Before each of Thursday’s four state championship soccer games at the Metrodome, a moment of silence was held in honor of former teacher, coach and Hopkins athletic director Ron Sellnow, who died last week.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Lindbergh Center at Hopkins High School, Saturday, Nov. 3 at 11 a.m. Here are Ron’s obituary as well as his MSHSL 2009 Hall of Fame biography:
Ronald Sellnow, age 70, of St. Louis Park, passed away in his home on Wednesday Oct. 24th after a noble battle with Lymphoma. Ron was preceded in death by his father, Edward, and two infant brothers. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Judi, and their three children, Gretchen (Joe) Randall, Derek (Melissa) Sellnow, and Jennifer (Patrick) Dame, grandchildren Gabrielle, Susanna, Madison, Claire, Nicolette, Nicholas, Delanee and Olivia and his mother Ruth, brother Gerald, sisters Sandie, Janell and Karen, and many loving nieces and nephews.
Ron spent 35 years in the Hopkins School District teaching at Eisenhower, Lindbergh and Hopkins High School. In his role as a math teacher and coach, he inspired countless numbers of students and athletes, eventually leading hockey teams to the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament and leading a team to a State Soccer Championship.
After retiring as the Hopkins High School Athletic Director in 1999, Ron continued working with young athletes in his role as Select 17 Camp Director for USA Hockey, and Secretary of the Minnesota State High School League Sections 5 and 6AA. Among many other awards, some of his most treasured were his inductions into The Minnesota State High School Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2011, and The Minnesota State High School League Hall of Fame in 2009.
Far and beyond Ron's professional accomplishments was the influence and happiness he gave to his family. He loved traveling with Judi, whether to Europe or to visit their children around the country, or just to their cabin which was a centerpiece in their lives. His legacy lies with those grandchildren, whom over the years, like his student athletes, he has taught to work their hardest, try their best, and above all else, be positive influences to others.
Ron spent his life dedicated to youth athletics, so in lieu of flowers, the family requests that those interested in honoring Ron's legacy donate to a student-athlete scholarship fund that the family is establishing in Ron's name. If you would like to donate to the fund, please make checks payable to Judi Sellnow with "scholarship" in the memo. A Celebration of Life will be held at the Lindbergh Center at Hopkins High School, Saturday, Nov. 3rd at 11:00 a.m.
--Ron’s MSHSL Hall of Fame biography…
Ron Sellnow left a legacy at Hopkins High School, where he was a teacher, coach and athletic director for 35 years.
A graduate of Staples High School, Ron obtained his BS degree from St. Cloud State University and a master’s degree from the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
Hopkins High School first hired Ron as a math teacher in 1964. Soon thereafter he began to coach cross country running, hockey and soccer.
As an assistant hockey coach for 27 years the Hopkins junior varsity hockey teams never had a losing season. The varsity teams won two section titles and made two state tournament appearances in 1975 and 1980.
When Ron took over as head soccer coach he led the Royals to two conference championships, five region championships, and five consecutive state tournament appearances capturing the state title in 1983 and runners-up in 1980.
Eric Tuck, a senior on the ’83 championship team who scored the game winning goal says, “Coach Sellnow had such an even keel personality. He was always very calm during practice and games, which I believed transcended to his players. We came back from many deficits as Coach Sellnow’s calm demeanor always gave us the confidence to battle back and not give up.”
Ron was named ‘Soccer Coach of the Year’ twice by the Minnesota Soccer coaches Association, and was a nominee for the National Soccer Coach of the Year in 1985.
In 1988, Ron had to make a decision to give up coaching to be the district director of athletics. The position included 26 sports programs at Hopkins High School, 22 sports at two area middle schools, and 195 salaried and volunteer coaches.
With a determination to give high school students the best experience possible, Ron enthusiastically took on his new responsibilities and his leadership was known at every level—from the Classic Lake Conference to the Minnesota State High School League. He managed the Classic Lake Conference soccer and golf competitions, the Section hockey and soccer tournaments, and the State Boys’ and Girls’ Soccer Tournaments. He also serves as an event assistant at the State Boys’ Hockey Tournament.
Ron served on numerous League committees including the Strategic Planning Committee, the Soccer Advisory Committee, the Soccer Officials Selection Committee, and the Athletic Advisory Committee, which he chaired in 1998. He has also held posts on the Region 6AA Executive Committee and was the committee chair from 1994 to 1999. For his service, the Region honored him with a service award and his peers voted him the Region 6AA Athletic Director of the Year in 1999. Now in retirement, Ron is the Administrative Region 5AA Secretary, a position he’s held since 1999.
Ron’s contributions to the professional organizations that represent athletic directors and coaches are far too numerous to list. He is a founding member and past secretary of the Minnesota Soccer Coaches Association. He held roles as president and region representative for the Minnesota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association which in 1999 named Ron Athletic Director of the Year.
Ron’s entrance in the League’s Hall of Fame is the fourth hall that bears his name. The others include Hopkins High School, the Minnesota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, and Minnesota Soccer Coaches Association.
Those who work closely with Ron will comment about the respect they have for the job he’s done and his high standard of ethics. One such comment comes from a longtime colleague who says: “Ron has made serving the people of Minnesota his career and has done it in a way that sets him apart from his peers. His integrity, professionalism, personal warmth, and sense of fairness are unequal.”
This quote sums up beautifully all that Ron represents as a teacher, a coach, and athletic director. No doubt many athletes have taken with them the character-enhancing qualities Ron Sellnow brought to their high school experience, making it for each of them, what he always hoped it would be---rich in values to build their lives on.