MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The winningest high school basketball coach in Minnesota has notched another incredible milestone.
Mike Dreier guided the girls varsity team at New London-Spicer High School to a victory Tuesday night. The win is number 900 for his career — one the started in the late 1970s — all at the same school.
For 40 years, Dreier has been the one constant along the bench for New London-Spicer High School girls basketball.
“To be honest, I probably can’t remember the first day that I coached back in 1979,” he said.
The games he says become routine, and with one quick glance at the banners hanging in the gym, so to0 has winning.
During his career, Dreier has notched 26 conferences titles, two state championships, and six second-place finishes in the state finals.
Angie Gulbranson-Chamberlin played under coach Dreier in the mid-1980s and was in the stands Tuesday night, along with dozens of other former players from the past 40 years.
“I’m just honored to have been part of his team,” she said. “Both my sister Shannon and I played under Mike and have always looked up to him as a mentor. He would always say ‘Dig deep, give it all you got!'”
Those encouraging words helped push hundreds of girls to victory hundreds of times — 899 before Tuesday’s game.
“It’s not really the glitz. It’s very often the down and dirty hard work that ends up being, making teams successful,” Dreier said.
Former players spoke of Dreier as a fair, motivational leader.
“I think that’s really his legacy,” Gulbranson-Chamberlin said. “He gave you a chance and gave you all the determination in yourself and that drive in yourself to keep on going.”
To Dreier, his success on the court isn’t measured in wins and losses. He said it comes down to the people.
“To be honest with you, I really don’t feel it’s about me. It’s kind of a shared effort that so many parents, so many kids, so many assistant coaches have all contributed to,” he said.
The Wildcats defeated Montevideo High School 65-41 to earn win 900. The question now is if he’ll make it to 1,000.
“I have no idea,” Dreier said. “To be honest with you, I didn’t think I’d be coaching this long, and I am, so we’ll see what happens.”
After the game, Dreier was honored by his former players and the fans. His record now stands at 900-171.