Dedicated to capturing the stories and spirit of the region, one way the Center for Upper Peninsula Studies achieves this goal is recording the oral histories of the area's residents. Each interview is done in person, recorded and then transcribed for ease of use. On this page, find interviews surrounding athletics. 




Axel and Barbara Anderson

May 23, 2009

Axel and Barbara Anderson discuss their lives and their time at Northern Michigan University, particularly Axel's athletic career at NMU. Includes discussion of their childhoods in Escanaba, how they got to NMU, Axel's involvement with Tri Mu fraternity, Barbara's experiences at the nursing school, Coach Money, and Axel's experiences as an athlete.

Jack Bietila

November 13, 2001

Jack Bietila, son of Anslem Bietila of the original Flying Bietilas.  Discusses growing up skiing in the Cleveland neighborhood, schooling, and ski career in Ishpeming, Michigan.

Ralph Bietila 

November 13, 2001 

Ralph Bieltila discusses his career in ski jumping most notably during the Olympics of 1948 and 1952. 

Rob Boss

November 15, 2009

Rob Boss details his football experience thus far. After excelling on his small-town Charlevoix High School team, Boss advanced to play Division II football for Northern Michigan University from the years ’02 through ’05. After some consideration, Boss left NMU his senior year to play Arena II football for the Green Bay Blizzard, where his breakout season landed him a spot on the Arena I football team, the Chicago Rush. After the Arena Football League folded, Boss returned to finish his degree at NMU and began a position coaching NMU football.

Amanda Caron September 21, 2018 Amanda Caron, as the president of the Aquamen, describes the game of underwater hockey rugby and describes the goals of this organization. 

Allan Chapman 

November 7, 2001

Ishpeming native and ski jumper Allan Chapman discusses his ski career and trips throughout his life. 

John Croze October 21, 2018

Calumet High School Head Coach John Croze talks about his career as a coach and his life around football. He talks about his childhood growing up in Deer Lake location Ishpeming, MI. He also talks about his playing career, how he thinks the game of football has changed and his current season as a coach.

Dale Fredette

November 8, 2001

Dale Fredette describes ski jumping career ranging from 1950-1986 as well as points system, judging criteria, Federation International to Ski, history of Ishpeming Ski Club, Suicide Hill, and National Ski Jump Hall of Fame.

Zach Gauthier

November 30, 2009

Born in Ishpeming, Michigan, Zach Gauthier grew to be the largest of three brothers and excelled at football. His college football career began at Michigan Technological University before transferring to Northern Michigan University his sophomore year. At the time of interview, Gauthier had just completed his senior football season and welcomed the arrival of his third son.

Matt Granstrand

October 14, 2015

Matt Granstrand describes his upbringing in soccer and later return to the game as a men’s and women’s coach.  He discusses what brought him to NMU as the Women’s Soccer Team Coach.  He also describes changes the game has encountered since the start of his career, as well as the differences in coaching men’s and women’s teams, challenges of recruiting, and the future and needs of the Women’s Soccer Team.

Roy E. Heath

February 22, no year given

Dr. Roy E. Heath discusses the development of Northern Michigan University's United States Olympic Training Center. Topics discussed include economic effects the USOTC would have on the upper peninsula, differences between this site and others in the country at that time, and some of the political processes involved.

Coy Hill

December 18, 2001

Coy Hill describes ski jumping career spanning 36 years, as well as his involvement with the Ishpeming Ski Club, officiating, coaching, and development of Suicide Hill and Al Quaal recreational area.

Dave Holli  December 18, 2001 Ispheming native Dave Holli shares his autobiography and involvement in the ski-jumping community including his vested efforts in the continuation of the Suicide Ski Jump. 

Scott Husak

August 1, 2003

Scott Husak discusses how he came to be Wildcat Willy, duties involved, expected behavior, and his perceived decline in the "status" of Wildcat Willy.

Don Hurst

November 12, 2001

Don Hurst begins by describing his personal education history and his involvement in skiing, beginning at age six.  Explains various tournaments, as well as his involvement with cross country skiing.

Norman Juhola December 18, 2001 Norm Juhola shares his background and how he 'accidently' became involved in the ski jumping community of Ishpeming, Michigan. He discusses his involvement in the Suicide Jump and the development of cross country ski trails. 
Jeffrey Klienschmidt  No Date Given  Jeffrey Klienschmidt discusses the beginnings and development of the Olympic Training Center at NMU including the establishment of the Great Lakes Sports Academy, relations with Governor Blanchard, and the success of the Superior Dome. 
Sasa Kostic October 29th, 2018 Interview with Sasa Kostic, Director of Coaching at Marquette United Soccer Club. The Interview covers Sasa's upbringing in Serbia, his move to the United States, and relocation Marquette, MI. He details he soccer training, coaching expertise and what he hopes to do for Marquette soccer. Sasa and his wife also run a local coffee house which he details.

Jack (Roxie) Lawson

November 13, 2001

1922-2001 Interview previously indexed.  Briefly discusses his nickname origin, family, and growing up in Ishpeming.  School, work.  Skiing: Bietilas, Duluth Ski Jumping Tournament, 10th Mountain Division, Colorado, Texas, Italy.  Shrapnel hit and “walking wounded”, opera in pajamas, baseball, discharge November 29, 1945.  Jumping after the war: Travels in US, record jumps, Duluth Tournament.  Technique: wind pressure and ride the air, guts.  Nickname “Hammerlegs” for Ralph Bietila.  Ski Technique: old v. new. Equipment: old v. new, hill transportation, hill grooming, setting the track.  Prizes.  Marriage: wife and daughters (gave no names).  Women in the sport.  Life now: breakfast group, deer camp.  Trip to Finland for 80th birthday in 2002.  Ski Hall of Fame.  Ski professionals: Walter Hantz Anderson and Matt Heikkenan in 1920’s.  Demise of Ski jumping.  Wife’s liver transplant.

Rudy Maki

November 21, 2001

Rudy Maki discusses his time with the Ishpeming Ski Club in the 1940s and 1950s as well as his subsequent participation in various Olympic, International, and National Competitions as an official.

Joe Matiskiel  August 30, 2009 NMU Club Hockey player Joe Matiskiel discusses the details of being on the team, his love for hockey, and other details about being a student-athlete. 

Monsignor Lewis Meyer

November 1, no year given

Monsignor Meyer discusses the history of the CYC with an emphasis on sports - soccer in particular. Also included are the topics of integration, ethnic soccer teams, and Monsignor Myer's personal history. NOTE: Transcription ends abruptly.

Ellsworth "Pinky" Mitchell  December 18, 2001 "Pinky" talks about his personal background and his skiing career including being a jumper and a coach. 

Robert "Bob" Money

May 26, 2009

Bob Money discusses how he came to live in Marquette and his involvement with athletics and the academic community at Northern Michigan University.

Carl "Buck" Nystrom

January 7, 2013

Coach Carl "Buck" Nystrom, born in Marquette, MI, discusses how he became involved in sports as a player throughout his education and then coaching afterward. He speaks about various influences in his life and some of the ways he was involved in the community in the Upper Peninsula.

Jerry Pangrazzi

May 21, 2009

Jerry Pangrazzi discusses his involvement with the Barrack's Boys at Northern Michigan University as well as his experiences in athletics and coaching.

Joe Perrault

November 12, 2001

Joe Perrault describes coming into skiing at a young age, the Flying Bietilas, living in the Cleveland area of Ishpeming, his ski first tournament, skiing in `48 and `52 Olympics, Ripley Ski Jump, 10th Mountain Division experience, proudest accomplishments: setting American Record in Iron Mountain in 1949 and placing 15th at 1952 Winter Olympics, taking a bad fall in `58, the Ishpeming Ski Club, advice to young skiers.

Tom Peters April 5, 1995 Tom Peters discusses the Olympic Education Center at NMU. He talks about the initial idea, influences,  student athletes, training programs offered, and the future of the USOEC. 
Tom Sodergren  December 18, 2001  Tom Sodergren talks about his involvement with the Ishpeming Ski Club, ski jumping in general, ki jump engineers. 
Dylan Stesliki September 28, 2018

Dylan Steslicki, one of the captains for Northern Michigan University’s Ultimate Frisbee Club, starts the interview explaining just how he got into Ultimate Frisbee and the long journey that put him on NMU’s Frisbee team. He goes on to describe the growth of the club through the years he’s been involved, from a small team only capable of fielding a mixed men’s/women’s team to a club fielding both men’s and women’s teams. After a description of Ultimate Frisbee and its organization at the college level, Mr. Steslicki continues by explaining what he wants to do in Ultimate Frisbee, both personally and for the club. In doing so, Steslicki explains the draw of Ultimate Frisbee, especially for those high school athletes who wish to continue competing; he also describes the nature of the community around the sport. After a brief explanation of the growth of the sport, Steslicki touches on the potential injuries that can occur. Finally, the interview closes on an organizational note: Steslicki outlines his hope that this winter, he will be able to keep participation up during practices.


April 1995

An unknown man who is associated with the Northern Michigan University Athletics Department discusses the facilities including Hedgcock Feildhouse, the PEIF and Superior Dome. He also talks about participation in recreational sports and the Recreation Facilities Services department.