Owatonna’s Keith Bangs Retires after 52-Year Coaching Career
Long-time Owatonna High School boys golf coach Keith Bangs has announced his retirement after 35 years with the program and more than 50 years as a coach.
Bangs, who retired from teaching a number of years ago, said the time was right for him to hang up the clipboard. He told KRFO that he wanted to go out under his own terms while he could still relate to the players and before any health concerns became a factor. Bangs turns 74 this fall. He says he was taking it one year at a time over the past several seasons. He feels he is going out on a high note.
Bangs coached basketball and baseball in Paynesville, Fairmont and Blue Earth and seventh-grade basketball when he first arrived in Owatonna. He was even the head volleyball coach from 1982-85. Between 35 years at Owatonna and the 17 years before that, Bangs has spent 52 years coaching young people, including his own.
But golf has been Bangs' passion over the years. He said he wanted to "pass on my love of the game" to his players. His Owatonna teams went to state six times, finishing as state runner-up in 1999 and 2003. The Huskies were third in 2000 and fourth at state in 2002. Bangs is proud of the fact that Owatonna advanced to day two of the section tournament every year except one over his tenure. OHS also captured seven Big Nine titles, including four straight from 1995-98.
Bangs is a three-time Minnesota Golf Coach of the Year, winning recognition in 1998, 1999 and 2002. He was inducted into the Minnesota State High School Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2003. He says he will still be visible around the local links and will play this weekend in the Owatonna City Open.
Bangs says he remained old-school, "I was not their buddy." He asked players to refer to him as "coach or mister."
Owatonna High School Activities Director Ryan Swanson says Bangs did a great job of evolving as a coach and was personable with the players and a popular coach. He says Bangs was always working for the right reasons thanks to his love of golf and his love of coaching. Swanson says the position will be posted soon. He added that the head girls lacrosse position will be posted as well. Bill Bernard stepped down after the spring season.