MIAC names its ‘Century of Champions’

Photos courtesy of MIAC Al Frost

Hamline and St. Thomas athletes are among them

The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC), throughout the 2019-20 academic and athletic year, celebrated its 100th anniversary. Among its scheduled events was honoring 100 student-athletes, coaches, administrators and other contributors from member schools for its “The Century of Champions” series on the MIAC website. 

Al Frost and Leonard Jones were among eight Blacks named to this centennial list. The others included Horace Gant, Devean George, Lashay Holt, Judge Michael J. Davis, Isaac Rosefelt and Kofi Annan, who later became the United Nations’ first Black secretary-general.

Frost (1963-67) was a three-time All-MIAC at Hamline and lettered in both basketball and football. He played on the school’s 1966 league football champion team and set Hamline single-season records for points (1966-67). He was the MIAC scoring leader and 15th in the nation, averaging just around 30 points a game. 

Frost, a retired Minneapolis teacher, coach and administrator, recalled, “I was very happy” upon learning he’d been named on the list. He previously was inducted into the Hamline Hall of Fame (1978) and received the Hutton Arena Ring of Honor in 2018.

“This is amazing,” Frost said. “There have been many tremendous athletes in the MIAC, and to be chosen as one of them, I think it is a tremendous honor.”

While at St. Thomas, Leonard Jones (1991-94) joined Jesse Owens when he won three individual amateur titles at the 1994 NCAA indoor track and field championship. The legendary Owens won four at the 1936 Olympics.

The Patrick Henry graduate was a 23-time conference champion, 19-time All American, and nine-time NCAA champion, including five long jump titles and two each in the high jump and triple jump.

His seven career NCAA indoor track titles is still a Division III record. Jones was inducted into the Division III Track and Field Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012, 10 years after St. Thomas inducted him into their Hall of Fame. His high school also inducted him in their Hall that same year. 

Photos courtesy of MIAC Leonard Jones

Jones also lettered in football and finished with nine career touchdowns and a 25-yard-per-catch average. On his latest honor, he said, “I think this one definitely is in the top three of the accolades.

“First of all, it is a blessing to be named as one of the 100 because there’s been thousands and thousands of athletes that came out of that era. For me to be chosen blows my mind thinking about it,” admitted Jones, a personal learning coach and dean of students at Robbinsdale Cooper High School.

The MIAC will wrap up its Centennial Celebration in May.

Lockdown casualties

Before everything was put on hold due to the virus crisis, the MIAC strength and conditioning coaches met in March and looked at nutritional issues for athletes. However, a scheduled first-ever “Work in Sports Seminar” for over 100 athletes interested in athletics careers in March was cancelled, as was an April mental health seminar.

A mental health webinar for league coaches was held, however.

Finally…

Minnesota’s 2020 volleyball recruiting class was named last week the nation’s best by VolleyballMag.com. This was the program’s first such honor since 2009 and the first under Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon.

The first-year class includes Taylor Landfair, the only Black in the four-member group.

About Charles Hallman

Charles Hallman is a contributing writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He can be reached at challman@spokesman-recorder.com

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