MISSOULA — The University of Montana on Thursday announced its 2023 induction class for the Grizzly Athletic Hall of Fame. The inductees are founding soccer coach Betsy Duerksen, All-American runner Dean Erhard, NFL All-Pro Marc Mariani and Lady Griz Big Sky MVP Jean McNulty-King.
Duerksen was hired in 1994 to build Montana's women's soccer program from the ground up and served as head coach for 10 years. Duerksen led Montana to a Big Sky title the first season the league sponsored the sport (1997) and went on to win at least a share of the first four championships in conference history.
The Edina, Minnesota, native amassed a 117-69-7 (.624) overall record, going 33-9-2 (.773) in Big Sky play.
Erhard was a three-time All-American for the Grizzlies in the mid-70s, twice in steeplechase and once in cross country, and competed in six NCAA meets, three in each discipline.
As a senior in 1976-77, he won his third consecutive Big Sky Conference steeplechase title as well as the three-mile and was named the Big Sky championship meet's most outstanding athlete. That year he also set a UM school steeplechase record of 8:40.4, a mark that still stands today and a mark that was the seventh-best in the nation in 1977.
A wide receiver and return specialist at Montana, Mariani set records for single-season receiving yards (1,479 in 2009), and career records in receiving yards (3,018), receiving touchdowns (29), yards per punt return (15.01), punt return TDs (3), kick return average (27.57) and all-purpose yards (5,441).
Mariani also tied a school and Big Sky record for the longest punt return in league history at 94 yards and returned a kickoff 98 yards against South Dakota State in 2009 that sparked one of the greatest comebacks in college football history.
He went on to become a two-time All-American pick by The Sports Network, as well as being named an All-American his senior year by the Associated Press and the Walter Camp Foundation.
He was later selected by the Tennessee Titans in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Draft and went on to a six-year NFL career where he earned a place in the Pro Bowl. He set two Pro Bowl records in 2011 for number of returns and total return yards for a game.
McNulty-King was a Big Sky MVP for the Lady Griz following the 1989-90 season and a Kodak All-District 7 honoree and All-America honorable mention in the same year. was a two-time All-Big Sky selection and a two-time member of the Big Sky all-tournament team in her junior and senior seasons.
As a senior, she led the Lady Griz to a first-round win over Cal State-Fullerton in the NCAA tournament with a team-high 22 points, one of just six tournament wins in program history.
She finished her career third among UM's all-time scorers with 1,320 points and ninth in rebounding with 582 career boards. She still ranks 11th in program history in scoring and holds the school record for field goals made in a single season with 251 in her senior year.
The Grizzly Hall of Fame induction banquet will be held at the Adams Center in Missoula on Oct. 27. The class of 2023 will be celebrated on the field during the Grizzlies' home football game against Northern Colorado on Oct. 28.