George Lyman "Champ" Champlin, Jr.

February 27, 1911-November 7, 2004

George Lyman

George Champlin was a standout football and basketball player and was a member of the undefeated Cresco High School football team of 1927 his senior year. Champlin attended the University of Minnesota where he also played football and basketball. He played for the Fritz Crisler's Gopher team of 1931 and Bernie Beirman's 1932-1933 teams. Champlin was know as the "smallest quarterback in the Big Ten and known as the "Cresco Flash" being one of the fastest scat backs in the Big Ten. He was a member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and earned a B.A. in 1934. Champlin was one of the oldest "M" men before his death and was a strong supporter of Gopher sports.

It was during his college days that George Champlin convinced Norman Borlaug to attend the University of Minnesota with him because he could get Norman a job. Norman ditched is Iowa plans and went to the University with George. (If you could get a job, you could feed and house yourself). The University of Minnesota also credits George Champlin, Norman Borlaug and their Cresco High wrestling coach, Dave Bartelma, with starting the high school, community college and University of Minnesota wrestling programs.

George married Eunice Walker on December 25, 1934 and together they had 70 happy years and four children.
George Champlin worked for General Mills in sales and advertising and is credited by many as the man that named "Cheerios".  (Next time you eat your Cheerios remember a Cresco native named that popular cereal). Champlin entered the U.S. Navy in 1943 and served in France and Italy during WWII as a gunnery officer and assisted the French Underground. He has two Bronze Stars. After the war he returned to General Mills and worked another 20 years before joining Campbell-Mithum Advertising where he retired in 1977 as Vice President of Marketing.

Upon retirement, George and Eunice returned to Cresco, Iowa. He was instrumental in the restoration off the historic Cresco Theatre & Opera House, the north stands at the Cresco High football field, and many other civic projects. 

George Champlin had a passion for people, his community and truly made a difference to those who knew him (and those who did not).

Pictured together Gopher teammates George Champlin (left) at 5'6" is Bill Freimuth (right) at 6'7".