Robert Board

One of the great pioneers and innovators of Minnesota High School Wrestling is former Coon Rapids High School Wrestling Coach Bob Board. Board retired in 1997 after 38 years in coaching. When looking at the long distinguished career of Bob Board, the first thing that comes to surface is his exceptional personality. "Bob Board is a real gentleman, a coach's coach," says longtime friend and former college wrestling teammate Don Meyers. Board started the wrestling program at Coon Rapids High School when it opened its doors in l962, and proceeded to coach the next 34 years there. Friend and colleague at Coon Rapids, Roger Gorham, said: "Bob was one of the most respected staff members in the school." Even with the success he experienced as a coach, his associates always focus on his commitment Board had toward kids. "Everything Bob did was trying to improve the kid, explained long time assistant Marlyn Hyland. Bob amassed impressive credentials. His coaching career record ranks him among the top 10 all-time in Minnesota with a 411 wins and 138 losses. He coached Coon Rapids to a sixth - place (class AA - Large School) State Tournament appearance in l986. The "Cards" also consistently finished one, two or three in conference while competing with the likes of powerful programs such as Anoka and Forest Lake. Three of Board's wrestlers won State titles in Tom Swenson, Tom Hall and Tim Koffski. Two of Board's wrestlers went on to capture national collegiate titles in Gary Swenson at St. John's University and Bobby Adams at Augsburg College. Several others were All-Americans. Board was inducted into the Dave Bartelma Minnesota Wrestling Hall of Fame in l973. He also served his coach's organization well beyond the norm, serving as President in l971, and again in 1990. As an athlete, Board won a State Championship at Anoka High School. He also placed second in l953 and third in l954, a 3 - Time State Place winner! Bob and his brother, Dick became the first brothers in Minnesota to win state titles the same year, Bob at ll9 and Dick at 125 in l955. Bob went on to compete at the University of Minnesota. He was a member of the l957 Big Ten Championship Team. Foremost of Bob's accomplishments was his contributions to wrestling. Wrestling great, Don Meyers, said: "Board is responsible for developing the state brunch, the "region reps" concept, the Grand March, the Hall of Fame, and even fundraising projects such as the mags and pins that are sold today," says wrestling great Don Meyers. Innovations like these have increased state tournament attendance from a little over 20,000 to 65,000 in our peak year said Meyers. "Bob Board is one of those original individuals from the first state tournament committee responsible for these improvements". Bob Board is one of the great people within the sport of wrestling. His presence and participation in the development of young men and Minnesota high school wrestling will be remembered and endured for many years to come.


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