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Minnesota prep sports: Three football coaches have been on the sidelines for 50 years or more

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A man standing on football field.
Verndale head coach Mike Mahlen coaches from the Verndale sideline during a game this season against Bertha-Hewitt.
Kelly Humphrey | Brainerd Dispatch

As Minnesota high school football teams prepare for the postseason, three are guided by coaches who have been on the sidelines for a half-century or more.

Brainerd's Ron Stolski is in his 58th season of coaching, Verndale's Mike Mahlen has been at it for 51 seasons, and Becker's Dwight Lundeen is in his 50th season. 

Mahlen is the winningest coach in Minnesota prep football history, having reached his milestone 400th victory last Wednesday. He's now coaching the third generation of football players in some families.

Stolski is second on the career coaching wins list at 388, and Lundeen is third at 366.

"These guys, they stay young by coaching high school football," said John Millea, a media specialist with the Minnesota State High School League. "They're all now retired from teaching; they all worked as athletic directors at their schools for years. Three wonderful, wonderful gentlemen and representatives of athletics in Minnesota."

Millea spoke about the coaches — and the upcoming postseason tournaments in soccer, tennis and other fall sports — with MPR's Andrew Krueger. Listen to the full conversation using the audio player above.

Read more about the three coaches and other high school sports news from Minnesota on Millea's John's Journal blog.