Eriksmoen: The national or international sports hall of famers who lived in North Dakota

Of these 64 people, 56 have been inducted into U.S. sports halls of fame, seven into Canadian halls of fame and three into international halls of fame. Two people, Garney Henley and Norval Baptie, were inducted into halls of fame in both the U.S. and Canada. Besides Henley and Baptie, seven other North Dakotans have been inducted into two different national sports halls of fame.

There are 29 inductees who were born in North Dakota, and 26 were students or coaches at colleges in this state. North Dakota State University (formerly North Dakota Agricultural College) has produced 10 inductees, while the University of North Dakota has 10, Dickinson State University has four, and Minot State University and Valley City State University each have one.

In terms of sports, 13 were related to football; 11 to rodeo; seven to hockey; seven to baseball; six to basketball; four to curling; three to ice skating; two each to boxing, skiing, auto racing, and track and field; and one each to wrestling, martial arts and bowling. Two people were inducted because of their involvement in multiple sports programs.

Forty-nine North Dakotans were inducted as athletes, eight as coaches, four as promoters/organizers, two as officials/referees, one as an announcer and one as a commissioner. Phil Jackson is the only North Dakotan to be inducted as a player (high school) and as a coach (NBA).

The four additional hall of fame inductees who will be included in the original list are Greg Maddux, Jud Heathcote, Amy Ruley and Ronda Rousey.

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Greg Maddux was born on April 14, 1966, in San Angelo, Texas, where his father, David, was serving in the U.S. Air Force. While Greg was still an infant, his father was transferred to the Minot Air Force Base during the height of the war in Vietnam. After being deployed in Minot for a year, David was transferred to Nevada, and Greg and his older brother, Mike, grew up in Las Vegas.

Greg followed his older brother into professional baseball, signing a contract with the Chicago Cubs in 1984 and making his debut with the Cubs two years later. From 1984 to 2008, Greg pitched for the Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. During his 24 seasons in the major leagues, he compiled a win-loss record of 355-227 and is the only pitcher in MLB history to win at least 15 games for 17 straight seasons. He was enshrined in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014.

Jud Heathcote. NCAA / Special to The Forum

Jud Heathcote. NCAA / Special to The Forum

George “Jud” Heathcote was born May 27, 1927, in Harvey, N.D., where his father was a high school basketball coach. When Jud’s father died three years later, he and his mother moved to Manchester, Wash. Heathcote coached high school basketball for 14 seasons before serving as assistant coach at Washington State University for seven years. He became head coach at the University of Montana in 1971 and then at the University of Michigan in 1975.

During the 24 years that he served as head coach at Montana and Michigan, Heathcote’s teams had a record of 420 wins and 373 losses. Michigan won the national championship in 1979, and Heathcote’s star player was Magic Johnson. Heathcote died on Aug. 26, 2001, and was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.

Amy Ruley as seen in 2013 on the North Dakota State University campus. Forum file photo

Amy Ruley as seen in 2013 on the North Dakota State University campus. Forum file photo

Amy Ruley was born Oct. 24, 1955, in Lowell, Ind., and was a starter, as a sophomore, on the first women’s basketball team at Purdue University. In fact, she scored the first points in the first official game played by the team.

After graduating in 1978, she accepted the offer to become the head coach of the NDSU women’s basketball team. During the 28 years Ruley served as head coach at NDSU, “there was a run of 16 straight playoff appearances from 1986 to 2001.” Her teams made nine trips to the Final Four and won five NCAA Division II national titles. During Ruley’s tenure as head coach (1979 to 2008), the team established a record of 671 wins and 198 losses. In 2004, Ruley was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

When Ronda Rousey was born in Riverside, Calif., on Feb. 1, 1987, her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck, depriving her brain of sufficient oxygen. As a result, she developed a condition known as apraxia, which makes verbal communication very difficult. When Ronda was 4 and still unable to talk, her parents moved to North Dakota because they learned that therapists at Minot State College had success treating patients who suffered from apraxia.

The Rousey family first lived in Jamestown, where Ronda’s mother, AnnMaria, accepted a position at Jamestown College. Two years later, they relocated to Minot when AnnMaria joined the faculty. While in Minot, Ronda made remarkable progress, and in 1996, she and her family moved back to California.

Ronda took up judo and qualified for the Olympics in 2004 and 2008. She won the bronze medal in 2008, becoming the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in judo. In 2010, Ronda began participating in the mixed martial arts and won the women’s bantamweight championship in 2012, a title she held until 2015. She then became one of the top women wrestlers on the World Wrestling Entertainment circuit. In 2018, Ronda was inducted into the International Sports Hall of Fame.

Below are the 60 previously identified sports figures inducted into national or international halls of fame, followed by the year they were inducted and the qualifying sport/occupation for which they were inducted. Some of the sports figures are in more than one hall of fame.

  • Bob Backlund (2013, professional wrestler)
  • Norval Baptie (1963, Canadian ice skater, and 1965, U.S. speed skater)
  • Don Barcome (1994, curling organizer)
  • Earl Bartholome (1977, U.S. hockey player)
  • Ken Bartholomew (1968, speed skater)
  • Jeff Bentrim (1998, college football player)
  • Dale Brown (2014, college basketball coach)
  • Jack Brown (1993, high school coach)
  • Willard Brown (2006, professional baseball player)
  • Ethel Catherwood (1955, Canadian high jumper)
  • Happy Chandler (1983, MLB commissioner)
  • Joseph Chase (1999, rodeo competitor)
  • Dave Christian (2001, U.S. hockey player)
  • Joe Cichy (1997, college football player)
  • Sid Cichy (1984, high school football coach)
  • Donald Clark (1978, U.S. hockey administrator)
  • Lefty Curran (1998, U.S. hockey player, and 1999, international hockey player)
  • Ray Dandridge (1987, professional baseball player)
  • Gil Dobie (1951, college football coach)
  • Spank Favor (2011, college football player)
  • Dave Fennell (1990, Canadian professional football player)
  • Peter Frederick (1999, rodeo competitor)
  • Del Gab (2003, high school sports official)
  • Serge Gambucci (1996, U.S. hockey coach)
  • Glen Gilleshammer (2000, curler)
  • Orval Gilleshammer (1992, curler and curling organizer)
  • Brad Gjermandson (1981, rodeo competitor, and 1995, saddle bronc rider)
  • Jimmy Grogan (1991, figure skater)
  • Fritz Hanson (1963, Canadian football player)
  • Garney Henley (1979, Canadian football player, and 2004, college football player)
  • Wayne Herman (2014, bareback rider)
  • Virgil Hill (2013, boxer)
  • Duane Howard (2007, rodeo competitor, and 2008, notable rodeo participant)
  • Phil Jackson (1994, high school basketball player, and 2007, professional basketball coach)
  • Erv Kurkow (2009, rodeo stock contractor)
  • Les Lear (1974, Canadian football player)
  • Jim LeClair (1999, college football player)
  • Cal Marvin (1982, U.S. hockey organizer)
  • Jon Mielke (2012, curler)
  • Monte Montana (1989, trick rope rodeo artist, and 1994, rodeo entertainer)
  • Darrell Mudra (2000, college football coach)
  • Alvin Nelson (2004, saddle bronc rider)
  • Sondre Norheim (1974, skiing innovator)
  • Casper Oimoen (1963, ski jumper)
  • Lute Olson (2002, basketball coach, and 2006, college basketball coach)
  • Satchel Paige (1971, MLB player)
  • Billy Petrolle (2000, boxer)
  • Jerry Popp (2005, high school cross country coach)
  • Pat Purcell (1966, auto racing promoter)
  • Fido Purpur (1974, U.S. hockey player)
  • Floyd Roberts (1985, Indy-500 racer)
  • Dick Schindler (1999, high school sports rules codifier)
  • Hilton Smith (2001, professional baseball player)
  • Sheryl Solberg (2014, high school sports administrator)
  • Willie Stargell (1988, MLB player)
  • Cy Taillon (1979, notable rodeo personality, and 1986, rodeo announcer)
  • Jim Tescher (2004, rodeo competitor)
  • Tom Tescher (2009, rodeo competitor)
  • Brian Voss (1994, bowler)
  • Chris Walby (2005, Canadian football player)

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“Did You Know That” is written by Curt Eriksmoen and edited by Jan Eriksmoen of Fargo. Send your comments, corrections, or suggestions for columns to the Eriksmoens at

Curt Eriksmoen, Did You Know That? columnist

Curt Eriksmoen, Did You Know That? columnist

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