I am from Huron. When it comes to high school sports Huron does not like Mitchell. Mitchell does not like Huron.
Gary Munsen is the boys basketball coach at Mitchell. I do not like Gary Munsen. I love the guy.
I did not like him in the least almost 30 years ago when his Kernals beat us every friggin time we played them on their way to back-to-back-to-back state championships from 1984-1986. They had great players... Kyle Adams and Tim Byrd and Bart Frederick (blocked the first shot I ever took in a varsity game) and Chad Anderson and Wes Morgan and Mike Sterner and Jeff Brooks and Dean Jacobson and on and on. But they also had Munsen, who may have had it on auto-pilot in those years but was always the guy who could take one or two good players along with three or four decent ones and beat you every time. Give him a cross country kid, three golfers and a debater and he would still make it to the state semis.
I would guess that a lot of guys like me have come to respect and appreciate what Munsen can do as a basketball coach. In fact, I don't know how you could not. He is to basketball in South Dakota what the late Bill Janklow was to politics... gruff and cantankerous and tough to deal with some times but really good at getting results. Hard to like but easy to love, if that makes sense.
Everybody has their faults and Muns would readily admit his and they have fed his public persona as a curmudgeon. He certainly can be disagreeable and stubborn. But once you get past the false labels and he lets you past the "Go Away!" sign there is nobody more fun to talk to. He is funny and sarcastic and he never gives an inch. If you give him a hard time about his team he will look at you sideways, insult your intelligence and calmy say "Yeah? Well we will just see about that".
Munsen will retire from coaching after this weekends state tournament and it's about time. He's old! He has grandkids to spoil! He's beaten Huron enough! It's just not going to be near as much fun without him on the bench.
And by the way, I will take the Kernals to win this weekend... because I think Muns is going to get it done one more time.