Long-Time Brainerd Head Football Coach Ron Stolski Retires After 45 Years

Long-Time Brainerd Head Football Coach Ron Stolski Retires After 45 Years


WE WILL HAVE A GREAT STO>>>IT’S BEEN 45 YEARS IN A ROW THAT THE BRAINERD FOOTBALL PROGRAM HAS HAD RON STOLSKI AS THEIR HEAD COACH AND LEADER FROM THE SIDELINES. AFTER AN EMOTIONAL AND HEARTFELT MEETING THIS MORNING WITH HIS TEAM, STOLSKI ANNOUNCED HIS DECISION TO HANG UP THE WHISTLE AND RESIGN AS HEAD COACH. WALKING AWAY FROM THE PROGRAM THAT STOLSKI HAS BUILT THE PAST FOUR AND A HALF DECADES WASN’T AN EASY DECISION TO MAKE, BUT IN STOLSKI’S EYES, IT’S THE RIGHT MOVE AT THE RIGHT TIME.>>WHEN YOU CHOOSE TO MAKE A LIFE IN TEACHING OR COACHING, YOU CHOOSE TO TRY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF PEOPLE YOU TOUCH.>>HE’S WON 389 FOOTBALL GAMES IN HIS CAREER, COACHED FOR 58 SEASONS, 45 OF THOSE AT BRAINERD HIGH SCHOOL, AND WON SEVERAL STATE AND NATIONAL COACHING AWARDS. BUT EARLIER TODAY, BRAINERD HEAD FOOTBALL COACH RON STOLSKI INFORMED HIS TEAM THAT THE LONGEST TENURED HEAD COACH IN MINNESOTA STATE HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL LEAGUE HISTORY WILL BE STEPPING DOWN.>>I TOLD THE KIDS FRANKLY I SAID I’M NOT GOING TO CRY THIS MORNING, AND I STARTED TO CRY. AND THEN I SAID I NEVER TRUST A MAN WHO DOESN’T KNOW HOW TO CRY SO BAILED ME OUT OF THAT ONE. I THOUGHT ABOUT IT A LONG TIME. IF IT HAD BEEN AN EASY DECISION, I WOULD HAVE DONE IT AFTER OUR SEASON.>>THE 80-YEAR-OLD STOLSKI FIRST BEGAN HIS CAREER AT KENSINGTON, MADE STOPS AT SLATON, PRINCETON AND PARK CENTER BEFORE ARRIVING IN BRAINERD AS THE AD AND FOOTBALL COACH IN 1975, BUT FOR STOLSKI COACHING BEGAN A LOT EARLIER THAN MOST PEOPLE WOULD THINK.>>I STARTED COACHING AT 13, HAD MY FIRST TEAM BECAUSE MY BROTHER AND HIS FRIENDS THEY WERE 10-YEAR-OLDS, THEY NEEDED A COACH. WE WON THE CITY CHAMPIONSHIP.>>THAT CITY CHAMPIONSHIP WOULDN’T BE STOLSKI’S ONLY CHAMPIONSHIP AS HE WON 10 SECTION CHAMPIONSHIPS, 15 CENTRAL LAKES CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS AND TOOK THE WARRIORS TO 11 STATE TOURNAMENTS. BUT STOLSKI SAYS HE COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT BY HIMSELF.>>I’VE BEEN BLESSED WITH REALLY GOOD COACHING STAFF. TWO OF MY ASSISTANTS HAVE BEEN WITH ME FOR 43 YEARS. CHAD STEVENSON OFFENSIVE LINE COACH AND SCOTTY PARSONS, LINEBACKER COACH, GREAT COACHES. THEY WERE GOING OUT AND I THOUGHT THIS IS A GOOD TIME. LET’S GO TOGETHER. I LOVE AND APPRECIATE THEM SO MUCH.>>STOLSKI HAS WON 317 GAMES AT BRAINERD AND 389 GAMES IF HIS CAREER WHICH IS SECOND IN THE STATE BEHIND ONLY MIKE MALLEN OF VERNDALE. HE ADOPTED IN 1975 THE WARRIOR WAY WHICH IS WRITTEN ON WALLS ALL AROUND THE SCHOOL.>>PHILOSOPHY BASED ON RESPECT, RESPECT FOR YOUR TEAMMATE, RESPECT FOR THE PEOPLE YOU PLAY AGAINST, RESPECT FOR YOUR FAMILY AND YOUR FRIENDS. AND SO IT BECAME A WAY OF LIFE. I MEAN, I CAN’T TELL YOU MODESTLY HOW MANY — HOW MUCH COMMUNICATION I’VE HAD TODAY, AND IT’S ALL BEEN ABOUT THE WARRIOR WAY AND WHAT WE LEARN BEYOND — NOT ONE COMMUNICATION WAS WELL, I REMEMBER THE YEAR WE WERE 11 AND 1. NOT ONE. THAT’S A TELLING MESSAGE.>>COACHING HAS MEANT EVERYTHING TO STOLSKI AS HE HAS WON NUMEROUS STATE AND NATIONAL COACHING AWARDS, BUT WHAT HE MIGHT ENJOY EVEN MORE THAN COACHING IS THE PEOPLE OF BRAINERD.>>NEVER EVEN THOUGHT OF LEAVING BRAINERD. I HAD A FEW COLLEGE COACHING OPPORTUNITIES. EVERYBODY GETS THEM. NO, I WASN’T GOING TO LEAVE HERE. I LOVE THE PEOPLE, LOVE THE COMMUNITY, HAD GREAT SUPPORT. IN 45 YEARS HERE, IN BRAINERD, I THINK I’VE HAD FIVE PHONE CALLS ABOUT HOW WE DO WHAT WE DO, AND I THINK IT’S JUST BECAUSE OUR COACHES CARE. AND WE’RE UP FRONT, AND WE TRY TO COACH ALL OF THE KIDS.>>EVEN THOUGH STOLSKI IS OFFICIALLY HANGING UP THE WHISTLE, DON’T EXPECT HIM TO BE DONE COACHING JUST QUITE YET.>>NEVER HAD A FALL IN MY LIFE WITHOUT FOOTBALL AND I DON’T PLAN TO HAVE ANY MORE FALLS WITHOUT FOOTBALL. I WILL FIND A FIELD HERE IN BRAINERD, AND I WILL FIND SOME KIDS, AND WE’LL ROUND EM UP AND WE’LL COACH FOOTBALL, AND HOPEFULLY SOME LIFE LESSONS ALONG THE WAY.>>AND OF COURSE STOLSKI WILL NEVER LEAVE BRAINERD.>>ONE OF MY YOUNG COACHES SAID BUT COACH, IT’S NOT OVER, YOU’RE JUST STEPPING DOWN. YOU’LL BE AROUND. I SAID YEAH, I’LL BE AROUND.>>ALWAYS AROUND AND ALWAYS WITH TO THE BULLS BY A SCORE OF 117-110. SO QUITE –>>WHAT AN AMAZING CAREER FOR RON STOLSKI.>>YEAH, AND IT’S TRUE, LIKE ALL THE STORIES ABOUT, YOU KNOW, WHAT A GREAT COACH HE IS, I WAS ABLE TO MEET HIM WHEN I WAS DOWN IN BRAINERD, HE’S A BETTER GUY THAN HE IS A COACH. I MEAN THE COMMUNITY ABSOLUTELY LOVES HIM. I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT. IT IS TOUGH HE’S GOING TO BE

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