Munsen: 2012 season likely last as coachWhile at a basketball camp in Tea Friday, Mitchell boys’ coach Gary Munsen told The Daily Republic that he’ll likely coach for two more years before retiring. The 37-year veteran is the all-time winningest coach in both boys’ and girls’ basketball at Mitchell High School and has a combined 12 state championships.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
While at a basketball camp in Tea Friday, Mitchell boys’ coach Gary Munsen told The Daily Republic that he’ll likely coach for two more years before retiring.
The 37-year veteran is the all-time winningest coach in both boys’ and girls’ basketball at Mitchell High School and has a combined 12 state championships.
“I think in 2012 I’m going to pull the plug and call it quits,” Munsen said. “That’s not carved in stone, and I’ve told a lot of people that I think I’m done, but you have to quit sometime.”
Munsen — who in March 2012 will celebrate his 69th birthday — has 629 career wins, including 599 with the Kernels. Last March, he guided his team to the state tournament for the 32nd time.
He said plans to spend time with family and his age are the two biggest reasons why he’s thinking of retirement.
“I’ve got grandkids all over the country, and I don’t get to see them much,” Munsen said. “I’ve got four of them in Hawaii, and you want to go there in the wintertime, and that’s tough when you coach (basketball).”
Mitchell’s boys’ team last won the state title in 2005 when the Kernels defeated Sioux Falls O’Gorman in the championship. That was when Munsen said he first started thinking of retirement and added that after his team lost in the state championship in 2008, it was another “heavily considered time.”
Munsen said he’s talked to the coaching staff and the school administration and told them of his future plans.
“Unless something else changes, but I’ve already hinted to the school that this is probably what I’m going to do,” said Munsen, who has nine state boys’ titles and three girls’ titles. “Hopefully, we can win a state title before I go.”
Despite his traveling plans, Munsen said he thinks he’ll still reside in Mitchell.
“If I do decide to hang it up, it’s time to sit in the soft seats,” Munsen said. “We’ll let somebody else try (coaching).”
Besides his plans to retire from the high school basketball scene, Munsen said next summer will be his last year running the annual Kernels Basketball Camp, which has taken place since 1972.
Though, for this year’s camp — which will run from Monday through Friday — Munsen brought in what he calls, “the most talented staff ever.”
Both current NCAA Division I basketball players, Louie Krogman and Jill Young will help coach any campers, who will range from kindergarten to seniors in high school.
Young, a former Mitchell Christian standout, plays for South Dakota State and has helped guide the team to two straight NCAA national tournaments. Young is the state’s all-time career leading scorer in girls’ basketball.
Krogman, who plays for USD, is the state’s all-time career leading boys’ scorer. He was on White River’s 2008 state championship team and was named Mr. Basketball.
“I’ve been working on getting these two together for a while,” Munsen said. “It was kind of like, ‘Louie, if you come, Jill will come’ and the other way around. It’s just one of those things of how often will you have these two together?”
Besides Young and Krogman, former Mount Vernon standouts Ashley and Allison Johnson will attend, along with Southwest Minnesota State’s Ryan Krome — who played in the NCAA D-II Elite Eight in 2009 — a former point guard for the Kernels’ 2005 state title team. Munsen, Kernels’ assistant Craig Mock and Wagner boys’ coach Jason Christensen will also be at the camp.
“We’ve got a great staff this year, and it’s amazing what they’ve all done in their basketball careers,” Munsen said.
The Kernel Mini-Camp runs Monday through Thursday and is for campers in kindergarten through second grade. Cost is $35, which includes a T-shirt and basketball.
The Kernel Basketball Camp is Monday through Friday for campers, third grade through seniors in high school. Cost is $65.
As of Friday afternoon, Munsen said there were already 71 pre-registered campers, but he expects more to attend. He said that on average, 120-150 total campers usually attend.
“This is really a year-round job,” Munsen said. “I love it, and I wouldn’t be coaching and doing these camps if I didn’t. It just takes a lot.”