Marcus Brumm was an excellent Augsburg quarterback and led the Auggies as a senior in 2011 to a 6-4 record, 4-4 in the MIAC. That season included a 32-31 victory at St. John’s when Brumm completed a 32-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Swanson on the game’s final play.
John Gagliardi managed to coach one more season for the Johnnies, although I’m shocked the late, great Gags was able to coach one more minute after that finish.
Ayrton Scott came in as a freshman from Minneapolis Southwest to replace Brumm. Considering the Auggies’ competitiveness with Scott for four seasons, and the futility that has befallen the Auggies in the four seasons since his departure, Scott should be remembered among the great all-time MIAC football players.
If you want a confirmation of this, ask Bethel’s tremendous coach, Steve Johnson, about his team’s last two shootouts with Scott: a 62-61, two-OT loss to Ayrton in 2014, and a 49-42 loss in his final Augsburg game.
Scott was a Pied Piper for players in the city and the near suburbs, and coach Frank Haege came up with a slogan: 612 Football. The players wore that on practice jerseys for a time.
That could have been changed to 911 Football over the past couple of autumns, as the Auggies went from shooting it out with Bethel to slugging it out with Carleton and Hamline for pre-eminence in the bottom third of the nine-team MIAC.
The Auggies of 2018 and 2019 were 4-16 overall and 1-15 in the MIAC, with a 12-9 victory over Hamline last November in what was Haege’s final game after 15 seasons.
Frank resigned after what was obviously strong urging, and then athletic director Jeff Swenson landed his No. 1 target: Derrin Lamker, outstanding multisport athlete at Augsburg in the mid-’90s, Osseo’s coach for the Orioles’ upset run to the Class 6A title in 2015, followed by four seasons at Edina (three as head coach).
Lamker and three of his assistants were in Murphy Square park, across the street from Augsburg’s athletic offices, this week. They were at a picnic table stuffing envelopes with sturdy printed materials inviting 2020 high school juniors for campus visits — if the time comes soon when such visits are permitted.
The Star Tribune visitor chose to address Lamker and his coaches with this positive thought: “This is all the crew of the Titanic needed … a pandemic.’’
It was worth a laugh, but Lamker wasn’t laughing when he said: “Augsburg is successful in most of its sports — women’s and men’s basketball, women’s and men’s hockey … wrestling, of course, and now women’s wrestling, and others.
“Football has been an exception. It’s going to change. We’re going to win in football.’’
Lamker believes that because of his competitive and aggressive nature and the coaching staff that he has been able to put together. He also believes it because he has been part of such winning.
Jack Osberg was the coach, Lamker was the wing-it-everywhere quarterback and Scott Hvistendahl was the unstoppable receiver when Augsburg made its upset run to the MIAC title in 1997.
The Auggies were 8-1 in conference games. They beat St. John’s, Concordia, Bethel, Gustavus — all of ’em except St. Thomas — and then beat Concordia again in a playoff game in the Fargodome. The season ended with a second-round drubbing from Simpson (Iowa).
“Jack Osberg’s back as one of our volunteer assistants,’’ Lamker said. “Rich Wilkie spent 18 years building the Andover program and now he’s our offensive coordinator. Greg Clough was an assistant at Minnetonka and now he’s our defensive coordinator.
“We have excellent coaches — and with the contacts to recruit. We aren’t going to win the facilities with everyone, but we have what it takes to win here. And I’d say that even if St. Thomas was staying in our league.’’
What it takes, of course, is players … and “612 Football’’ is over.
“We want the 612 area code players, of course, but we have put out a much-wider net.’’
Lamker sent out requests to the over 700 alums who played football for Augsburg.
“We asked them to look into it and send us the name of one student-athlete from their city, from a nearby high school, who would fit at Augsburg and we can invite for visit.
“We had 250 responses and around 70 visits when the virus shut down campus. We have 40-some players, freshmen and transfers, who have made deposits and said they are coming.
“We’re praying that this virus has abated so that all of our students can be back on campus in late summer — and that we can be holding football practices with those Auggies that want to take the first step with us.’’
The smart-alecky reporter said a goodbye and headed toward his vehicle. Lamker waited a few seconds and said: “Don’t forget … Augsburg’s going to win again in football.’’
Lamker knows it’s possible because he did it. Quarterbacking to an MIAC title in 1997 that was the first since 1928 and, to this point, also the last.
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