HAROLD HIGGINS AS HEAD COACH:
Game 627 | January 21, 2004 | Torii Hunter, Rod Carew
Hunter led the team in RBIs during the 2004 season and won his fourth consecutive Gold Glove award as the league's best-fielding center fielder. Carew, the team's Hall of Fame second baseman, once again worked with the younger players in spring training on hitting and base-running skills.
Game 628 | February 5, 2004 | Phil Housley, Reed Larson, Frank Supovitz
Minnesota honored many of its hockey legends in conjunction with the 2004 NHL All-Star Game in St. Paul. Supovitz was the NHL executive in charge of staging the game. Housley, a high school star at South St. Paul, retired from the NHL in 2003 as the leading American-born scorer in league history. He was later surpassed by former North Star Mike Modano. Larson, a high school star at Minneapolis Roosevelt, played three years for Herb Brooks as a Gopher and went on to a 13-year career in the NHL, including a stint with the Minnesota North Stars.
Game 629 | March 17, 2004 | Pam Borton, Lindsay Whalen
Just four days before beginning play in the NCAA Final Four; Coach Borton and guard Whalen talked about the path to the Final Four in New Orleans. Whalen scored 31 in a first-round victory over UCLA. She added 15 points, nine assists and seven rebounds as the Gophers beat Kansas State 80-61. Center Janel McCarville scored 25 points with 15 rebounds as Boston College fell 76-63. Whalen had 27 points to lead the Gophers past favored Duke 82-75. Minnesota lost to champion Connecticut 67-58 in New Orleans.
Game 630 | April 6, 2004 | Mark Madsen, Fred Hoiberg
Signed as free agents in the off season, both Madsen and Hoiberg quickly established themselves as solid members of both the Minnesota Timberwolves and the community. Madsen, who played three seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, received an economics degree from Stanford University. He gave the Timberwolves a strong inside presence. Hoiberg, one of the top three-point shooters in the NBA, graduated from Iowa State. He had open heart surgery in 2005 that forced him to retire as an active player, but he became the team's assistant general manager in 2007.
Game 631 | April 22, 2004 | Ron Gardenhire, Terry Ryan
The Twins won their third straight divisional title in 2004, finishing with a record of 92-70. Catcher Joe Mauer hit .308, Corey Koskie hit 25 home runs, and Johan Santana finished 20-6 while registering 265 strikeouts. It was Gardenhire's third year as manager.
Game 632 | May 13, 2004 | Tony Oliva, Bert Blyleven, Jack Morris
This meeting focused on three former Twins who, despite outstanding major league statistics, had not been elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Oliva won batting titles in his first two seasons, finished with a career batting average of .304 and was the 1964 American League Player of the Year. Blyleven is fifth on the major league all-time strikeout list with 3,701. He won 287 major league games and threw 60 shutouts. Morris, the dominant American League pitcher in the 1980s with Detroit, won 254 games and was the winning pitcher for the Twins in the seventh game of the 1991 World Series.
Game 633 | June 2, 2004 | Jerry Bell, Mike Kelly, Joel Maturi
Representatives from the Twins, Vikings and Gophers talked about their proposed new facilities. The Gophers received legislative approval in 2006 and will begin play in TCF Bank Stadium in 2009. The Twins, after 11 years of work by President Bell, reached a deal with Hennepin County and the Minnesota Legislature in that same 2006 session and will open Target Field in 2010. Kelly, President of the Vikings at the time, talked of the need to find a solution before the end of the Vikings' Metrodome lease in 2011. As of 2008 no solution had been found.
Game 634 | June 24, 2004 | Carl Eller
The former Gopher and Viking defensive end was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004. As a college sophomore, Eller helped lead Minnesota to its Rose Bowl victory over UCLA, and he was runner-up for the Outland Award in his 1963 senior season. Taken by the Vikings in the first round of the draft, Eller played 15 seasons with the Vikings and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1971.
Game 635 | August 2, 2004 | Bobby Knight
In town to golf and speak at a Federated Insurance event, Coach Knight accepted Sid Hartman's invitation to speak to Dunkers. He had just finished the third of what was to be seven seasons as the basketball coach at Texas Tech. He said he was working with ESPN to produce a series called "Knight School," about a handful of Texas Tech students competing for a non-scholarship spot on the basketball team.
Game 636 | August 4, 2004 | Jim Colbert
An eight-time PGA winner who won 20 times on golfs senior tour, Colbert was in Minnesota to play in the 3M Championship in Blaine. A representative of Callaway Golf, Colbert talked about the latest advances in golf club and ball technology and the fact that PGA Tour players now hit their drives so far that most of the older, land-locked country clubs can't provide enough yardage to challenge today's top players.
Game 637 | August 24, 2004 | Glen Mason
The football Gophers, in Coach Mason's eighth year, won their first five games, finished 7-5 and defeated a favored Alabama team 20-16 in the Music City Bowl. The Gophers featured one of the most explosive rushing offenses in the nation and was the only college team with two backs each rushing for more than 1,000 yards. Sophomore Laurence Maroney led the team with 1,368 yards, and senior Marion Barber III had 1,269.
Game 638 | September 2, 2004 | Ron Wilson
A veteran National Hockey coach known for his use of technology development of young players, Wilson was the coach of the USA Hockey Team in the 2004 World Games. He coached the Team USA in the 1998 Olympics. Wilson played his final three years in pro hockey as a defenseman for the Minnesota North Stars. After head coaching jobs with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Washington Capitals and San Jose Sharks, he became coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2008.
Game 639 | September 7, 2004 | Mike Tice
The Vikings finished the regular season 8-8, but won a playoff game over Green Bay at Lambeau Field before losing at Philadelphia. Randy Moss caught 13 touchdown passes from Duante Culpepper while Onterrio Smith led the team in rushing. Second-year defensive tackle Kevin Williams had 12 sacks, but a weak draft class produced little help for future years.
Game 640 | September 9, 2004 | Glen Taylor, Kevin McHale, Flip Saunders
Led by the explosive combination of Kevin Garnett, Latrell Sprewell, Sam Cassell and Wally Szczerbiak, the 2003-'04 Minnesota Timberwolves, under Coach Flip Saunders, won two rounds of the playoffs before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2004 Western Conference finals. Things started poorly for the 2004-'05 team, and Saunders was fired in February, with McHale taking over as interim coach. Sid Hartman was the physician.
Game 641 | September 30, 2004 | Robert Smith
The only high school football player to ever win Ohio's "Mr. Football" award twice, Smith rushed for 6,818 yards and 32 touchdowns in his eight-year pro career with the Vikings. Known for his many interests beyond football, Smith retired after the 2000 season as one of the best running backs in the National Football League. He appeared at Dunkers to celebrate the release of his book, The Rest of the Iceberg:Â· An Insider's View of the World of Sports and Celebrity.
Game 642 | October 6, 2004 | Don Lucia
With all three of its top scorers gone from the year before Lucia's hockey Gophers improved with age. Finishing tied for third in the WCHA, they pulled out overtime victories over Maine and Cornell before losing to North Dakota in the Frozen Four at Columbus, Ohio. Sophomore Kellen Briggs was strong in goal, and Tyler Hirsch, Danny Irmen, Ryan Potolny and Gino Guyer led the team in scoring.
Game 643 | November 4, 2004 | Ted Robinson
A six-year radio and television voice of the Minnesota Twins, Robinson has handled a variety of network assignments over the past two decades. He has been the main voice of both the U.S. Open and French Open tennis telecasts since 1989. His voice calling a Twins game can clearly be heard in the movie A Few Good Men as the character played by Tom Cruise watches the game.
Game 644 | November 17, 2004 | Dan Monson
In his sixth season with Minnesota, Monson fielded his best team, finishing 21-11 and tying for fourth in the Big Ten. The team lost to Iowa State in the opening round of CAA post-season play. Junior college transfer Vincent Grier led the team in scoring with help from Dan Coleman and Jeff Hagen.
Game 645 | December 1, 2004 | Laura Halldorson
With all but four players returning from the 2003-'04 National Championship team, expectations were high for Coach Halldorson's hockey Gophers. The team did not disappoint its fans, finishing the season with a 36-2-2 record and a second consecutive national title. Natalie Darwitz, Krissy Wendell and Lyndsay Wall were named first team All Americans, and goalie Judy Horak made the second team. Wendell also won the 2005 Patty Kazmaier Award as the best player in women's college hockey.