Dick Jonckowski reminisces during book signing

Dick Jonckowski, left, with Bill Marek during Jonckowski’s presentation and book signing the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 3, at the New Prague Library. Jonckowski, once the announcer for the Minnesota Gophers, grew up in New Prague and was a coach of Marek, a New Prague High School graduate. Marek is wearing his letterman’s jacket from the Class of 1969.

Dick Jonckowski, who grew up in New Prague and went on to have a career in sports as an athlete and an announcer, was back in his hometown on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at the New Prague Library. While there to present his book, “It’s All about Me: Dick Jonckowski: a Minnesota Treasure,” he also reminisced about growing up in New Prague and his career.

Jonckowski said that people hear the title of his book and laugh. He added one of his children suggested the name.

Too many people Jonckowski is known as an announcer for state sports teams. He was the voice of Gopher basketball on the publicaddress system for 31 years, and the voice of Gopher baseball for the past 30 years. He noted he also spent 10 years as an announcer for Gopher football. He also has been a speaker and emcee across the state and even spent time announcing for the American Wrestling Association (AWA) and working with Verne Gagne. He got to know quite a few of the wrestlers, from Baron von Raschke to Hulk Hogan.

“Out of the ring most of them were good guys,” said Jonckowski.

During his program he said his family moved to New Prague in 1957. “It was a great town to grow up in,” he added. His dad owned the movie theater, which led to a few friends trying to get in for free. Jonckowski had heard of New Prague when it was in the boys basketball state tournament in 1955 and ’56 with Ron Johnson a stand out player in both seasons. Johnson also went on to have a stand out career with the University of Minnesota and played in the NBA (National Basketball Association) for one season. Jonckowski said that at the....

To see more on this story pick up the December 26, 2019 print edition of The New Prague Times. 

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