Burnell Glanzer retiring from coaching

ARMOUR -- At an athletic banquet Tuesday night, Tripp-Delmont/Armour boys' basketball coach Burnell Glanzer announced his retirement from coaching. He called it a somber moment. Glanzer's 37-year career ends with a 617-209 overall record with sti...

ARMOUR -- At an athletic banquet Tuesday night, Tripp-Delmont/Armour boys' basketball coach Burnell Glanzer announced his retirement from coaching.

He called it a somber moment.

Glanzer's 37-year career ends with a 617-209 overall record with stints as coach of the Armour Packers and the cooperative Tripp-Delmont/Armour, which formed in the 2007-08 school year.

The Armour resident has won 75 percent of the games in his career and averaged 16.68 wins per season. He has Class B state championships in 1978, 1979 and 1997 and has qualified for the state tournament 12 times.

"I'm proud of what we've accomplished at a small school," said Glanzer, who is 59 and is continuing his duties as Armour athletic director, superintendent and elementary principal. "We stayed the course ... to have the record we've had at a small Class B school -- and I'm not saying 'me.' I'm saying 'we' -- we very, very seldom had years where we were a pushover."


Next season, the Tripp-Delmont/Armour boys' basketball team will be coached by Craig Holbeck, who graduated from Armour High School in 2008.

"He can teach the game, and he's very intelligent," Glanzer said.

Glanzer's TDA Nighthawks finished 16-7 last year and were one win shy of qualifying for the state tournament. He was unsure of plans immediately after the season, but said he knew the program will be in good hands when Holbeck accepted the job.

"There were two things I wanted to make sure of," Glanzer said, referring to knowing when he would retire. "We wanted to make sure to put someone in there that I have some confidence in, and I didn't want to leave the cupboard bare for whoever is going to have to step in and do it. It's not like we're a state champion team next year, but we have some potential."

Glanzer -- who holds the state record for most consecutive wins with 64, a feat his teams accomplished from 1978 to 1980 -- is the second coach with more than 600 wins to retire after last basketball season.

Former Mitchell basketball coach Gary Munsen retired with 673 wins as a boys' coach and 229 wins as a girls' coach, totaling 902 basketball wins in his 39 years of coaching varsity basketball to hold the state record for most overall wins. Custer coach Larry Luitjens has 723 boys' basketball wins, leading the state in that category.

"It sure is an honor to be mentioned with those two guys," Glanzer said. "They certainly know the game. They've had great success. It's nice, but that's never why we went into this. That just happened."

In a phone conversation Tuesday night with The Daily Republic, Luitjens said he does not plan to become the third longtime coach to retire this year. He was also surprised to hear of Glanzer's announcement.


"He's a great coach," Luitjens said. "He's very much in charge, and his kids very much knew that he's in charge. They did -- or tried to do -- what he asked them all the time. I was always impressed by that. He was always in charge, and there was no doubt about that. His kids respected him and tried to do what he wanted them to do."

Luitjens and Glanzer coached against each other in the 1977 state tournament semifinals, a game Glanzer's Armour team went on to win and advance to the state championship game, where the Packers lost to Webster.

"After we played them in the state tournament, I got the nicest letter from he and his assistant coach, saying what an honor it was to play me and my team," Luijens said. "It just blew me away. That showed exactly what kind of person he is. How many people do that? In my coaching career only one -- Burnell was the only one."

Senior guard Adam Fink played in two state tournaments for Glanzer and was named to the first-team all-state list this year. He finished with 1,663 points in his five-year varsity career and is playing collegiately at Dakota Wesleyan University this fall.

Fink was sad when the longtime coach notified the basketball team it will be without Glanzer at the helm next year. Fink believes Glanzer is one of the best coaches in South Dakota basketball history.

"People are very thankful for what he's done for our athletic program," Fink said. "Our sports program wouldn't have been as successful without him."

Fink was an eighth-grader during the first year of the Tripp-Delmont/Armour co-op, which was also Holbeck's senior year with the Nighthawks. The teammates helped Glanzer to two state tournament appearances.

Holbeck is in the process of completing his college degree from South Dakota State University and will student-teach this fall in Deubrook. After his graduation in December, he will take over the Nighthawks and will teach middle school and high school mathematics.


Holbeck said he was offered the position within the last two months and decided to take the job within the last month. This will be the first head coaching position in basketball for Holbeck, who is coaching certified.

"Coming back to Armour is something I've always wanted to do," said Holbeck, who started on his high school varsity basketball team for two-plus seasons. "When the job presented itself, it was a pretty easy decision.

"There will definitely be some pressure with the job. ... I'm excited for the opportunity. I'll try to fill his shoes the best I can, but I won't be able to. I'm going to try to get the most out of the kids and always keep them improving."

Glanzer said if Holbeck asks for advice next year, he'll be glad to help. Glanzer plans to attend the basketball games, just in a different seat.

"It's going to be hard to keep my nose out of there, but that's what I'm going to have to do. I've already told the kids that I might have to wear duct tape on my mouth during games. I'll be the head cheerleader."

Glanzer couldn't pick a specific memory as his favorite, but listed the three state championships and the smooth transition of the cooperative as highlights.

"In 37 years, you're going to amass quite a few good memories," he said. "The years have gone pretty fast. It doesn't seem that long, but it is."


Craig Holbeck
Craig Holbeck.

Luke Hagen was promoted to editor of the Mitchell Republic in 2014. He has worked for the newspaper since 2008 and has covered sports, outdoors, education, features and breaking news. He can be reached at
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