UND Glory Boys
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
On this day in 1966, UND defeated Parsons 42-24, in the Pecan Bowl, to win the conference championship. UND linebacker Roger Bonk earned the Associated Press Little All-American honor – UND’s first – and quarterback Corey Colehour received an honorable mention. Seven members of the team earned all-conference honors and five went on to play in the pros.
Defensive halfback Pete Pornish signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pornish was also a great basketball player, and it was Pete who had a great influence on his fellow player Phil Jackson, who later became legendary as coach of the Chicago Bulls. In his early days at UND, Jackson admits he loudly complained whenever the refs called a foul on him. Jackson said that lasted until about the fifth game, when Pornish told him to shut up and quit whining. He was hurting their game – a lesson Jackson never forgot.
Another basketball playing member of the football team was James C. Hester. In fact, UND inducted Hester into their Athletic Hall of Fame more for his basketball playing than his football performance. Hester was twice selected All-North Central Conference selection in basketball. He scored 1,082 points during his college career and, with Phil Jackson, led UND to two NCC championships.
As far as football goes, Hester was a flanker during the 1966 season, which ended with an 8-2 record. Hester played a mere nine games for UND, yet it was football that proved to be his meal ticket. The New Orleans Saints drafted him, and he played three seasons for them as a tight end. Hester was then traded to the Chicago Bears, for whom he played one season.
Roger Bonk was the attention grabber in the Pecan Bowl – as we said at the top of the story, he was the one named Little All-American by the Associated Press. Bonk played both as a linebacker and as an offensive guard. In addition to his playing abilities, he also proved an outstanding leader. Bonk was twice named to the All-NCC team and served as a tri-captain in 1966. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers signed him in 1967, and he played with them two years.
UND’s 1966 team is still the most prolific passing team in the college’s history, averaging more than 255 passing yards per game. That distinction can largely be attributed to Corey Colehour, some of whose passing records still stand today – including completions, yards and touchdowns. For example, between ‘64 and ‘67, he threw 42 touchdown passes. He was twice named All-NCC and was named the conference’s most valuable offensive back in both ‘65 and ‘66.
After college, Colehour was picked up by the Atlanta Falcons as a seventh round draft pick. He played with the Falcons in ‘67 and ‘68 and then went on to play for the Edmonton Eskimos.
The fifth player to go pro was Errol Mann, who had the most illustrious career. As one of the for greatest kickers in UND history, he was quickly picked up by the Green Bay Packers. He also played for the Cleveland Indians, the Denver Broncos and the Detroit Lions. In 1972, in addition to his own football card as a Lion, Tops put out a card of Mann with two other pro kickers – the three of them were the NFC’s 1971 scoring leaders.
Mann’s most talked-about game was in 1977 – Super Bowl XI. He was now with the Oakland Raiders, coached by John Madden, and the Raiders were playing the Minnesota Vikings. The Raiders drew first blood with a 24-yard field goal kicked by Mann, and the Vikings never recovered. Before the day was done, Oakland beat Minnesota 32-14, in part due to another field goal kicked by Errol Mann. Those six points – though only a tiny portion of Mann’s 846 career total – had to be some of his most satisfying.
Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm
ND Hall of Fame Inductees. UND Sports Hall of Fame. <http://www.fightingsioux.com/info/hall_of_fame/>
Raiders Capture First Super Bowl with 32-14 Drubbing of Vikings. 9 Jan 1977. <http://www.raiders.com/history/gm1.jsp>