Moose Lake star's name still resonates
Annie Adamczak's name recognition hasn't diminished much despite 30 years passing since she last donned a Moose Lake High School uniform.
When her husband, Mike Glavan, sat down with the vice president of operations at Delta Airlines for a job interview, the discussion turned to Glavan's upcoming visit to the Moose Lake area. "The (vice president) said, 'There was this athlete 25 years ago, Annie Adamczak, she was unbelievable,' " Adamczak said, retelling the conversation last week. "My husband says, 'Yeah, that's my wife.' The VP said, 'You are married to Annie Adamczak? She was the best athlete that I've ever seen in my life.' (Mike) said, 'He said 'I can't believe you're married to Annie Adamczak' five times.' "
Likewise, at this year's state fair, a stranger approached Adamczak and recognized her.
"She said, 'I played against you at Kansas State when you were at Nebraska, and you scared the heck out of us,' " Adamczak said. "My kids are looking at me and saying, 'This is so weird, Mom. Why would a complete stranger come up to you and ask you that?' And it happens at least two or three times a year, so that tells me how important high school sports were back when I played."
Five titles in 10 appearances in the Minnesota volleyball, basketball and softball state tournaments from 1978-82 obviously left quite an impression. Adamczak was the driving force behind those teams, which produced a combined 71-0 record and a three-sport title sweep her senior year.
Now 48 years old, Annie Glavan spends her time coaching Club 43, a volleyball team, and raising three children in Edina, Minn. She will be in Duluth tonight as one of five sports figures being inducted into the DECC Athletic Hall of Fame.
She's still in great shape, good enough, she says, to go toe-to-toe with her teenage pupils in the volleyball club.
"I was talking to a friend and she said, 'Annie, you are a freak in everything that you do. You pick up a basketball and you can still shoot, you play golf and you can skate. People don't come around like you anymore -- you are a freak,' " she said. "I think I must be a genetic freak."
Former Moose Lake volleyball coach Kathy Fredrickson, whose team won the 1975 state championship, had her share of top-shelf athletes come through the program, but never anyone as good as Adamczak. Fredrickson first noticed her in third grade physical education class, taking on the boys in dodgeball.
"She had a natural talent," Fredrickson said. "She was such a good athlete that she could have done anything. She could have been the state champion golfer or the state tennis champion."
The ninth of Bob and Bena Adamczak's 12 children, Annie grew up competing with eight brothers in sports and life. Those sibling rivalries in a sports-crazy family, along with quality coaches like Fredrickson and Bob Youso and excellent teammates such as Dianne Berg and Kris Jones at Moose Lake, helped push her toward icon status.
"I think all the things in the lab just happened to be in the right test tube at the right time," she said. "And I had the right attitude and personality to go with it."
Adamczak used that attitude to her full advantage.
"I'm cocky and a showboat -- I wanted the spotlight on me," she said. "When I played, you knew you were playing against me. That's just how I am. It never entered my mind that I wasn't good enough, even when I was 10 years old."
That spotlight reached a crescendo during the 1981 and '82 state basketball tournaments, which were televised, creating a new legion of fans during that dawning era of high school girls sports. As a result, many young girls started competing in athletics, and Annie Adamczak was among their idols.
"The more times we were on TV, it got more girls thinking 'Wow, I could be the next Janet Karvonen or the next Kelly Skalicky or I could pitch like Annie one day,' " she said. "We were pioneers. My favorite athletes were Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. I wanted to play in the NBA. My goal was to be a female in the NBA. I emulated them in the driveway and made a T-shirt with No. 33 and 'Bird' on the back. There were no female athletes to look up to when I grew up. Girls didn't play sports. That's where we were ground-breakers."
Despite Adamczak's basketball talents receiving most of the public's attention, she only received attention from college volleyball coaches. After not receiving any Division I basketball offers, she chose to play volleyball at Nebraska. Once crushed that she was unable to pursue her favorite sport, she eventually fell in love with volleyball as a Cornhusker.
Named All-American in 1985, she earned the respect of her coach, Terry Pettit, who once wrote in a Nebraska media guide: "If I had to go to war and could pick one person to be in the foxhole with, it would be Annie Adamczak. She's the most competitive player I've ever coached."
That competitiveness remains active today, whether it's just driving down the freeway or playing card games.
"When we play spoons, I am going to knock you off the chair to get that spoon," she said.
Adamczak has been married 19 years to Mike Glavan, a project manager at Delta, and they have three children: 17-year-old Elizabeth and 13-year-old twins Kate and Matthew.
She coached high school volleyball at Shattuck-St. Mary's in Faribault, St. Louis Park and Edina before deciding five years ago that club volleyball was the way to go. She now spends three or four nights a week giving back what she learned.
"Sports have been good to me," she said. "I'm lucky and fortunate enough to have a job in sports. I do what I want -- I coach and play."
DECC Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Harbor Side Convention Center at the DECC
Inductees: Multi-sport athlete Annie Adamczak-Glavan, race car drivers Bobby Archer and Tommy Archer, NFL official Bernie Kukar and sportscaster Bob Junkert
Tickets: $25, available at DECC; Grandma's Marathon, 351 Canal Park Dr.; and Duluth News Tribune, 424 W. First St.
Information: Grandma's Marathon, (218) 727-0947