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

Memorial services are scheduled for 9 a.m. on Saturday, October 1 in Christ Chapel.
Posted on August 18th, 2016 by

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


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin



  1. Charlie Knott says:

    I played for Coach Malmquist for 4 years at Bemidji State. He was a great man, a super coach totally passionate about the game. I respect him tremendously and am thankful of the opportunity to play for him and also for the friendship developed over the years.
    God bless you Coach and thanks for all you did for so many!

  2. Bob "OLE" Olson says:

    I have very fond memories of “Moose” Malmquist. First, I had the opportunity to play hockey for GAC when “Moose” started the GA hockey program. Second, he hired Wilt Croonquist and myself to prepare and clean up the field house for basketball home games, lime the football field for home games, and lastly water the outdoor hockey rink for practice and home games. I also remember baby sitting for his to young boys when he has to be away for the evening. A great friend and coach who taught me many things while attending GAC. Many fond memories

  3. Jerry Anderson says:

    Moose and I became friends in late 40’s at Grand Rapids High School as we were teammates in all 4 sports GRHS offered in those days. Our friendship continued over the years with many memorable experiences. Moose visited us at our homes in Des Moines and Edina plus at Ms Anderson’s family summer cottage on Sugar Lake. I met all of his Texas Lutheran coaching pals when they came through Des Moines on a basketball trip. Also a funny memory occurred when he was at Augustana as I received a phone call on Thursday night ” Jer this is Moose — We are playing Augustana of Illinois and will be coming through Des Moines Saturday night. I need 40 motel rooms -can you help me out ? ” Fortunately I was able to accomodate him at two Holiday Inns and he stopped over to our home late Saturday night and I sent him to his motel at 4:00 AM. Any time we were in the Twin Cities we called Moose & Judy and had dinners. They visited us in AZ on one of their winter excursions. We had occasional phone conversations over the years , the last was from his hospital bed a few months ago. Always a man of faith & pride in his family, I loved the guy and he reciprocated.

  4. Steve Cook says:

    Moose was a major inspiration in getting the MIAC to adopt MISOA as the official association to provide soccer officials in the late 1980’s. He was a wonderful man who was very supportive of our mission at that time. Steve Cook (Cookie) Co-Founder of MISOA (Minnesota Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association)