2021 J-Club Hall of Honor Class: Gary Svendsen ’72

By Frank Rajkowski, SJU Writer/Video Producer

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – Gary Svendsen ’72 wasn’t initially sold on the concept of attending Saint John’s University. In fact, the highly sought-after wrestler from Coon Rapids (Minn.) High School had already decided on another school as a senior in the spring of 1968.

But SJU head coach Terry Haws – who had just completed his first season at the program’s helm – refused to take no for an answer.

And it turned out he had an ally in those efforts embedded inside the Svendsen household.

“After I visited several schools, including Saint John’s, I decided I was going to Winona State,” Svendsen recalls. “But my dad was really high on Saint John’s. I was born in Brainerd and Saint John’s was a popular school in that part of the state. He really wanted my brother Tom ’75 and I to go there. So he was disappointed when I decided to not to.

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