DECC Athletic Hall of Fame

A U.S. Olympic ski jumper and long-time collegiate track and cross country coach, both from Duluth, a legendary high school hockey coach from International Falls and a major league baseball pitcher from Hermantown make up the 2010 Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center Hall of Fame class.

Jim Denney, Roy Griak, the late Larry Ross and Jerry Ujdur will be inducted in a ceremony Sept. 15 at the Harbor Side Convention Center at the DECC. 

The Hall of Fame honors those making their mark in athletics in Northeastern Minnesota or northwest Wisconsin. The inaugural class was 1968 and the four additions in 2010 bring the induction total to 52.

 Denney, 53, was a two-time U.S. Olympian in 1976 and 1980, finishing as America’s top ski jumper both years. He placed eighth in the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., the second-best finish by an American since 1960, and was 21st in 1976 in Innsbruck, Austria. He was U.S. champion in 1976 and 1977.    

Griak, 86, grew up in Duluth, and was a middle distance runner at the University of Minnesota. He coached cross country and track at Minnesota for 33 years, leading the Gophers to Big Ten cross country titles in 1964 and 1969, and a Big Ten outdoor track and field title in 1968. He coached 47 cross country and track All-Americans. He retired from coaching 1996 but continues as a University of Minnesota administrative assistant.    

Ross, a Duluth native, was an All-American goalie at the University of Minnesota before coaching 31 seasons at International Falls High School through 1985. He had a 566-169-21 record and won six state championships, and had an undefeated streak of 59 games from 1964 to 1966. He was inducted into U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988 and died in 1995 at age 73.    

Ujdur, 53, pitched at Hermantown High School, the University of Minnesota and in the Major Leagues for Detroit and Cleveland, from 1980 through 1984. In five major-league seasons he was 12-16 with a 4.78 ERA in 261 innings, including a 10-10 mark in 1982 with Detroit with a 3.69 earned-run-average in 178 innings. He was taken in the fourth round of the 1978 baseball draft by Detroit.

Former U.S. Olympic goalie Mike (Lefty) Curran, who grew up in International Falls, played for Ross and was a star at North Dakota, will be the induction ceremony guest speaker. He was the MVP of the U.S. team which earned a silver medal at the 1972 Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. induction ceremony and dinner are $25 and can be purchased at the DECC ticket office at 350 Harbor Drive, the Duluth News Tribune at 424 West First Street and Grandma’s Marathon at 351 Canal Park Drive. Tickets can be ordered by mail, send to: Kevin Pates, Duluth News Tribune, 424 West First Street, Duluth, Minn. 55802 or email, or by phone at (218) 727-0947 or (218) 723-5306. Tickets will not be available at the door.