Blue Earth Area Buccaneer head football coach Randy Kuechenmeister was named the State Class AAA Football Coach of the Year last weekend.
But, you might wonder if he really was given the award, if you listen to Coach Kuechenmeister's response to the honor.
"I don't look at it as 'my' award," the Buc coach says. "I look at it as 'team' award."
The award was given at a banquet at the Double Tree Hotel in Minneapolis on Saturday, April 6. Besides the state coaches awards, the main part of the banquet is for honoring the inductees into the Minnesota State Coaches Hall of Fame.
Plus, there are clinics for the coaches during the weekend and a chance to attend a spring scrimmage at the University of Minnesota.
Kuechenmeister says he feels blessed, honored and humbled to receive the state honor, but says insists it is a team award and the credit goes to all the team players and the all team coaches.
Kuechenmeister says the award recognizes the state championship season the Bucs had, and is usually given to the coach of the state champion team.
"But it takes everyone to do a good job to accomplish a season like what we had this past year," the coach says. "Not just me."
Kuechenmeister says he has been fortunate to have had a great group of kids on the team this year.
"I just can't say enough about the kids they were terrific or about my assistant coaches they are the top of the line. I am as proud of them as I am of the players."
Kuechenmeister has been the Buc's head football coach for 22 years, and was an assistant coach for five years before that.
He calls what happened last fall an unbelievable season.
"We didn't have anyone get seriously hurt, for one thing," he says. "We always had someone step up to make the play not always the same person. We gained confidence as the season progressed. And then there was our unbelievable defense. I think it surprised a lot of the other teams, finding out they couldn't run against us."
The coach says the team was very physical, despite not being all that big.
"It was a matter of kids making plays and doing their job," he explains. "Then trusting their teammates to also do their part."
He says to a man they were all focused on the task at hand and defeating the opponent, no matter who they were.
The coach points to Carter Hanson, recently named to play in the state All-Star football game, as a prime example.
"Carter is the kind of player who helps make everyone else on the team better," Kuchenmeister says. "He trusts others to get their assignment done, so he can concentrate on his."
The Buc coach says Hanson is very deserving of the honor.
"He has great football instincts," Kuechenmeister says. "He does what he is told to do and will give it everything he has."
While this is the first time the Buc coach has received the state coach of the year recognition, he has been both Section Coach of the Year and South Central Conference Coach of the year in the past.
But he still wants to stress that it was a total team effort and the award is not just his.
"I couldn't be receiving this without everyone else being a part of this football season," he says. "I think of it as just the topper for what I call a 'magical' year."