| Concordia vs. St. Olaf | Football | Founded: 1974 |
Herb Morgenthaler, a 1961 Concordia graduate, and Mark Halaas, who is a former Concordia alumni director, developed the Troll idea. They wanted a unique way to welcome St. Olaf back into the MIAC. The Oles had left the conference for more than 20 years before rejoining in the 1970s. Since Concordia and St. Olaf both have Norwegian heritage, using a troll – which is part of Norse mythology – was a way to reflect that.
The Troll's origins can be traced to the mountains near Lillehammer. That's where John Proitz, who made trolls from natural items, lived. Morgenthaler got the Troll trophy through Jim Johnson, who operated a Scandinavian-themed store in the Twin Cities for four decades. Johnson has since retired.
While Johnson is Swedish, his wife, Mary, is Norwegian. Johnson found out about Proitz through his wife's relatives who lived in Lillehammer. In the fall, Proitz would climb pine trees and bag moss that he would use through the winter to make trolls, Johnson said. Proitz also used natural items like pine cones for toenails and fingernails.
Concordia and St. Olaf have played for The Troll since 1974. In 2013, The Troll's lore grew with an appearance on ESPN College GameDay, where the show's hosts dubbed it: "The Ugliest Rivalry Trophy in College Football." The Troll has also been featured in the Fargo Forum, and received other media and social media attention.