U.P. Sports Hall of Fame announces 2019 class

Reuters/Mike Cassese Former Gremlins defenseman Jeff Finger, seen in 2008, played in the NHL with the Avalanche and Maple Leafs. Finger is one of eight members of the 2019 U.P. Sports Hall of Fame class.

HARRIS — There is a distinct family connection to the 48th annual Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame induction class.

Chris Hofer of Kingsford will join his father Ken in the Hall of Fame and Dave Duncan will join his wife Sonja when the 2019 induction banquet is held May 11 at Island Resort and Casino.

They are among 10 people selected by the UPSHF’s executive council at its’ recent meeting at Island Resort. Four of the inductees are deceased, Marmaduke “Duke” Christie of Escanaba, Joseph Linder of Hancock, Fred Lonsdorf of Houghton and Bob Olson of Houghton.

Also selected were Jerry Bugni of L’Anse, Fran DesArmo of Munising, Jeff Finger of Houghton and Todd Lindeman of Channing.

Ken Hofer, the former Menominee High School football coach, joined the Hall of Fame in 1987 and Sonja Duncan, a former girls basketball player and coach, was inducted in 2008.

Jerry Bugni, L’Anse – A 33-year career as head football coach at L’Anse High School was part of a 46-year coaching career that included stints in basketball and track and field. He was Copper Country Conference football coach of the year in 1986, 1988 and 1997, Class C state coach of the year in 1988, three-time regional coach of the year and joined the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1995. He was also an outstanding multi-sport athlete at Wakefield High School. He also led construction of a new football field and athletic complex at L’Anse.

Marmaduke “Duke” Christie, Escanaba – One spectacular performance resulted in a state high school football record for Duke Christie. He scored a stunning 10 touchdowns and 66 points as Escanaba defeated Ishpeming 102-0 in 1920. He was named MVP at a high school basketball tournament in 1921 after playing four games in one day. He played halfback for Buena Vista, Iowa, College on the undefeated Iowa Conference champions, then was named captain as a first-year basketball player on a team which won the league title. He also ran in the Drake Relays, then became a high school track coach and also officiated the Drake Relays.

Fran DesArmo, Munising – Directed his Munising High School track and cross country teams to 12 Upper Peninsula championships in 43 years of coaching. Twice he was named U.P. coach of the year. A three-sport letterman at Munising, he began coaching at Munising in 1974. He proposed the Superior Dome invitational track meet that began in 1993 and also started the Lions Invitational boys track meet in 1978 and the first frosh-soph invitational track meet in 1982. He was also at the forefront of bringing automatic timing to U.P. track meets.

Dave Duncan, Cedarville – Coach of the 2007 Class D boys basketball state champions, Dave Duncan compiled a 429-166 career record and was fourth in victories in U.P. boys’ coaching annals. The Trojans, who had a 51-game winning streak as part of their state title run, won 17 conference and district titles, 11 regional crowns and twice reached the state finals. He was also the school’s athletic director for 15 years and created a strong environment of athletics and academics. His wife, Sonja, is a UPSHF inductee.

Jeff Finger, Houghton – A member of three youth championship hockey teams, Jeff Finger reached the National Hockey League with the Colorado Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs. He had 17 goals and 40 assists in 199 NHL games as a gritty, tenacious defenseman. He was a two-time all-star for the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers and led the team to the Clark Cup championship in 1999-2000. He also played three years at St. Cloud State in Minnesota.

Chris Hofer, Menominee/Kingsford – A three-sport athlete at Menominee High School, he was then a three-year starter at defensive back for Northern Michigan University, earning MVP honors in 1984. He was drafted by the USFL’s Birmingham Stallions in 1986 but the league folded before the season began. He then went into coaching football and track at Kingsford High School, compiling a 249-89 record in football over 31 years, through 2017, highlighted by winning the Class B state championship in 1993. He played football at Menominee for his dad, Ken, who is a UPSHF inductee.

Joseph Linder, Hancock – A member of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, Joe Linder was a standout skater for legendary hockey icon Doc Gibson as a high school senior in 1904 on the Portage Lake Michigan team. He had a brief stint in the fledgling professional hockey ranks before returning to amateur hockey from 1905-11 in the Copper Country and then was a coach, manager and sponsor in the Superior-Duluth area until he died in 1948. He was captain of each of his Hancock High School hockey, football and baseball teams.

Todd Lindeman, Channing – After earning state basketball Dream Team honors as a North Dickinson High School standout in 1991, Todd Lindeman played four seasons for coach Bob Knight at Indiana University. He scored 1,687 points at North Dickinson, then played 102 games at Indiana. He then played professionally for Conneticut Pride in the Continental Basketball League for four seasons, helping the team win the title in 1999. He also played in the CBA for New Mexico and Cincinnati, played four seasons in Italy, Japan, Spain and Turkey and had tryouts with four NBA teams from 1996-2002.

Fred Lonsdorf, Houghton – Regarded as the “driving force behind all that went on at Mont Ripley,” Fred Lonsdorf breathed life into skiing at Michigan Tech University and the area. He was dedicated to alpine skiing but also laid the groundwork for men’s and women’s cross country skiing at MTU. He was the varsity ski coach, manager and physical education instructor at Mont Ripley, teaching more than 4,000 students from 1947-1979. He also coached three national team and Olympic skiers. He is a member of MTU’s Sports Hall of Fame and served in the Army’s legendary 10th Mountain Division in WW II.

Bob Olson, Houghton – The radio voice of the Michigan Tech University hockey team for 35 years on WMPL radio, Bob Olson and his wife Edda also operated Hockey Central, a resource for college hockey. He also started the national college hockey poll at WMPL (1969-2000). He is a member of MTU’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Hockey Hall of Fame. He founded the Canal Run in 1975 and was passionate about running, eight times running the Boston Marathon and was a founding member of the Upper Peninsula Road Runners Club. He also ran around Lake Superior with UPSHF inductee Bob Figuli.


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