Holstad Named to NSIC Hall of Fame
Larry Holstad, ’67, ’81, was inducted into the 2016 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Hall of Fame. Holstad served as the WSU athletic director from 1997-2012 and developed the Warriors’ athletic programs into a national power during his tenure.
During his time at the helm, Winona State won two NCAA team national championships in men’s basketball. During a three year span, the Warriors posted a 105-6 record, won an NCAA record 57 consecutive games, and won titles in 2006 and 2008 while also playing in the national championship game in 2007. The 2006 NCAA National Championship was WSU’s first team national championship in the NSIC since it joined the NCAA Division II ranks in 1995.
The Warriors also had two NCAA individual national championships in track and field; two NCAA team national runner-ups, one each in men’s basketball and baseball; five NCAA regional championships; 35 NSIC regular season championships, and 27 NSIC tournament championships during Holstad’s tenure.
Holstad hired numerous coaches that have served 10 or more years with Winona State and turned their respective programs into consistent national contenders. Holstad also served as the softball coach during the 1999 and 2000 seasons, was a member of the NCAA Division II Management Council, served on the DII Football Committee, and was a member of the Minnesota state Title IX task force.
Holstad oversaw many facility improvement projects, including the renovation of what is now Altra Federal Credit Union Stadium. He partnered with the City of Winona to construct a softball field, and with the community and Winona Senior High School for the completion of a new track and field facility. Holstad also played an integral part in the completion of the Integrated Wellness Complex, as well as the Winona State Athletic Hall of Fame.
The support offered to Winona State student-athletes expanded significantly under Holstad. The Warrior Club Academic Success Center provides academic support to all Warrior student- athletes. These efforts helped Winona State set a program academic record during the spring semester of 2011 with WSU teams averaging a 3.24 cumulative grade point average.
Holstad graduated from Winona State in 1967 with a degree in biology and physical education. He also competed on the Warrior championship football team in 1964 and was a captain on the 1966 team. He earned his master’s degree in educational administration in 1981. In 2015 he was inducted into the WSU Hall of Fame and the “Larry Holstad Warrior Club Endowed Fund” was established through the WSU Foundation to help support student-athletes into the future.
59 Warriors Earn NSIC Spring All-Academic Honors
When it comes to academics, Warrior athletes are at the top of their game, with 59 earning NCIS Spring All-Academic status.
The women’s track and field team led the way with 35 honorees, while the baseball and softball teams each had nine earn the accolade. The tennis team had three, the men’s golf team had two, and the women’s golf team had one.
To be eligible for this honor, the student-athlete must be a member of the varsity traveling team and have a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or better. Furthermore, the athlete must have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing at her/ his institution (true freshmen, red-shirt freshmen and ineligible athletic transfers are not eligible) and must have completed at least one full academic year at that institution. In all, 672 student-athletes throughout the NSIC earned the honor.
Event Planner at U.S. Bank Stadium
When U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis opened to the public in the summer of 2016, Danielle (Cowan) Ottman ’94 was already familiar with practically every one of the facility’s 1.75 million square feet.
Ottman began working as sales manager for the stadium, which is the new home of the Minnesota Vikings, in April 2015. Her job is to bring in visitors and events on the 350-plus days of the year when football isn’t being played. The WSU marketing graduate loves the variety and challenge of booking everything from weddings to major concerts.
“Everybody is just so excited to have a new venue in town,” Ottman said. “It’s been that way ever since I’ve started. The mix of people I get to talk to keeps everything fresh and new.”
U.S. Bank Stadium will host Super Bowl LII in 2018 and the NCAA Men’s Final Four in 2019, events that will put the facility front- and-center in the sports world.
“As an event planner, it’s kind of a dream to get my hands on something like that. I have no idea what my role is going to be for the Super Bowl because we turn the stadium over to the NFL, but I’m going to try and enjoy being a part of it and learn as much as I can.”
Ottman, who grew up in Cottage Grove, Minn., came to Winona State knowing she wanted to study marketing. She said her professors, Dr. Jim Bovinet in particular, helped her develop and focus her interest.
“When I was a senior, he helped me make contact with the Minnesota Twins—he created a baseball card for me with my picture and resume,” Ottman said. “It was so cool to have something like that and to have a professor who took an interest and do something different to put myself out there.”
Ottman began her career working for the Minneapolis Women’s Expo, selling exhibit space and managing entertainment
Danielle (Cowan) Ottman and celebrity appearances, then worked as event manager for the Twin Cities Food & Wine Experience and the Minneapolis Home + Garden Show before joining SMG, which manages U.S. Bank Stadium.
She said her wide range of experience working with event planning and understanding clients’ needs is why she isn’t intimidated by the idea of bringing people who aren’t wearing purple into U.S. Bank Stadium.
“Being able to work with other types of events with ties to the Twin Cities area— this is something I knew I could tackle,” Ottman said.