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Gary Munsen



A  White Lake High and General Beadle (now Dakota State) grad, Munsen was one of the state’s most prolific basketball coaches in terms of both wins and state championships.

He coached boys basketball for 46 years - 42 as a head coach, the last 39 of which were at Mitchell, which he turned into a state power before retiring after the 2011-12 season. His Kernels won nine state titles, including three in a row (1984-86), and were runners-up five times. In 34 of those 39 years, Munsen guided Mitchell to the state tourney. The Kernels also won 18 Eastern South Dakota Conference titles. His varsity career record was 672-254. Mitchell won a big-school state record of 40 straight games from 1984-86.

As Mitchell’s girls coach, he was 230-71 with seven ESD titles, three state titles, four runner-up finishes and 11 state-tourney appearances in 13 seasons (1989-2001). His Kernels had a 45-game win streak in 1992-93.

He began his coaching career in 1966 at Marion. After three years there, he was an assistant at Mitchell for four years before becoming the Kernels’ head coach in 1973.

No South Dakota basketball coach has won more state titles than Munsen. He is also No. 2 in state history for boys basketball coaching wins.

It’s probably no coincidence that the state’s greatest player – Mike Miller of the Miami Heat – was coached by Munsen. Scott Morgan, an NAIA national player of the year, and Bart Friedrick, who starred at Drake, were other standouts coached by Munsen. In all, he coached 62 all-state boys and 22 all-state girls players while drawing loyal crowds to the Corn Palace.

"He made basketball in Mitchell something everyone wanted to do," said Miller.

 

Twice he has been nominated for national boys basketball coach of  the year. The South Dakota Sportswriters Association has chosen him as the state Boys High School Coach of the Year three times (1986, ’96, ’05) and he won the girls award twice (’93, ’01). He is a member of the halls of fame of the state high school coaches association and the state boys basketball coaches association as well as the DSU Hall of Fame.






























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