Well folks, I have had the honor of working with so many great coaches over the years and many were loved by their teams and their fans as well.
There is one guy that is the most beloved coach to ever lead a program at Aitkin High School. I have written about him before, most recently as he celebrated his 80th birthday. This week, I write about him again because he is going to be honored by fans and friends and former athletes, most of whom felt they were more a part of his family than his team on the court.
I brought the idea up to the Aitkin School Board a month or so ago and they got behind the project right away. Most had known him for a long time, as I have: a gentle, soft-spoken family man who started a program with little equipment and support ,but got it started anyway and made it into a well-respected program within a few years. He wasn’t afraid to take his lumps for a couple years, and then established some very good players over the years.
I’m not sure the exact date because of the world situation, but at some point this fall we will honor Don Hagestuen as we put a name on the Aitkin tennis courts where the Gobblers put racket to ball every year. The Don Hagestuen Tennis Center will become a reality during this girls’ tennis season, an honor he was emotional about as I broke the news to him two weeks ago. “I am so honored and so happy, especially for my family. They will see the name up there for a long time to come. I loved coaching and had so many great kids come through the program. They are the reason for my success and became more like family than anything else. I am so appreciative.”
I will have more information as time goes forward, but I am so happy to be a part of putting this together for one of my favorite people in the whole world.
Don, we are so excited for you and the Don Hagestuen Tennis Center.