Oluf Roy Haugsrud was an American sports executive, a successful businessman, philanthropist, gentleman, and a leader of men and an outstanding citizen born in Superior, Wis., on May 13, 1899.

“Fascinating figure. He left such an indelible mark, locally on the sports scene, and I don’t think people realize. The first NFL team in the state of Minnesota was not the Minnesota Vikings, it was the Duluth Eskimo’s, and it was owned by Ole Haugsrud,” said Jon Garver, the director of athletics communications here at The University of Wisconsin-Superior. Garver is certainly curiosity about the number of people who live in Superior, who knows who Haugsrud was and the impact he made.

Oluf Roy Haugsrud

Haugsrud was owner of the Duluth Eskimos of the National Football League, in the late-1920s. “The Eskimos were the last pro-team Duluth had in the National League. A semi-pro league, made up of Ironwood, Superior, Duluth, Eveleth, Virginia, International Falls, and Cloquet held the local boards after we took to the road in 1926 and continued to do so up through 1935,” wrote Ole Haugsrud.

Haugsrud later wrote on showing appreciation for the fans. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the fans for the support they have given professional football in this vicinity,” wrote Haugsrud. “Coming back to the ‘roaring 20s’ of professional football history, social, industrial, and athletic life at the Head of the Lakes was about as boisterous as in other parts of the United States,” wrote Haugsrud.

Haugsrud was part owner of the Minnesota Vikings until his death in 1976. Haugsrud was the senior nominee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1973, but unfortunately, he was not elected in the hall of fame. The Vikings name and team colors are the same as Central High Haugsrud’s high school that was in Superior.

“I can’t imagine what Duluth was like in the 1920s when you had an NFL team, and the city was growing the way it was, and what that even was like for the city of Superior, too. You go back 100 years, and a lot of people were looking at Superior, as this is going to be like Chicago, this is going to be a north Chicago, basically. They expected it to be that size, they expected the population to grow that much because of the port and everything, and that never came to fruition,” Garver finished.

Tim Foster happily announces partnership on Sept. 14, 2022, between UW-Superior and Superior Choice Credit Union for new sports stadium where it will replace the Ole Haugsrud Memorial Field.

In 1983, Haugsrud was a recipient of the Carl Vergamini Contributions to Yellowjacket Athletic Award. Haugsrud also served on the UWS Foundation Board of Directors from 1967 to 1976 and his personal reflection papers can still be found in the Jim Dan Hill Library.

A field, named “Memorial Field” was built in 1954 on the campus of UWS after Haugsrud on October 23, 1976, as a dedication. This field later was named to “Ole Haugsrud Memorial Field.”

The UWS football team played there until the team went out of existence in 1992 in the middle of the football season. The Superior High School Spartans played on Ole Haugsrud Field until 2014.

This field is an icon to many people who used to play football on this field. “It was a great feeling. The history of Ole Haugsrud and Superior, the rich football tradition, knowing there was a lot of great players who played on that field,” said former UWS football player Ray Kosey.

Kosey is proud to have the opportunity to play for UWS and loved the day games. “It was a neat atmosphere walking from the locker room to the field, seeing the people tailgate, cars driving by on Belknap, those nice Saturday afternoons,” added Kosey.

This field also impacted lives of those who grew up right here in Superior and had the opportunity to play for UWS. “It was quite an experience for several reasons. Growing up in Superior, I played football here, as a young kid, I was a ball boy for the high school team at Ole Haugsrud Field, played high school football here, a lot of great memories. So, having the opportunity to play another four years, and play at Ole Haugsrud, was a neat opportunity to play at the field I grew up near,” said former UWS quarterback Bob DeMeyer.

The Ole Haugsrud Memorial Field will be torn down for the new Superior Choice Credit Union Stadium that was announced on Sept. 14, 2022. The stadium is now set to be completed by the Fall 2024 semester.