Six more enter Huskies’ Hall of Fame
The Owatonna Hall of Fame Class of 2023 stands on display at Federated Field during halftime of last Friday’s game between Owatonna and New Prague. Left to right: Honored were Keith Bangs, Dave Furness, Chuck Pribyl, Kerry Shea and Cory Urban (not pictured.) Staff photo by Johnnie Phillips
Old stories flew around the new auditorium at Owatonna High School last Friday. Four athletes, one longtime coach, and a community member entered the OHS Athletic Hall of Fame.
Cory Urban (Class of 2000, football, wrestling, track) spent his free time with his neighborhood friends. “I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by great kids. We just played, played, played all the time. The backyard was ripped to shreds. My dad didn’t care. We had no grass back there. Two big holes and he never complained once. I appreciate that, Dad,” said Urban.
“You get older, and you sit back, and you think about how much time they dedicated to their kids so they could be successful… We wouldn’t be there if we didn’t have the family support,” he added.
Urban was on a state championship wrestling team, a state runner-up football squad, and ran a relay at the state track meet. He is currently an assistant coach with Rochester Mayo football.
You can’t do that
Don’t touch the ball with your hands. Kerry Shea (2002, soccer, basketball, golf) told the story of her first time in a varsity soccer game. Playing defense, and seeing her goalkeeper get beat, “I made the coolest save, super exciting, like Briana Scurry. I didn’t know I had it in me. But I blocked it,” she said.
“It happened fast, but I was thinking, ‘What are the advantages and disadvantages here?’ Because I know I’m not supposed to use my hands. They’ll probably get a penalty kick. But people miss penalty kicks all the time. So, it feels good. And then referee Norm Brown came up to me and gave me a red card. ‘OK, I’m not sure what that means, like you have to go off the field now,’” said Shea.
The team could not sub anyone in, and she never played defense again. Shea played for a state runner-up basketball team, was a captain for all three sports, and played golf and basketball at the University of St. Thomas.
Good news, bad news
The week Chuck Pribyl (1972, football, hockey, baseball) was informed he would enter the hall, he found out he had cancer. This week, he received a good bill of health and said the prognosis is good.
He owes much to his family. “I have three sisters and a brother who were painstakingly subjected to my athletic endeavors, chasing footballs, fly balls, holding footballs for me to kick,” he said.
He’s grateful for one sibling who held footballs for “not pulling a Lucy from ‘Peanuts’ on me,” and another “who had to stand there with a catcher’s mask on and a baseball glove, catching hockey pucks in the garage.” Pribyl played hockey and was a captain at the Air Force Academy.
Long time coming
John Cummings (1944, football, basketball, baseball, track) is the first member of the Hall from the orphanage at West Hills. He was nominated by the late Harvey Ronglien, who was a resident there and a historian. Current museum director Anne Peterson accepted the honor.
She explained the circumstances for state schoolers. “They went to school up at West Hills up until the eighth grade. And then they were brought to Owatonna High School as ninth graders. The girls came in a bus. The boys arrived on the back of a cattle truck. How auspicious is that to make your foray into a new environment,” said Peterson.
The committee considers Dave Furness the “Godfather of Owatonna Soccer” for his efforts to promote the sport. He said his children “motivated me to do certain things I wasn’t planning to do.”
Furness played pick-up soccer while growing up in south Minneapolis. His children wanted to continue past what Owatonna Park and Recreation offered. That led to presentations to the school board, which resulted in high school varsity soccer in 1998. Then came the Lincoln Soccer Complex, the addition of lights, and the Daikin Soccer fields.
“I learned an important lesson. When you set out to help your own children in a community activity like soccer, there are hundreds of other children in the community that really benefit from all your efforts,” said Furness.
Par for the course
For 35 years Keith Bangs was Owatonna’s golf coach. He also coached volleyball and basketball early on, officiated, and took stats on the football sidelines. His own participation in sports growing up in North Dakota led him into teaching and coaching.
“I’m just thrilled to be here in Owatonna. It was the best decision I ever made when I came here. I love this city,” he said.
Bangs was a three-time state coach of the year and led two teams to state runner-up finishes.