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 2019, 327 individuals (305 athletes, 15 coaches and 10 benefactors) have been elected to the Hall of Fame.

The beautiful 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 was donated by the family of former football coach and Hall of Fame member Jocko Nelson, who passed away in 1978.

John Roning


Inducted: 1982

Starting end on the U. of M. '34 national championship football team, John Roning was director of athletics, football, basketball & track coach, director of phy. ed. for men (& established the prof. teaching program) and Dean of Men at Gustavus Adolphus from 1939-42. His 1940 football team won the conference and his overall record was 17 wins, 5 losses and 1 tie. His overall record in basketball was 47 wins and 20 losses while his 1942 team defeated 4 champions: Aberdeen Teachers of So. Dak. of the So. Dak., Ia., & Neb. Conf.; Bemidji of the Minn. Teachers' College Conf.; Stout Institute of the Wisc., Teacher's Conf.; and No. Dak. State of the No. Central Conf. Because Gustavus was not in the conference that year, the team could not be recognized nationally.
After leaving Gustavus, he was end coach at U. of M. before joining the Navy's V-5 program (the Navy Flight Preparatory School) in Jan. 1943. He was Battalion Officer and asst. coach at Chapel Hill until his discharge in '46. He then returned to the Univ. of Minn. as asst. coach under Bernie Bierman until after the '50 season. In '51 he became head football coach and director of athletics at Utah State. He was elected Coach of the Year of the Skyline Conf. in '51 & '54 and coach of the '54 Skyline All-Star team which beat the Border Conf. All-Stars in the Salad Bowl. In '55 he became head football coach at Univ. of Denver and was elected Coach of the Year in '56 and Comeback Coach of the Year in '58. In '56 he was elected to the Board of Trustees of the American Football Coaches Assn., and in '57 was elected to the College Football Rules Com. from District 7 of the NCAA.
When the U. of Denver gave up football in '60, he became director of athletics at U. of So. Dak., a position he held until '71. He was elected to the No. Central Conf. Hall of Fame in '71 and that year became Commissioner of the Big Sky Conf. with headquarters in Boise, Idaho. He retired in '77.
John and his wife, Agnes, have a daughter Ann and son Robert (deceased) and live in Boise.