Thole: Foley headed into MFCA Hall of Fame
Former Stillwater Area High School assistant coach Jerry Foley will be inducted into the Minnesota High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame at the Doubletree in Minneapolis on Saturday, April 6.
Foley served as my assistant for 29 years and prior to that served under previous SAHS coaches Joe “Sam” Samuelson and Carver Fouks. His impact on the Ponies during my tenure as head football coach and his tremendous playing career led to induction into the Hamline University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1982, the Minnesota Old Timers Football Hall of Fame in 2002 and the SCVAA Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004.
During our collaboration, Foley also received the Butch Nash Award in 1988, the Hamline U Alumni Football Coach of the Year in 1990 and State Assistant Football Coach of the Year in 1990. He coached in the state prep all-star game in 1990, received the Jim McLaughlin Coaches Award in 2000 and served as my assistant in the American Bowl in Belfast, Ireland in 1996.
Don’t forget, this guy was on the sidelines when the Big Red won four state football titles and finished runner-up twice during 18 trips to the big show. Foley was also co-author with moi on a top-selling coaches book: “From Veer to Eternity — Coaching a Football Dynasty”.
Foley and I have been buds for 42 years and it was a fantastic ride. This St. Paul kid named Thomas Jerome Foley in 1937 was a multi-sport athlete at Humboldt High School where he graduated with the class of 1955.
From there Foley moved on to Hamline University, where he earned eight varsity letters (four in football and the same number in hockey). He played quarterback and free safety for the Pipers and was also a starter in hockey — I might add that was a record-setting line that he played on.
Our guy set numerous MIAC, NCAA and NAIA records in passing and total offense. He finished the 1955 season as the nation’s collegiate passing champ and was named total offense champion as well. In fact, he was the only freshman to claim both titles.
Those efforts got him a spot on the Williamson Small College All-American Team in 1955. It’s no wonder that he was a charter member of the Piper Athletic Association. I’ve said many times that T. Jerome Foley is five-star.
Jerry and his lovely wife Darlene of 52 years, reside in Stillwater. Their children are former cheerleaders Kathlene (Junker) ’80 and Colleen Foley ’81, and all-conference center Brian Foley ’84.
Another first-rate Ponies coach Mark Elmer is scheduled to receive the Butch Nash Outstanding Assistant Coach Award as part of the festivities. The defensive coordinator joins a distinguished list of Ponies coaches to receive this award — a group that includes Denny Meyer (1984), Foley (1986), Donn Drommerhausen (1988) and Dick Klein (1994).
In the huddle
Stillwater’s Tony Carr was the center of attention last month when his alma mater UW-Eau Claire hosted UW-Whitewater in a basketball game at Zorn Arena as part of a
weekend fundraiser for the Dave Nanstad Kidney Benefit. It’s been three decades since Carr played in 131 games for the Blugolds as his team compiled a 109-22 mark during the golden era for UW-EC under coach Ken Anderson. Carr was a scoring machine during that span and set a record while scoring 49 points during a 121-67 pounding of UW-Platteville. He set the single-season scoring record with 814 points (25.4 avg.). Carr played in the Olympic trials in 1978 and served as captain of the powerful Blugolds his senior year and was an All-American in 1982. He was all-conference four times and the Blugolds also won that many titles during his stay. Carr later had a try-out with the Milwaukee Bucks. The talented former cager is a business account representative for the Red Cross in Minneapolis and a popular motivational speaker. Tony and his lovely wife, Amy, reside in Stillwater with their four daughters…. Ponies girls’ hockey coach Tony Scheid has compiled a 219-76-16 record in 12 seasons as top kick. The locals have five state tournament appearances — one each under former coaches Ken Bjorlin (1995) and Doug Long (1997) and three with Scheid (2006, 2007 and 2009), with the last of those two producing state titles. If you haven’t checked out that photo of the seniors by John Diana in the winter sports preview, do it. He captured Allison Pasiuk, Sara Bustad, Dana Almquist, Hannah Heacox, Katie Casto, Alex Sonnek, Dana Milan and Hannah Okerstrom just right…. Don’t tread on me — cut me some slack…. finis
Today’s rumination #605
Being defeated is usually a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org