Wadena-Deer Creek’s TerryOlson was inducted into the Minnesota Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame at East View High School in Apple Valley on Aug. 5.
Olson’s success in competition is quite evident as he coached two State championship teams, one individual State champion, 20 All-State CC runners (his daughter Johanna being one of them), and countless All-Conference athletes. He has excelled in leading both the boys and girls squads.
However, this is only one aspect of Olson as a coach, according to Jeff Lindlief, who nominated Olson for this Hall of Fame honor. A 1992 WDC graduate, Lindlief ran for Olson his senior year and his influence on the young runner at the time was truly inspiring.
"To me, the most significant reason he should be in the Hall of Fame is the impact he’s made on countless student-athletes in his career,” said Lindlief, who currently serves as a cross country coach at Eden Prairie High School.
In his nomination, Lindlief spoke of how Olson lives and breaths a life of fitness.
“He has been a fixture in the community of Wadena-Deer Creek for over 30 years, constantly encouraging and promoting physical fitness whether it be running, cycling, swimming, cross-country skiing, gymnastics, or any other activity,” wrote Lindlief.
So many of his athletes, regardless of their competitive ability, developed a love of fitness and a healthy lifestyle through Olson’s coaching.
“Running was not portrayed as something you did only from 7-12th grade, Rather, it was part of a lifestyle to be embraced on a daily basis,” said Lindlief.
That is one of the main reasons so many of his former athletes are still involved in running today, whether it be as coaches, current runners, or even parents cheering for their own kids at CC meets.
Another reason Olson has had such an impact on his athletes is his constant positive attitude.
“As one of his former runners, I rarely recall Terry showing disappointment or frustration after a race or practice. He certainly challenged and encouraged us to improve, but it was always done in a positive manner that left us eager and excited for our next opportunity. Again, this relates back to Terry developing a love of running in his athletes, as their races aren’t viewed as stressful, negative, or something to fear. Terry makes his athletes feel fortunate to have the opportunity to be involved in such a great sport as cross country,” said Lindlief.
From 1992 to 2012, Olson served as the head cross country coach at Wadena-Deer Creek High School. When Olson turned over the head coaching duties to his assistant, Mike Brunsberg, Olson became the assistant coach -- flipping roles, so he could remain involved in the program.
Brunsberg is thrilled to see his good friend, mentor and coaching colleague be inducted into the CC Coaches HOF.
“In a competitive moment, he’s your guy. He has a distinctive voice, the presence and experience at our meets. What I admire about Terry is he always has a Plan B or C. He’s been at this a long time and that experience helps in our success,” said Brunsberg, adding, “I cannot say enough about his positive influence he has with our boys’ and girls’ cross country athletes, as well as the extra time he puts into the program. I'm glad he's receiving this honor. He's earned it.”
In addition to cross country, Olson has coached a variety of sports/activities throughout his career, including track & field and gymnastics at WDC.
Not only has Olson made an impact on his students, but he’s also provided great mentorship for his fellow coaches.
“So often today, we hear encouragement to ‘give back to the sport.’ In Terry’s case, he has surpassed this task—he has fostered a love of physical fitness for hundreds, if not thousands of students through his years of coaching. Today, those former students are giving back themselves because of the example Terry set as a coach and mentor,” said Lindlief.