LEADING MEN FOR 50 YEARS

Jeff Erickson has been my friend, mentor, and hero from the first day I met him at NBC Alaska Camps.  Jeff loves people; especially the youth of Alaska. The fact Jeff is a devoted husband and father of a son who has endured disabilities since birth only deepen my respect for one of Alaska’s most devoted and dedicated educators.

The photo is a 76 birthday present for a 76-year-old coach who 52 years ago coached some of the finest men in the world.  In this photo is Mel Brown #12, an Ivanoff from Unalakleet,  Milo Griffin #21, UA Hall of Fame, Mike Taurianan, 1959 homesteader, Civil Engineer in Soldotna, Ben Ramos, Eielson Air Force, Fairbanks resident, Stephan Anderson #32,  Nome business leader.

This was the first UA basketball team to play a full 26 game collegiate schedule, no military or tavern teams.  These men were the forerunners to the very good NANOOK teams of the 1970’s.

Thank you, Jeff Erickson, for finding this photo which brings back so many many wonderful memories.  Only two seniors were pictured here.  This team had a great future.  Unfortunately, the university chose to reverse their commitment to the four scholarships they had given the previous year.  It was a great loss to all of us.  This team had many good games and some amazing wins and losses.

To three national powers at the then powerful NAIA  D2 level.  Losses are always losses; however, when building a program knowing you can beat the best in the USA is the first step to building a strong program.  These men pictured here would have won many games the next two years.

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