West’s Krusemark, SJA’s Zellmann inducted into MSHSCA Hall of Fame

The two join an exclusive club.
Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 7:58 PM CST
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NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) -Two of our area high school coaches will go down as the best to ever do it after being inducted into the Minnesota State High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame earlier this month.

For more than four decades, two staples on the high school sports front in southern Minnesota are Mankato West’s Don Krusemark and St. James Area’s Les Zellmann.

The pair is still going strong after all these years, and the success between the two is why they’re now hall of famers.

Zellmann’s tennis teams at St. James are regulars at the state competition while Krusemark’s coached a handful of sports over his tenure at West spending the last 25 as the Scarlets softball coach which won a state championship this past spring.

The secret to longevity for both is simple.

“First thing you have to do is show them that you care. There is a saying, people don’t care what you say unless they know that you care. That goes a long ways, and I try to show my athletes that I do care about them, not only as an athlete but as a person. Once you get that trust, athletes will follow you and do what you ask and go the extra mile,” said Krusemark.

Both Zellmann and Krusemark are now in rare company as one of the few Hall of Famers from their respective schools.

At the end of the day, it’s never been about wins or losses for either even though they’ve done plenty of winning over the year’s.

“I enjoy working with the kids, the kids give me energy, a sense of being young of being able to grow with them as they grow their game. I can’t say enough about what that means to me, and that’s why I continue to work with the kids. I’ll continue to do that for sometime because like I say, I like to work with the kids,” said Zellmann.

“I want to see what we can do with the new group. There’s always good players coming up. Even though we lose good seniors every year, it’s fun to see the group we have coming up and help them reach the goals we set,” said Krusemark.

There’s still more work to do for both Zellmann and Krusemark, but for now, they’re thankful for all the athletes and team’s throughout the years.

“My reflection is real simple. I’ve been lucky. I can only say this has been a great niche for me. When I walk away, whenever that is. I’ll just reflect and say it’s been great. It’s been super,” said Zellmann.

Two legends still leaving their mark in southern Minnesota.