Gunderson gets 600th win

 

Coach Ron Gunderson talks to his team. (Chuck Kajer Photo)

History was made Tuesday evening in the New Prague High School gym when New Prague defeated Farmington in girls basketball.

The win was coach Ron Gunderson’s 600th in his 36- year coaching career. Gunderson took over the fledgling program in the 1976-77 season, and in his second year the team fell one game short of a state tournament berth. He would finally get that first berth in 1992, and has been there a number of times since, including a state championship team in 2000.

Gunderson is just the fourth girls basketball coach in Minnesota to reach 600 wins. The others are Mike Dreier of New London- Spicer, Myron Glass of Rochester Lourdes and Randy Myhre of Barnum. Myhre retired last year, but Dreier and Glass are still coaching.

Gunderson had been stuck at 599 for more than a week, as the Trojans lost twice, to Red Wing and Chanhassen. The third time was the charm for him.

“Well, I’ve been here a long time, and I guess if you stick around long enough, something positive is going to happen,” he said.

“I’ve been in a great situation with great kids,” he continued. “This is not my success, I’ve never made a single basket. It started with some really courageous young women with a young program. “

He said when he took over as coach, the team didn’t even have its own basketballs, and many of the ones they had used were lopsided. Girls athletics had one set of uniforms for all sports, with sleeves.

“We’ve come a long way. Those girls back when I started, they just wanted to play, and we did something right. We’re just trying to live up to what they started.

“Over the years, the kids have bought into the system, we’ve had great parental and community support, and we’ve worked hard to keep things going.”