Rus Winkels inducted into Concordia College Hall of Fame

Perham High School grad earns honor for part on winning football team

Perham-Dent school facilities director Russ Winkels was named to the Concordia College Athletics Hall of Fame.<br/>
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PERHAM — Russ Winkels was recently inducted into the Concordia College Athletics Hall of Fame for his role on the 1986 football team.

“They called and asked if I would accept the nomination,” the Perham Public Schools’ facilities director recalled. “I said, ‘yes.’”

Winkels was the captain of the 1986 football team that won the MIAC Championship and advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA playoffs. He collected the MIAC’s Most Valuable Player award, was named MIAC All-Conference (for two consecutive years) and was an NCAA All-American Honorable Mention.

The ceremony was held in October. He enjoyed sharing the accolade with several of his teammates who attended the event. He noted he was a bit overwhelmed with the recognition because he saw his success as a team effort.

The 1982 Perham High School graduate began his journey in athletics by playing basketball, baseball and football. He also joined a relay team in track during his senior year. Through athletics, he learned a lot about life.


“I learned about the importance of setting goals and being dedicated enough to achieve them,” he said.

Perham resident Russ Winkels was recently inducted into the Concordia College Hall of Fame.

Winkels played safety for the Perham football team and was a self-proclaimed “Jack of all trades and a master of none.” During his senior year, he broke his hand. Recruiters weren’t knocking down his door, so he considered playing another sport at a college in Crookston.

Before making the final call, he remembered how much he enjoyed the campus of Concordia College in Moorhead. He was provided the opportunity to see the school while playing a high school tournament. Winkles went with his heart and decided to attend the college with a mascot of a cob of corn.

He double majored in business and computer science and worked to earn a minor in math. After getting his bearings in the world of college academics, he decided to try out for the football team in his sophomore year.

“I had friends on the team, but I was nervous when I tried out,” he said. “I wasn’t sure what college football was about. I learned that I could play (at that level).

Just as the sport taught Winkels about life as a kid and a teen, the sport wasn’t done teaching him as he reached young adulthood. In college, Winkles learned the importance of understanding his role on the team and working to become good at that role. He saw that when each player reached for the goal, a stronger team was built.

During his years as a Cobber, Winkles created memories and friendships which lasted long after the final play on the gridiron. While time and life took members of the football team in different directions, he was quickly reconnected to them as they saw to celebrate his Hall of Fame achievement.

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