Duluth East Announces Inaugural HOF Class

By KBJR News 1

Duluth East Announces Inaugural HOF Class

August 20, 2012 Updated Aug 20, 2012 at 6:36 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- Duluth East has announced its inaugural Hall of Fame class, and three people very important to that school's athletic history are on the list.

Joe Berini, Joe Mrkonich, and Denise Olson are the three athletic connections to the class of 2012, with Betty Marciniak-Ahrendt and Bob Mix also set to be enshrined.

Berini served as a boys' basketball assistant coach for Duluth East from 1968-75, and he also coached the school's inaugural bowling team in 1975.

After moving on from the Greyhounds, Berini served 50 years as a scoreboard official for the University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD) football program and 30 years for the basketball program. He passed away on January 23, 2010.

Mrkonich was a coach of three sports at Duluth East, coaching boys' basketball from 1963-70, girls' basketball from 1978-87, and football from 1965-76. He amassed a combined 336 wins for the Greyhounds and led the girls' basketball team to four state tournaments.

After retiring from Duluth East in 1987, Mrkonich continued to serve as the timekeeper and announcer for basketball games until 1999. He passed away on April 14, 2011.

Olson graduated from Duluth East in 1985, the same year she was named Ms. Basketball in the state of Minnesota. She was a three-year letter winner in basketball and volleyball, and in 1985 she also led the Greyhounds' basketball team to a state runner-up finish.

After graduating high school, Olson went on to play basketball at UMD and led the nation in assists in 1989 at the NAIA level. She was a 2004 inductee into the UMD Athletic Hall of Fame, and her #22 jersey has been retired at Duluth East.

The induction ceremony will be October 13 at Duluth East High School, with all five inductees also set to be honored at the first-ever Hall of Fame football game on October 12.

Posted by Zach Schneider
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