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Eric Peterson, Published May 02 2009

Dragons track and field alumni return to honor Masanz as he nears his birthday

Ron Masanz doesn’t turn 80 years old until later this month, but the former legendary Minnesota State Moorhead track coach will celebrate the occasion today.

The Ron Masanz Invitational starts at 10 a.m. today with field events at Alex Nemzek Stadium.

His 80th birthday will be celebrated with a noon luncheon at Comstock Memorial Union and a Dragon Alumni Buffet at 7:30 p.m. at Courtyard by Marriott in Moorhead.

Masanz said he expects around 90 of his former athletes will return for the weekend, coming from as far as Brazil.

“It’s a wonderful thing,” said Masanz, who turns 80 on May 28. “We’ll have a lot of fun and a lot of laughs. They are going to roast me.”

Masanz was head men’s track coach at MSUM for 20 years, leading the team from 1968-1986.

Masanz also returned for one season in 1990.

Masanz guided MSUM to a combined 28 indoor and outdoor conference titles and also coached 49 All-Americans. He is a member of the NAIA, NSIC and Dragons Hall of Fames.

The Dragons won 50 straight home indoor meets under Masanz from 1970-81. He also served as the NAIA representative at the 1984 Olympic Games.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com