OUR VIEW: 'Munsen Court' should come at a cost
There are many opinions about Gary Munsen.
The longtime coach who died in January 2016 at age 72 was quite the figure in Mitchell for decades. Because of the impact he had on so many lives, a mass group of people loved him. That was evident during his funeral when, for one final time, people packed the Corn Palace in his honor.
For more than 40 years, Munsen coached basketball in South Dakota's biggest basketball community. The most notable player under Munsen was undoubtedly Mike Miller, whose foundation last month asked if it could purchase permanent stickers to place on the Corn Palace basketball court and deem the floor "Gary Munsen Court."
Now's the time to honor Munsen, but it should come at a cost more than just the price of a sticker.
The Mitchell City Council is still taking public input on naming the floor "Gary Munsen Court." The council in mid-October had its first discussion on the topic. There were many positive remarks about the coach, but a decision to label the Palace floor with stickers was tabled. At its more recent meeting, the council didn't discuss the topic.
As the high school basketball season grows closer, we say now is the time for Miller to step in and ensure the Palace floor is named after the coach. He should pay for the naming rights — through a donation to the city — along with the stickers.
While many opinions about Munsen are positive, others didn't love the coach as much. He definitely had his critics, which is why there is some hesitation on the decision. And, we cannot forget this is a city facility that's considering essentially a permanent change.
For his long-tenured success with basketball, Munsen certainly earned recognition and respect. But naming rights for Mitchell's city facilities have typically followed similar paths. Take for example the Pepsi Cola Soccer Complex, which was named due to a $240,000 donation from the late Earl Nordby, former Pepsi Cola Bottling Company owner, and his family.
Additionally, naming opportunities for any new city facilities have to follow a Mitchell Park and Recreation policy that sets minimum donations for specific commemorations.
We want to see Munsen's name on the Palace's floor. We love the idea.
But through a significant naming-rights donation, Miller should step forward to make it happen.