Longtime Byron High School Boys Basketball Coach Kerry Linbo, who won more than 500 games in all as a head coach, will be inducted into the Minnesota Boys Basketball Hall of Fame on Oct. 28 in the Twin Cities.
"I was a little taken back when I received the call," said Linbo, who retired at the end of the 2015-2016 season. "It's a neat deal."
Inspired by the people who coached him and by his love for teaching, Linbo's coaching career began in 1978 and spanned more than three decades.
His 500th career victory came in a major upset against Lake City.
"Leading up to it, you kind of think, 'it's not that big of a deal,' " said Linbo at the time. "But it really is a big deal because it's a milestone and the fact that it was against Lake City and we were able to get the upset and our kids played well, it was really pretty sweet."
Linbo's coaching career began at Neilsville, Wis., where he coached from 1978 to 1984. He took over for Byron in 1985 as head boys basketball coach and held that position the rest of his career, except for taking four years off in the 1990s.
"It feels like I'm old," Linbo once said about his career. "I've seen a lot of players come and go, and I've learned a lot from them and from my assistant coaches, too."
Linbo can recall many of his seasons in detail.
He remembers when his first team competed its way to a 14-6 record and the year not long after when his squad only won three games.
"There's a lot of ups and a few downs," Linbo said.
At Byron, he's mostly had ups.
In his last 14 seasons, he had more wins than the previous 18, including one team that won 28 games in a row and another that earned the team's, and Linbo's, only trip to the state tournament.
"The older you get, the better you get, and you probably get a little smarter in things you do and how you handle kids," he said.
Linbo has seen quality players throughout his career.
He's coached big men like Matt Storlie, who stood 6-feet, 7-inches, dunkers like Shawn Campion and Jack Nelson, and shooters like Brad Axtman, Adam Schroeder, Ryan Hejlik, Buster Meyer and his own sons Adam and Tony.
After the Lake City win, the crowd gave Linbo a standing ovation, something that meant a great deal to him.
"I really appreciate that people are kind and appreciative of this program." Linbo said.
Read the rest of the story in the print edition of the Star Herald or Byron Review.