Art Haege's Team Picture and Scrapbook Page
Here is Coach Art Haege's all time favorite team, his 1968 Two River's Wisconsin Purple Raiders. This team is one of the best football teams in the history of high school football in the State of Wisconsin. They played in the largest high school football division in the State in 1968 despite not being one of the largest schools. They didn't have State playoffs back then. Art Haege's 1967 Two River's Wisconsin team was 6-1 and 1.
Here is Art Haege's 1973 Virginia Minnesota Team. At the time in 1973 this team finished with the best record Virginia Minnesota has ever had, and this is the best football team Virginia Minnesota has ever had. Their only loss was to Eveleth Minnesota, who went on to win the State Championship. It only took Coach Haege 2 season's to make them into conference and State ranked contenders. This team beat Hibbing 28 to 0, in a dominating win.
Here is Art Haege on the far right and his 1974 Virginia Minnesota team. This team had a record of 8 and 1. I am wearing a blue coat when I was a little kid, and I am standing next to Coach Haege's starting QB, #12, Doug Coombe. My brother Frank is standing next to me wearing a red coat. This team was one fumble away on Hibbing's one yard line late in the 4th quarter from being undefeated and conference champs. After the 1974 season Coach Haege was named Iron Range Conference Coach of the Year, District Coach of the Year, and numerous other coaching awards. This team beat the defending state champs, the Eveleth Golden Bears.
Here is Art Haege on the far right and his 1970 Traverse City Michigan St Francis Football team. This team had a record of 6- 2-and 1. Coach Haege and this team defeated Coach Haege's former team, St.Ignace Michigan in St Ignace, 48 to 14. St. Ignace is where Coach Haege had his first head football coaching job in 1964. We had the game football on our living room mantle, Saint Francis 48, St. Ignace 14, for many years. Coach Haege liked going back and defeating teams he had previously coached. Coach Haege left St. Francis, because the school at the time was having budget cuts. In retrospect he should have stayed there, because he would have won at least 10 State Championships!
Here is one of Coach Haege's favorite football players, Ray Buria. Ray Buria played on Coach Haege's 1971 and 1972 Virginia Minnesota High School football teams. He went on to start at fullback for the University of Minnesota-Duluth and he made Coach Haege's all time high school team as his starting fullback.
" While I did not play for your father (I played hockey and tennis), I absolutely respected and looked up to him. Many of my best friends had the privilege of playing for your Dad--and quite frankly, I often wished he could have coached our talent laden hockey teams. We would have went to the State Tourney every year. I distinctly remember his morning "Boot Camp" like training sessions, as they were open to any and all VHS athletes. I recall an instance when I sustained a knee injury in a Friday night hockey game against Hibbing and we had the hated Eveleth Golden Bears at home the next night. My knee was blown up like a balloon--and I told my Dad I was playing come Hell or high water. He said "don't worry, I'll call Art Haege--he'll fix you up." Your Dad showed up, and in a kitchen at the Miner's Memorial Building--drained off the water with a huge needle, and taped me up so well that it was as if the injury never happened. And, of course, we beat Eveleth. Without even being asked, your Dad taped me up for all the remaining games on our high school schedule--which was priceless because I had a scholarship at the US Air Force Academy on the line. I was able to reach out to you with the assistance of "Bah" Harrington, my old hockey teammate and friend.
Congrats on a terrific website--a fitting tribute to both of your parents! "
Standing from the left are Coach Art Haege, Jim Padgett, Director of the Miners Memorial Arena in Virginia Minnesota, and Eric Norri, who started at tackle for the University of Notre Dame and legendary coach Era Parsegian. They helped Coach Haege start the youth league football program in Virginia Minnesota in the early 1970's. This is a picture of a prototype of a youth football player and the pads and uniforrn that they designed. .
Picture courtesy of Mark Padgett, Jim Padgett's son. What kind of coach was Coach Haege when he was the head high school football coach in Virginia Minnesota from 1971 until 1976, and at his other high schools? Did Coach Haege only care about football? Did he care about the other sports, the students, and the school? To answer this question, you can read the email to me below from Mark Padgett. By the way, my Mom took Coach Haege skating once, and he didn't even know how to skate, and he knew nothing about hockey. But he was a great motivator!