As a teacher and coach for 50 years I can reflect on my career of working with kids as a time of fulfillment and great satisfaction.
My interest in hockey began at a very young age on a rink across the street from my house in Eveleth, Mn., home of the Hockey Hall of Fame. I looked out of my bedroom window and saw hockey icon John Mayasich skating on the rink with his Gopher jersey on. I put on my skates and joined him for some passing and skill instruction. Ever since that time I wanted to play for the Gophers and be a hockey coach.
While playing for Eveleth High School, the first part of that dream came true when John Mariucci, also an Eveleth native, offered me a scholarship to play for the Gophers (1961-1965). Following college graduation, I fulfilled the second part of the dream when I accepted a teaching and coaching position in Grafton North Dakota. After four years there I moved forty miles south where I taught and coached at Grand Forks Central and my teams won three consecutive state championships. My goal was to get back to Minnesota and in 1973 I accepted a teaching and coaching position in Albert Lea. I taught physical education and special education at the high school. I had a rewarding experience teaching the students in both areas. I’m currently retired from teaching, but I’m still coaching the high school hockey team in Albert Lea.
I have coached well over a thousand games in my career. During those years I received many coaching awards due to the dedicated , talented, and hard working players that I have coached. I feel very humbled to have been able to coach so many fantastic kids throughout my years of coaching. I am now coaching many of the sons of my former players.
Being from the Iron Range, I was raised with a strong work ethic and I try to pass that on to my players. I’m often remembered for saying to the boys before a game, “Pull up your bootstraps and get your lunch pails boys—its time to go to work!” My after game philosophy is “Don’t get too high on the wins or too low on the losses!” My love of the game, the enjoyment I get from working with kids, and the fun of coaching with my son and my assistant coaches who are all former players are all reasons why I have been coaching for fifty years. I am often asked how long I will continue to coach. My reply is “I feel blessed to have been able to do this and I will continue as long as I’m having fun and I’m healthy.
My family includes my wife, Jan, of fifty years who is also my most enthusiastic supporter; son David, my assistant for 25+ years; daughter Stefanie, a teacher in Lakeville, and her family—husband Randy, a businessman; grandson Riley,16, a Lakeville high school hockey player; grandson Ben, 12, a AA peewee hockey player in Lakeville; and granddaughter Haley, 11, a swimmer and a participant in gymnastics.