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Viesselman receives call to the Hall

Long-time USC mentor to be inducted by State Coaches Association

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Aug 29, 2021

Kent Viesselman, a long-time USC coach who retired from coaching in 2018, is being inducted into the Minnesota State Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Saturday, Oct. 9, in Minneapolis.

Kent Viesselman, a 1960 graduate of Blue Earth High School and long-time track and cross country coach at United South Central and Wells-Easton High Schools, is being honored with induction into the Minnesota State Coaches Association Hall of Fame. The ceremony will take place on Saturday, Oct. 9, at the Sheraton Minneapolis West in Minnetonka.

“He was coaching at Wells-Easton when I was an athlete at Blue Earth,” Blue Earth Area coach Tom Plocker says. “When I had a misfortune at the Minnesota State Track Tournament, he sent a letter to the editor to the paper here in town which was very kind.”

Plocker would become even more familiar with Viesselman following his college graduation.

“My first job was at Wells-Easton. I got to know him as both a teacher and a coach,” Plocker recalls. “He coached the boys team and I coached the girls team. I learned many things from him.”

Later, the two became coaching rivals.

“I got the job at Blue Earth and we competed against his teams many times,” Plocker comments. “I have nothing but good things to say about him. He was a tremendous coach who worked hard to prepare his teams to compete. It is a well-deserved honor.”

Viesselman began his career as a coach and a teacher in the Lamberton School District in 1964. He taught junior high math, was the B-team boys basketball coach and the head coach for both track and field and cross country. This was before interscholastic sports for girls had begun.

Viesselman recalls his first track team did not have much for equipment.

“We had one home-made non-adjustable hurdle, a shot put which was too light and a rubber discus which looked like someone had taken a bite out of it.”

But Viesselman maintained his sense of humor about the situation.

“In my first year the team failed to score a point in either the conference or district meet,” he says. “We were so slow we could not even beat each other.”

However, he did give those athletes credit.

“They were hard workers, things got better and some of them ended up becoming excellent track athletes.”

Viesselman made the move to Wells-Easton in 1970, (which consolidated into United South Central for the 1991-1992 school year) where he taught junior high math and geometry until 1999.

His coaching career extended beyond his teaching career. Viesselman remained the cross country coach through the 2015 season and retired from coaching track and field after the 2018 season. Viesselman also was the B-squad basketball coach until 1985.

He would have a stellar career as a coach and was honored as the Section Coach of the Year, either for track or cross country, a total of 27 times. In fact, he was named the boys Section Coach of the Year for track in five different decades.

He has also been honored as the Minnesota Coach of the Year twice in both track and field and cross country.

He is already a member of the True Team Hall of Fame (2001), State Cross Country Hall of Fame (2001), the USC Hall of Fame (2012) and the State Track Coaches Hall of Fame (2015).

“Our teams were pretty good in the 1970s and 80s,” Viesselman notes. “We really hit our stride in the late 80s when True Team events came into being. It fit our philosophy of team track.”

The teams coached by Viesselman during his time as the Wells-Easton and USC coach have quite a list of accomplishments. They have won 39 conference team championships, 38 subsection team championships, 21 Minnesota State High School League Section Team Championships, 24 State participant teams in cross country, 16 state participant teams in True Team track, 15 individual State champions, three State Championship teams in True Team and several top three finishes in both the MSHSL State Meet and the State True Team Meet.

He did more than coach. Viesselman also served as vice president and president of the Minnesota Track Coaches Association, was a member of the True Team committee and was the Section Meet coordinator for six years.

Perhaps his most lasting mark on the sports he coached is shown by the number of former athletes he coached who are now at the helm of their own track or cross country teams.

“As of 2015, there were at least 15 of my former athletes coaching either track and field or cross country at the varsity level in Minnesota or Wisconsin,” Viesselman says,

Anybody who is interested in attending the banquet should contact Deb Allis in the activities office at USC.