UND Hall of Fame Class of 2019
Pat Sweeney | Apr 11, 2019 AT 10:25 am
University of North Dakota Director of Athletics Bill Chaves and UND Letterwinners Association President Brian Westlund announced today the UND Letterwinners Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2019.
Lee Davidson (hockey, 1986-90), Jessica (Neva) Nygaard (cross country/track and field, 1999-2004), Gene Roebuck (head women's basketball coach, 1987-2012/head baseball coach, 1990-93), Robert Toftey (football, 1965-67), Tisha (Yanzer) Lezer (swimming, 1991-95) will be inducted as individuals, while the 1998-99 national championship women's basketball team will be inducted in the team category.
Additionally, current Minnesota State Moorhead head women's basketball coach Karla Nelson will receive the Tom Clifford Award, while longtime UND superfan Loyall Jahnke will be recognized with the Honorary Letterwinner Award.
The 45th annual Athletics Hall of Fame event will take place with a dinner and induction ceremony on Friday, Oct. 4. The Class of 2019 will be recognized the following day during halftime of UND's Homecoming football game against UC Davis at the Alerus Center.
“As President of the Letterwinners Association, what an honor it was to call these individuals and let them know they are a part of this 2019 Hall of Fame class,” said Westlund, a former UND golf letterwinner. “The Hall of Fame honorees have earned the highest athletic honor at the University of North Dakota. On behalf of the entire UND Letterwinners Association, we congratulate the inductees on their amazing athletic careers and accomplishments.”
This year's five inductees bring the total number of individuals in UND's Letterwinners Athletics Hall of Fame to 260, while the 1998-99 women's basketball team is the 40th team to be recognized.
“Congratulations to another tremendous class of inductees,” Chaves said. “It never ceases to amaze me the phenomenal individuals who graced us with their talents at UND. Also, a huge thank you to our Letterwinners Committee, who continue to do a fantastic job vetting through numerous qualified candidates on an annual basis – it is not an easy job but we are so lucky to have them. Looking forward to a great event!”
UND Hall of Fame Class of 2019
Lee Davidson | Hockey | 1986-90
Drafted by the Washington Capitals in the eighth round of the 1986 NHL Entry Draft ... Scored 80 goals and collected 122 assists in four seasons at UND for 202 career points, fifth all-time in school history ... Captained the 1989-90 team and was selected to both the All-Western Collegiate Hockey Association and NCAA All-America Second Teams ... Helped North Dakota capture its fifth national title in his freshman season (1986-87) ... Played 167 games with escalating point totals in each of his four seasons ... Tallied 16 goals as a rookie then generated 22 goals and two dozen assists as a sophomore ... Compiled 53 points with 16 goals and 37 helpers as a junior before a 75-point senior year with career bests in goals (26) and assists (49) ... That assist total still ranks in the top 10 for a single season in UND history ... Later, was an assistant coach on the national champion 2000 team.
Jessica (Neva) Nygaard | Cross Country/Track and Field | 1999-2004
Eight-time All-American and four-time NCC champion ... Member of the Fighting Sioux national runner-up cross country team in 2000 and fourth-place teams in 1999 and 2001 ... Placed in the top 20 individually at NCAA national meet in 1999 (11th), 2000 (17th) and 2001 (18th) ... Qualified for 2001 NCAA indoor national meet in the 5,000 meters ... Won first track All-America honor with eighth-place finish in the 5,000-meter run at the 2002 NCAA indoor meet ... Later, etched a third-place finish in 3000-meter run at 2002 NCAA DII outdoor meet.
Gene Roebuck | Women's Basketball Coach: 1987-2012, Baseball Coach: 1990-93
Served as head women's basketball coach for 25 seasons and four seasons as head baseball coach ... Amassed an .812 winning percentage at North Dakota in basketball, piling up 628 wins and three NCAA Division II championships ... Earned a dozen conference coach of the year plaudits (10- NCC, 2- Great West) ... Qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 20 of the 21 years at the Division II level, including each of the last 19 seasons in D-II ... Mentored 55 All-North Central Conference players, eight winning NCC MVP honors to go along with 19 All-Americans ... Won 12 conference titles ... Reached the NCAA Elite Eight five times ... Won 99 games as the school's baseball coach in four seasons, leading UND to its only NCAA World Series appearance in 1993.
Robert Toftey | Football | 1965-67
Captained the 1967 football team and earned three letters ... Helped UND to 1965 Mineral Water Bowl win and a 1966 Pecan Bowl title, part of 21 wins in his three seasons, including a 15-3 NCC record ... Two-time All-NCC (1966- HB, 1967- DB) ... Named to the UND All-Century Football Team in 1994 ... Part of a stingy 1966 defensive unit that only allowed 102 yards passing per game and eight touchdowns all season.
Tisha (Yanzer) Lezer | Swimming | 1991-95
Three-time NCC champ in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke ... 200 IM NCC champ in 1992 ... 1993 NCAA DII champ in 200 breaststroke ... Three-time NCAA runner-up in the 100 breaststroke ... 17-time All-America honoree, sixth-most in UND women's swimming history ... 1996 North Central Conference Newcomer of the Year ... Helped lead North Dakota to four straight NCC team titles ... Team finished fourth twice and sixth twice nationally during her career ... Still sits on UND's top 10 lists in both 100 and 200 breaststroke events.
1998-99 Women's Basketball team
Went 31-1, including 17-1 in conference play on the way to the third of three consecutive NCAA Division II Championship teams at UND ... Went undefeated at home (16-0) ... Four players earned All-North Central Conference accolades, including two-time NCC Most Valuable Player and the school's all-time leading scorer, Jenny Crouse, who was also the DII Player of the Year and NCAA title game Most Outstanding Player ... Crouse and Jaime Pudenz were each named All-Americans ... Four players from this team are still in the top 20 in scoring all-time at UND (Crouse, Jaime Pudenz, Katie Richards, Kami Winger) ... Team scored 100-plus in a game six times ... Gene Roebuck was named NCC Coach of the Year.
Thomas J. Clifford Award
The Clifford Award, established to honor former UND President Thomas J. Clifford, recognizes the UND alumni who serve as athletics coaches at the high school or collegiate level and have been notably successful in their sport.
Nineteen seasons as head women's basketball coach at Minnesota State Moorhead and 25 overall as a collegiate coach ... Has led the Dragons to a 352-195 record in her tenure there, qualifying for the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament every season ... Three-time NSIC Coach of the Year ... Six trips to the NCAA Division II Tournament, including each of the last three seasons ... Also served six seasons as an assistant at MSUM and also coached the Dragon softball team for five seasons ... Three-year captain and three-year fixture in the backcourt at UND as head coach Gene Roebuck's first recruit ... Helped turn a 7-20 Sioux team into a 22-win season and a trip to the NCAA DII Tournament in their first season ... Twice honored as UND's Best Defensive Player.
Honorary Letterwinner Award
The Letterwinners Association Honorary Award is given upon official action by the club's Executive Committee to persons who, in the opinion of the committee, have contributed significantly to the furtherance of UND Athletics.
A loyal, ardent UND sports fan who rarely misses a home event ... Started the tradition of leading the teams out onto the field/court waving a giant flag ... Seen at all sporting events ... Stepson, Marcus McKenzie, played football for UND in the mid-90s and he's been manning the flag ever since ... Lives in Casselton, N.D., and makes the 180-mile round-trip drive north upwards of four times in a week to cheer on UND's teams.