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.

John Patzwald


Inducted: 1981

John B. Patzwald '56 lettered four years in basketball. The 5'9" guard was named All-Conference in '54, '55, and '56. He was also named to the 2nd team NAIA All-America in 1954 and the NAIA All-America first team in 1955, as well as being named to numerous All-Tournament teams. The '53 team finished second in the conference and followed up that performance with conference championships in '54, '55, and '56. The latter three teams were Region 13 representatives in the NAIA Kansas City tournaments where they went to the quarterfinals in '55 and '56. John was known for his all-around play because he was an outstanding dribbler with great defensive ability while also maintaining a scoring average of 12.8 per game. He was recipient of the Sponberg basketball award in '56; John was also a regular baseball outfielder on the '53 and '54 teams.
Following graduation he taught for one year in Monticello before spending the next two years with the U.S. Army at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio. In 1959 he was selected as the Most Valuable Player of the 4th Army Team. He then taught in Cleveland, Faribault, and Wells before becoming asst. principal at Mason City High School in 1964. He served as principal at Mason City High from 1967-76. After that, he was associate superintendent of the prestigious New Trier Township Schools in Winnetka/Northfield, Ill.

In 1969 he was selected by the State of Iowa Jaycees for its annual Outstanding Young Educator Award. John and his wife, Rea, had two sons, John and David.