CERSOSIMO: Munsen enjoying life as spectator, but won’t rule out coaching againGary Munsen put a lifetime into basketball.
By: Brooke Cersosimo, The Daily Republic
Gary Munsen put a lifetime into basketball.
Maybe that’s why he’s so happy in retirement. He needed a break.
The first thought of exiting coaching came in 2005 after he led Mitchell High School to a state boys’ basketball championship against Sioux Falls O’Gorman. But he rejected those thoughts and stayed with the Kernels.
“You always have those kids you want to stay around for and coach,” he said.
During the last seven years of his coaching career, six players moved to Mitchell to play for him.
“I felt obligated to stay,” he said.
After 47 years of coaching the sport, though, he’d had enough.
“When I decided to retire, I wanted to get out of everything,” he said. “I got out on my own terms and had a good taste in my mouth when it was over.”
No more summer camps, no more open gyms and no more traveling.
For Munsen, being out of basketball — coaching-wise, at least — has given him more freedom to watch the sport as a spectator.
He has been spotted in the audience this year, which he said is a different but enjoyable role.
Munsen sat in the south bleachers in the Corn Palace for the first two Kernel boys’ home games, and he loved every minute of it.
“I like going down there and watching them play,” he said. “But I miss the coaches and players.”
When at the Corn Palace, Munsen isn’t just watching a basketball game. He’s analyzing it.
“I love to analyze them in my head,” he said. “I’m not a vocal person about what I’m thinking in the crowd. But I’ll tell you one thing: It’s a lot easier to analyze from the side than doing it as a coach under pressure during the game.”
Munsen said new coach Tom Young — one of Munsen’s former players — hasn’t missed a beat.
“I’ve been there before when you graduate a whole bunch of seniors,” he said. “It’s a big adjustment, and I think he’s doing a great job.”
Besides going to Mitchell boys’ games, he likes to watch the Kernel girls, Mitchell Christian and top matchups around the state.
“I’m going to be watching a lot of basketball this season,” Munsen said. “I enjoy going to the games and having the time to do that.”
And now that he’s getting so much rest, who knows? Maybe he’ll have the energy for a second act.
“I say I’m done, but then again I might be a coach again,” he said. “Maybe I’ll be an assistant somewhere, but maybe not.”