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Kleven column: St. Louis Park's 1962 state championship basketball team was special group


Published: Friday, September 2, 2011 1:02 PM CDT

Growing up in St. Louis Park, I became a devout fan of Oriole athletic teams during the late 1950s and early '60s.

There were no high school girls sports programs at that time. Boys athletics dominated the prep scene. I idolized those St. Louis Park High School athletes, especially those that competed on Oriole football, basketball and baseball squads.

And it was Park's 1962 basketball team that really left me star-struck as it claimed the state championship with a 62-57 victory over South St. Paul in the title game before over 18,000 fans at Williams Arena.

The Orioles concluded its championship season with a 22-2 record and were saluted statewide by prep basketball fans.

The St. Louis Park community was pulled together by the exploits of the Oriole basketball team. I remember Park head coach Lloyd Holm teaching one of our physical education classes at Aquila Elementary School a week after the state tournament. He was surrounded by students clamoring for his autograph.

Years later, I had the good fortune of playing varsity basketball for coach Holm, a dear man who passed away several years ago.

It is only fitting that the St. Louis Park High School Athletic Hall of Fame committee is going to recognize the 1962 state basketball championship squad as its first Team of Distinction at its 2011 hall of fame banquet at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, at Doubletree Hotel in St. Louis Park.

A special group

Park's 1962 team's starting five consisted of Bruce Ackland, Mark Zanna, Robert Hill, Jerry Orbeck and Larry Fundingsland. Each went on to successful careers.

Zanna received his PhD degree from Yale University and is now a full professor and chair of psychology at Waterloo University in Canada.

Hill earned his doctorate degree from Princeton University and worked as a senior consultant and chief economist to the Saudi National Oil Company, the largest in the world.

Ackland became a successful businessman after graduating from University of Minnesota-Duluth and now manages town home units for Affordable Family Housing.

Orbeck, a graduate of Mankato State University, spent his career in the steel industry.

Fundingsland played basketball at my alma mater Moorhead State University. He became a lieutenant in the Army and later founded Viking Audio Visual Company and served as its president and CEO until his death in 2005.

St. Louis Park's top reserves were Charles DeRemer, Jerry Brouwer and Jim Bloomquist. All three of those former Oriole athletes have gone on to impressive professional careers as well.

Also contributing to Park's state championship team were Larry Soper, Bruce Fisher, Garold McCullock, Gary Biewald, James Laurie and John Zimmerman.

Holm was a state hall of fame coach of that Oriole squad and served as Park's longtime athletic director.

His assistant coach Roy Griak went on to become a successful track coach at the University of Minnesota. R. Eugene "Lefty" Wright was the team's faculty manager.

Vic Lewis and Marshall Lebow were student managers. Lewis went on to receive his Associate of Arts degree from the U of M prior to being drafted into the U.S. Army and served in Viet Nam, where he was seriously injured. Lewis received three Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for combat duty.

Lewis coached various youth athletic teams. He was Park's ninth-grade basketball team for nine seasons.

Lebow also served as manager of the U of M basketball team. After college graduation, Lebow worked in pharmacy before owning his own real estate company.



St. Louis Park Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 9-22-2011 1962 State Champion Basketball Team...!  https://vimeo.com/30112771