UND Hall of Fame - Class of 2020
Pat Sweeney | May 6, 2020 AT 1:32 pm
University of North Dakota Director of Athletics Bill Chaves and UND Letterwinners Association President Adam Stratton announced today the UND Letterwinners Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2020.
Mark Callahan (football, 1993-96), Travis O’Neel (football, 1998-2001), James Patrick (hockey, 1981-83), Dean Rudrud (1982-85, tennis/wrestling), Marc Sondreal (track & field/cross country, 1996-99), Sandi Walford (DeValkenaere)(basketball, 1983-86) will be inducted as individuals, while the 1935-37 and 1973-74 men’s basketball teams will be enshrined in the team category. Additionally, current Utah State head men’s basketball coach Craig Smith will receive the Tom Clifford Award, while longtime UND superfans and supporters the Baumann family will be recognized with Honorary Letterwinner Awards.
The 46th annual Athletics Hall of Fame event will take place with a dinner and induction ceremony on Friday, Oct. 9. The Class of 2020 will be recognized the following day during halftime of UND's Homecoming football game against new Missouri Valley Football Conference foe Missouri State at the Alerus Center.
"As President of the Letterwinners Association, what an honor it was to call these individuals and their family members to let them know they are a part of this 2020 Hall of Fame class," said Stratton, a former UND football letterwinner from 2000-03 and key player of the 2001 and 2003 teams that advanced to the national championship game. "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 six inductees bring the total number of individuals in UND's Letterwinners Athletics Hall of Fame to 266, while the 1935-36, 1936-37 and 1973-74 men's basketball teams bring the team total to 43.
"Congratulations to another tremendous class of honorees," Chaves said. "Every year it is such a difficult task to select a group because of the depth and quality of alums who have played at UND but thanks to our Letterwinners Committee, who continue to take on this tremendous responsibility, they have again selected another outstanding class. We all look forward to honoring these tremendous individuals as well as celebrating our athletic heritage in October!"
UND Hall of Fame Class of 2020
Mark Callahan, Football
Callahan was a two-time All-American and a two-time All-NCC defensive lineman for the Fighting Sioux from 1993-96. He still sits in the top ten in a host of defensive statistical categories at UND, including fifth on the school's career assisted tackles (214), sixth in total tackles and the second-most postseason tackles (60).
A homegrown product of Grand Forks, N.D., he was a three-time NCC champion as the team went 36-11 in his four years on campus with three postseason trips and two semifinal appearances.
Upon graduation, Callahan played in the 1996 Snow Bowl (Division II all-star game) and then embarked on a professional career overseas (Germany).
Travis O'Neel, Football
O'Neel led UND's 2001 national title team in tackles (87) and earned Division II All-America honors from Football Gazette (1st team), Daktronics (1st team), D2Football.com (1st) and the Associated Press (2nd team). In 1999, O'Neel was named to the Sophomore All-America Team by USA Football.
A three-time All-North Central Conference First Team performer and the 2001 NCC’s Most Valuable Linebacker, O'Neel appeared in 48 collegiate games and amassed 214 total tackles. He helped lead UND to three NCAA postseason appearances and a four-year record of 39-9 (.813).
O'Neel, an Eden Prairie, Minn., native was a two-time Academic All-NCC selection and graduated from UND in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in elementary education. He was a teacher in the Philippines at the time of his passing due to a motorcycle accident in 2015.
James Patrick, Hockey
Patrick was a two-time All-WCHA selection, helping the Sioux
to an NCAA title in his first year at UND (1982). He was dubbed the WCHA Rookie
of the Year, tallying 29 points in 1982 before leading the team in scoring with
48 points (12 goals, 36 assists) in 1983.
In that season, Patrick became UND’s first Hobey Baker Award Finalist, earning First Team All-America honors.
The Winnipeg, Man., native then enjoyed a 21-year playing career in the NHL, playing 1,280 games and scoring recording 639 career points. He ended his NHL playing career in 2004, captaining the Buffalo Sabres before launching his coaching career.
After stints with the Sabres and Dallas Stars' coaching staffs, he returned home and is currently in his fourth season as the head coach for the Winnipeg Ice of the Western Hockey League (WHL).
Dean Rudrud, Tennis/Wrestling
Rudrud helped lead UND to back-to-back NCC tennis championships in 1984 and 1985, himself winning No. 1 singles titles three years running (1983-85). He also teamed to win three straight No. 1 NCC doubles crowns in that same time span as the team advanced to the NCAA DII national tournament each season. In 1984, Rudrud became the first UND men's tennis player to win a match at the national tournament.
A Grand Forks, N.D., native, Rudrud has been teaching tennis for over 25 years in a wide range of settings including: coaching high school tennis teams, women's league teams, USTA men's & women's teams, director of junior programs, and has taught high school state champions.
Marc Sondreal, Track & Field
Sondreal was an NCAA Division II
runner-up, taking second at the 1998 NCAA DII Indoor meet in the high jump,
part of his four career All-America finishes. He claimed the first of four NCC
titles in the 1997 indoor meet, then followed with his second in 1998 before
his runner-up placing at the NCAA DII Indoor championships. He’d win 11 of 14
meets in 1998, with five wins in six indoor meets in the high jump.
The Northwood, N.D., product then won six of eight outdoor meets that year, including tying the NCC Championship outdoor meet record in winning the high jump at 7’ 1/4”. He’d finish sixth and seventh, respectively, at the NCAA DII outdoor meets in each of his final two seasons to give him four All-America honors.
He graduated in the spring of 1999 with a degree in physical therapy and was a three-time All-Academic NCC pick, an Academic All-American, a National Strength and Conditioning Association All-American and a U.S. Track Coaches Association All-Academic Teamer.
Sandra Walford (DeValkenaere), Basketball, Track & Field
Walford was North Dakota’s third 1,000-point scorer, and did so in just three seasons. She graduated with 1,049 points, which was third in the school record books and left as the school’s all-time shot blocker (187). She still ranks second in blocks at UND and still has two of the top 10 single-season block totals in the program’s rich history.
The Devils Lake, N.D., product guided UND to runner-up NCC finishes and the school’s first two NCAA DII postseason berths in each of her first two years. She was an All-North Central Conference selection in 1985. She averaged 12.8 points per game and 8.7 rebounds per game in her 82 games as a Fighting Sioux.
She also became a national qualifier in the high jump.
1935-37 Men’s Basketball Teams
These two teams combined to go 32-5 and were the final two of four straight NCC Championships for North Dakota. Of those five losses, three were to future Big Ten schools (at Iowa and Wisconsin) with another in the postseason (Drake) and two to rival North Dakota State (6 wins, 2 losses).
UND’s 16-1 regular season record
in 1935-36 drew the attention of U.S. Olympic representatives. The Sioux lost
to Drake, 49-46, at the District 6 Olympic Elimination Tournament in
Minneapolis, UND’s first-ever postseason appearance.
The following year, the Sioux won their fourth consecutive conference title by going 8-0 in NCC play. During that four-year stretch, UND went 35-1 in conference games.
Emmet Birk would be a three-time All-NCC pick (1935-37) with Herman Witasek joining him in 1935-36 and Robert Finnegan in both 1936 and 37. The team was coached by legendary hall of famer Clem Letich, who was part of UND’s first-ever Hall of Fame class in 1975.
1973-74 Men’s Basketball Team
Head coach Dave Gunther’s 1973-74 team went 21-8 on the way to an NCC title and the NCAA Division II Tournament. After starting the season 6-6, the Sioux rip off seven straight wins and 14 of the next 15 to advance to the NCAA Division II Midwest Region Tournament in Springfield, Mo.
It was UND’s first NCC title team in seven years and was the beginning of four consecutive league championships for North Dakota.
Captained by Austin Martin, the
Fighting Sioux rallied from an 0-2 start to NCC play with a 76-70 home win over
Morningside on Jan. 12. Only an overtime loss to North Dakota State blemished
the rest of the regular season as North Dakota won the final game, 64-62, at
Augustana in double overtime to win the conference crown.
Gunther’s team qualified for the NCAA DII Tournament for the first time since 1967. Martin’s 30-point effort in the Jan. 14 win at Marquette was the top scoring output on the season. Don Gunhus and Jim Goodrich each earned All-NCC honors and both would later become the fifth and sixth members, respectively, of UND’s 1,000-point club.
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.
The Baumann family
Tim, Meredith and their daughter, Erin, have been loyal UND fans in the stands over the last 30 plus years supporting all sports. Erin has created bonds of a lifetime with a number of UND athletes and continues those relationships long after their playing careers have ended. Erin is an athlete herself, competing in Special Olympics. She has helped build a relationship between Special Olympics and UND Athletics that goes much deeper than sports. Tim and Meredith have spent countless hours cheering on their favorite teams as well. The Baumanns are truly inspirational to UND athletes, fans and coaches alike.
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.
Smith is the current head men’s basketball coach at Utah State University, where he is set to begin his third season with the Aggies. His first produced the best record by a first-year coach at USU (28-7) and the highest seed in the NCAA Tournament (8). This past season, his Aggies rattled off seven straight wins to start the season, began 10-1 and raced to the Mountain West Conference Tournament championship, highlighting a 26-8 campaign before the season was cut short due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
He spent four seasons as the head coach at the University of South Dakota (2014-18) following assistant coaching jobs at both Nebraska and Colorado State. His first head coaching gig came at Mayville State (2004-07), where he compiled a 72-29 record in three seasons and three-straight NAIA II National Tournament appearances. The Comets were 1-25 the season before Smith’s arrival and competed in the NAIA National Championship game in their third season under Smith.
In all, Smith has two dozen years of collegiate coaching experience, including nine years as a head coach, and has been to postseason play 11 times during his career, while winning four regular season and four postseason conference championships. As a head coach, Smith has been named conference Coach of the Year four times (2006, 2007, 2017, 2019) in addition to receiving the NAIA II National Coach of the Year Award in 2007, the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 12 Coach of the Year Award in 2017, and NABC District 17 Coach of the Year and USBWA District VIII Coach of the Year in 2019.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony, proudly sponsored by the UND Letterwinners Association, will be held on Oct. 9 in the Alerus Center ballroom.