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Where are they now?: Tim Hanson

03/22/2004, 12:00am CST
By Rob Litt

Where Are They Now?

Sometimes a long-time fan favorite or impact player will not be found splattered in the record books. He will not have his jersey hanging from The Barn's rafters, nor will he be a candidate for the University's athletic hall of fame. But these guys can have as much or more impact on a program than the all-time scoring and rebounding leaders. This describes Tim Hanson. The former Minnesota Mr. Basketball played as significant of a role in trying times for the state of Minnesota and the Golden Gopher Basketball program as anyone before or after him.

In the middle of the 1986 Big Ten season, the Gopher Basketball team was rocked with an ugly off-the-court incident leaving just five scholarship players able to suit for the Gophers. Tabbed as the "œIron Five", Hanson joined teammates John Shasky, Marc Wilson, Ray Gaffney, and Kelvin Smith to provide the most heroic of 40 minutes ever played at The Barn. Hanson and his teammates beat a solid Ohio State squad 65-60 and left an impression on Gopher fans that still lives today.

The Prior Lake, Minnesota, native remains a die-hard Gopher fan and recently spent time taking a look at the current program as well as reminiscing about living a childhood dream as a Golden Gopher Basketball player. Where has your post Gopher career taken you?

Tim Hanson: I have been in sales since I graduated the U. Currently I am the national sales manager for The Saunders Group in Chaska, Minnesota, which sells physical therapy equipment. Thinking back to your days as a Gopher, which game/games stick out the most and why?

Hanson: Three games stick out for me, in this order:

1. Iron Five vs. Ohio State 1986 - first game after the Madison incident. Beat an Ohio State team led by Dennis Hopson and Brad Sellers 65-60. All five starters played 40 minutes, or close to it! John Shasky, Marc Wilson, Ray Gaffney, Kelvin Smith, and myself. We may have all scored in double figures as well!

2. Loss at Indiana 72-70 in 1987. Indiana went on to win the national championship. We played as well as we could that night!

3. Iowa at home in 1988. Lost, but I had my career high with 22 points on 8-11 shooting. What former teammates/coaches do you most often keep in contact with?

Hanson: I keep in contact with Jim Shikenjanski, Richard Coffey, Kevin Lynch, Mario Green; and I still play ball with Shik and Mario. What does it mean to you to be a Golden Gopher?

Hanson: Growing up in Minnesota before the Timberwolves were here, playing for the Gophers was my dream as a kid. I will always be proud of playing for the Gophers. If there is one lesson you learned from a coach or teammate that stands out more than any other, what would it be?

Hanson: Coach Haskins used to say that "tomorrow is not promised to you." This especially hits home with the recent death of my old teammate Kim Zurcher. Kim was a tremendous person! Makes you want to live everyday to the fullest and treasure what you have! Who was the best teammate you ever played with and why?

Hanson: I could not possibly name one guy as the best teammate. Played with several outstanding players and even more outstanding people. Best player I played with was Tommy Davis in 1985. Who was the toughest player you ever played against and why?

Hanson: Glen Rice (Michigan) was the man. Great shooter, great rebounder, and a classy guy. 15,000 points in the NBA backs that up! If you could come back and suit up against one team, who would it be and why?

Hanson: Iowa at The Barn if I could play one more time! If you could give any advice to the current Gopher team, what would it be?

Hanson: If I could give advice to the current team, I'd tell them to let it all hang out. Play for the joy of the game like they did when they were growing up. Just have fun and don't worry about the results. Do you still follow the Gophers? If so, what are your thoughts on where the program is and what will it take to get back to the Final Four?

Hanson: Yes, I have season tickets and am a member of the Golden Dunkers. They have a long way to go, but the great thing is it only takes a couple of players in basketball to turn things around. Are there any current players whose game reminds you of your own?

Hanson: Michael Bauer is a different player than I was, but we were both streaky 3-point shooters.

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Tag(s): Where Are They Now?