George Thole: Locals shine at Old Timers Football Golf Tourney

The Minnesota Old Timers Football Association held its 11th Annual Golf Tournament at River Oaks Golf Club on June 25.

The event is open to anyone and 100 participants enjoyed a beautiful sunlit day at the Cottage Grove layout. As usual, the Stillwater area was well represented with a number of players, including a group of former SAHS coaches.

Organizer Jerry Foley reports this year’s Minnesota Old Timers Football Association Golf Tournament was a success with 100 players participating at River Oaks.

The Stillwater foursome of Don Campbell (baseball), Wayne Orn (hockey), Donn Drommerhausen (assistant football) and Ricky Michel (baseball and current AD) was second place in the under-65 age group. Honors in the over-65 division went to a bunch of St. Paul Humboldt High School alums with Stillwater’s Bob Kisch, Bob Johnson, John Herzog and Louie Greengard.

Local ISD educator Mike Mustar joined other coaching colleagues Jim Dimmick (Sibley) and Larry Boyle (Tartan) in racking up individual awards.

Making up the oldest  foursome was my old boss at Richfield Dick Walker, 83, Gene “Taco” Bealka, 89 (Humboldt, the Ponies trainer for six lustrums), Bill Martin, 90 (St. Paul Central) and Frank Seidl, 74 (St. Paul Harding). This group averaged 84 years per hacker, but held their own — at least for a little while.

The board of directors and tournament manager Jerry Foley deemed this year’s event a huge success. The late Bob Engwer (North St. Paul), who is past president of the organization, is the founder of this popular golf tournament.

The next event for the association is the Hall of Fame Banquet to be held at the Prom Center on Sept. 18 at 5:30 p.m. For banquet information, call the sage Foley at 651-439-1379 or moi at 651-439-5991.

“Don’t miss this football extravaganza,” Foley reminds our readers.


Today’s Sports

Trivia Question

Name the former Ponies three-sport standout who was one of the founders of the Valley Athletic Association? Here’s a hint: Our athlete didn’t play for the locals until his senior year.


In the huddle

Congrats to Taco and his charming wife Bette Bealka celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary…. Charley Clements was named MVP by his SAHS boys’ golf teammates. Freshman Sammy Sicard was the lone Pony to receive all-conference honors. Juniors Lars Lillehei, who was co-medalist at the Section 4AAA tournament, and Tony Pulido will serve as co-captains next spring. The Ponies’ upbeat coach John Scanlon sees a big year ahead with 19 players returning to the roster, including the top two…. Former Ponies gridder Brian Funke of the 1983 Ponies (8-2) Suburban title team has spent the last 24 years at State Farm Insurance, where he is currently a personal injury manager. He has two children Spencer, 19, and McKenzie, 17, and resides in Maple Plain…. Liam O’Grady, a recent SAHS grad who played on the Ponies 7-3 football team last fall, will enroll at Century College. He eventually hopes to pursue a degree in architecture at the U of M…. Answer to Today’s Sports Trivia Question: I’m referring to Jack Delahunt, who played football, basketball and baseball for the Ponies and earned the Kolliner Award in 1954. He didn’t play for the Red and Black until his senior year after transferring from the Catholic Seminary at Nazareth Hall. He later played college football at UW-River Falls after transferring from the University of Minnesota. Let’s not forget that Delahunt played in the Minnesota Prep All-Star Football Game. Talk about a huge senior year!…. There was a healthy list of former Ponies dotting the rosters of women’s college track and field teams this spring. Megan Olson had a terrific record-producing season at MSU-Mankato in the heptathlon and hurdles. The heptathlon requires strength, speed and pure guts. Try the 100 hurdles, 200 meters, 800 meters, long jump, high jump, shot put, javelin and pole vault and you will experience one of life’s little treasures. Karissa Pepin (Augustana), Andrea Dittmann (St. Olaf), Molly Allen (Augsburg) and Kelly O’Neill (Gustavus Adolphus) represented the Ponies on the collegiate circuit…. The Ponies baseball team has won 16 conference titles in the last 31 years. Twins pitcher Glen Perkins is the only former Pony to stick in the majors after playing at the University of Minnesota. Andrew Schmiesing signed with the Twins in 2007 and Mike Strong signed with the Brewers last year and is currently playing for the Class A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Injuries sidlined another Stillwater grad Ryan Lindgren after getting drafted by the Mariners and Tigers…. finis


Today’s rumination #575

Change is inevitable, but greatness is a choice.

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George Thole retired as head football coach at Stillwater after the 1999 season. He ranks among Minnesota’s top coaches in history with a 285-69-2 record (.805 winning percentage), including four state titles and two state runner-up finishes among 22 championship seasons. He co-authored (with Jerry Foley) “Coaching the Veer Offense,” second edition. His column appears Thursdays in the Gazette. To contact the hall of fame coach e-mail: [email protected]