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Sound off! Legendary coach needs new field

Coach Tom Bangs has 600 wins in fast-pitch softball; incredible in this day of quick turnover coaching tenures. It's fun watching him stalk the third-base coach's box like a bird of prey.

Coach Tom Bangs has 600 wins in fast-pitch softball; incredible in this day of quick turnover coaching tenures. It's fun watching him stalk the third-base coach's box like a bird of prey.

A testament to his coaching is that more Division I and Division II players have come from his program than any other in this area. They play the game well and they win. Kids move on and they still win.

Six-hundred wins would make Coach Bang as iconic a figure in his sport north of Hinckley as Larry Ross in hockey or Bob McDonald in basketball.

In any event, 600 wins is a great accomplishment, especially in two-season northern Minnesota. It's unfortunate that the great suburb of Hermantown (a wannabe gated community and self-proclaimed "City of Quality Living") can build new schools, an indoor hockey rink, a beautiful football/soccer field and a quality baseball diamond, but can't build a decent softball field for someone who keeps Hermantown in the state's public eye spring after spring.

Hermantown plays on a jerry-rigged Little League field with dimensions so small, the Minnesota State High School League wouldn't let it host a playoff game. Visiting teams and coaches with claustrophobia have to take medications before playing there. If the field had a roof, it would be an average gazebo. The dugouts are so small, they make you long for an MRI or a tour of a catacomb. The program deserves an upgrade. Hermantown needs to step up to the plate. Congratulations, Coach Bang, on an untouchable milestone.

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Dick Swanson

Duluth Denfeld softball coach

Related Topics: HERMANTOWN
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