Albert Lea High School to honor long-time coach

Published 12:21 pm Saturday, February 11, 2017

Albert Lea High School plans on honoring a coach by naming the school gym after him.

On Feb. 25, during the Albert Lea-Austin boys’ basketball game, the high school plans to officially name the gymnasium after Orrie Jirele.

Jirele was born in May 1940 and graduated from Pacelli High School, where he played basketball. After high school, he attended St. Bonaventure in Olean, New York. He returned to Minnesota and taught math at Pacelli before marrying his wife, Marie, in 1965. The two of them moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin for five years before settling in Albert Lea in 1973. Orrie spent 28 years in education at Albert Lea High School as a counselor and summer school administrator. He was the head boys’ basketball coach from 1973-1987 and helped the Tigers to three Big Nine Championships and three regional finals appearances. He was named Big Nine Coach of the Year for the 1986-87 season.

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He finished with a career record of 168-108.

Orrie also served as the boys’ tennis coach.

Albert Lea High School plans to honor Orrie by putting signage above the windows near the concession stand, a plaque placed outside of the gym entrance-upper level and the initials “OJ” on the gym floor in front of the home team bench.