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Jim Gremmels



The Sioux Falls native and 1952 Augustana graduate has the distinction of being the first basketball player to win back-to-back Most Valuable Player awards in the North Central Conference, doing so in 1951 and '52. The awards are especially impressive considering he earned them while playing on teams that finished last and next to last in the standings. Seven others, including Phil Jackson, have followed Gremmels as two-time NCC MVPs.

After getting out of the service in 1947, Gremmels played one year at the University of Iowa where he was a starter on the freshman team. Once he settled in at Augustana with coach Ole Odney, he established himself as a scoring threat and as an outstanding defensive player. The 6-foot-4 center/forward averaged 21.7 points as a senior, 10th in the nation among small colleges.

Though the Vikings were 4-8 in the NCC in 1952, they were a very competitive team, losing to league champ North Dakota State once by a point and the other time in overtime. Gremmels scored 34 points against Morningside in his final game to tie the NCC record for points in a season (271 points, 22.6 a game). He set the Vikings' career scoring record of 931 points despite playing only 2 1/2 seasons.

Gremmels also competed in track at Augustana, placing in the high jump at the 1951 Howard Wood Dakota Relays. He was a fine tennis player as well, once winning the 55 singles and doubles titles at the South Dakota Open.

At Washington High, where he was a 1945 graduate, Gremmels lettered in football, basketball and track, all under coach Howard Wood.

He got his start as a basketball coach during his undergraduate years, guiding the Arnie Bauer Hi-Y team to two Tri-State titles. He coached Glenwood, Minn., to the state tournament in 1956.

After six years of high school coaching he became the first basketball coach at Minnesota-Morris, where he initiated a strong program, coaching the team for four years (1960-64), before he retired into academe for 40 years teaching American Literature. Today (2007), in semi-retirement, he is a part-time basketball assistant at Morris, where he works with the post players and struggles to teach them the soft hook shot and the up-and-under move that he did so well.

He was a charter member of the Augustana athletic hall of fame and a member of the Minn.-Morris athletic hall of fame as well.












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