5/23/2013 2:12:00 PM Leuer reflects on her time at North Branch
Becky Leuer (front row, middle) with other 2013 MSHSL Hall of Fame inductees at last Sunday’s banquet.
Leuer celebrated with current North Branch AD Brett Carlson after the banquet last Sunday.
by JEFF NORTON
On Sunday, May 19, former North Branch Activities Director and Coach Becky Leuer was inducted into the Minnesota State High School League Hall of Fame. In her acceptance remarks, Leuer said, "I am honored to be inducted into the MSHSL Hall of Fame. I am grateful to North Branch for giving me a job right out of college and giving me the support and training needed to be the best teacher, coach, and administrator possible. I had amazing assistant coaches and student athletes who shared their talent with me and made me look good.”
Former volleyball player Cara Gustafson Ribis said, “she is with no doubt the type of individual that understands the true essence of team, the importance of supporting athletes throughout their lives, one who pushes young athletes to be the best both on and off the court.”
Leuer took some time before the banquet to reminisce about some of her best times at the school and what being inducted into the MSHSL Hall of Fame meant to her. “It is quite an honor. It’s very humbling and little overwhelming when I think about all the people already in the Hall of Fame,” she said. “Many of them are people I worked with and looked up to when I first started my career. Winning this award has been a trip down memory lane and allowed me to reflect on all the people who gave me the support I needed to be successful.”
Leuer will always have a vault full of memories to look back on as a North Branch Viking, but she had a particular few that really stood out. “It is hard to beat back to back trips to the state volleyball tournament in 1993 and 1994,” she said when asked about her best memory. “But I still remember our teams first big win when we upset Moose Lake in district play in the 70s They were the number one seed and we were number eight. Moose Lake went on to win the district the next 10-15 years in a row and a couple of state championships. The first time we won our own volleyball tournament in the early 80's was a pretty good day as well. But the best memories are of all the different players I was able to work with over the years in volleyball, gymnastics, softball, track, and cheerleading.
“As far as being an AD, hiring some quality young coaches and watching them grow in their careers. I was also fortunate to start two new programs, dance and robotics, and provide participation opportunities for some who weren't involved prior to this.”
Leuer is also proud of building the programs up, some from scratch, as a coach. “In volleyball we didn't have a winning record the first eight years and then had 17 in a row. In gymnastics I think we scored something like 40 points in our first meet and then ended up scoring about 120,” she explained. “It takes dedicated assistant coaches to do anything and I certainly was fortunate to work with some great people. I was also blessed with some talent along the way and had kids who believed in what we were doing and worked hard. That always helps. In the end, it's all about the kids and doing what you can to give them the opportunities, skills and tools they need to be successful. I'd like to think their participation contributed to their success as adults.”
Leuer isn’t as hands on as she used to be, but she is still around North Branch plenty. She is a part of the robotics program that just participated in the state tournament the same weekend she was inducted in the Hall of Fame. She also officiates volleyball and umpires softball. “As long as it’s still fun and I can still do a good job, I will do it for a while,” she said.
Leuer knows she wouldn’t be where she is today without the help of hundreds of people along the way, and she’s recognizes that and appreciates it. “I am forever grateful to North Branch for hiring me right out of college and the support I have had from the school district and the community during my career,” she said. “Without parents trusting us with their kids, we wouldn't have any programs. It's a team effort. My assistant coaches made me look good. And finally, when I see former athletes still playing or coaching or watching their kids play, it's a treat.”