to preserve the tradition of those athletes, coaches and athletic staff members who have contributed in an outstanding and positive way to the University of Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletics Department.

The criteria for induction to the University of Minnesota "M" Club Hall of Fame include four different categories: significant accomplishments by a former student-athlete; significant achievements by a former coach or administrator; significant contributions of time, talent or resources to the athletics department by someone other than an athlete, coach or administrator, and significant professional achievement by a former Minnesota student-athlete.

Former student-athletes inducted for significant accomplishments become eligible for selection five years after the expiration of their eligibility, while former coaches and staff members must have served the department for five years to be eligible.

2011 "M" Club Hall of Fame Biographies

Mike Crowley, Hockey (1994-1997)
Mike Crowley patrolled the Minnesota blueline from 1994-97 and was a two-time Hobey Baker Award finalist for the Gophers. He was the fourth two-time All-American in school history (1996-97) and was the 1997 WCHA Player of the Year.

The Bloomington, Minn., native was named First Team All-WCHA in 1996 and 1997 and led the team in scoring in 1997 with 56 points in 42 games. He joins Lou Nanne (43 points in the 1962-63 season) as the only other Gopher defenseman to lead the team in scoring in school history.

Crowley holds the two highest scoring seasons by a defenseman in school history with 63 points in 1996 and 56 points in 1997. His 47 assists in 1997 and 46 assists in 1996 also rank first and second in school history by a defenseman in a single season. The 17 goals he scored in 1996 rank third all-time for Gopher defensemen in a single season.

A sixth-round selection by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, Crowley helped lead the Gophers to the 1995 NCAA Frozen Four as well as the 1996 WCHA Playoffs title and 1997 WCHA regular season crown.

Ben Hamilton, Football (1997-2000)
One of the most decorated Minnesota linemen of the modern era, Ben Hamilton played center for the Golden Gophers and was a four-year letterwinner from 1997-2000.

An All-America and time All-Big Ten performer in both 1999 and 2000, Hamilton was named the 2000 winner of the Bronko Nagurski Award as the Gophers' most valuable player. He also earned the team's Butch Nash and Paul Giel awards during his time at Minnesota.

Following his Gopher career, Hamilton was drafted in the fourth round of the 2001 National Football League Draft. He played 10 seasons in the NFL, nine with the Denver Broncos and one with the Seattle Seahawks.

Mike Hebert, Volleyball Coach (1996-2010)
The most successful volleyball coach in school history, Mike Hebert led the Golden Gophers to three NCAA Final Fours and recently finishing his career at the University of Minnesota with a 381-125 record.

In his 15 years with the Gophers from 1996 through 2010, Hebert won more than 75 percent of his games, while leading Minnesota to 14 NCAA tournament appearances, eight NCAA regional trips and four regional titles.

Along with the three Final Fours, Hebert also led the Gophers to the national title match against Stanford in 2004. He is the only coach in Division I women's volleyball to ever lead two different programs (Illinois) from the same conference to Final Four appearances and one of four to make multiple trips to the Final Four with two different programs.

Along with national acclaim, the Gophers also won its first Big Ten title in 2002 under Hebert's tutelage. Named the 2003 National Coach of the Year, Hebert was also named a five-time Big Ten Coach of the Year. Along with the M Club Induction, Hebert was also inducted into the American Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Garth Lappin, Wrestling, 1947-49
The Minnesota wrestling program has been a symbol of excellence for decades. One of the men responsible for this incredible legacy is Garth Lappin.

A team leader for the Gophers in the late 1940s, Lappin lettered at Minnesota from 1947-1949 and was crowned Big Ten Champion in 1948. He was a two-time All-American at 121 pounds in 1947 and 1949.

After his days wearing the maroon and gold, Lappin went on to become the president of State High School Wrestling Association and meet chairman for U.S. Wrestling Foundation. He coached Anoka High School to two state titles and mentored 17 individual state champions.

Lappin is a member of the Minnesota High School Coaches Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Minnesota chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame for lifetime service.

Urban Odson, Football (1939-1941)
Urban Odson was a three-year letterwinner for the Gophers from 1939-41. He earned All-America and All-Big Ten honors as a tackle in 1940 and was a star on Minnesota's 1940 and 1941 National Championship teams.

Following his Gopher career, Odson was a first-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers. He deferred his NFL career, however, to enter the Navy and served a tour in the Pacific theater aboard the USS Amsterdam.

Odson did eventually return to the Packers and went on to play under Curly Lambeau for four seasons with Green Bay before leaving the NFL after the 1949 season.

In 1950, Odson joined the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League for one season before retiring from professional football.

Joe Pollack, Baseball (1963-1965)
A right-handed pitcher during a dominant stretch for the Golden Gopher baseball program, Joe Pollack had a stellar career as a hurler, highlighted by the 1964 season in which he was instrumental in leading Minnesota to its third national championship in eight years.

As a junior during that championship season, Pollack led the Gophers to a Big Ten title, going 4-1 in conference games and allowing just 17 hits in 42 innings pitched to establish a Big Ten record for fewest hits allowed in a season.

In regular season play that year, he was 7-2, but he was even more impressive in the postseason. In the Mideast Regional in Kent, Ohio, Pollack picked up a victory against host Kent State to help the Gophers earn a spot in their third College World Series.

At the CWS, Pollack earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team and etched his name into the record books, as he pitched three complete-game victories to lead Minnesota to the title. Pollack's third win of the 1964 CWS was a 5-1 decision in the championship game versus Missouri, which had entered the tournament as the nation's top-ranked team. He struck out seven and allowed just four hits in the game. He also went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a run batted in at the plate in that win.

Pollack is one of just seven pitchers in College World Series history to have won three games in just three appearances, and he's among three pitchers to have thrown three complete games in a single CWS. He's also tied for second all-time, having pitched 27 innings during that CWS. Pollack also batted .444 (4-for-9) with two runs scored, two runs batted in, and a double at that CWS.

Pollack finished his junior season with a record of 11-2 and a 1.75 earned run average. He made 14 starts, with 12 complete games, striking out 81 and allowing just 66 hits in 108 innings pitched. For his career, he was 20-4 with a 2.04 ERA. He earned three letters for the Gophers and was a First Team All-Big Ten selection during his standout junior campaign.

Pollack was drafted in the 26th Round of the first-ever Major League Baseball amateur draft following his senior season in 1965. He played four years in the Giants' farm system, advancing as far as Class AAA before an arm injury ended his career. He combined for a 21-18 record and a 3.17 ERA as a professional.

Pollack and his wife, Pat, have two sons.

Robb Quinlan, Baseball (1996-1999)
A native of Maplewood, Minn. (Hill-Murray HS), Robb Quinlanplayed first base for the Golden Gophers during 1996-99 and was a three-time First Team All-Big Ten selection, ending his career as the Big Ten's all-time hits leader with 345.

The 1999 Big Ten Player of the Year, Quinlan earned Second Team All-America by the Collegiate Baseball News and Third Team All-America from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association that season after setting school records for hits (107), runs scored (87), home runs (24), and total bases (189). He also tied Minnesota's single season record for triples with six as a freshman in 1996.

As a junior, Quinlan led Minnesota with a .408 batting average and a .790 slugging percentage after belting a school single-season record 24home runs.

In addition to his 345 career hits, Quinlan also established Minnesota career records for at bats (906), runs batted in (230), doubles (79), home runs (55), and total bases (617).

During his final two seasons, Quinlan helped lead the Gophers to a combined record of 91-33 and two NCAA Regional appearances. He was named to the All-Big Ten Tournament Team in each of those years, and led the conference with 13 home runs in Big Ten play in 1999. He also set a Big Ten Conference single-season record for most total bases (92) during the 1998 season, and is tied for second with three doubles versus Purdue on May 28, 1997.

Quinlan was drafted in the 33rd round following his junior season, but returned to play for the Gophers. He was then taken by the then Anaheim Angels in the 10th round of the 1999 draft. He signed his first professional contract with the organization on June 10, 1999. A backup corner infielder and outfielder with the Angels from 2003 through 2010, Quinlan finished his career with a .276/.322/.401 line and a .994 fielding percentage in 458 games with the organization.

Quinlan, who is the current Gophers' volunteer coach and hitting instructor, currently lives in Plymouth with his wife, Amanda.

John Whitaker, Wrestling (1935-1937)
A dominant figure in the early days of Minnesota Wrestling, John Whitaker's accomplishments set the bar for Gopher Wrestling.

Whitaker will always be remembered as the program's first ever NCAA Champion. He earned the honor on March 20, 1937, on the campus of the then-named Indiana State Teachers College, (presently known as Indiana State University) were as a senior he defeated John Ginay of Illinois in the 175 pound championship match at the 10th NCAA Wrestling Tournament to become the Gophers first champion.

Whitaker is a member of the NCAA Coaches Association Division Hall of Fame.

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