Proctor Rails
Medium topps.terry.egerdahl
  • Terry Egerdahl
  • SS
  • Born:12/4/1953 in Duluth, MN
  • Died:12/15/1980 in Duluth, MN



Duluth Herald, December 16, 1980

Sports star Egerdahl dies at 27
by Bruce Bennett, Executive Sports Editor

Terry Egerdahl, football coach at Proctor High School and one of the area's most renowned athletes, died Monday night after suffering a massive heart attack while warming up with friends for a pick-up basketball game at the Duluth Air Base. He was 27.

Egerdahl, who was also community education director in Proctor, had been Christmas shopping with his wife Penny Monday evening, then joined some contemporaries later to play basketball.

"He was dribbling around, just loosening up, when he collapsed, I was told," Proctor High School Athletic Director Jeff Caywood said. "They tried everything to revive him -- CPR, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, electric shock. There were no responses to the vital signs. They transported him quickly to the hospital, but they couldn't save him.

"It has plunged our entire community into a state of shock. For most of the school staff, it's unbelievable. I think a lot of the coaches, at least, were waiting for someone to say it was a bad joke, that it didn't really happen.

"The realization is just sinking in now. It's pretty quiet around here today. I suppose we won't give much thought to anything else for a few days. He was a wonderful guy, a fine coach and a good friend."

"This is very tragic," said Jim Malosky, UMD football coach. "I think I've known Terry most of his life. He'd come to our games as a boy with his parents when his older brothers played. He was an extremely easily coached athlete, very gifted, but beyond that, a wonderful person. In 23 years of coaching football here, I can't say I have had a finer athlete play for me. He may have been the best athlete the school ever had."

Egerdahl coached football at Proctor the last three seasons, returning to the high school where he first gained athletic attention as a multi-sport star from 1968-72. He almost single-handedly led the Rails to the Class A State basketball tournament in 1972, scoring 39 points in the Region 7A finals at Hibbing to beat Chisago Lakes. Proctor lost in overtime to Red Wing in the first round of the state tournament, but Egerdahl had 23 points -- including 11 of 11 free throws to tie a meet record -- and was named to the All-Tournament team.

He followed his brothers, Dick Pesonen and Gary Egerdahl, to UMD that fall and narrowed his competitive efforts primarily to football, but dabbled in other sports, too. He was the cornerstone of Bulldog football teams the next four seasons, playing quarterback, running back and wide receiver, handling the team's punting and placekicking chores and returning punts.

Egerdahl scored a school-record 37 touchdowns for UMD and totaled 2,638 yards in total offense. He was named to both the Associated Press first team Little All-America football team and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics All-America team in 1975, after receiving numerous awards in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and at UMD.

He was named to the All-MIAC football team three straight years and was the conference's most valuable player as a senior. He was also an All-Conference baseball player. He received the Anderson-Dahle Award for athletic and academic excellence at UMD for 1975-76 and the Alumni Letterman's Award as the school's best senior athlete that year.

He was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the sixth round of the 1976 National Football League draft and tried out with the team as a wide receiver that summer, but was cut on the team's next-to-last roster reduction. The next year he earned a shot as a free agent with the Chicago Bears as a safety, but likewise was cut.

He was a part-time assistant at Proctor in 1977 before taking the football coaching assignment full-time the next year, succeeding Dave Erholtz. His first Proctor team posted a 5-4 record, but improved to 8-1 in 1979, losing only to Sea-Range Conference champion Two Harbors in the season's opener. The Rails were 5-4 this past season. Besides football, he coached the boys' ninth grade basketball team at Proctor and in the spring was an assistant baseball coach.

Egerdahl was also active in the ongoing renovating project of the Proctor football field. He played softball in the area as well as basketball and was a low handicap golfer.

Besides his wife, the former Penny Bordson of Duluth, and his two brothers, he is survived by his parents, Lloyd and Marcia Egerdahl, Proctor.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Zion Lutheran Church, 25th Avenue West and Third Street. Visitation will be after 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Bell Brothers Funeral Home.