Athletic Hall of Fame

The Gustavus Adolphus College Hall of Fame was established in 1978 at which time 19 "Charter Members" were inducted either as coaches or as athletes. As of the fall of 2022, 348 individuals (321 athletes, 16 coaches and 11 benefactors) have been elected to the Hall of Fame.

The former Hall of Fame room on the second floor of the Lund Center was originally partially endowed by the families of both Dwight Holcombe's (the only father/son combination holding membership in the Hall). The hardwood plaque upon which the individual plates are permanently displayed, now in the Hall of Champions, was donated by the family of former football coach and Hall of Fame member Jocko Nelson, who passed away in 1978.

Michael Nielsen

Basketball and Track & Field

Inducted: 1995

An outstanding all-around athlete who competed in basketball and track and field at Gustavus, Mike Nielsen left his mark in track and field where he was a three-time conference champion in the hurdles. Nielsen's three titles included the 330 yard intermediate hurdles in 1966, the 120 yard high hurdles in 1967 (setting new school and conference records), and the 440 yard intermediate hurdles in 1968. He also added a conference title as a member of the mile relay team in 1967 and finished fourth in the 440 yard intermediate hurdles at the NAIA National Championships in 1967. His time of 51.78 in the 440 yard intermediate hurdles in 1967 still stands as the school and MIAC record. In basketball, Nielsen was a three-year letterwinner and starting guard on the 1968 MIAC Championship squad which advanced to the NAIA District Finals.
After graduating with a degree in biology in 1969, Nielsen immediately entered dental school at the University of Minnesota where he received his D.D.S. in 1973. While in dental school, Mike participated in the annual track and field day and broke the intramural 120 yard low hurdle record with a time of 13.0 seconds. This effort also established a national record that stood for many years. Mike and his wife, Darlene (Gustavson '69), reside in Grand Rapids, where he has a dental practice. They have three children, Jeff, Kirk, and Christy.