Gene's Blog: I spot a theme... Athletics alums in the news

PHOTO: Lloyd Sandstrom (39) made the eight-player All-State team in 1948-49 as a sophomore.


Five quick stories/updates about five St. Thomas alums:

The College of St. Thomas had a run of dynamic athletes in the 1940s and early 1950s, led by football's famed Cigar Bowl team that played in Tampa, Fla., on January 1, 1949.

From 1940-1955 alone, 22 individuals went on to make the St. Thomas Athletics Hall of Fame.

Tommie Basketball is remembering an elite player from that era who recently passed away.

Lloyd "Slick" Sandstrom, died in Woodbury in June at age 89. After a record setting career at St. Paul's Mechanics Arts High, Sandstrom was a multiple all-state honoree with the Tommies.

The UST Hall of Fame athlete is among a select group of Minnesota small-college hoops players drafted by the National Basketball Association. The New York Knicks picked him in the fourth round in 1951, the No. 36 overall selection.

(Four years earlier, St. Thomas guard Dick Furey was drafted by the NBA's Providence Steamrollers.)

Sandstrom was part of the 1948-49 Tommie team that was inducted into the St. Thomas Hall of Fame in 1977. Sandstrom later was inducted as a athlete in 1986. His '48-49 team, coached by Paul Sokol, shared the conference championship with power Hamline, a team that had three future NBA players and was coached by the legendary Joe Hutton.

The Pipers won 52-49 in the first meeting, but in the rematch before a sellout crowd of 9,200 at the St. Paul Auditorium, the Tommies won 45-43. That was the first loss of the season for Hamline, which came in 16-0. St. Thomas had earlier lost by just eight points to Bradley, which reached the national semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) in New York.

That was the first St. Thomas team to reach the NAIA national tournament in Kansas City, where it went 1-1 with a defeat of Peru (Neb.) State and a one-point loss to Regis (Colo.). Regis later lost to Hamline in the national title game.

That Tommie team went on to play in a 16-team national Catholic event in Denver, where it again went 1-1 and lost in the quarterfinals.

In his four-year era, Sandstrom, who wore jersey No. 39, led the Tommies to a 72-27 overall mark; two trips to nationals in Kansas City; and three top-two MIAC finishes.

While Sandstrom never played a regular-season game for the Knicks, he's the answer of a good trivia question -- he was picked by the Knicks 20 spots ahead of New York's sixth-round selection, Al McGuire. After a four-year NBA career, McGuire became a prominent college coach and guided Marquette to an NCAA crown in 1977. McGuire, who died in 2001, was also nationally known for his color analyst work on NBC college telecasts.

Sandstrom was drafted into military service. He later worked at the Hamm's Brewery before starting a long teacher and coaching career at St. Paul Johnson High. His wife Arlene died in 2006. He's survived by two sons, a daughter and two of his seven siblings.

His obituary said simply that Sandstrom was: "A man of integrity, family, and faith. He had patience and a dry, Scandinavian sense of humor. He loved basketball, kids, his wonderful wife and toothpicks. He was neatly groomed, well informed and very generous, an excellent dancer and a great story teller."


Alum Writer

Doug Hennes compiled a profile of St. Thomas alum Tommy Murray (Class of '78) for the St. Thomas Newsroom.

Murray recently released his first novel "Fathers, Sons and the Holy Ghosts of Baseball" set in a fictional small town in Iowa in the 1970s.

Click here to read the story


Tessie Fund

In just 24 days, nearly $268,000 has been raised toward a $500,000 goal on a GoFundMe site for St. Thomas Athletic Hall of Famer Tessie Thompson.

The 2003 UST graduate recently lost her husband John Sylvester after a long batte with ALS and herself received a cancer diagnosis. Click here to read her story


Jake Mauer Update

Life is good for former St. Thomas All-America infielder Jake Mauer in his debut year as manager of the Class AA Chattanooga Lookouts.

Mauer's current division-leading team won 22 of 24 games in one recent stretch and overall on the year has built a 57-33 record (.633 win percentage). He's working with some of the Twins' top prospects, including SS Nick Gordon and RHP Felix Jorge.

Just two other minor-league squads among 120 Class A, AA or AAA teams have as many victories this summer as the Lookouts: the Trenton Thunder (60-28) and the Western Michigan Whitecaps (59-27).

Now in his 16th year with the Twns organization as a minor-league player and coach/manager, Mauer was the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Kernals' manager the last four seasons. His teams there were a combined 77 games over .500.

Mauer was an All-America infielder with the Tommies and helped lead UST to the Division III baseball national title in May 2001. Two weeks later, his younger brother Joe was chosen No. 1 overall out of Cretin-Derham Hall in the major-league draft.

Jake held the MIAC career hits record (243 in 187 games) for 15 years until it was broken in 2016 by Carleton's Hayden Tsutsui (252 hits).




Former St. Thomas women's basketball All-America guard Missy Pederson (Class of 2001, pictured above right) is in her 10th year as an LPGA tour caddie. For the last five she's worked for top-30 money winner Brittany Lincicome. The duo is in New Jersey this weekend for the U.S. Women's Open.

Pederson received air time in the recent PGA major, as Lincicome placed 14th. Lincicome has made nearly $400,000 in tour winnings so far in 2017 and nearly $8 million in 13 years on tour. She's ranked in top 25 (the sixth American player) on the tour season points list.

Click here to see a 2016 video interview and story on Pederson that appeared on ESPNW



Gene's Blog is a sports column penned by UST sports information director Gene McGivern. Gene is starting his 24th season at St. Thomas and 30th overall in the MIAC. He blogs periodically on various topics regarding the Tommies, the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) and Division III sports.

If you have comments or questions, e-mail Gene at [email protected]