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.

Tom Thorkelson

Coach

Inducted: 2021

Regarded as one of the best throws coaches in college track & field history, Tom Thorkelson has developed 54 All-Americans and five national champions in throwing events in his 37 years at Gustavus.

Beginning his Gustavus coaching career in 1984, Thokelson mentored the program’s first All-American in C.J. Foster to a sixth-place finish in the shot put at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Thorkelson developed 22 more All-Americans before being named head coach of the Gustie men’s and women’s track & field programs in 1999. Under the direction of Thorkelson, the Gustavus track & field programs went on to achieve success they had never seen before. Men’s indoor teams made four appearances at the NCAA Championships in Thorkelson’s 11 years as the head coach, highlighted by a fourth-place finish in 2003. Women’s indoor teams made six appearances at the national meet. During the outdoor season in Thorkelson’s tenure as head coach, the Gustie men made seven appearances at the NCAA Championships, while the women made nine appearances. In Thorkelson’s final season at the helm, the women took sixth place at the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Having a knack for turning prospects into top performers, Thorkelson coached the program’s first national champion in 1999 as Aaron Smith won the hammer throw at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. In 2004, Thorkelson coached the women’s first national champion as Kristin Petersen won the discus at the NCAA meet. Thorkelson’s most decorated athlete, Lisa Brown, came to the program in 2006 and won the national championship in the javelin in 2006, 2008, and 2009.

Thorkelson stepped down as the head coach in 2009 and returned to his throws coach position, a position he still holds today as the second-longest tenured coach in Gustavus Athletics history.

After graduating from Gustavus in 1970 with a major in business administration, Thorkelson worked various sales jobs before becoming the throws coach at Le Sueur High School in 1977 for five years. He was the throws coach at Mankato State University from 1982-84 before coming to Gustavus. Tom lives in Saint Peter with his wife Nancy ’87. He has three children, Berit, B.J., and Erik, and four grandchildren.