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Gorden caps lauded season at national awards banquet

Bob Gorden was recognized as one of eight finalists for National Coach of the Year, along with his wife of 42 years Diane, at the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Coach of the Year Awards banquet Wednesday, June 27 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Submitted photo

Detroit Lakes head boys golf coach Bob Gorden completed a thrilling and lauded 2018 season as a finalist for National Coach of the Year at the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Coach of the Year Awards banquet Wednesday, June 27 at the Ramkota Hotel and Convention Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Gorden was one of eight finalists for the distinction, which was awarded to Jodi Schoeck of Barrington High School (Illinois).

All eight finalists were introduced and received a plaque of recognition. The National Coaches has recognized national coaches of the year since 1978.

“It was a great way to finish a great season of golf,” Gorden said. “It was awesome, a lot of great coaches who have coached for a long, long time.”

Gorden is certainly one of those. At Detroit Lakes, he coached basketball here for 40 seasons, girls golf for 11 and middle school golf before becoming the boys varsity head totaling 33 years of golf instruction.

“This season has been really great for me; we had a very good team who finished second at state,” he said. “These seniors third year there in a row, being inducted to Minnesota Golf Coach Hall of Fame, and having the 2008 team surprise me and attend, then this national finalist at the national convention, wow, what a year!”

Gorden was inducted into the Minnesota High School Golf Coaches Hall of Fame just prior to this year’s state tournament at a ceremony attended by the 2008 state title team of Ryan Kuehne, Josh Herzog, Ben Osowski, Coach Gorden, Ben Berquist, Michael Brodsho, and Adam Thielen.

Former Fairmont boys golf coach Dan Kehrberg and Rosemount girls golf coach Barry Wallin joined Gorden in the 2018 hall of fame class.

His list of awards and accomplishments is lengthy, including the MSHSCA boys coach of the year in 2008 and 2012 and Section 8AA coach of the year nine times.

Bob Gorden, Ben Unruh, Wyatt Blomseth, Hunter Burnside, Lukas Justesen, Collin Ginnaty, Ryan Paskey, Vern Schnathorst.

Gorden has fostered decades of success for the DL varsity team as the Lakers have captured the Mid-State Conference title in each of Gorden’s 19 years at the helm, including nine conference medalists. The team has won nine section championships, have been section academic champions eight years and state academic champions three years.

In seven state tournament appearances, Gorden’s teams have won three Class AA state championships (2008, 11, 12), were runners-up in 2013 and 2018, and placed third in 2017, fourth in 2016 and fifth in 2010.

This year’s team completed a three-year streak of state finishes that improved each year culminating in the runners-up finish in June by three strokes to Holy Family Catholic.

Despite losing four starting seniors from this year’s team, their success and Gorden’s tutelage has continued to boost a program that has 35 golfers. Gorden’s competitive practice and meet format will have plenty of players ready to step up and continue the tradition in 2019.

Gorden noted a lot of people helped to create and continue the great tradition of boys golf in Detroit Lakes and as he stated in his Minnesota Hall of Fame speech, none more important than Diane, his wife of 42 years.

“You talk about a coach’s widow, she’s been it for all 42 years we’ve been married,” he said. “I couldn’t have done all this without her patience and me being gone and her support; she’s been a rock for me.”

There were eight finalist from 19 sports represented at the National Coach of the Year awards banquet. Other finalists from Minnesota included: Jeff Morris of Perham in Cross Country, a former National Coach of the Year award winner; assistant coach of the year finalist Julie Wrobel of Alexandria in basketball; Fairmont girls cross country coach Bob Bonk; Blaine head boys soccer coach Berry Arrowsmith and John Barnes, the head boys swimming and diving coach at St. Thomas Academy.

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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