J. Gary Gustafson ’57 Inducted 1999
Football and Track & Field
Coined "Mr.Mercury" by the school newspaper, J. Gary Gustafson was a fleet footed two-sport standout in football and track and field in the mid-'50s. Gustafson burst onto the Gustavus athletic scene in the fall of 1952 earning all-conference honors as a defensive back on the Golden Gustie football team that compiled a record of 6-0 and won the MIAC title. Military service took Gustafson away from St. Peter in 1953 and 1954, but he returned to Gustavus in the fall of 1955. In his final three years of football, Gustafson rotated between running back and wide receiver on offense and cornerback on defense. In track and field, Gustafson was a talented sprinter who set school records in the 100 and 220 yard dash that stood for over 20 years. During the 1956 season he went undefeated in the both the 100 and 220, finishing the year by winning the conference title in both events. Gustafson set the school record in the 100 yard dash in 1956 when he took top honors at the Viking Relays in Rock Island, Illinois, with a time of 9.7 seconds.
After graduating with a major in physical education and health, Gustafson went on to teach physical education and health at North St. Paul High School for 34 years. While at North St. Paul, Gustafson coached football and track and field. He was named the MSHSFCA Football Coach of the Year in 1970 and the MSHSTCA Region Track and Field Coach of the Year in 1979. In 1990, Gustafson was inducted into the Minnesota State High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame. Gary, who is now retired, lives in White Bear Lake with his wife, Ruby. They have eight children, Jennifer, Dawn, James, Paul, Nancy, Ann, Peter and Beth.