By Mike Max

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Bob McDonald, the all-time winningest coach in Minnesota high school basketball, died Wednesday at age 87.

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McDonald’s demeanor was demanding. He was the constant on the Iron Range, demanding his players kept their hair short, avoided tattoos, and wear sport coats on game days. It was a different mold than young coaches of today, McDonald would say.

“You got these young kids come in, and as soon as they get a little flack, they’re gone,” McDonald said.

Kevin McHale used to say the toughest place he ever played was in Chisholm.

Mike Max sat down with McDonald and a former player at Valentini’s for a spaghetti lunch in Chisholm in 2014. There, he spoke about basketball, but more importantly, the development of kids.

Bob McDonald (credit: CBS)

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“I challenge young people, ‘Stick around. Good things happen,’” McDonald said.

He had four sons and a daughter that became coaches, and five grandkids who are now coaching. Grandson Bryce Tesdahl is the head coach for Minnetonka High School’s boys basketball team.

“Any time you go up to Chisholm … everybody knows Coach McDonald,” Tesdahl said. “Really, really thankful to have been his grandson.”

Because coaching in this family has always been about so much more than a game. And what it has provided is a sense of optimism for life.

“That’s my venue, coaching,” McDonald said.

In his storied career, McDonald led Chisholm to 1,012 victories on the court.

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Mike Max