Back to A History of Minneapolis index page
Both amateur and professional athletics have been a notable part of Minneapolis since its founding. For many years, the Minneapolis City Conference consisting of the city's public high schools was one of the strongest conferences in the state in a variety of sports. Parochial schools such as De La Salle, located on Nicollet Island, also made their marks, particularly in basketball. Two of the greatest athletes to come out of Minneapolis high schools were Tony Jaros of Edison and John Blanchard of Central. Both were three-sport stars and both went on to the major leagues--Blanchard in baseball and Jaros in basketball (Jaros also played minor league baseball).
City high schools often provided the talent for strong sports programs at the University of Minnesota. This was especially true in the 1930s when a number of football players from Marshall High School, on the edge of the University campus, provided the nucleus for Bernie Bierman's national championship football teams. Andy Uram and Babe LeVoir were among the stars from Marshall High who made the short journey to the Minnesota Gophers and helped to launch them to national prominence.
The Minnesota Gophers produced five national championship titles in football in the 1930s and early 1940s under Bierman. They landed another national championship team in 1960 and made their first of two consecutive trips to the Rose Bowl with Murray Warmath as coach. Around this time, the Gophers were in the midst of winning three national baseball championships. Dick Siebert, who coached the team for more than 30 years, led the Gophers to the title in the presidential election years of 1956, 1960, and 1964. The university's hockey team also won three national titles, all of them coming within a brief period in the 1970s with Herb Brooks as coach.