MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University Sports Hall of Fame will induct four new members on Saturday, April 13 in the Great Lakes Room of the University Center. The dinner and program begins at 6 p.m. and the Sports Hall of Fame ceremony will once again be held in conjunction with the Student-Athlete Awards Banquet.
The third inductee in the class of 2013 is Dwight Hoffman. Hoffman was a four-time NCAA II National Champion and five-time NCAA II All-American on the men’s swimming and diving team from 1976-80. Hoffman dominated the one-meter and three-meter dives.
“I’ve been doing what I’m doing for 36 years now,” said former NMU and current University of Connecticut diving coach John Bransfield. “I’ve been at five universities and have had the good fortune of going to the NCAAs seven times. I have never had an athlete that worked as hard, was as focused and was committed to excelling as Dwight Hoffman. He set a standard. He single handedly launched my career.”
When Hoffman captured both the one and three-meter titles at the NCAA II Championships for the second consecutive year in March 1980, he became Northern’s first—and only—four-time National Champion in any sport. Hoffman came from behind to win the events during both his junior and senior years. The victories helped the Wildcats to two sixth-place finishes in the title meet for the 1979 and 1980 seasons.
Hoffman was invited to the NCAA Division I Championships in 1979 and 1980 after sweeping the two events.
“He just missed becoming an All-American at the Division I Nationals in 1980,” Bransfield said. “Several coaches came to me on the deck and said, ‘Where did you find that kid?’ and the paradox was that I happened to find him by doing my graduate work at Northern. Dwight just missed the top 16 and was frustrated because he was getting low balled by the judges for being from a Division II school. He did not get the respect he deserved and could've been an Olympian had he been in a situation where he trained in a year-round program with one of our elite coaches in the country, such as Ron O'Brien or Dick Kimball."
Hoffman was also an All-American in his sophomore year (1978), a four-time conference champion (1976-80) and team captain and MVP his final two seasons.
“To this day, I’ve never had someone as focused or self-motivated and concerned with brute honesty,” added Bransfield. “He did not want to be patronized. If he did something that was pretty good, you didn’t tell him it was good. He needed to know critically what needed to be done differently.”
Hoffman graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Prior to attending NMU, he graduated from Milan High School where he was the 1976 Michigan State Class B Diving Champion.
Professionally, Hoffman has had his own residential new home construction company for the last 20 years. Additionally, he runs the Oakland County Home Improvement Program for low and moderate-income residents in approximately 50 communities in the county.
"He had great body lines, powerful legs, great feet and could ride the board and jump with anybody," said Bransfield. "He also had a fast upper body, making for a perfect combination of various components.
“I owe him a great big thank you. This guy had it all. When I think back on what he did, it just blows my mind.”
Hoffman currently resides in Sylvan Lake with his wife Cate and 12-year old son Cole. He enjoys spending time with family, working around the house and in the yard, boating, waterskiing, snow skiing and golfing.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for NMU students and can be purchased at the Superior Dome Ticket Office or by calling 906-227-1032.
Photos: Dwight Hoffman
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