Abbot Pennings 1973
2019 Athletic Division
Todd was born on Feb. 19, 1955, a month prior to the passing of Abbot Pennings. His father, Kelly, played basketball at St. Norbert High School, graduating in 1947. His mother, Joan (Janssen) Danen, a 1947 graduate of Nicolet High School, was the oldest child of Robert “Buck” Janssen, proprietor of Buck’s Tavern.
As a youngster, Todd watched his father play basketball in “money” tournaments and referee high school games throughout northeastern Wisconsin. The experience introduced him to several referees, legendary high school coaches and many of his father’s teammates. His father passed away in 1969, when Todd was 14 years old. Amongst the many gifts his father left him, the most significant were the relationships Todd enjoyed with his father’s friends.
Todd’s playing career began in 1965-66 as a fifth-grader at St. Joseph Grade School located on De Pere’s west side. At the time, Todd was also hanging around Van Dyke, the historic gymnasium built in 1930 on the campus of St. Norbert College. His father introduced him to the old gym and Abbot Pennings High School basketball games. Todd’s dream was to be a Squire.
As a freshman at APHS, Todd played with Paul Gigot from Resurrection and three kids from St. Boniface – Phil Arant, Paul Deacon and Dick Hendricks. The five became good friends and were starters on the freshmen basketball team, junior varsity squad as sophomores and varsity during their senior season.
As a junior in 1971-72, Todd helped APHS to a Fox Valley Catholic Conference title and the consolation championship at the WISSA State Tournament in Milwaukee. The Squires finished with a record of 23-3, and Todd was a second-team all-conference and all-metro selection. As a senior in 1972-73, Todd led the
Squires to a 20-2 record, including a perfect 18-0 run in FVCC. The Squires ranked as high as fifth in the state rankings, and Todd was named conference player of the year, Green Bay Metro player of the year, and earned first-team Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI) all-state honors.
Following high school, Todd accepted a scholarship to play basketball at Florida Technological University in Orlando, now known as Central Florida University. Todd played in every game as a freshman and enjoyed his short stay in Florida. However, his heart was in the old Van Dyke Gym. He transferred to St. Norbert College where he was regarded as a solid teammate and a selfless player known for his passing, rebounding, shot blocking and occasional on-court shenanigans.
Todd married Anne Vandeveld in 1990, and they have two children, Patrick, a sophomore at SNC, and, Sean, a freshman at De Pere High School. He worked for Journey House in Milwaukee for 12 years, as their director of development. Following Patrick’s birth, the family moved to Missouri where Todd taught special education in the St. Louis Public School District. The family located to De Pere in 2006, and Todd spent two years at Rawhide Boys Ranch before joining the advancement office at SNC.