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.

Dave Najarian (Inducted: 2003)


A dominating middle linebacker for the Golden Gustie football program in the early '80s, Dave Najarian completed his career as the program's all-time leading tackler with 258 and all-time sack leader with 18. He currently ranks fifth in tackles and third in sacks. Najarian's size (6--4, 230) and speed allowed him to be as effective at rushing the passer as he was at dropping back into pass coverage. He was also known for his ability to deliver crushing tackles on unsuspecting running backs. Dave teamed with his brother Jon to form one of the most fearsome linebacking tandems in Golden Gustie history in 1979 and 1980. Najarian earned first-team all-conference honors in 1981 and 1982 and was named Second Team NAIA All-America in 1981. Najarian was also honored for his academic accomplishments as he was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America team in both 1980 and 1981 and became the first Gustavus football player to receive an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in 1981.

A cum laude graduate with a major in biology/pre-medicine, Najarian worked in surgical research for two years at the University of Minnesota before attending medical school for two years. In 1987, Najarian opened a Popeye's Famous Fried Chicken and Biscuits restaurant in Minneapolis, which he has successfully operated for the past 16 years. Paul and his wife, Kristine, live in Stillwater where they home-school their five children, Jessica (16), Daved (12), Domonique (10), Jonathan (7), and Michael (4).