Dean Blais headlines UND's Hall of Fame class
When Ralph Engelstad Arena was built in the early 2000s, then-coach Dean Blais had a sign constructed outside the locker room door.
It said: "Speed kills."
It was a philosophy that led UND to NCAA national championships in 1997 and 2000, led the program to five MacNaughton Cups in eight years and filled the seats with fans flocking to watch UND pile up the goals and the wins.
The revered coach, who later went on to stints with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Fargo Force and Omaha Mavericks, retired last spring.
His next stop is the UND Athletics Hall of Fame.
Blais will be inducted into the Hall—along with his 1999-00 national championship team, former running back Phillip Moore, former golfer Dawn (Dakken) Jacobson and former runner Becky (Leppard) Erickson—on Sept. 21.
UND graduate Greg LaDouceur, who led Grand Forks Red River tennis teams to 21 state championships, is the Thomas Clifford Award winner for his success at the high school level.
Dave and Diane Bender, longtime UND supporters, are the Honorary Letterwinners.
Blais, who is known for his colorful personality and entertaining teams, helped shape the UND program during a decade of change in the sport.
Through the program's success and his relationship with Ralph Engelstad, he helped secure the donation of UND's current $104-million facility. He also helped with the design.
Blais won the Spencer Penrose Award as the national coach of the year twice (1997, 2001). He also was named the Western Collegiate Hockey Association coach of the year three times.
He finished with a career record of 408-248-63, a winning percentage of .611. He also spent nine years as an assistant coach at UND, winning national championships in 1982 and 1987.
Moore spent four years at UND as an electrifying running back from 1995-98, earning All-American honors as a junior and senior.
He graduated as UND's all-time leader in rushing yards (5,697), rushing attempts (1,101), rushing touchdowns (51), total touchdowns (53) and all-purpose yards (5,857). The all-purpose yards record has since been broken.
Moore, who starred at Grand Forks Central before coming to UND, also was a two-time finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy as the top player in Division II college football.
Dawn (Dakken) Jacobson) was a two-time North Central Conference individual champion in 1995-96 and 1997-98. She helped UND to a team championship and an NCAA tournament berth in 1997-98.
Becky (Leppard) Erickson earned nine All-America honors, the most of any individual in the history of UND women's track and field, and graduated with six school records.
She won 12 NCC titles in the middle and distance events and led UND to a runner-up finish at the 2000 NCAA championships.