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John’s Journal: The Rostberg Name Will Live Forever In Hutchinson

Facility To Be Named For Father-Son Football Coaches

Posted: Wednesday, November 24, 2021 - 1:15 PM


Hutchinson's Sam Rensch, Maxten Einck, coach Andy Rostberg and Aaron Elliott.

In several ways, football is very special at Hutchinson High School. Home games for the Tigers at S.R. Knutson Field provide a stellar example of tradition, with big crowds that include townspeople who tape blankets to bleacher seats hours before kickoff in order to have an optimum view of the action.

The tradition also includes lots of success under the first family of Minnesota high school football coaches. Hutchinson will play in its seventh Prep Bowl game this week, taking a 11-1 record into Friday’s 4 o’clock Class 4A state championship against Kasson-Mantorville (9-3) at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Tigers won championships in 1983, 1984, 1998, 2012, 2013 and were state runners-up in 2003. Those first three crowns came with Grady Rostberg as the head coach; his son Andy was the quarterback in 1983 and 1984 and the offensive coordinator in 1998.

Grady became the Tigers coach in 1970 and Andy took over when Grady retired in 1999. If the Tigers defeat Kasson-Mantorville, Andy will match his dad’s three state titles.

The Rostbergs are Minnesota’s No. 1 father-son coaching combination in career wins. Their combined record is 482-137-1; Grady’s record is 277-89-1 and Andy is 205-48. Grady continues to contribute as a volunteer, watching from the press box with assistant coaches on game days.

It’s pretty amazing to think that the last time someone other than a Rostberg coached the Tigers, the Woodstock music festival was taking place and Neil Armstrong was walking on the moon. (The coach prior to Grady was Bill Snyder, who stepped down from coaching when he was named principal.)

Another layer of tradition will be added to Hutchinson football next season when S.R. Knutson Field will be given an additional name to honor the Rostbergs. When a proposal to do so was submitted to the school board, it included these words: “to honor the Rostberg family who has done so much for Hutchinson student-athletes on and off the field for more than the past 50 years … the Rostberg family has and continues to make an impact on many levels.”

The Hutchinson gym was named “Whalen Gymnasium” in 2018 in honor of basketball legend Lindsay Whalen … whose high school basketball coach was Andy Rostberg.

The football facility’s name will be something along the lines of “Rostberg Stadium at S.R. Knutson Field,” with the Rostberg name attached to new facilities that include bleachers, lights and a press box. Efforts are also being made to add a turf field to the facility at some point in the future. S.R. Knutson was the superintendent when the original field was built.

After Hutchinson defeated Orono 36-6 in last week’s state semifinals, Andy Rostberg was asked about the town’s football tradition.

 “That's the dream,” he said, “one town, one team, one dream. And we always say when we win, we all win, everybody wins. When somebody calls and says, ‘How did the Tigers do?,’ we don't say, ‘They won.’ We say ‘We won,’ because you’re part of that, the town is a part of that. It's kind of fun to share it with as many people as you can.”

The current Tigers were little kids when the team won its last state title in 2013. The 2021 Tigers lost only to Becker, the team Kasson-Mantorville rallied to beat 24-20 in the state semifinals.

Talking about his players, especially the seniors, Rostberg said last week, “They've got one more chapter in the book that they would like to write for 2021 and I know we're all excited. We talk about it all the time. Now we get to go hang out for one more week, now we know when the last practice of the season is and that doesn't happen very often. We've got four more practices and one game.”

2021 Prep Bowl

Friday, Nov. 26

1A: Minneota vs. Mayer Lutheran, 10 a.m.

2A: Chatfield vs. West Central Area/Ashby 1 p.m.

4A: Kasson-Mantorville vs. Hutchinson, 4 p.m.

6A: Maple Grove vs. Lakeville South, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 27

Nine-Man: LeRoy-Ostrander vs. Fertile-Beltrami, 10 a.m.

3A: Plainview-Elgin-Millville vs. Dassel-Cokato, 1 p.m.

5A: Mahtomedi vs. Mankato West, 4 p.m.

--MSHSL media specialist John Millea has been the leading voice of Minnesota high school activities for decades. Follow him on Twitter @MSHSLjohn and listen to "Preps Today with John Millea” wherever you get podcasts. Contact John at [email protected] 

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