Longtime Gustavus Athletic Director James “Moose” Malmquist Dies At 85

Posted on August 18th, 2016 by

UPDATE: Memorial services for “Moose” Malmquist have been announced.

Saturday, October 1 – 9 a.m. Memorial Service in Christ Chapel will be live streamed through the Gustavus website.

Monday, October 3 – Memorial Service at Elim Lutheran Church in Scandia, Minn. Visitation at 10 a.m., service at 11 a.m., and lunch following at noon at Elim Lutheran Church.

ST. PETER, Minn. – Former Gustavus Adolphus College Athletic Director James “Moose” Malmquist ’53 died Wednesday morning at the age of 85. Funeral arrangements are being made and will be announced soon.

Malmquist poses during his freshman season on the Gustavus football team.

Malmquist poses during his freshman season on the Gustavus football team.

Malmquist, a 1949 graduate of Grand Rapids High School, enrolled at Gustavus in the fall of ’49 and joined the football team. He was a three-year starter on three MIAC Championship teams under the direction of legendary coach Lloyd Hollingsworth. He started at fullback in 1950 and then moved to linebacker in both 1951 and 1952 and captained the ’52 squad. He earned all-conference honorable mention in 1951 and received both all-conference and all-state honors in 1952. In his senior year, he was honored with the College’s Langsjoen Medal, given to the senior athlete with the highest grade point average. Malmquist is one of a select few players who can boast never having lost a football game to a conference opponent.

Moose graduated in 1953 after having been selected for the College’s Guild of St. Ansgar. He returned to Gustavus in 1957 as a hockey coach and an instructor in physical education. Malmquist left Gustavus in 1958 to become athletic director and head football coach at Texas Lutheran University where he remained for three years before becoming the athletic director and head football coach at Augustana College of South Dakota in 1962. In 1969, Malmquist moved back to northern Minnesota to become the head football coach at Bemidji State University. After five years at Bemidji, he returned to his alma mater in 1974 to become the athletic director and chairman of the Department of Physical Education and Health. He also served as an assistant coach for football and track and field.

Moose standing proudly inside the Lund Center Athletic Complex. He headed a team which oversaw the entire building project.

Moose standing proudly inside the Lund Center Athletic Complex. He headed a team which oversaw the entire building project.

Malmquist served as Gustavus’s athletic director from 1974-1997. During his tenure, the Gusties won 82 conference championships and 13 national championships. Under his guidance, the College’s athletic department grew from sponsoring 11 varsity athletic programs to 23. Moose was at the forefront of the growth of women’s intercollegiate sports and supported coaches regardless of their gender or which sport they were involved in. One of the highlights of Malmquist’s tenure directing the athletic department was the planning and construction of the $9 million Lund Center for Health, Physical Education and Recreation, which was completed in 1984. Malmquist served as Chair of the Building Committee and headed a three-person administrative team which oversaw the entire project. Malmquist was also highly regarded by his peers nationally as he served as the president of the NAIA Athletic Directors Association for the 1982-83 school year and was also the chair of the NCAA Division III Football Committee in 1993-94. He was inducted into the Gustavus Athletics Hall of Fame in 1984.

At the time of his retirement in 1997, Malmquist left these parting words: “I have been richly blessed. In my mind’s eye I see the faces of my former players. I recall both their troubles and their triumphs. I revel in their accomplishments and their successes. I remember the big wins and a lot of tough losses. I remember best the friendships, the laughter, the fulfillment and the love.”

Malmquist is survived by his four children – Mike ’77, Casey ’79, Lauri, and David ’83.

The Gustavus Quarterly, Spring 1997 – Moose Malmquist: A Gustie For All Seasons, by Jim Rueda



  1. Leon Lunder says:

    Moose had the strength, the knowledge and the will of a true champion. In addition he possessed the courage to do the right thing. It was an honor and a privilege to serve as an MIAC athletic director during his tenure. He was a valued colleague and mentor. My life is better for having known him. My thanks to his family and friends for sharing him with us. May is memory live in our hearts.

  2. Dave D. Dropp says:

    My life was truly blessed by having Jim coach the 69 Beaver Football Team. I have many wonderful memories from that year. Jim thanks for all you have done for us. When you catch up to Coach Hosier make sure you save a place on your roster for me. I Love you!!!
    Dave (Deacon) Dropp

  3. Jack Hill says:

    The memory of Jim Malmquist will live in my heart forever. He was my football coach in 69 and 70 and also my Phy Ed teacher at Bemidji. He taught me a lot about being a player and most of all about being a man. He will never be forgotten and will surely be missed. May God Bless and Heaven continue to smile on you.

  4. Gary Sandbo says:

    He cut a wide swath as player, coach, and Director of Athletics. I was blessed to play for him at Augustana College from ’65-’67 and helped coach the freshmen football team for him at Bemidji State in 1970. A man of courage and integrity throughout his career. Three things for sure about Coach Malmquist – he loved Lloyd Hollingsworth, he loved Gustavus, and he loved his family.