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Minnesota Sports Memories: Tom Moe

Posted on by Minneapolis Institute of Arts

St. Paul Pioneer Press photographer Dennis “Buzz” Magnuson snapped this picture of energized Gopher fans in 1960, the last year the team won the national championship.

Dennis “Buzz” Magnuson, American. Minnesota Fans after Third Touchdown, 1960. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the University of Minnesota Archives.

“Having played both football and baseball at the University of Minnesota during the late 1950s (three letters in each sport, team MVP in football, National Champions in baseball), I have many fond memories involving my participation in Gopher athletics, but one of my special Gopher memories involved a football game in which I had no involvement.

It was the summer of 1949, I was 11 years old and, with my parents and brother, had just moved from St. Louis to Minneapolis. We were living with my mother’s parents on 32nd Street and Oakland Avenue for a few weeks as our new home in Edina was being finished. On a Saturday morning in late August or early September, a neighbor boy about my age knocked on the door, introduced himself, and asked my brother and me if we would like to go to his house to listen to the Gopher football game on the radio (nobody that I knew had TV at that time). The Gophers were playing the Washington Huskies with Hugh McElhenny, their All-American halfback. Being new to Minnesota, my brother and I knew virtually nothing about the Gophers. We didn’t know any of the players’ names, and their colors could just as well have been red and white.

However, what I vividly remember was that I was absolutely captivated by the announcer’s excitement, the crowd noise, the constant playing of the Rouser by the marching band, and the mental picture of 65,000 fans screaming encouragement for the Gophers. I remember thinking at the time that some day I wanted to play for the Gophers. I did.”

Tom Moe, former U of M football player and interim athletic director, and former managing partner at Dorsey & Whitney LLP

What’s your favorite Minnesota sports memory? Share it in the comments below.

Be sure to catch “The Sports Show” and “The Sports Show: Minnesota” at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, through May 13 and September 2, respectively.

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