1947 - 1974





Dale Aaseth is known as the co-founder of the 212 Conference.  He is the only individual to be affiliated with the 212 Conference from its conception through 1974. Aaseth came to Bird Island in 1946 as a teacher and coach.  He coached football and basketball until 1953. 
In 1947 he became the principal at BIHS and in 1961 Aaseth became the Superintendent of schools.
Jim Beshy came to Brownton High School in the winter of 1967 and took over the wrestling duties at that time.  He graduated from Britt High School in Iowa, and Mankato State College. Beshy built BHS into a wrestling power from the year 1968 through 1974. He went on to Glencoe High School and coached several years.  Beshy is a member of the Wrestling Hall of Fame.  Beshy bought and managed the Guillotine Wrestling Magazine from Jim and Connie Bartels in 1987.
Rod Black was a 1952 graduate of Danube High, and of Westmar College in Iowa.  Black was one of the outstanding all around athletes in the conference in his senior year.  He came back to his home town of Danube in the fall of 1956 and was named head basketball coach in 1959.               He also coached football and baseball at various times.  Coach Black won three District 12 Championships in 1960, 61 and 62                                   In 1961 and 1962 his teams also won the Region Three title. His basketball teams also won the conference championship in 1961, 1962 and 1965.
Coach Black was voted into the Minnesota Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1988.
R.M. Brenckman was a graduate of Blue Earth High School in Minnesota. After graduating from High School, Brenckman served in the Navy during Word War II in the submarine division. When he was discharged from the armed services, he attended Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Mn. where he played football.  Mr. Brenckman came to Danube High School in the fall of 1949. He stayed until the spring of 1953. During his time at DHS, Coach Brenckman’s football teams never lost a game. His record was 27-0-1 with three Conference Championships. After his stay in Danube,       Coach Brenckman coached football at Lakefield and Blue Earth until his untimely death in 1971.

Wayne Dietz was a graduate of Sanborn High School and St. Olaf College in Northfield Minnesota. After serving in the Army Signal Corp in WWII, Dietz came to Hector High School in the fall of 1948. He led the Bulldogs to four conference titles in football and one conference championhip in baseball. He coached 6 man, 8 man, and 11 man football and compiled a 45-10-1 record in his 8 years at Hector.  Dietz was an excellent amateur baseball player for the Class A Hector Flyer baseball team. He was one of the leading hitters on the team and was usually drafted as a catcher for the play-offs by the league champions. After he left Hector in the spring of 1956, Dietz continued his successful coaching career at Anoka High School for many years. He was a high school basketball official for fifty years and was inducted into four different Minnesota Hall of Fames.




Merv Ellwood came to Stewart High School from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa in the fall of 1955. At SHS Mr. Ellwood was an assistant football coach, head baseball coach and head basketball coach. In basketball, Coach Ellwood turned Stewart High School into a winning program in the late 50’s and early 60’s. His baseball teams won three conference championships in 1957, 1958 and 1961. In District 12 play, his 1959 team was runner up and in 1961 won the District championship.  During his nine years in Stewart, Coach Ellwood helped develop outstanding teams in all sports. The peak years in athletics at SHS took place when he coached all three sports. His dedication to the classroom and athletics made him one of the most respected teacher-coach combination in the surrounding area.

Don Estenson came to Hector High School in 1949 after an outstanding basketball career at Luther College. Estenson served as head and assistant basketball coach through 1956.  In 1957 he traveled to Long Beach State College in California to finish his masters degree in administration. He stayed in California as a personnel director at a Fullerton High School until 1961, when he returned to Hector High School to become the principal. “Este” was known as an outstanding administrator, a warm and sincere person who loved being around high school students, and a true fan of athletics.
Ken Gulbrandson coached at Stewart High School for 14 years. Gulbrandson was a veteran of WWII and a graduate of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He coached football, basketball, baseball and track in his career at SHS. During his tenure as football coach, “Gulby” had a 78-37-6 record with 5 championships and 3 runner ups. During the late 50’s and early 60’s, Hector (Hage) and Stewart (Gulbrandson) were always classic games and usually the biggest game of the year for both schools.  Coach Gulbrandson was also known as an outstanding track coach during his stay at SHS.         His track teams were always competitive in conference and district meets. He had two conference championship teams in 1960 and 1961.
Gulbrandson also served as the summer recreation director who developed some outstanding baseball teams that won several championships.
Bob Hage joined the faculty at Hector High School in the fall of 1956, replacing the legendary Wayne Dietz. After a short time at Alden and Butterfield High Schools, Hage became the head football and baseball coach at HHS.  Hage was a veteran of WWII and a graduate of Roosevelt High School and Augsburg College in Minneapolis. He was an outstanding football, hockey and baseball player in high school and college. Best known for his achievements in hockey, Hage was one of the last players cut from the 1952 Olympic Hockey team. In the 1950’s and early 1960’s, he was an outstanding pitcher on the Hector Flyer amateur baseball team. Later in his career he became one of the outstanding golfers in the Hector area. From 1956 through 1973, Coach Hage compiled a 117-33-2 record in football with 9 titles. In baseball, his teams won District and Conference titles 5 times.
Hage's three sons, Steve, Bob Jr., and Rich, all played quarterback for HHS. He was elected to the Minnesota Coaches Hall of Fame in 2007.
LeRoy Henning is said to have had the original idea of forming the 212 Conference. In the winter of 1947 he contacted Dale Aaseth of Bird Island with the idea. The two of them invited the eight schools to Athman's Café in Bird Island on April 14th, 1947. Henning was the basketball coach and principal at Sacred Heart High School in 1947 and 1948. Henning was a very good athlete and played on some of the outstanding AAU volleyball teams in the upper mid-west.  After the leaving Sacred Heart, he was employed by the St. Paul School District and the Minnesota Department of Education.
Ray Miller dedicated himself to 35 years of teaching and coaching at Sacred Heart High School. He came to SHHS in the fall of 1968 and throughout his career coached football, track, baseball, cross country and wrestling.  Miller graduated from Willow Lake High School in South Dakota in 1958.      At Willow Lake High School he coached football and track and started the wrestling program. In 1962, he graduated from Huron College in South Dakota where he played on the 1960 NAIA National Champion football team.  Throughout his career at Sacred Heart his wrestling program eventually included schools from Danube, Granite Falls, Belview, and Clarkfield. His teams won four conference championships, and five of his wrestlers would go on to win State Championships.  Ray and his son John, were inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Fall of Fame in 1999.
Marv Mischke was born in Westbrook, Minnesota on June 30th, 1918. He graduated from Walnut Grove High School in 1937. After serving in the Army in WWII, he enrolled at Mankato State College as an education major. He came to Buffalo Lake High School in the fall of 1949.  AT BLHS he coached football and basketball from 1949 through 1955. At one point he coached the high school baseball team and track team in the same spring. All of Mischke's teams were highly competitive in the 212 Conference. His basketball teams were conference champions in 1950 and 1952. In 1954 and 1955 his track teams won the conference championships. His over-all record in football was 19-17-1. In basketball he finished with a 78-38 record. Mischke moved to Springfield, Minnesota in the fall of 1955.
Clint Perkins came to Buffalo Lake High School in the fall of 1955 as the football coach and track coach.  In his six years at BLHS his track teams      won 212 Conference Championships in 1956, 1957, 1958 and 1959. In 1960 and 1961his teams were runner ups. His 1960 Track team won the District 12 and Region 3 championship.  In the spring of 1961, Perkins left for Detroit Lakes High School where he finished his career
Jim Phillips came to Renville High School in the fall of 1969. He developed the wrestling program at RHS into a conference and district power     through out his years in Renville. He coached the only State Champion (Bill Schmidt) in the history of the 212 Conference.  Phillips graduated from        St. Joseph Catholic High School in Mason City, IA. and Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. At RHS he was the High School counselor. Phillips left Renville High School for Little Falls, Minnesota in 1978. He eventually ended up in his home town of Mason City, Iowa.
Grady Rostberg graduated from Gilby High School in North Dakota in 1957 and Mayville State College in 1961. Rostberg is one of the all time great all round athletes in the history of Mayville State. He lettered 12 times in football, basketball and baseball in his career at MSC.  After teaching one year at Hatton, N.D., he received his masters degree from the University of North Dakota. He moved to Brownton High School in the fall of 1963. He remained at BHS unitl 1969, when he moved to Hutchinson High School.  Rostberg went on to have a legendary coaching career at Hutchinson       where he won several state championships and had a Hall of Fame career. When he retired from coaching, son Andrew replaced him as Head Coach     of the Hutchinson Tigers.
Dave Sorenson graduated from Randolph High School in 1964 and Gustavus College in 1968. The 6’8 Sorenson was an outstanding basketball player in his high school and college career. At his time at RHS he became a legendary track coach where his teams won six straight championships from 1969 through 1974.  Sorenson spent his entire coaching career at Renville High School. He was also the assistant coach for the football and basketball programs.
Warren (Max) West graduated from Brownton High School in 1940. After serving his country in the Navy in WWII, he attended Moorhead State College where he played football and baseball. During his time in the Fargo-Moorhead area, he played professional baseball in the Northern League   with the Fargo Chiefs.  Coach West came to BHS in the fall of 1955. Although his main interest was baseball, he was also the football coach from 1955 until 1962. He was the Head baseball coach from 1955 until his retirement. He became a coaching icon in baseball as his teams won over 350 games.
During the late 50’s and early 60’s, the switch hitting 2nd baseman was an outstanding player for the Brownton Bruins amateur baseball teams. He organized many of the summer recreation and legion baseball teams. He was elected to the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame and the   Minnesota High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame.
Jerry Wohler became the head basketball coach at Bird Island High School in the fall of 1965. After an outstanding coaching career in North Dakota   in both basketball and baseball, the Valley City State College graduate compiled a 96-72 record from 1966 through 1974.  In 1980 and 1981     Wohler's Bird Island Panthers won back to back State Championships in basketball. His son, Barry, was a key player for those Championship teams.

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