Basketball and Baseball
Jack Thurnblad grew up in Chicago, Illinois, and graduated from St. Mel High School, where he starred in football, basketball and baseball. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he played service basketball and baseball. Discharged with the rank of Chief Petty Officer, he went to spring training with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1946.
Thurnblad won six letters in basketball and baseball at Carleton, captained both the 1947-48 and 1948-49 basketball teams and the 1949 baseball team. He was named to the first-team All-Midwest Conference squad in basketball for three consecutive years. In his sophomore year, he set two Carleton scoring records: 291 points in one year and a Sayles-Hill record of 29 points in a single game.
After graduation, he became head basketball and baseball coach and an assistant in football at Hastings High School. In five years his teams won 57 games and lost 40. In 1954 he moved to Wayzata High School as head basketball coach. In six years at the smallest school in the powerful Lake Conference, his teams won 81 and lost only 44. His 1958 team won the conference championship, and his 1959 squad finished the season with 13 straight wins and the Minnesota State Championship. That year he was named the Minnesota Coach of the Year and Wayzata Teacher of the Year.
Thurnblad returned to Carleton in 1960 as head basketball coach. In 1970 he was named athletic director and chairman of the Department of Physical Education. His 16-year record at Carleton in 152 wins and 150 losses. In 1964 he traveled over 20,000 miles in Australia giving clinics at the invitation of the Australian Basketball Union. He was elected to the NCAA Basketball Rules Committee in 1973.