UMD Athletic Hall of Fame to add five members

Five former Bulldogs athletes and coaches will be inducted into the University of Minnesota Duluth Athletic Hall of Fame on October 5, the school announced today.

New inductees:

. Dick Fisher — football, hockey and track

. Renee (Fluegge) Voltin — softball and volleyball

. George Fisher — men’s basketball and men’s golf coach

. Jim Johnson, men’s hockey

. David Thompson, men’s basketball

The UMD Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet will be held at the Holiday Center’s Lake Superior Ballroom in downtown Duluth. The event kicks off with a 5:30 p.m. social, followed by a 6:15 p.m. dinner, and a 7 p.m. program.

The inductees will also be recognized at halftime of UMD’s Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference football game against Minnesota State University-Moorhead the following evening.

More about each new member:

Dick Fisher owns the distinction of being the last Bulldog to ever letter — and start — in both football and hockey. The hard-nosed Duluth East High School alumnus was deployed primarily at linebacker, but did see ample time at the fullback position as well, and capped off his four-year football career with a selection to the 1964 All-Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Team. On the ice, Fisher patrolled the UMD blueline for four seasons and collected 40 points (14 goals and 26 assists) in 99 lifetime games. As a senior in 1964-65 (UMD’s fourth, and final, year as a NCAA Division I independent), he set personal highs for goals (eight) and points (19) while finished second only to All-American Bob Hill in scoring among Bulldog defensemen. Fisher, who also lettered four times in track (discus thrower and javelin), received UMD’s Top Senior Scholar-Athlete Award for 1964-65.

George Fisher arrived on the UMD campus in the summer of 1978 and over the course of the next six years helped elevate the both the Bulldog men’s basketball and men’s golf teams to national prominence. He took over a basketball program which had produced just one plus-.500 record the previous five seasons and proceeded to compile what remains the best winning percentage in UMD history (.710 off a 121-49 record) while guiding UMD to three Northern Intercollegiate Conference championships (1981-84) and four NAIA District 13 playoff appearances (1980-84). In 1983-84, the three-time NIC Basketball Coach of the Year honoree and his troops went 25-5, setting a then-school record for single-season victories and winning efficiency (.833). In addition, he produced the school’s first basketball All-American (Nicky Johnson, NAIA third team in 1982-83) and recruited the second (Jeff Guidinger, NAIA third team in 1986-87). Fisher also enjoyed similar success at the helm of the Bulldog men’s golf team between 1978-83, capturing a pair of NIC golf tiles, four NAIA District 13 crowns and qualifying for five consecutive NCAA Division II National Championships (1979-83). He coached the Bulldogs to a fifth-place finish at the 1980 NCAA II national event (the highest national placing of any UMD athletic team to that point) whlle turning out two All-Americans in Lee Kolquist and Tom Waitrovich. Fisher, a native of Long Island, New York, resigned from UMD in March 1984 to become the head men’s basketball coach at Cal Poly Pomona, where he spent the next three years

Voltin was selected UMD’s Outstanding Female Senior Athlete in 1987-88 after closing the books on a rewarding collegiate career. The Coon Rapids, Minn., product anchored the UMD mound staff for four years and exited the softball program owning virtually every team single-season and career pitching record. That included lifetime marks for appearances, innings, starts, complete games and strikeouts. She also crafted a career earned run average of 0.82, a figure which no one in the history of UMD softball has ever approached. Voltin saved her best softball for last, landing All-Northern Sun Conference recogntion during her farewell collegiate season after setting Bulldog single-season marks for innings pitched (180) and saves (6) while completing a school-record 22 of her 23 starts. She also went 19-6 on the year and was 3-1 at the NAIA National Championships with the lone loss (2-0) coming to Pacific Lutheran University in the title game. During her freshman and sophomore years, Voltin competed with the UMD volleyball team and, as a starting middle hitter in 1985, paced the NSC champion Bulldogs in solo blocks (27) and block assists (92). After graduation, she served as the volleyball head coach at Anoka High School for two years and was a long-time girl’s softball and volleyball assistant coach at her alma mater, Coon Rapids High School.

Johnson was a fixture — to say the least — with the UMD defensive corps from 1981-85 and skated in more games (174 of a possible 175) than any Bulldog at the time or since then. As a senior, he co-captained UMD to its second straight Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular season and playoff titles and its second NCAA Frozen Four appearance in as many years en route to attaining All-WCHA honorable mention honors for a second consecutive time. Johnson, a New Hope, Minn. native, collected a career-high 36 points during his final collegiate go-around and wound up with 13 goals and 70 assists as a Bulldog. He also racked up 193 lifetime penalties for 402 minutes — both of which remain program records. A member of the 21-member All-DECC Team (which was voted exclusively by UMD alums in 2010) and a two-time WCHA All-Academic Team pick, Johnson went on to join the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1985-86. That launched a 13-year NHL career that consisted of stints with the Penguins, Minnesota/Dallas Stars, Washington Capitals and Phoenix Coyotes. He retired in 1998 having played in 829 regular season games with 195 points (29 goals and 166 assists) to show for it. Johnson, who represented the United States at the IIHF World Championships on four occasions, including in 1990 when he handled the team captaincy role, later spent four years with the Phoenix Coyotes as a consultant to the general manager, broadcast analyst and an assistant coach. He also was an U.S. assistant coach at three straight IIHF World Junior championships (2000-02) and served as the Director of Player Development for the Arizona Amateur Hockey Association. In 2008-09, Johnson was employed by the Tampa Bay Lightning as their Development Coach and started the following season as an assistant coach for the Norfolk Admirals before being promoted to the head coaching position with that American Hockey League franchise. He posted a record of 15-5-0-2 (.727) in his 22 games behind the Admiral bench and ended up finishing the year back in Tampa as a Lightning assistant coach. Last November, Johnson assumed similiar duties with the Washington Capitals after coaching professionally in Switzerland the previous year and half. His son, Derrick, is a sophomore defenseman with the UMD hockey team.

Thompson, a Hibbing, Minn., product, secured NAIA All-American (third team) and NIC Player of the Year acclaim in his final season (1987-88) with the Bulldogs after helping lead UMD to its fourth successive NAIA National Tournament appearance and third conference crown in a row. When he graduated, the two-time All-NIC pick (first team in 1987-88 and second team one year earlier) ranked 11th on the school’s all-time scoring charts (1,281 points in 122 games), was fourth in rebounds (626) and second in blocked shots. Thompson, who was chosen by his fellow alums to UMD’s All-75th Anniversary Team in 2006, went on to play one year of professional basketball in Gothenburg, Sweden with Hogsbo. In 1992, he was appointed the head boy’s basketball coach at Hill City (Minn.) High School where he spent two seasons and for the past eight years has served as the boy’s soccer coach at nearby Hermantown High School. Thompson has rolled up a 107-44-6 record with the Hawks and was named the Minnesota State High School Coaches Association Class A Boy’s Coach of the Year in 2009 after directing Hermantown to the runnerup finish at the state tournament.

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