Gene Hildebrandt has told this reporter he is planning to retire as the Head Coach of wrestling for SJA. He has been the Saints Head Coach for 27 years.
One of the greatest coaches in the history of St. James sports and one of the greatest high school wrestling coaches in the history of the state of Minnesota, he is submitting a letter of resignation that reads:
“Please accept this letter of resignation as the St. James Head Wrestling coach from Eugene Hildebrandt. I have enjoyed this position the past 27 years and the 4 additional years as an assistant coach of wrestling.
“I have been told by many successful coaches that you will know when it is time to ‘hang it up’. It is time. The Program is in good shape. Elementary numbers were way up this past fall (100+!) the high school grades 7-12 numbers were in the 70’s! The number of ex. St. James wrestlers who are getting involved in coaching and or introducing their kids to the sport is truely amazing!!
“I am ready, willing and able to assist with the transition. I would like to stay involved somewhat with the program in a Jr High coach capacity if that is possible. Reffing - scoring - announcing - helping run tournaments are other ways I am willing to help out.
“I would like to thank the St. James District and the St. James wrestling community for the opportunity presented to me back in 1982. It has been a life changing experience for sure!
“Again......thank you - thank you - thank you!”
Gene Hildebrandt will leave with 471 wins as the Head Coach of the Saints. St. James has been wrestling since the early 1950s and the school has 756 team wins. That means in his 27 years as the Head Coach Hildebrandt has coached 62 percent of the Saints team wrestling victories.
His 471 coaching wins makes him ninth all time in high school coaching wins in the state of Minnesota.
His teams have won 2 state championships, 9 region/section championships and 21 South Central Conference championships. He has had four other teams place in the state tournament.
He has coached 91 conference champs, 66 section champs, 112 state qualifiers and 7 state champs, 6 state runners up and 11 third place finishers.
He is a member of the Hall of Fame. He is an 8 time Section Coach of the Year and a 2 time State Coach of the Year.