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Nachtsheim leaves behind lasting legacy

Former UMD football standout and member of the UMD Athletics Hall of Fame John Nachtsheim has passed away at the age of 81.

Nachtsheim played halfback for the Bulldogs from 1960-1962 after transferring from the University of Colorado in 1960. He secured All-Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honors in all three seasons in maroon and gold.

While at UMD, Nachtsheim made his mark on the gridiron. He was named the MIAC’s co-Most Valuable Player as a senior and was an NAIA All-American second team selection in 1962. He was twice named UMD’s Most Valuable Player, in 1961 and 1962. He held the UMD record for rushing yards with 1,843 during his tenure and finished second among all NCAA small college combatants in scoring, recording 112 points, including 17 touchdowns, in 1961.

That year, he helped lead UMD to an 8-1 record and a perfect 7-0 MIAC mark. Nachtsheim was a key component of the 1960 and 1961 MIAC Championship teams.

After graduating from UMD in 1963 with a B.S. degree in physical education, Nachtsheim launched a lengthy and prosperous Wisconsin high school basketball and football coaching career, spanning more than five decades. He coached in Hurley, Bayfield, Washburn, and Drummond. He also coached at his alma mater, serving as an assistant football coach with UMD in 1985. From 1985-1993, he was employed as the head men’s basketball coach at the College of St. Scholastica.

Originally from Robbinsdale, Minn., Nachtsheim was inducted into the UMD Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004. He was also inducted into the Robbinsdale Hall of Fame in 2016. His son, Mark, followed in his father’s footsteps, playing halfback for the Bulldogs from 1983-86.

“The UMD Bulldog Football family is saddened by the loss of John Nachtsheim,” says Head Coach Curt Wiese. “John was an instrumental part of the success of our program as a player, alum, and supporter. His son carried on his legacy on the field as a player, and the Nachtsheim family has been an important part of the program for nearly fifty years. John will always hold a special place in the hearts of his former teammates and all those he impacted at UMD and beyond, and he will be missed by many.”

The Bratley Funeral Home in Washburn, Wis., is handling funeral arrangements for the family. — UMD Athletics

Published in Bulldogs Sports

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