Glenville-Emmons coach spends spring, summer on diamond
Published 10:14 am Tuesday, June 16, 2015
GLENVILLE — The end of the school year was far from the conclusion of baseball season for Lucas Knutson.
After coaching Glenville-Emmons’ JV baseball team this spring, Knutson will stay on the diamond this summer as the coach of Heron Lake-Okabena’s Post 608 Legion baseball team, as a player for the Heron Lake Lakers amateur baseball team and as the director of youth baseball for Heron Lake’s summer recreation program.
“Almost every day I’m on a baseball field either coaching or playing,” Knutson said. “It’s kind of like the old saying that you eat, sleep and breathe baseball.”
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According to the Minnesota State High School League, Glenville-Emmons’ enrollment was 54 students last year. Although the school couldn’t field a varsity baseball team for the fourth consecutive season, Glenville-Emmons Athletic Director Craig Rayman said Knutson worked diligently to build the program.
“He’s done a great job of talking with the kids encouraging them to participate in activities,” said Rayman. “He’s also been a good promoter of the school. If there’s something that needs to be done, he’s more than helpful.”
Along with an 11-10 win over Alden-Conger’s JV team, the Wolverines showed strides in Knutson’s second season as head coach during two matchups against Randolph: Glenville-Emmons lost 21-2 in five innings on April 14 but narrowed the margin to three runs on May 19 in a 9-6 loss.
“After the (second) game, we got some compliments from the Randolph coaches and players about how much they thought we improved,” Knutson said. “That was nice to hear. We stuck in there and competed.”
Knutson, who is in his second year of teaching health and physical education at Glenville-Emmons, followed the footsteps of his father, Les Knutson. His father retired two years ago after instructing social studies and physical education for 38 years at Heron Lake-Okabena, formerly known as Southwest Star Concept, Knutson said. His father was also the school’s head girls’ basketball coach for 34 years.
“He inspired me to become a teacher, and I’d always be tagging along to his games,” Knutson said. “Teaching and coaching are things that best fit my personality, and it’s what I like to do.”
Knutson graduated from Heron Lake-Okabena when it was called Southwest Star Concept in 2005, and he participated in cross country, basketball, baseball and track. Since baseball and track are both spring sports, Knutson said on occasion he’d play in a baseball game and go to the track later in the day to compete in the distance events.
At Minnesota West Technical and Community College in Worthington, Knutson played baseball for two years and was the Bluejay’s starting second baseman as a sophomore before he finished his schooling at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.
Despite living in Minnesota, Knutson is a Chicago Cubs fan.
“My older brothers were always watching them, and their games were on WGN almost every day,” Knutson said.
This summer, Knutson revived Heron Lake-Okabena’s Legion baseball team after it didn’t field a team last year.
Next spring, Knutson said he aims to field a varsity baseball team at Glenville-Emmons.
“We should have everyone back, and there was a strong core of sophomores,” he said. “It’s all about getting them experience, playing time and confidence so we can build this thing.”
Address: 321 5th St. SE, Glenville
Livelihood: Physical education and health teacher at Glenville-Emmons High School
Immediate family: father, Les; mother, Cheryl; brothers Lance, Chad and Logan; sister, Chelsey
Interesting fact: Knutson worked as a part-time sports writer for the Worthington Daily Globe for about nine years.