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Football teams from 1970s to be inducted into Cougar Hall of Fame

photo courtesy of UMM

In Morris's 50-year history, only four football teams succeeded in remaining undefeated in the conference during regular season play. The players and coaches for those teams--1975, 1976, 1977, and 1978--will be inducted into the Cougar Hall of Fame during 2010 Homecoming.

"This outstanding football era is one of the highlights of Cougar history," says Mark Fohl, athletic director and member of the Cougar Hall of Fame Committee.

Al Molde served as head coach for all four teams. He remembers, "It was an awesome time at UMM. Cougar pride soared! We achieved widespread acclaim for the success of our teams. Cougar football was the talk of the state. Articles appeared in the Minneapolis Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. All of Minnesota shared in the pride of accomplishment of these outstanding teams. The 1978 team was the #1 ranked football team in the country throughout the entire season."

Molde, now athletic director at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, continues, "I can truly say that the seven years I spent at UMM remain a treasure and the pinnacle of my early coaching career. Congratulations to each and every team member from 1975-78. You all deserve to be called Hall of Famers."

During the 1970s, the Cougars played in Division II competition in the Northern Collegiate Conference against teams such as Bemidji State, Moorhead State, Winona State, St. Cloud State, Southwest Minnesota State, Minnesota Duluth, Northern State, and Mankato State. The 1977 and 1978 teams advanced to National Collegiate Athletic Association playoffs. At the end of the 1978 season, the Cougars had won 28 conference games in a row--a record that still stands. The 1978 seniors finished four-year playing careers without losing a conference game.

The football honorees will be inducted into the Cougar Hall of Fame during Homecoming Weekend on Saturday, October 9, 2010, at the Distinguished Alumni Awards and Cougar Hall of Fame Banquet at 7 p.m. in Oyate Hall in the Student Center. All alumni and friends are invited to attend. RSVP online, e-mail, or call 320-589-6066.

Photo: 1976 Cougar football team