Kuechenmeister honored again
BEA football mentor named Coach of the Year for second time
For the second time in his illustrious high school coaching career, Blue Earth Area’s Randy Kuechenmeister has been named Coach of the Year by the Minnesota Football Coaches Association. The award was for the Class AA 2020 football season.
Kuechenmeister received the award at a banquet held by the Coaches Association on Friday, Aug. 13.
He previously was honored as the Class AAA Coach of the Year in 2012 when the BEA football team finished the season with a perfect 13-0 record and won the Class AAA championship football game at the Metrodome over Rochester Lourdes.
“I was fortunate to be surrounded by excellent players,” Kuechenmeister commented. “I am also blessed with an excellent coaching staff.”
The Buccaneers finished the 2020 COVID-shortened season with an undefeated record. The team had seven victories and defeated Maple River for the Section 2AA title. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were no State playoffs.
“Truthfully, it is not my award,” Kuechenmeister said. “It is really a team award.”
The 2020 BEA football team did indeed have a great year.
They opened the season, which was delayed because of COVID, on Oct. 9, at Jackson, with a 45-14 win.
Luverne came to Blue Earth on Oct. 16 as the No. 3-ranked Class 2A team in the state. Once again the Bucs prevailed and produced a 41-10 victory.
Next, BEA traveled to Redwood Valley on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 24, to face another ranked team in the Redwood Valley Cardinals. The Cardinals scored first but the Bucs went on to defeat Redwood Valley 46-18.
Next, the Bucs played host to Pipestone Area and were triumphant by a score of 42-13.
A trip to Windom to face the Eagles on Nov. 6, gave the Maroon and Gold their largest margin of victory of the year by a score of 54-6.
BEA improved their record to 6-0 in their final game of the regular season. The team also recorded their only shutout of the year when they downed the Maple River Eagles 40-0 on Nov. 11. The Bucs held the Maple River offense to 58 total yards.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz made an announcement on Wednesday, Nov. 18, that all activities would be shut down at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20, because of COVID-19. The high school football teams had time to get one more game in.
Blue Earth was seeded No. 1 in Section 2AA and Maple River was the second seed.
Those two teams met for the Section championship on Friday, Nov. 20. The Bucs were once again victorious over the Eagles, winning 39-12.
The Bucs’ defeat of the Eagles qualified the team for the State playoffs in a season when no State Tournament games were played.
Kuechenmeister received this honor for a year when he not only had to worry about his team’s opponent on the field, but also how to handle everything the pandemic forced athletic squads to deal with.
He was also named the Gatorade Coach of the Week on Nov. 13, during the 2020 season.
When news of Kuechenmeister’s award reached social media, many of the comments made by other people referred to how the Bucs’ coach was such a good mentor for his players and how much the players respected him.
But then, it is a feeling which runs both ways.
“I have a lot of respect for these kids and the way they handled the season,” Kuechenmeister said after their final game of the 2020 season. “We were grateful we were able to play all of our scheduled games. Some teams were not so fortunate.”
The Bucs held their first practice of the 2021 season on Monday, Aug. 16, and once again, Kuechenmeister and his staff will be working to prepare the team to be the best they can be.