At 6-2, 230 pounds, International Falls resident Bronko Nagurski was the dominate football player of his time. His modest personality, awesome physical strength, and tremendous athletic skill helped shape Nagurski into a genuine American hero.
Farm work influenced his amazing stature as a youth, as he did chores from chopping wood to making fences. Gopher football coach Doc Spears unearthed the young talent while recruiting in northern Minnesota, the story goes, when Bronko was plowing a field without the aid of a horse.
His career at the University of Minnesota further developed this legendary status. Nagurski helped lead the Gophers to an impressive 18-4-2 record and a Big Ten title in 1927. He was the first collegiate player to ever be named a consensus All-American in the same year at two different positions. He continued this standard professionally with the Chicago Bears from 1930-37, helping the team win three NFL titles while running for over 4,000 yards. His football honors include All Big-Ten 1929, All-American 1929, charter member in the College Football Hall of Fame and charter member in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He retired from sports and returned to his hometown of International Falls to be with his family, work on the farm, and enjoy the great outdoors.
~Steven Penick, St. Cloud, MN