Iowa lost a caring and dedicated family man this week.
A man who also just happens to be the winningest girls’ high school basketball coach in Iowa history, with 1,009 career victories and just 252 losses.
Hall of Fame Coach, Gene Klinge, died this week at Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon at age 82. Gene lived in Harpers Ferry for many years, but was recently hospitalized in Waukon.
Condolences to his wife, Pat and the entire Klinge family.
Sporting his crew cut hair and colored socks, Coach Klinge, was an Iowa coaching legend. His teams made 16 state tournament appearances.
By the time I joined KWWL-TV as Sports Director in 1974, Gene had already been coaching at West Central for 12 years.
He would coach 41 years at West Central, taking the Blue Devils to the state tournament 12 times. After resigning from West Central in 2003, Klinge became head coach at Waukon, where his team quickly went 28-0 in his first season there and won the Class 3A state title in 2004.
I had the privilege of covering victory number 939 in Cedar Rapids on January 2, 2020. Coach Klinge had his Waukon girls playing at the U.S. Cellular Center against M-F-L, and he agreed to wear a wireless microphone during the record-setting victory.
Here are two videos. One is the 939th victory and the other is Coach Klinge, wired for action, on the sideline during that game. Ron Steele