John's Journal
New Ulm Hosts One Of Minnesota’s Great Athletic Traditions4/14/2014
For 60 years, senior athletes from New Ulm’s three high schools have been honored at a grand gathering every spring. The event is a banquet hosted by the New Ulm Club, a civic group dedicated to serving and supporting the athletic programs at New Ulm High School, New Ulm Cathedral and Minnesota Valley Lutheran.

The New Ulm Club is unique in that its membership is limited to 30 members. The longest-serving member in club history is Red Wyczawski, who has been on board for 42 years. I’ve known Red for many years, and during last year’s state softball tournament he invited me to speak at the 2014 Athletic Appreciation Banquet (as it is formally known).

The event was held earlier this month, and it was a real treat for me. Previous speakers include Jesse Owens, Dan Devine, Mick Tingelhoff, Paul Giel, Dick Beardsley, Janet Karvonen, Dave Stead, John Gagliardi and many other well-known names.

Senior athletes who have earned at least one varsity letter, along with their families, are invited to the banquet, which is held in the gymnasium at Martin Luther College. Everyone enjoyed a splendid dinner, all the senior athletes were recognized, and the evening culminated with one female and one male from each school honored with plaques as their school’s outstanding senior athletes.

Framed photos of the winners from each year since 1955 were positioned for everyone to see during the banquet. When the 61st banquet is held next year, a photo of the 2014 winners will join the list.

Named this year’s outstanding athletes (pictured) were Russ Hoffman and Karlee Pfaff from Cathedral, Chad Lease and Nicole Moldstad from Minnesota Valley Lutheran and Judd David and Ellie Schneider from New Ulm High. Those six multi-sport athletes have combined to earn 46 letters in football, baseball, volleyball, basketball, softball, soccer and hockey.

The banquet is a great way to honor New Ulm’s senior athletes, and it is unique in that three schools come together to celebrate. There is no other event like it in Minnesota, and maybe in the nation.

Congratulations to the New Ulm Club on its commitment to high school athletics!

*Schools/teams John has visited: 406
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 9,626
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
Rochester Lourdes Coach Myron Glass Announces His Retirement4/11/2014
Myron Glass, who has been a member of the coaching staff at Rochester Lourdes for 41 years, has announced his retirement. Myron coached cross-country and girls basketball, winning state championships in both sports and creating one of the greatest traditions in Minnesota high school sports.

I wrote about Myron in January, when he was uncertain if he would retire. Here is that story ...


If numbers help define Myron Glass, don't look at the number of girls basketball state championship teams he has coached at Rochester Lourdes High School. Or the number of teams he has taken to state tournaments. Or the state titles his teams have captured in cross-country and track.

Those numbers are indeed impressive. Under Glass the Eagles have won eight basketball titles, which is a state record he shares with Faith Johnson Patterson, formerly of Minneapolis North and currently at DeLaSalle. And Glass has coached 15 teams to state tourneys, which is the most in girls basketball history.

The numbers that really count, however, are the numbers of girls he has mentored, taught, coached and led since his career as a teacher and coach began at Lourdes in 1968. He has been the Eagles' girls basketball coach since 1983.

"He's given his life to this school," said Lourdes athletic director Marv Peters. "That's the easiest way to say it."

Glass is one of the pioneers of girls athletics in Minnesota. He helped start girls programs at Lourdes, building models for many other schools in southeastern Minnesota and around the state.

"Look at how far the young ladies have come," Glass said. "That's something that myself and others can be really proud of. Once we ran a couple meets and got more teams doing it, it just took off."

Glass may or may not retire after this season -- more on that in a moment -- but no matter when he steps down he will leave big shoes to fill. He ranks second all-time in Minnesota girls basketball victories; his 713-134 mark stands behind only New London-Spicer coach Mike Dreier's record of 799-145.

Glass coached girls and boys cross-country at Lourdes for 40 years, winning four state championships with the boys team and two with the girls. His girls track teams also won two state championships. Lourdes owns a total of 42 state team championships and Glass was the head coach for 16 of them.

"I am perplexed about replacing him," Peters said. "It's going to be tough.''

Glass is waffling just a bit on retiring. He had originally talked about ending his coaching career after the 2012-13 season, but Peters convinced him to stay on while Lourdes departed its downtown location after 71 years and moved into a sparkling new campus in northwest Rochester. Now, in the midst of the 2013-14 season, Glass won't absolutely, positively confirm that he will retire at season's end. But it appears that he will.

He laughed when I asked him about retiring, saying that is the likely scenario "unless Marv talks me out of it, like he did last year."

Little has changed over the years. Glass still wears a wristwatch calculator, befitting a math teacher; he also taught social studies before retiring from teaching several years ago. He also still prepares some of the most detailed scouting reports of any high school coach in any sport. He puts together seven- or eight-page packets for each of his players to study before every game.

Glass has coached young athletes who grew up and had children, and then he coached the second generation. As he put it,"You have kids who you held as a baby, because you coached and taught their parents, then you're coaching them when they're 16, 17 years old."

Martha Macken, a Lourdes player in the 1980s, wishes Glass would stick around long enough to coach her fifth-grade daughter, Sydney Elliott, and hand her some of those famous scouting reports.

"The thing about Mr. Glass is he knows the team that you're playing. We know their offense and their defense before we play them. He's very prepared," said Macken, who made one of the biggest baskets in Lourdes history, a buzzer-beater that lifted the Eagles past Wheaton 33-31 in the 1987 state title game.

"Mr. Glass has really created a foundation here, and a legacy," Macken said. "He's built these programs. When I grew up we didn't have all the leagues and everything that they currently have, and it's due to him. He put in a lot of time and effort. He's a fixture at the school."

At both the old school and the new school, Glass is the person who opens the gym doors in the morning and locks up the place at night. He sweeps the floor, he mends uniforms, he runs summer basketball camps, he even runs the clock for ninth-grade girls basketball games.

"He's here every weekend," Peters said. "Every Saturday, and he comes in on Sunday. The thing about Myron is that there are so many layers, but every layer connects back to the school. It's been his vocation.

"I think he's one of the gentlest, kindest guys around. He really makes it all about the kids. He deflects so much; he deflects praise, he deflects congratulations. He deflects all those things, he's so old-school."

Glass' success as a coach is remarkable because he didn't play the game. He was cut from the basketball team at Minneapolis South and worked his way through St. Cloud State as a non-athlete, working at a gas station in Minneapolis during summers, weekends and holidays. After graduating, he interviewed for teaching jobs at Albany, at a Minneapolis junior high and Lourdes. The first offer came from Lourdes and he happily accepted.

Now 46 years later, as a lifelong bachelor in his late 60s, he is pondering a transition to a post-coaching lifestyle.

"That's the hard part about deciding on retirement," he said. "What do you do? Being a single guy you don't have that 'honey do' list that the married guys have. The mind is no problem, it's the body that as you get older has a little trouble keeping up. I'm probably looking forward to a knee replacement and stuff like that."

When Glass retired as a classroom teacher, he began working as a scheduling coordinator at Lourdes. As any administrator knows, putting together schedules for classes, teachers, students and classrooms can be a tedious, difficult process. And that's right up the coach's alley.

"He's just been a whiz at that because of his math skills," Peters said. "Even if basketball comes to an end, I really hope we can keep him on as our scheduler and helping in the guidance department."

Glass has not only taught and coached generations of athletes at Lourdes, he also has had a major impact on other coaches at Lourdes and southeastern Minnesota.

"I'm sure he stole or figured out everything he did, and now he's the most copied coach around," Peters said. "Everybody in this area who's successful does what he does. It's unbelievable. That's the best form of flattery."
A Selfless Act, A Hack Saw, And A Lesson For All 4/7/2014
This is one of those wonderful stories that goes beyond what happens in the athletic arena. I received an email from Ryan Giles, the girls basketball coach at Lac qui Parle Valley High School in Madison, who wanted to share a story about the selflessness of one of the players. There’s no need for me to put any spin on it, because Ryan’s email tells the story so well …

On Tuesday night the Lac qui Parle Valley basketball team held their year-end awards banquet. The team honored statistical leaders, all-conference players and West Central Tribune all-area players as well as the team’s individual awards. One of the awards was the MVP, which was given to junior guard and captain Alaysia Freetly.

Alaysia humbly walked to the front of all her teammates, the other players in our program and their parents and accepted the award with a firm handshake from head coach Ryan Giles. (On a side note, the firm handshake is something that is taught and practiced). Alaysia was chosen for the award by the coaching staff based on stats, leadership both on and off the court, her solid grades, and her involvement with our youth basketball program.

The banquet ended around 7:30 p.m. and just 12 hours later, Alaysia walked into coach Giles' classroom with the MVP plaque in hand. She wanted to talk. She demanded that coach Giles, who is an Industrial Technology teacher, take the MVP plaque back and cut it into thirds as she felt junior post Kaitlin Connor and eighth-grade point guard Kelsea Lund were just as deserving as she is. (Pictured here, left to right, are Kelsea, Alaysia and Kaitlin.) She went on to say that in some games they picked it up when she was struggling. She said she didn't sleep well thinking about it, talked with her parents and knew that cutting the plaque in thirds was the right thing to do because they deserve it!

Coach Giles put his skills to work, measured the six-inch wide plaque into thirds and used a hack saw to cut through the wood, team picture, plastic cover and engraved brass plate. A program meeting was called after school, where all girls from seventh through 12th grade gathered in coach Giles' classroom. Alaysia addressed the team and told them why the meeting was called. She explained, with the cut-up plaque in hand, that she felt Kaitlin and Kelsea were just as deserving as she is. She handed each of them a third of the plaque.

Emotions filled the room, tears of joy ran down the faces of both young and old players, others started cheering for the moment and everyone concluded with clapping for Alaysia and hugging her. The Lac qui Parle Valley girls basketball team found out that Alaysia was the MVP: the Most Valuable Person!

Alaysia has had a stellar high school career with her senior year coming up next! She also competes on our cross-country team and track and field team. In cross-country she is a four-time individual state qualifier and earned All-State honors last season as well as being the No. 1 runner for the LqPV/Dawson-Boyd team that placed second in Class 1A. On the basketball court Freetly has been a starter for two seasons, earning all-conference last year in the West Central and with the school moving to the Camden Conference she repeated as all-conference. She was also named to the West Central Tribune all-area team. Alaysia is closing in on 1,000 points for her career, which isn’t too bad for basketball being her third-best sport, stat-wise. In the spring, Alaysia is a among our state’s beat Class 1A milers. She qualified for the state meet the past two seasons and finished fifth last year representing LqPV/DB track and field team.

Academically, Alaysia takes all the rigorous courses that LqPV has to offer. Her GPA is 3.82. She is a member of our National Honor Society, youth coach for the cross-country, basketball and track and field elementary programs. Outside of school she is involved in her church youth group and recently was asked by the Minnesota Design Team to sit in on meetings to give a youth perspective on how to make a better Appleton, her hometown community!

I hope you are touched by this story as much as it has touched myself, the girls basketball team at LqPV, our school body and school community that serves many towns. Alaysia has heard from fellow competitors and coaches who have congratulated her on what she did. As her basketball coach and track coach I am so proud of her selfless act that demonstrates her true character. I've been fortunate to be part of a few conference, sub-section, section championships and a couple state championships, but what Alaysia did is what I'm most proud of.

Ryan Giles
Laq Qui Parle Valley High School
Industrial Technology Teacher
Head Girls Basketball Coach
Head Girls Track & Field Coach
Student Media Members Go Inside The Timberwolves 4/4/2014
By Nick Kelly
Lakeville North High School
MSHSL Student Media member

For high school basketball players, being able to play at Target Center is often a surreal moment. For Student Media correspondents like myself, being a member of the professional media at Target Center is just as a defining of an experience.

On March 23, Minnesota State High School League Media Specialist John Millea provided myself, along with three other aspiring journalists, the opportunity to be a part of the media for the Timberwolves game against the Phoenix Suns. (Pictured inside the Timberwolves locker room are JoNathan Chartrand, Chisago Lakes; Nick Kelly, Lakeville North; Matt Hoffman Lakeville North; Nathan Jones, Jackson County Central.)

Once everyone had arrived in the main lobby, John led us to the Timberwolves main office where vice president of communications Brad Ruiter greeted us. At this point, we parted with our families as they were given tickets to the game and we were given media passes.

We were led to a conference room, where we had a question-and-answer session with Star Tribune Timberwolves beat writer Jerry Zgoda and the radio voice of the Timberwolves, Alan Horton. Throughout our brief time together, the overall message was that as journalists, the earnings may not be the same as doctors or lawyers, but as Jerry Zgoda said, “It doesn’t feel like work.”

Afterwards, we made our way down to the Timberwolves locker room and not only stood outside it for Coach Rick Adelman’s pregame press conference, but we were allowed to look inside the locker room, as well.

Enjoying a fantastic pregame meal that all media members are provided with, we headed to our seats with full stomachs, ready to watch the Wolves from row five of the press seating area in the corner of the basketball court.

Holding a large lead in the first half, the Timberwolves suffered any extremely devastating 127-120 loss to the Suns. As we sat in on Coach Adelman’s 90-second postgame press conference, the frustration was clear in the coach’s voice. The disappointment of the team was best seen from star forward Kevin Love as he sat in his locker crouched over with his head down, as we observed the postgame locker room scene.

Our incredible experience ended with a photo of us four high school journalists in front of the press conference podium, beaming with smiles that would last a long time after that Sunday afternoon game in which we lived the life of a professional media member.
Football Decisions Among Actions Taken By MSHSL Board 4/3/2014
As the latest storm of the century sweeps across Minnesota, further delaying all manner of spring sports from actually being held outdoors, a definite sign of the times was issued from the MSHSL board of directors meeting Thursday morning.

One of the board members is Shelly Hotzler, who is the softball coach at Jackson County Central. The Huskies are believed to have hosted the only official softball game that has been played in Minnesota this season, defeating Mountain Lake Area 8-0 on Monday. They were scheduled to play at Martin County West in Sherburn on Thursday, but a Twitter message from Coach Hotzler – issued from the board table during the board meeting -- made pretty clear what was happening:

“Game has been postponed to a later date and no practice today. Get caught up on homework!!”

So there you go. Spring activities remain on hold while we wait for the weather to cooperate.

Now, about Thursday’s board meeting. It was preceded by a workshop/listening session in which five activities directors spoke about the plan for district football scheduling that is scheduled to begin in 2015.

Two of them, Dave Schroeder of Maple Lake and Tom Bauman of Buffalo, asked the board members to delay the start of district football until 2016.

“We’re all for district football, but give us time to put it together,” Schroeder told the board.

Three other activities directors spoke in favor of maintaining the 2015 implementation. They were Bob Madison of Mounds View, Les Zellmann of St. James and Jaime Sherwood of Wayzata.

“Delaying one more year is not serving (students) like we are called to do,” Sherwood said.

The board took no action on district football. Members may choose to make changes to the plan, but there was no discussion of that Thursday.

--On another football topic, the board rejected a recommendation from the Football Advisory Committee to change the Class 6A playoff format. Currently, the 32 6A teams face teams from their own section in the first round, then play crossover games with another of the four sections in the second round, with the winners moving to the state quarterfinals.

The proposal that was rejected Thursday included these changes: coaches in each eight-team section would seed their teams one through eight; one of six random brackets would be used, placing the 32 teams into one bracket according to where they were seeded in their section; brackets would consist of eight four-team subgroups; four of those subgroups woud have teams seeded 1, 4, 5 and 8, four other subgroups would have teams seeded 2, 3, 6 and 7. The top two seeds from each section could only meet in the Prep Bowl, two No. 1 section seeds could not meet before the state semifinals and the first two rounds of the playoffs would always involve teams from different sections.

The discussion by board members seemed to hinge on this question: How important is it to have the "best" teams play for a state title? Members seemed to feel that high school is not the same as college athletics, and the experience for all teams is more important than the playoff outcome.

--The board approved 10 proposed bylaw changes, but further action is required before they would take affect. The proposed changes will go to the MSHSL’s representative assembly, which will meet May 12. That 48-member group has the final say on bylaw changes.

Many of the bylaw proposals would add, adjust or change language, mainly as clarification. Two of the proposals go further …

*Transfer students would be ineligible for varsity competition at their new school for 15 calendar days. Students would be allowed to return to their former school during those 15 days without loss of eligibility. This proposal would allow families to reconsider a school move that does not work to the benefit of the student.

*Limits on summer football workouts. Minnesota has the most liberal rules in the country in regard to what is allowed during the summer in regard to football practice. The proposal does not restrict the number of days that football coaches can have contact with players, but it does require additional safety and protection for student-athletes by limiting full pads and full contact until after an acclimatization period, limiting the length of workouts and prescribing rest periods.

--A decision to have Academic Decathlon come under the MSHSL’s umbrella of programs was tabled until the board’s June meeting.

*Schools/teams John has visited: 403
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 9,368
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn