Mark Kruger ’86 Inducted 2012
A role model of the finest caliber and a true ambassador of sportsmanship, Mark Kruger was a consistent force in the Gustavus men's tennis lineup during the mid-1980s. Blessed with a powerful serve and frame that made him a force at the net, Kruger used his talents to become a three-time All-American in doubles. Teaming up with fellow freshman Duke Paluch in 1983, the unseeded rookie duo earned First Team All-America honors after making a run all the way to the semifinals of the NAIA doubles draw. Kruger and Paluch would fall to the eventual national champions in a thrilling three-set battle. Mark teamed up with Paluch again in 1984, and the duo advanced to quarterfinals of the NAIA tournament earning All-America accolades for a second straight year. Known as the "Gentle Giant" by Coach Steve Wilkinson, Kruger was a two-time MIAC champion in singles, winning the title at the No. 5 slot his freshman and junior years. In doubles, he won MIAC titles at No. 1 in 1984, 1985, and 1986. An Arthur Ashe Award winner in 1986, Kruger capped his career with a run to the quarterfinals of the NCAA doubles draw, earning All-America status for the third time in his career. During his tenure at Gustavus, the men's tennis team went 74-37 overall and 33-1 in the MIAC, winning three conference championships and qualifying for the NCAA tournament all four seasons.
After graduating cum laude in 1986 with a financial economics degree, Kruger worked as a tennis professional at the Tennis Corporation of America in New York and Minneapolis from 1986 to 1987. From 1987 to 1993, he served as a tennis pro at the Flagship Athletic Club in Minneapolis. While working at the Flagship Athletic Club, Kruger attended the University of Minnesota Law School earning his juris doctor degree in 1993. Mark then worked as a lawyer at Gray Plant Mooty in Minneapolis from 1993 to 1997. Since 1997, he has been the senior labor and employment law attorney at Cargill Inc. Mark resides in Minnetonka with his wife, Kary, and their children, Mary, James, Annie, and Emily.