Former Two Harbors basketball star diesFormer Two Harbors and University of Minnesota basketball star Ed Kernan died on Thursday in Eau Claire, Wis., from complications due to Parkinson’s Disease. He was 85.
By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune
Former Two Harbors and University of Minnesota basketball star Ed Kernan died on Thursday in Eau Claire, Wis., from complications due to Parkinson’s Disease. He was 85.
Kernan, nicknamed “Punky,” earned 10 varsity letters at Two Harbors, three each in football, basketball and track and also earned the school’s first varsity tennis letter. He quarterbacked the Agates’ football team and was the leading scorer. He was also captain of Two Harbors’ 1944 basketball team and was Big 6 conference scoring champion in 1943 and 1944, establishing new conference scoring records each year.
Kernan enlisted in the Army Air Corps following the attack on Pearl Harbor and began military training upon graduating from Two Harbors in the spring of 1944. World War II ended and Kernan enrolled at the University of Minnesota, where he quickly earned a starting guard position, with former Gophers coach Dave McMillan calling him “the greatest freshman basketball player ever” at Minnesota.
Kernan earned three letters and was the highest scoring guard in the Big 10, and on New Year’s Eve, 1945, he outscored George Mikan 17 to 11 as the Gophers defeated top-ranked and defending national champion DePaul 45-36 at Williams Arena.
After college Kernan coached at the high school and college levels and was an athletic director and coach at Northland College in Ashland. He later had a successful 24-year business career before retiring in 1989.
Kernan was inducted into the Northland College Sports Hall of Fame in 1984 and was a charter member of the Two Harbors Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.