Bernard Atkinson ’38 Inducted 1984

Baseball and Basketball

Bernard   Atkinson

Bernard "Spook" Atkinson made his mark in basketball and baseball before graduating from Gustavus in 1939. A native of New York Mills, Minn., he earned five letters each in basketball and baseball with his high school teams. He placed for the Original Flying Finns independent basketball team for a season before attending Bemidji State Teachers College in 1933-34. There he earned a starting spot on the basketball team as a freshman. A season of semi-pro basketball followed, before his enrollment at Gustavus in 1936. At Gustavus, Spook earned three letters each in basketball and baseball. A guard on the basketball team under George Myrum in 1936-37, he was also part of the MIAC championship team in 1938 that participated in the International Basketball Tournament in Mexico City, Mexico. He served as student coach of the team in 1938-39 following Myrum's untimely death while also assuming coaching duties for the baseball team. On the diamond, he helped the Gusties to three MIAC championships, earning all-state honors at third base in 1938 and 1939 and leading the team in batting for four years. In 1939 Spook was awarded the Schleuder Medal for leadership, scholarship, and athletic ability. Atkinson went on to earn a master's degree in physical education at Springfield College in Massachusetts in 1940; he also coached basketball and baseball there. While out east he was offered a baseball contract by the Washington Senators organization, but he declined in order to pursue more graduate work at Rhode Island College. A career in teaching was altered by naval service in World War II. Atkinson returned to become assistant chief for special services at the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Hospital. In 1953, he moved to the Boston VA Medical Center as public relations director until his retirement in 1973.