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January 01, 2018 10:41 PM

Gary Munsen's Legacy Lives On The Hardwood

Mitchell, SD

It's been nearly a year since legendary Mitchell High School basketball coach Gary Munsen passed away.  This weekend he was honored once again inside the World's Only Corn Palace.

Dozens of Gary Munsen's former players gathered to honor their coach as the court inside the World's Only Corn Palace was temporarily renamed after him.

"Thinking about Coach, a lot of people don't know, he's got a real tough exterior but he's a big teddy bear and he would've been tearing up that's what he does but he would've been proud," Mike Miller said. 

During his 39 years at the helm of the Kernels, Munsen won twelve state championships, more than any other South Dakota high school basketball coach.

"Still amazes me when you bring out all the trophies what he accomplished and crazy thing about it and I can't say it enough is it wasn't even about the trophies," Miller said. 

To his players, the wins, losses, and the trophies are overshadowed by what Munsen did for them off the court.

"I take so many things you know with me today that I learned from him in high school like my leadership abilities and you know I don't look at the stuff that he helped me be as a player, the biggest thing I think Munsen did for me is he made me a better person," Martin said. 

"You know for all the former players to be there and to show what his support meant and what he'd done for us. You don't realize until you're away from it, the impacts people have on your life at a young age and he definitely helped build a solid foundation for all of us," Miller said. 

Now, they see it's only fitting for the hardwood to bare the name of their legendary play caller.

"I think it's always going to be the court that Gary Munsen built and I think it just fits to have his name on this court. All these people that come to the Corn Palace to watch the Kernels or the Tigers you know it doesn't matter everybody remembers Coach Munsen and the great man and coach that he was," Martin said. 

The Mitchell City Council will vote in February, whether or not to permanently rename the court.
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