Blugold Hall of Fame
Dan Kelner spent only two years at UW-Eau Claire but made the most of it.
He won the conference outdoor 100 and 200-meter championships in both 1990 and 1991 after claiming the same two titles in 1987 and 1989 while attending UW-Superior. He added three relay golds at Eau Claire, giving him 11 WSUC titles for his career, seven at UWEC.
Kelner went on to win the NCAA Division III outdoor 200-meter championship in 1990 and also helped the Blugolds win a national championship in the 400-meter relay. Those championships keyed the Blugolds' fourth-place finish in the NCAA meet.
Kelner helped the Blugolds achieve some success at the prestigious Drake Relays in 1990 as the Blugolds won the 4x200 relay and finished third in both the 4x400 relay and the 4x100 relay.
Kelner is still the school record holder in six events--the outdoor 100 and 200 and as a member of the indoor 4x400 relay team and the outdoor 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 relay teams.
He shared team MVP honors with Hall of Famer Eric Burrell for the 1990 season.
With his speed, Kelner was also a breakaway threat as a wide receiver in football. After starring for three years at Superior, Kelner played his final season in a Blugold uniform in 1990. He caught 33 passes for 675 yards, an average of 20.4 yards per catch, and scored five touchdowns, three in one game against Stout to tie a school single game record.
After a four-year WSUC career in which he hauled in 129 passes for 2,875 yards and 22 touchdowns, Kelner was signed as a free agent by the New York Giants but was subsequently released.
He earned both his undergraduate and graduate degrees in biology from UW-Eau Claire in 1991 and 1994, respectively. He began his career as an aquatic biologist with Ecological Specialists, Inc. in St. Louis, Missouri. He was hired by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in 1999 as the coordinator of the Minnesota Statewide Freshwater Mussel Survey. Since 2002, he has been an aquatic biologist with the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers in St. Paul, Minnesota where the majority of his work focuses on the Upper Mississippi River. His primary duties for the Corps of Engineers involve environmental compliance, ecosystem restoration projects, and inventory, monitoring, and propagation studies designed to contribute to the conservation and recovery of federally-endangered mussel species.
His mussel research has led to a number of publications in scientific journals plus presentations at several professional society symposia in addition to articles published in the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine by the Minnesota DNR. Twice, he has been deployed for hurricane disaster relief--after Katrina in 2005 and after Ivan in 2004.
He and his wife Wendy, a special education teacher, have two sons: Alex, 10; and Adam, 8. With the two boys, Kelner has been involved in coaching youth football and baseball for a number of years.