The University of Minnesota is a special place. I went there, after all.
So when Goldy Gopher's school honors somebody, it's a big deal.
And on Thursday, the U of M's "M" Club inducted 10 new members into its Hall of Fame.They represented six different sports. Two were women, the rest men, including one coach.
Let's start with the women. They played together at the U from 2002 to 2005 and made the Gophers women's hockey team feared by everyone.
Krissy Wendell-Pohl (she married Johnny Pohl, who played hockey for the Gophers, too) and Natalie Darwitz were always a threat to score.
Wendell was a three-time All-America player in college -- as was Darwitz -- and twice the WCHA player of the year. She won the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award in 2005, given to the best women's hockey player in the land. She had 106 goals and 237 points in her career, putting her second in both categories on the Gophers' all-time list.
She also won a silver and a bronze medal on the U.S. Olympic teams in 2002 and 2006.
Darwitz had 144 assists and 246 points as a Gopher, both program records. If you do the math, she scored 102 goals, just four fewer than Wendell.
Both Wendell and Darwitz were key players on the U's 2004 and 2005 national championship teams. Wendell was the NCAA Frozen Four's Outstanding Player in 2004, Wendell in 2005.
Darwitz had two silver and one bronze medal from her years on the U.S. Olympic team.
It was fitting both went into the Hall of Fame at the same time. They were two of the first real stars in girls' high school hockey -- Wendell with Park Center and Darwitz with Eagan -- and helped its popularity when it was still growing. Both were great skaters who could dominate a game.
Sticking with hockey, two of the other inductees were Larry Ross and Jim Carter.
Ross was the first Gophers' All-America first team pick in 1951. But he was probably better know as a high school coach. His International Falls teams won six state titles in the one-class era, including three in a row in the 1960s.
Hockey for Carter was his second sport. He was a defenseman for coach Glen Sonmor's 1967-68 team. His other sport was football. He was a fullback, when that position was a lot more important than it is today.
He was on the 1967 Big Ten championship team -- the last one at Minnesota.Carter also played on the 1968 and 1969 teams under Murray Warmath and then played for the Green Bay Packers for nine seasons.
A second football player in the Hall of Fame class is Charlie Sanders, an all-Big Ten tight end for the Gophers as a senior on that 1967 team with Carter. He caught 21 passes for 276 yards and two TDs that season. He also played on the 1965 and '66 Minnesota teams.
He played with the Detroit Lions for 10 seasons and made seven Pro Bowls. He would have been a good choice for your fantasy team back then.
The other Hall of Famers:
Jon Andreson played baseball at the U in 1962 and 1963. His second season he was a first team All-Big Ten and All-America. He played second base and hit .370. He also led the team in almost every offensive category with eight homers, seven double, three triples, 34 RBI (in 108 at-bats) and 31 runs scored.
Rick Naumoff played tennis at the U from 1990 to '93. He was 10-0 in conference play as a junior and senior leading the Gophers to two Big Ten titles. He was the conference player of the year in 1993 when he won the singles championship at the No. 1 spot. He is the first men's tennis player in the Hall of Fame.
Gary Wilson was head coach of the women's cross-country team for 28 years and women's track and field team for 21 years. His cross-country teams won Big Ten titles in 2007 and '08. His track team won a conference title in 2006 and, when he became an assistant coach, won three more the next three years.
Wilson had some of the largest teams in his sports, in sheer numbers, of any program in the country. He was known for his sharp wit and joyful demeanor. He will be retiring this spring.
Lloyd LaMois was a triple jumper on the Gophers' 1948 national championship team in outdoor track and field. He won an NCAA individual title that year with a jump of 45 feet, 10 inches.
Louis Lick was the Gophers' first NCAA golf champion in 1944.