Neighbors: Remembering Roger Maris and a former NDSU basketball coach

Marvin Skaar as seen in 1979. Forum file photo

Today, Neighbors’ readers discuss a couple of area sports figures out of the past.

A column some time ago about the late basketball coach Marvin “Marv” Skaar brought memories for Pat Colliton, Fargo.

Marv coached high school boys teams at Oakes, N.D., and Grand Forks Central and college teams at Minnesota State University Moorhead from 1967 to 1972 and at North Dakota State University from 1972 to 1979.

Pat writes that “Marv and I, with our two eldest sons, made multiple pheasant hunting trips to the Oakes area, in the mid-to-late ’70s.

“Of course, everyone knew Marv as the former basketball coach, so we had no problem getting permission to hunt on posted land.


“If we stayed overnight, it was at the E and I Motel. Those initials stood for Ernie and Inez.”

Pat also mentions that Fargo’s famed baseball player Roger Maris was a year behind him at Shanley High School, Fargo, while Roger’s older brother Rudy was in his class.

“Rudy was on a par with Roger in his American Legion baseball team playing days,” Pat says. “But unfortunately, Rudy contracted a touch of polio in that era, and that adversely affected his baseball career.

“Roger and I were teammates on the Shanley basketball team of 1951,” Pat says. “Neither of us were that good. But our hearts were in it.

“Our coach was Sid Cichy. Needless to say, he also coached wrestling and track.

“Speaking of track, Roger routinely won the 100-yard dash in our track meets.”

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Another former coach

Last fall, Neighbors carried another story about Roger Maris .

That column “was of special interest to me,” writes Larry MacLeod, Fargo, “as it included information about Jerry Mehlisch, who was a player on the Moorhead State team which I was fortunate enough to coach in the 1950s.

“As I also coached the basketball squad, it seemed to be a good decision to have Jerry coach, too.

“I’d be remiss to neglect the fact that Jerry’s record was better than mine.

“At age 96,“ Larry concludes, “my memory is suspect, but I still remember those good old days.”

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email

Bob Lind
Bob Lind, Neighbors columnist. The Forum

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