JAMESTOWN -- Former NFL quarterback Brooks Bollinger lauded Fargo track star Laura Roesler’s toughness Saturday, June 16, during the 2018 North Dakota Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Jamestown Civic Center.
Bollinger was able to handle the harassment of 275-pound edge rushers after being drafted by the New York Jets in 2003. But running track at Grand Forks Central High School in the mid-1990s was a whole different story.
“You know Laura … I also ran track,” Bollinger said. “I ran the 800 (meters) and I quit because of the pain.
“I sometimes wake up in a cold sweat thinking about that day.”
Bollinger and Roesler, along with Mayville State University baseball coach Scott Berry and Linton boys basketball coach Dan Carr, received the Cliff Cushman Award and were the 14th class enshrined into the state’s sports hall of fame.
Bollinger spent three seasons as a quarterback with the Jets, two with the Minnesota Vikings and one with the Dallas Cowboys. He’s the winningest quarterback in University of Wisconsin history (30-12) and holds the most career rushing yards by a Badger quarterback (1,767).
The current head football coach of Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, Minn., Bollinger led Wisconsin to a 17-9 victory over Stanford in the Rose Bowl in 2000. But the Bismarck-born athlete said the highs never got higher than totaling 59 touchdowns -- 40 through the air -- for Grand Forks Central from 1994-97.
“The thing with seeing Pasadena (Calif.) or anywhere else -- and I didn’t get to see it all but I saw a lot,” Bollinger said. “It didn’t get any better than Cushman Field on a Friday night."
Roesler’s 20 individual Class A track championships won for Fargo South High School in the 100, 200, 400 and 800 meters is a North Dakota record. She’s represented the United States in international competition and is the most decorated track and field athlete in University of Oregon history as a 17-time All-American.
“I’ve traveled a lot of places, but actually coming home is my favorite place to be,” said Roesler, who currently resides and trains professionally in Jacksonville, Fla. “I always say it’s the people not the place, and that’s why I love coming home.”
The five-time NCAA national champion and 2014 Bowerman Award winner has qualified for the Olympic Trials three times and was ranked seventh in the nation in the 800 in 2017 with a personal best 1 minute, 59.04 seconds.
Carr is the winningest boys basketball coach in the state’s history with 728 career victories. Since 1981, the coach has guided Linton to 692 wins, 11 regional championships and three Class B state championships.
Born in Minot, Carr’s coaching career has spanned 41 years. The Linton social studies teacher is also a member of the Central Lakes Community College (Brainerd, Minn.) Athletic Hall of Fame, the Mayville State University Coaches Hall of Fame and the North Dakota High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
“When you live in a small town and you coach for quite a few years there, you coach the parents first,” Carr said. “Then you coach their kids, and we’re almost to grandkids but not quite yet.”
Carr is set to be enshrined into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame on June 26 in Sioux Falls, S.D.
“A lot of people think the biggest change in the game are the kids, and they think it’s so much tougher to coach kids these days,” Carr said. “I would argue that. I think kids still like to work hard.
“My kids are always going to be clean-shaven, they’re always going to be clean-cut and they’re always going to wear a shirt and tie to games. If I didn’t make them do it, they’d do it anyway.”
Berry is the sixth active winningest coach in the NAIA, compiling a record of 1,082-573-1. Since taking over the Mayville State baseball program in 1982, Berry has guided the Comets to 23 regular season conference championships, 21 conference tournament championships and 27 NAIA national playoff appearances.
Mayville State has won three NAIA regional titles, the 2002 Plains Super Regional title and finished fifth at the 2002 NAIA World Series with Berry at the helm.
“I look around here and see so many people that I owe thanks to,” Berry said. “It’s truly an evening of thank-yous and inspirations.”
Now a member of seven separate halls of fame, including the NAIA Hall of Fame for Baseball and the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Mayville State University’s baseball field was named “Scott Berry Field” in honor of the coach in 2010.