Director of Athletics Brian Faison and UND Letterwinners Association President Jessica Sobolik announced today the UND Letterwinners Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2017.
Mary Dempster (Volleyball, 1976-77), Robert Fransen (Track & Field, 1973-77), Steve Johnson (Hockey, 1984-88) and Tracy Martin (Football, 1984-86) will be inducted as individuals, while the 1992 women’s cross country team will be inducted in the team category.
Additionally, former multi-sport UND standout and accomplished prep coach Erin Herman will receive the Tom Clifford Award, while longtime UND benefactors Mark and Marlys Brown will be recognized with the Honorary Letterwinner Award.
The 43rd annual Athletics Hall of Fame event will take place with a dinner and induction ceremony on Friday, Oct. 6. The Class of 2017 will be recognized the following day during halftime of UND’s Homecoming football game against Northern Colorado.
“This year’s inductees accomplished amazing athletic feats during their time at UND and the Letterwinners Association is happy to recognize and celebrate those athletes and their successes at this year’s Hall of Fame banquet,” said Sobolik, a former UND track and field letterwinner.
This year’s four inductees bring the total number of individuals in UND’s Letterwinners Athletics Hall of Fame to 251, while the 1992 women’s cross country team is the 38th team to be recognized.
UND Hall of Fame Class of 2017:
Mary Dempster | Volleyball | 1976-77: Played on UND’s first two varsity volleyball teams after transferring from City College in Vancouver … Named to 1976 Minn-Kota Conference All-Tournament Team … Longtime member of Canadian national volleyball program, playing in more than 150 matches for her country … Starter on 1976 Canadian Olympic Team prior to enrolling at UND … Also competed in 1978 World Volleyball Championships in Soviet Union … Member of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame (2003), Manitoba Volleyball Hall of Fame, and Manitoba High School Sports Hall of Fame (2011).
Robert Fransen | Track & Field | 1973-77: Two-time NCAA Division II All-American in the high jump … Placed sixth nationally in 1977 and seventh in 1976 … Held UND’s indoor and outdoor school records in the high jump for 21 years after graduating … Two-time North Central Conference champion (1975, 1977) in the high jump … Set NCC record with a leap of 6 feet, 11 inches … Became the first 7-foot high jumper in the state of North Dakota the summer following his graduation … Has remained a longtime UND benefactor since graduation.
Steve Johnson | Hockey | 1984-88: Member of UND’s 1986-87 national championship team … Graduated as the No. 3 scorer in program history (now ranks seventh) with 191 career points … A Hobey Baker Award finalist and first-team All-American in 1987-88 after leading the nation in scoring with 85 points in 42 games … His 85 points remain the fifth-best single-season total in school history … Was also named the WCHA Student-Athlete of the Year and earned All-WCHA First-Team honors that same season … Son, Luke, played hockey at UND from 2013-16 and won a national championship in his final season.
Tracy Martin | Football | 1984-86: Graduated as UND’s career leader in regular-season touchdown receptions with 19 (since broken) … Also graduated with the second-most regular-season receiving yards (1,754) and all-purpose yards (3,534) in UND history … Caught a school-record 69 passes in 1986 (since broken) … Also set single-season school records for all-purpose yards (1,708) that same since (since broken) … The first player in UND history to catch three TD passes in a single game … A first-team All-NCC selection as a senior.
1992 Women’s Cross Country Team: Head coach Dick Clay’s team won the first NCC championship in program history and went on to place second at regionals and fourth at the NCAA DII Championships … Two individuals earned All-America honors: Steph Bruening and Louise Ronnerman … Bruening, Ronnerman and Evette Edmondson were each named both all-region and All-NCC … Bruening was also chosen UND’s Female Scholar-Athlete 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.
Erin Herman: A 1984 graduate of UND … Has served as varsity girls basketball coach at Hill-Murray School since 1989 … A 2005 inductee into the Minnesota Girls Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame … Has won more than 400 games and owns a career winning percentage just under .600 … Led Hill-Murray to 2010 Class AAA state championship … Has led Hill-Murray to seven state tournament appearances … State runner-up in 2011 … Also serves as assistant principal at Hill-Murray.
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.
Mark & Marlys Brown: Longtime avid supporters of UND Athletics, both originally hail from Hannaford, N.D. … Moved to Grand Forks in 2007 … Co-established the Brown/Bender Basketball Fund in 1991 with Dave Bender to assist the men’s basketball program … Also co-funded the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center weight room with Dave Bender when the facility opened in 2004 … Mark serves as CEO of Bank Forward in Grand Forks … Marlys is retired … They have two daughters (Kaare Brown Risbrudt, Kristin Brown) and two grandsons (Hudson and Dax Risbrudt).
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony, proudly sponsored by the UND Letterwinners Association, will be held on Oct. 6 in the Alerus Center ballroom. For ticket information, please contact UND Athletics at 701.777.2234.