Howard Merriman, Administrator
Howard set the wheels of Edina's athletic dynasty in motion by hiring coaching legends such as Stav Canakes in football, Willard Ikola in hockey, Duane Baglien in boys’ basketball, Ed Hendrichson in boy's track and field and Art Downey is swimming. A member of the Minnesota State High School League's Hall of Fame, Howard watched Edina prep teams win 108 Lake Conference titles and 27 state championships during his 23-year tenure as Athletic Director. The Delano native came to Edina in 1950, just after the high school was built. He was respected as an Athletic Director, who treated all sports fairly and always followed through on his promises. From his first day at the school to his last day, when he retired in the spring of 1976, Merriman promoted harmony and teamwork in the athletic department. "Howard sure was loyal to the coaches," said longtime Edina Hockey coach Willard Ikola. "If there was any static, he would handle it." As Lake Conference hockey chairman for many years, Howard was in charge of assigning indoor ice time to each of the conference schools. This difficult assignment was one that only a person of Howard's capabilities could handle. He didn't always succeed in pleasing everyone, but everyone knew Howard treated everyone fairly. He was also instrumental in the development of the Lake Conference girl's interscholastic sports program, which was initiated in the fall of 1972.
Jim Joslin '53
The first of Edina's great three-sport athletes, Jim established himself as a Hornet football legend in the early '50s. During his senior year, he scored a Lake Conference record 108 points in just eight games. In an epic performance in the fall of 1952, Jim scored five touchdowns in a win over Hopkins. That victory was a big step on the way to Edina's first Lake football title. In a battle of the unbeaten the last game of the '52 season, Jim sparked Edina to a 49-0 win over Princeton. Jim's prowess continued on the basketball court in the winter and on the track in the spring. His 100-yeard dash time of 10.2 seconds was one of the fastest of his era. He won three letters in each of his three sports. After graduating Edina-Morningside High School in the spring of 1953, Jim was recruited to play football at Harvard University. He won three letters on the gridiron and also discovered a new sport, rugby, in which he earned three more letters. Since his graduation from Harvard, Jim has remained in the Boston area. He is now an executive with an investment company.
Larry Johnson '56
As the first in a long line of greats in the Edina hockey program, Larry burst onto the scene as a freshman, finishing second in scoring on the Hornet varsity. By the time he was a senior, every hockey fan in the state was aware of Larry's prowess. He finished his senior season as the leading scorer in the Lake Conference and was an All-State selection. When he wasn't on the ice, Edina's "Mr. Hockey" was excelling in two other sports, football and baseball. He was the Hornet's quarterback in football, completing many passes to All-American end Tom Moe. The 1954 Hornet baseball team finished third at the state tournament with Larry playing a key role. "The best advice I can give young people is to play multiple sports," Larry said, "there is too much specialization." At the University of Minnesota, Larry continued to play multiple sports. He played on the NCAA championship football team, sharing the quarterback position with Sandy Stephens. In hockey, he was captain of the 1960-61 squad. When he graduated, he had three letters in each of his two sports. Larry returned to Edina in 1962 as assistant hockey coach under Willard Ikola. He also volunteered to coach youth teams in the Edina Hockey Association. Eventually, he was appointed to the International Committee for USA Hockey. His dedication to hockey paid off when he was named General Manager of the 1992 US Olympic hockey team.
Tom Moe '56
A 10-time letter winner at Edina-Morningside High School, Tom was best known for his achievements on the football field. In the fall of 1995, he was named to the High School All-American football team by Scholastic Magazine. But that was not the only honor he won during his storied career with the Hornets. Tom was twice named All-Lake Conference in football. He set a single-game Edina scoring record in basketball when he poured in 37 points against Robbinsdale in 1956. Tom was All-Conference in both basketball and baseball. And during the summer, he led his American Legion Baseball team to the state championship. While Tom's high school record is very impressive, his college sports career was even better. Competing for the University of Minnesota, he helped the Gophers win the NCAA baseball title in 1960. As an end in football, he led the team in minutes played in his senior year. Following his senior year, he was selected to play in the prestigious Blue-Gray Football All-Star Game. Tom's daughters, Jennie and Jackie, and his son, Tommy, continued the family tradition as top athletes at Edina High School. Jennie and Jackie both won state Class AA single tennis championships, while Tommy was quarterback of the football team. Highly successful in his law career, Tom is chairman and managing partner of Dorsey & Whitney, a Minneapolis firm.
Tom King '58
Left halfback was traditionally the key position in Edina-Morningside High School's football offense, and few played it as well as Tom King. As a four-year football letterman, King was the focus of every opponent's defense. But it didn't matter. He still scored his points and gained his yardage each week. In 1957, his senior season, Tom was voted Lake Conference Back of the Year and earned a place on the All-State squad. But the biggest honor was yet to come. In November of that year, he was selected a High School All-American by Teen Magazine. The Hornets were ranked #1 in the state in the Minneapolis Tribune poll. The success didn't mean Tom would rest on his laurels, however. That winter, he was named All-District and All-Conference in basketball. Then he starred for the Hornet baseball team, winning All-District and All-Lake honors as well as the Hornet's Most Valuable Player trophy. Immediately after graduating from high school, he played in the North-South High School All Star football team and helped the team win 30-0. Tom's success in athletics continued at the University of Minnesota, where he started on the football team in his junior and senior seasons. He won a full Williams Scholarship. He is now chairman of the board of a Minneapolis law firm.
John Hankinson '61
Offense was the name of the game when John Hankinson took over as Edina-Morningside High School's football quarterback. John led the Hornets to a #1 state ranking in the final 1960 Minneapolis Tribune poll. The Hornets set a school scoring record in the process with a whopping 302 points. John scored 74 points and led the Hornets in total offense. Football was not John's only sport. He was an All District basketball and baseball player. During his Edina career he earned four letters in baseball and three each in football and basketball for the total of 10. When he enrolled at the University of Minnesota in the fall of 1961, John decided to focus on football. He was a starter at quarterback in his junior and senior seasons, setting 11 Gopher Passing Records. After winning the Gopher's Most Valuable Player Award for the 1965 season. Hankinson played in two prestigious college all-star games, the Hula Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game. A strong showing in those games helped land him an opportunity to play pro football with the Minnesota Vikings. After two seasons in the NFL, he left to pursue a business career. John now is in the Real Estate business with partners such as pro golfer's Jack Nickelson and Arnold Palmer. He continues to support Gopher Sports. His three sons, Peter, Ben and Casey have all played for the University of Minnesota hockey team.
Elaine "Pacy" Erck '67
Before Interscholastic sports competition for girls began in 1972, Edina students participated in the Girls Athletic Association (GAA). No one participated in more GAA activities than Elaine "Pacy" Erck. Pacy's sports interests included archery, bowling, badminton, softball, volleyball, basketball and swimming. Also a cheerleader and a member of the student council for three years, she was one of Edina's most active and popular students. Pacy grew up in Morningside and many residents remember how she used to run to and from school each day. She was famous in her neighborhood for organizing softball games in the evenings. "I'd knock on people's doors and all the moms, dads and kids would come out to play softball in the streets," Pacy recalls. Pacy was named Edina's Female Athlete of the Year in 1967 and was crowned National High School Champion by the U.S. Badminton Association in 1966. She set a high school fitness record for Edina girls that still stand today when she threw the softball 210 feet in a physical education class. Now an avid golfer and tennis player, Pacy has been a health educator in Edina Schools for the past 26 years. Her theory on education has not changed since her days as a high school student. "Education is not just going to school and college," she said. "It's an every-day, life-long process."
Jeff Wright '67
Considered by many to be Edina's greatest all-around athlete, Jeff played on some of the Hornets' most successful teams. As a halfback in football, he was twice named All-Lake Conference and All-State. In 1966, he was honored by league coaches as Lake Conference Back of the Year. On the basketball court, Jeff was just as dominant, earning All-Lake and All-State honors two straight years. The Hornets won back to back state titles in 1966 and '67 and amassed a large portion of a state-record 69-game winning streak. While he is proud of all the success his teams had at Edina, Jeff said his greatest prizes were the "lasting friendships I developed and the sense of great pride I had being in such a great community." Jeff, who still lives in Edina with his wife Jayne, went on to great success in his post-high school years. He was football captain and star defensive back at the University of Minnesota. After his senior year season he played in two national all-star games, the Hula Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game. Later, he played in the Super Bowl with the Minnesota Vikings. Jeff is the Western Area Sales Manager and Vice-President of Ecolab, Inc. He is also a past Senior Deacon of the Colonial Church in Edina.
Greg Olson '79
Highly-motivated and very competitive, Greg Olson was perhaps the best athlete in the history of Edina-East High School. Greg was named to the All-State teams in baseball and football and also led the Hornet basketball team to Lake Red Division titles in his junior and senior seasons. As a sophomore, he pitched and played third base in leading East to the State Baseball Tournament. Recognizing his leadership, Greg's teammates named him captain in all three sports. He earned nine varsity letters during his prep career. At the University of Minnesota, Greg concentrated on baseball, earning Ail-American honors in 1982. His future looked bright. However, he toiled seven years as a minor-league catcher before getting a shot at the Majors with the Atlanta Braves. Greg was rewarded for his patience and dedication when he became the Braves starting catcher in the World Series. He was also selected to play in the Major League All-Star Game. Although he no longer plays in the Majors, Greg has not retired from baseball. When he isn't working as a sales executive for the Bearpath Realty, he is serving as General Manager of the Southern Minny Stars, a minor-league team based in Austin, Minnesota. Greg and his wife, Lisa, live in Eden Prairie and have three children - Ryan, Rachel, and Robert.
Betsy Ready Duerkson '84
A winning smile never seemed too far from the face of Betsy Ready when she played three sports at Edina High School. That's because Betsy usually won in every sport she played. She was Edina's first great female soccer player, earning All-American honors in both 1982 and 1983. In basketball, she helped the Hornets make it to the state tournament and a second-place finish in 1983. In softball, she was the starting catcher on the varsity for three seasons. She graduated with a total of 10 letters. Betsy's motto is "Enjoy life - don't take it too seriously. But also work hard to earn whatever you decide you want to achieve. Family and friendships are more important than any win or loss." After starring at Edina High, Betsy earned a scholarship to play soccer at Boston College. She became the school's only four-time All American and was named Boston College's Female Athlete of the Decade for the 80's. Now head women's soccer coach at the University of Montana, Betsy continues to teach the sport she loves. In addition to coaching at the college level, she donates her time for free soccer clinics in the summer. She won the Woman of the Year in Sports Award from the Missoula, Montana YMCA this summer. Betsy and her husband, Aaron Duerksen, have a son named Justice, who turned 3 in August.
Willard Ikola, Coach
Edina's legendary hockey coach exceeded his on-ice accomplishments with the 1956 U.S. Olympic team in 33 years behind the bench. Ike, as he was known to all, posted a 616-149-38 record, winning eight state hockey titles and taking his team to the state tournament on 19 occasions. He also put 22 Lake Conference titles in the Hornet's trophy case. Famous for his trademark hounds-tooth hat, Ikola was modest when speaking of his coaching record. "I never scored a goal or prevented one either," he said. "All the credit for our success belongs to the kids.” Meanwhile, Ike worked quietly during practices, developing a forechecking system that became a model not only for high school teams, but for college and professional teams, as well. "Coach Ikola truly established the tradition in Edina hockey," said former Hornet captain Bruce Carlson, who nominated Ike for the Edina High Hall of Fame. In the early years of Lake Conference hockey, Ikola established tradition on an outdoor rink. His practices were demanding, but he demanded more of himself than anyone else. When it snowed, he was the first to grab a shovel and start clearing the rink for practice. For his efforts, Ike was named to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, the Minnesota High School Coaches' Hall of Fame and the National High School Sports Hall of Fame. When he retired from coaching at Edina High, Ike found a way to stay active in the sport he loves. He became a scout for the NHL's New York Islanders.