The only boys' team from Crosby-Ironton to win a state tournament was coached by Rich Aulie.
It was 1996 in the Class 1A state boys' golf tournament. Aulie's team carded a two-day 654 to pace the field and win the title in only the program's second state appearance.
Eleven years later no public school has won the Class 1A tournament sense.
It's an on going bet that Aulie brings up each year and this writer never shakes on; Will a public school win the state tournament this year?
It might be ironic that on the year Aulie, a 20-year head coach at C-I, is inducted into the Minnesota Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the top ranked boys' golf team is Virginia, a public school.
It was announced last week that Aulie and Alexandria's Dave Harris will be inducted into the hall of fame. Harris will be inducted at the Class 2A state golf tournament banquet at the Earle Brown Center in Brooklyn Center on June 4. Aulie will be inducted at the Class 1A golf banquet at Grand Casino Mille Lacs June 5.
"He's been an excellent coach," said Pequot Lakes Patriots head coach Steve Heslop. "I can pick his brain and he's always helped all of my kids when he sees them on the course. Plus, he's got a great short game."
Heslop said Aulie has been a benefit not only to the C-I program but high school golf around the state.
Aulie has been president and vice president of the golf coaches association. He organizes the end-of-the-year banquets that celebrate the state golfers and the hall of fame inductees.
"He just goes out of his way to help people," said Heslop.
One of Aulie's former players, Mike Koop, said Aulie went out of his way as a coach and golf instructor.
The 1996 C-I graduate and six-year varsity player remembered playing a lot of summer Junior PGA tournaments with his teammates.
"We would play these summer tournaments all around the state and between him and our parents they would take turns driving us to all these places," said Koop, who was part of C-I's two state tournament teams and advanced to state as an individual five times. "When you look back, that was huge getting that experience we needed to be competitive at state. For him to take the time out of his busy schedule to run us around the state is pretty cool."
Koop, who now works at Jamie Koop Insurance, said the craziest thing about Aulie was his driving. He said Aulie had a shortcut to every invite the Rangers played at.
One thing Aulie didn't have a shortcut to was his coaching. Koop said he learned everything he knows about golf from his dad and Aulie.
"He was just dedicated," said Koop. "He knows the game inside and out. If one of us had a problem with our swing, he would stay late and work on it with you. He would provide you with videos and other learning materials we could watch."
Aulie joins Larry Engel of Little Falls, who was inducted in 2005, Staples-Motley's Rollie Penfield, who was inducted in 1999 and S-M's Glen Hasselberg, who entered the last year, as area coaches in the hall of fame.
"It's a great honor to be named by your peers for something that you've been involved in and you do as an avocation," said Hasselberg. "Rich is certainly deserving."
Dave Niemi, Crosby-Ironton activities director said he couldn't ask for a better coach for the boy's program. Niemi said his biggest complement to Aulie is that the coach knows what he's doing and he doesn't worry about the program.
"To me as a relatively young director he takes care of everything he needs to take care of," said Niemi. "He plays a major role in the area as a mentor to some of these younger coaches. He's just been invaluable to me and to the program."
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
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