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Gopher Honors


Paul Giel, HB, 1952-1953
Bob McNamara, HB, 1954
Bob Hobert, T, 1956


Paul Giel, HB, 1952-1953
Robert Hobert, T, 1956
Bob McNamara, RB, 1952, 1954
Mike Svendsen, C, 1958
Percy Zachary, G, 1952


Bernie Bierman, 1950
Wes Fesler, 1951-1953
Murray Warmath, 1954-1959

1950's Gopher Links

Gopher Scores, 1941-1960:
Paul Giel:

Minnesota Golden Gopher Football - 1950's

The Bernie Bierman era at Minnesota came to an unceremonious
halt following the 1950 season. Many were convinced that the
game had passed him by and pointed to the Gophers' 1-7-1 
record as proof.

To replace Bierman, the Gophers hired former Ohio State
star and coach Wes Fesler. Fesler's arrival coincided with
the emergence of Paul Giel, a sophomore halfback who could
do it all.

The Gophers endured another losing season in 1951, but Giel
and others were quickly gaining valuable experience. By 1952,
the Gophers actually were back in the thick of the Big Ten

It would be unfair to say that these Gophers were a "one-man
team". They had other fine players. But such was the extent
of Giel's all-around contribution that at times it seemed
that way. On offense, he ran and passed the football. On
special teams, he punted and returned kicks. On defense, he
was a sure tackler and ballhawk.

The Gophers destroyed Michigan in Giel's senior year, 22-0.
All Giel did was run for 112 yards, pass for another 169, 
intercept 2 passes, and return a punt for 41 yards! He
finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting and was 
named the Big Ten's Most Valuable Player.

But as Giel moved on so did Fesler, and the Gophers were
once more looking for a new head coach. To the surprise of
almost everyone the school hired an unknown, Murray Warmath.
Warmath would come north from Mississippi State at about the
time a strong anti-football sentiment had taken hold of many
in the administration and faculty. He would thus be caught
in the middle between them and those who were determined to 
see the Gophers back on top of the college football world.

Warmath's teams were strong both fundamentally and physically.
His first team, in 1954, finished 7-2 and ranked #20 in the
nation. The Gophers slipped below .500 in 1955, but bounced
back nicely in 1956 to go 6-1-2.

Many expected a National Championship in 1957, and after a
3-0 start it appeared to be coming to fruition. But a loss
at Illinois sent the Gophers into a tailspin from which they
could not recover. They would finish 4-5 that year, 1-8 in
1958, and 2-7 in 1959. Although Warmath was developing some
nice talent for the future, he had lost the support of many
fans and supporters and finished the decade holding onto
his job by the slimmest of margins.