Pierz Football Coach Inducted Into Hall of Fame
PIERZ -- With over 240 wins in 30 as head coach, Pierz's Leo Pohlkamp has been inducted into the Minnesota Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
"It's pretty thrilling," says Pohlkamp, who got the call earlier this week. "It's a pretty good feeling to know that all the hard work you've done over the years gets you an award for something that's pretty special to me."
Pohlkamp grew up in Pierz playing football in only his final two years in high school, but he continued playing until he graduated from St. Cloud State University.
"I said in my education classes [at SCSU] I did not want to go back to my hometown and teach junior high, but guess what -- I did them both for 33 years," Pohlkamp says, chuckling.
Pohlkamp spent six years as an assistant coach at Pierz before taking over for then-coach Steve Dooley in the mid-1980s. Since then, he has won 75% of his games, amassing 242 wins -- including his first state championship in 2004.
"[A] state championship is something you always see other teams get, and we had come close a number of times but didn't get there," Pohlkamp says. "When you finally win one, it's kind of a relief but then you hope that you can do it again at some point."
Eleven years later, Pohlkamp would hoist his second state championship after the Pioneers' 36-8 win over Jackson County Central 36-8 in the 2015 Prep Bowl.
Pohlkamp says he isn't 100% sure yet, but hints that he is leaning towards returning for his 31st year as head coach at Pierz.
"It keeps you young and it keeps you wanting to keep that tradition going at Pierz," Pohlkamp says. "And I think it's working right now and we really just hope to keep it going."
Pohlkamp will be honored along with fellow high school coaches Don Henderson of Triton, Bernie Litecky of Totino Grace, and Flint Motschenbacher of Detroit Lakes at a banquet dinner in Minneapolis on April 2nd where each inductee will give a speech.
"That's the hard part -- what do you say?" Pohlkamp says. "It'll be a good feeling to be able to get there, there's a lot of good football coaches already in the hall of fame and it's really an honor to be able to join them."