By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In Minnesota, Gene Glynn is so much more than a coach for the Twins — he was the first-ever Mr. Basketball in the state, out of Waseca in 1975.

“It meant a lot, because there were a lot of really good players there. Any one of them could’ve won it,” he said. “It’s a great honor, and it’s one you carry with you the rest of your life because you kind of helped that Mr. Basketball award be passed down, and hopefully it’s something that they can always look up to you. And hopefully you carried that banner well while you related to it.”

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He grew up at Tink Larson Field — a ballpark that made headlines on April 6, when the grandstatnd burned to the ground. They’ve now learned it was arson.

“That makes you mad,” Glynn said. “You were disappointed, you were hoping it was an accident. And why someone, if they did it — they had no clue how much it meant to everybody, to a community like ours.”

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The man it’s named after was Glynn’s high school coach — Tink Larson. He’s a volunteer assistant for Minnesota State Mankato, and he’s keeping tabs on the rebuilding.

“It’s going to be a long process, and a slow process, and it’s going to cost a lot of money to do it, but the city leaders — the city manager, the mayor and the council — have all said that they’re going to rebuild, and that they’re going to rebuild it better than what it was,” Larson said.

Like his former coach, Glynn is about Minnesota — he’s about baseball. And right now, he’s about working for his hometown team — the Twins.

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It means an awful lot, and you just think of all the times you pulled for the Twins, and came to the games, and knew every name on the team,” he said. “To be sitting by Tony Oliva here in the locker room every day when we’re home means an awful lot.”

Mike Max