Research


This wonderful picture arrived in the mail from Hastad High 1952 graduate Rev. Paul Opsahl, who lives on the east coast. He didn't remember at what game he took this photo. I hoped it was the Region VIII final against Thief River Falls. To be certain, I thought maybe we could find the trophy.

Clarence, the man behind this project of writing up the story of the 1952 Halstad teams, swung into action. From his Iowa office, he emailed this picture to Halstad where soon a gang of people was attacking the problem. They found the trophy buried deep in the attic of the 1905 old part of the building (what I wouldn't give to dig around up there). It was the Region VIII trophy.

The coach on the left is assistant Larry Macleod. He went on to be the athletic director at Moorhead State University. He is retired and lives in Moorhead. The coach on the left is head coach Ray Kerrigan. Look at his mop of hair. There is a story behind that mop which I am saving for the book.

Kerrigan was loved by everybody in Halstad even though he was one tough cookie. His smile in this picture shows why. He was a hot-headed Irishman who light a fire under a bunch of Norwegian boys and took them to the point where they finished 3rd out of 490 basketball teams in the entire state in 1952. During the five years from 1948-1952, the glory years of Minnesota basketball, no coach had a better winning percentage in the state. Kerrigan inherited some incredible talent, no doubt, but he also knew what to do with it. He knew almost nothing about basketball--he just knew human nature. He learned those lessons the hard way: For four years, he commanded a sub-chasing B-24 in World War II.

As far as I can tell, the players are, from left to right, Morrie Holm, on Macleod's left, then Jim Akason, his face barely visible, then Chuck Bernhagen, who passed away in the mid-1970s, and finally the bespeckled Darrel Hesby, who still plays competitive basketball three times per week at age 73.