A lot of great running backs went through Southwest in the 50’s: Bob Meredith, Paul Eddy, Tom Kassmir, Ron McCombs to name a few. Al Fischer was the last and arguably most decorated of the decade. For sure, he is the only one to play on two Rose Bowl teams and a National Champion after leaving SW.
While at Southwest, Al won ten letters with four in football, three in hockey and three in track. And success came quickly. The first time he touched the ball his freshman year, Al ran 40 yards for a touchdown in the opening game of the season against Big Nine Powerhouse, the Austin Packers. There were many to follow. And many awards.
Al was named first team All-City in both football and hockey during both his junior and senior years. He was twice voted Southwest’s Most Valuable player in football and was voted by the 11 City Conference coaches as the league’s Most Valuable Player during the 1958 season. He was also runner up at the City Conference track championship in both the 100 and 220 yard dashes. He was a finalist in both events at the State meet, and to this day no one in SW history has run the 100 or 220 faster.
After graduation Al played in the 1959 Shriner’s High School All Star Football Game playing on the South Team coached by the legendary Bernie Bierman. As a starter, he gained the second most yardage by a running back. One month later Al started his football career at the University of Minnesota playing for Murray Warmath alongside players like Outland Trophy winners Tom Brown and Bobby Bell, All Americans Sandy Stephens and Carl Eller, and many All Conference notables. A 160-pound running back, who played defense as well, Al was once referred to by Coach Warmath as “pound for pound the hardest hitter on our team.” He was also the fastest. Al was on the 1960 National Champion Gopher team that played Washington in the Rose Bowl on January 1, 1961. He also played in the 1962 Rose Bowl when the Gophers beat UCLA.
He has the distinction of having caught the final touchdown pass thrown by All American Sandy Stephens. Until last fall, he was also the last Minneapolis City Conference player to score a TD for the Gophers.