American Football Database
John Roning
Biographical details
Born(1910-12-02)December 2, 1910
Red Wing, Minnesota, U.S.
DiedOctober 3, 2001(2001-10-03) (aged 90)
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Minnesota
Playing career
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Gustavus Adolphus
Minnesota (E)
North Carolina Pre-Flight (E)
Minnesota (Backfield)
Utah Agricultural
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
Gustavus Adolphus
South Dakota
Head coaching record
College Football Data Warehouse

John Roning (December 2, 1910 – October 3, 2001) was an American college football player, coach, former athletic director and commissioner of the Big Sky Conference. After he played end for Minnesota from 1932 through 1934, Roning entered the coaching ranks. After a few years coaching in the high school ranks, Roning became the head coach at Gustavus Adolphus in 1939. After he left Gustavus Adolphus in 1942, Roning served as an assistant coach at Minnesota and North Carolina Pre-Flight before he took head coaching positions at Utah Agricultural and later Denver. He then served as athletic director at South Dakota during the 1960s and then as commissioner of the Big Sky Conference from 1971 through 1977.

Early life and career

Roning was an end for Bernie Bierman at Minnesota from the 1932 through the 1934 seasons.[1] He started at end during their 1934 national championship season.[2] In 1939, Roning took over at Gustavus Adolphus College where he served as athletic director, football, basketball and track coach.[2] During his tenure as football head coach, Roning led the Gusties to an overall record of 17 wins, five losses and one tie (17–5–1).[3] He led the Gusties to the 1940 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) championship; however, the school was suspended from the MIAC for the 1941 season for its perceived "overemphasis" on collegiate athletics.[4] From Adolphus, Roning served as an assistant coach at Minnesota, with North Carolina Pre-Flight and again at Minnesota before he became head coach at Utah Agricultural.[1]

Utah Agricultural and Denver

Roning was hired at Utah Agricultural in January 1951 to replace George Melinkovich.[1] During his four-year tenure as head coach of the Aggies, Roning had an overall record of 18 wins, 21 losses and two ties (18–21–2).[5][6] In February 1955, he resigned as head coach at Utah Agricultural to become the head coach of the Denver Pioneers.[7] During his six-year tenure as head coach of the Pioneers, Roning had an overall record of 27 wins and 33 losses (27–33).[5] He was relieved of his head coaching duties in January 1961 when the university decided to no longer field a football team due to the costs of operating the program.[8]

Later life

After the closure of the Denver football program, in 1961 Roning accepted the position of athletic director at the University of South Dakota.[9] He remained at South Dakota through 1971 when he was selected to serve as commissioner of the Big Sky Conference.[9][10] He served as commissioner through June 1977 when he was replaced by Steve Belko.[11] Roning retired to Denver, Colorado, where he resided until his death at age 90 on October 3, 2001.[9]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Gustavus Adolphus Gusties (Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) (1939–1941)
1939 Gustavus Adolphus 6–2 3–2 4th
1940 Gustavus Adolphus 7–1 5–0 1st
1941 Gustavus Adolphus 4–2–1
Gustavus Adolphus: 17–5–1 8–2
Utah A.C. Aggies (Mountain States Conference) (1951–1954)
1951 Utah A.C. 3–5–1 2–4–1 6th
1952 Utah A.C. 3–7–1 3–4 T–5th
1953 Utah A.C. 8–3 5–4 2nd
1954 Utah A.C. 4–6 4–3 3rd
Utah A.C.: 18–21–2 14–15–1
Denver Pioneers (Mountain States Conference) (1955–1960)
1955 Denver 8–2 5–2
1956 Denver 6–4 4–3
1957 Denver 6–4 5–2
1958 Denver 2–8 2–4
1959 Denver 2–8 2–4
1960 Denver 3–7 1–6
Denver: 27–33 19–21
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
#Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Roning named as USAC grid mentor". The Deseret News. January 28, 1951. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "John Roning: Inducted 1982". Gustavus Adolphus Athletic Hall of Fame. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
  3. "Gustavus Adolphus Football Records: Year-By-Year Records with Coaches". Retrieved December 2, 2012.
  4. "Gustavus Adolphus draws suspension". The Milwaukee Journal. United Press. April 7, 1941. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
  5. 5.0 5.1 DeLassus, David. "All-Time Coaching Records: John Roning". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
  6. Miller, Hack. "Success formula at Utah State". The Deseret News: p. 6A. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
  7. "Denver University picks John Roning". Eugene Register-Guard. February 9, 1955. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
  8. "Denver University drops football". The Spokesman-Review. January 10, 1961. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Former South Dakota athletic director John Roning dies Oct. 3". October 17, 2001. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
  10. "Frosh can play Sky grid sport". Spokane Daily Chronicle. November 25, 1970. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
  11. "Belko planning a different look for Big Sky". Eugene Register-Guard. June 10, 1977. Retrieved December 2, 2012.

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