TDA's Glanzer going for win No. 600One thing is for sure. Burnell Glanzer will be celebrating at least one thing today.
By: Travis Mester, The Daily Republic
One thing is for sure.
Burnell Glanzer will be celebrating at least one thing today.
The longtime basketball coach at Armour turns 58 years old on the same day he makes his first attempt at his 600th career coaching victory.
Glanzer’s Tripp-Delmont/Armour boys’ team faces Kimball at 4:15 p.m. today at the Corn Palace.
When he won his 500th career game six years ago, Glanzer told The Daily Republic he did not think he would make it to 600.
“The economy is so bad I couldn’t afford to quit my job,” Glanzer joked Wednesday evening. “I guess that’s one answer as to how I got here.”
Glanzer holds a career record of 599 wins and 201 losses. He has coached in the Armour School District since 1975 and has coached the TDA co-op since its inception.
The 1975 University of South Dakota-Springfield graduate is third behind current Custer coach Larry Lutjens and Mitchell’s Gary Munsen on the boys’ all-time career coaching wins list in South Dakota. Lutjens won the 700th game of his career earlier this year and Munsen has 646 career wins.
“Lutjens had a big interview on the Internet that I saw and all his former players accused him of getting softer in his later years,” Glanzer said. “I think that’s happening with me, too.
“But you just have to mold your program around the kids you have, and I still have great kids. If you don’t have good kids, it doesn’t matter what you do.”
His current group will try to get Glanzer past another career milestone.
More than just X's and O's
Tony Nour did not know who Glanzer was before his family moved to Armour prior to his freshman year of high school.
Nour, who played for Glanzer from 1995-98, was part of the coach’s most-recent state championship team in 1997.
Nour’s brothers Dave (graduated 2001) and Michael (graduated 2010) also played for Glanzer.
“We moved here and hadn’t ever heard of Burnell, we just knew we loved to play basketball,” said Tony Nour, who now lives in Sioux Falls and is planning on attending today’s game. “We told our uncle, who was a 2,000-point scorer for Hitchcock, that we were coming to Armour and he said we would be in good hands. He just said they have a great coach.
“He was right.”
Tony Nour was a four-year starter for Armour. He said he has heard of a handful of former teammates that also will be at the Palace to watch what could be their former coach’s 600th win.
“Burnell took us in as his kids as freshmen and sent us on our way as seniors as men,” Tony Nour said. “He teaches kids how to do it the right way; how to stay out of trouble off the court, how to treat your parents.
“He takes a lot of pride in everything he does and that translated over into his players.”
Glanzer’s players this season have got the coach 16 wins to tally to his total.
The Nighthawks are 16-3 and will be looking for a return trip to the Class B state tournament when postseason play begins next week.
But Glanzer hasn’t just been a coach in his time at Armour.
He spent time as the physical education teacher, junior high math teacher, high school biology teacher and junior high football coach to go along with his basketball coaching duties.
“He was our P.E. teacher so when we had P.E., we had basketball practice,” said Chris Altenburg, who played for Glanzer from 1987-91. “You understood what he expected of you.”
Now, Glanzer serves as the superintendent for the Armour School District.
“When you’re in high school, your relationship is a little different with Coach,” Tony Nour said of Glanzer. “But after graduating and getting to know him outside of basketball, he’s a great man. There’s a lot more to him than just Xs and Os.”
‘He’s got a sense of humor’
Glanzer has three Class B state titles to his credit: 1978, 1979 and 1997.
His most recent title came with the help of a last-second 3-pointer by Austin “Butch” Ledeboer, who was Mr. Basketball in 1997.
Ledeboer’s 3 came against Freeman in the state title game at the Barnett Center in Aberdeen.
“That was definitely a big shot,” Glanzer said.
But the coach was not ready to label any one play his most memorable.
He coached Armour to a boys’ state-record 64 straight wins from 1977-80 and said a play in the 1979 state title game would be tough to beat.
“You might go back to the greatest high school game ever played in 1979,” Glanzer said. “We were playing Beresford for a state championship and we were in a situation where we probably shouldn’t have won the ballgame.
“We were down and they missed a free throw; we got the rebound and hustled the ball down the floor and Brian Bindert hit what would have been a 3-pointer in the modern era, but it was just a 2-pointer back then, to tie the game. We went on to overtime and won it.”
Ledeboer, who went on to star at Dakota Wesleyan University and now lives in Mitchell, plans to be in attendance today. He said Glanzer’s success should be credited to his preparation and the fact that he teaches the fundamental skills of the game to the young players within the program long before they step on the high school floor.
“I’ve never met somebody so prepared for a game,” Ledeboer said of Glanzer. “He had every strength and weakness of every player so we knew how to stop them.”
But even the intense Glanzer would stop for a moment of fun on the bench during a game, Ledeboer remembered.
“People don’t think Coach has a sense of humor, but he’s got a sense of humor,” Ledeboer said. “We played Freeman one year at the Hanson Classic at the Corn Palace and I had a couple 3s in the first few minutes … I came down the next possession and pulled up from about four feet behind the line and air balled one.
“He took a timeout and told us we had to start running the offense and get better shots. I said ‘Coach, I was open.’ He looked me right in the eye and said, ‘If you stop at half court, you’ll be open every time.’ ”
Anything left to prove?
The expectations in Armour have been high for the past 36 years since Glanzer began his tenure on the sideline.
He has taken his teams to 12 state tournaments and was inducted to the state’s Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Shrine in 2002.
The South Dakota High School Activities Association has honored him with the Distinguished Service Award and he was a finalist for National Coach of the Year in 2008. That year, he represented a seven-state area for the award.
“Kids usually live up to the expectations that people have for them,” Glanzer said. That’s what I learned at every coaching and teaching class I ever had.
“That’s one of the things we’ve always had here is very high expectations. And we let the kids know if they don’t meet those expectations.”
So what else is there to do for Glanzer before he ends his coaching career?
At least one of his former players thinks the list is a short one.
“I don’t think he has anything left to prove,” David Nour said.
Glanzer has yet to make a decision on his future.
“I think I have to make the same prediction that I made years ago when I was asked,” Glanzer said. “I’m pretty sure I won’t be getting to the next milestone.
“I think my wife would kill me if I tried, so either way I won’t be getting there. (Gary Munsen) says he’s done here in the next few years and I would like to retire in a couple years as well and maybe try to do some other things before I get too old.”