Former DL volleyball coach Sam Mattson Gulon to be inducted into Minnewaska Athletic Hall of Fame
Sam Mattson, Glenwood High School Class of 1986, enjoyed a decorated career as a multiple-sport athlete at Glenwood High School and will be inducted to the Minnewaska Area Schools Hall of Fame this September.
She became the first female basketball player in the history of GHS to net more than 1000 points. Her career total of 1,353 makes her, to this date, the most prolific girls’ basketball scorer in the history of the four schools that form the footprint of the Minnewaska district (Glenwood, Starbuck, Villard, and Minnewaska Area High School).
These points were scored during an era without the three-point line and seasons that were frequently six to eight games shorter, compared to today.
Though Sam earned several letters competing in track and field, volleyball, and fastpitch softball, basketball was the activity that she excelled in. Her father (the late Ray Mattson) worked with Sam and her younger sister, J.J., teaching them basketball fundamentals before the two entered elementary school. It was in the younger years that the Mattson sisters developed their love and enthusiasm of the sport. Sam’s skill set would be enhanced by attending basketball camps during the summer months and during pick-up games at the Glenwood High School gym.
She is grateful to the young men who would allow her into these workouts. With the boys having the height advantage in the paint, Sam played mostly in the backcourt, allowing her to continue to develop her outside game while also becoming a better passer and ball handler.
As a freshman, Sam earned an Honorable Mention to the All-West Central Conference squad. She followed that up by being selected as the conference’s Most Valuable Player as a sophomore. Sam was in line to possibly reach 1,000 career points by the end of her junior season, but a knee injury sidelined her for a period of five games. The basket that vaulted Sam over the 1000 point barrier came on a baseline jumper against Long Prairie in the 1985-86 season opener. Led by Sam, her sister J.J., Kris Robideaux, Anne Callen, and 6’2” post player Sharon Trainor, the high-scoring Glenwood Lakers enjoyed one of their most memorable seasons that year, finishing with 18 victories.
Sam Mattson was honored by her Laker teammates with the Most Valuable Player award in each of the four years that she received a varsity letter in basketball. She earned All-Conference distinction in each of her last three seasons, and was selected to the All-Area Basketball Team following her sophomore and senior years.
Her talents extended to other sports in addition to basketball. As a volleyball player, Sam’s presence as an attacker helped Glenwood capture West Central Conference titles in 1984 and 1985 under the new head coach Steve Knutson. She earned spots on the All-WCC volleyball squads in her final three years, during which she was the Lakers’ MVP. Sam’s performance on the volleyball court in her final season netted her the Most Valuable Player award in the West Central Conference. Noting that volleyball was not considered her best activity, Sam takes extra pride in also being selected to the All-Area Volleyball team following her final season.
Sam lettered in fastpitch softball four times, while lettering as a track and field athlete in her senior year. She qualified for the Region 6A Track and Field meet in the long jump.
Sam’s dedication and commitment to co-curricular activities have long been a source of pride for the Mattson family. J.J. Mattson Wegner notes that her older sister was one of her biggest influences growing up. “Imagine being able to play with your hero and mentor...., to be teammates, to learn from her and be ‘coached’ by her. So not only was she the amazing athlete that she was, Sam also took the time to help me become the person I am today...., always encouraging and helping me grow,” concluded Wegner.
It is noted that her varsity basketball coach at Glenwood High School, Gerry “Herm” Hill, was a major influence in shaping Sam’s career. Coach Hill was a tremendous teacher of the game, and is credited with developing Sam into a more well-rounded, team player.
After graduating from Glenwood High School in 1986, Sam played basketball at the University of Minnesota-Morris while furthering her education. She was a three-year starter for the Cougars and was named Rookie of the Year as well as being named Conference Player of the Week several times.
Presently, Sam Gulon and her family (husband Tom, along with children Sydney and John) reside in the Detroit Lakes area. She is a Language Arts instructor at Detroit Lakes Middle School. From 1995-99, Sam was at the helm of the Detroit Lakes Lakers volleyball program that captured five Mid-State Conference Championships, en route to a cumulative record of 88-40.
Hall of Fame Banquet Information
Date: Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014
Time: 5 p.m. Social Hour; 6 p.m. Dinner with Program/Induction to follow.
Location: Minnewaska House in Glenwood, Minn.
Tickets: $25 per adult and $10 for children 10 and under Banquet tickets can be purchased at the following locations: Community Education Activities Office at Minnewaska Area High School; Glenwood State Bank in Glenwood and Villard; and Eagle Bank in Glenwood, Starbuck, and Villard.
You may also purchase tickets by going online to www.eventbrite.com - Search for “Minnewaska Area” and “Glenwood.”
Deadline to purchase tickets is September 3. Questions about the Hall of Fame Banquet can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also call 320.239.1311.