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Hayden Goethe, Published March 01 2013

Longtime Spuds coach Quenette dead at age 79

MOORHEAD – Bill Quenette played for and coached with many of the big names to walk the football fields and basketball courts in Moorhead.

And when his career was finished, he had built a reputation unlike any other.

Quenette died Thursday at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo. He was 79.

His coaching career spanned 46 years. He is best remembered as the head coach of the Moorhead High School boys basketball team from 1967-82.

But what made Quenette unique was the broad base of sports that he coached. In addition to boys basketball, he also coached at one time or another baseball, girls basketball, golf and was an assistant football coach for nearly 25 years.

Nicknamed “Coach Q”, he guided the Spuds to a second-place finish at the Minnesota state boys basketball tournament in his first season as head coach in 1968.

“He was kind of a perfectionist,” said Lowell Bolger, who was an assistant coach during all 15 of Quenette’s seasons as boys basketball head coach. “Everything that had to be covered, we covered about the other team. … He was always very, very, very prepared. Very prepared for the opponent as best as we could possibly be. He absolutely loved the game of basketball.”

Quenette’s success wasn’t limited to the east side of the Red River. In 1948, he was a high school quarterback, helping to lead West Fargo to an undefeated season in six-man football.

He was on baseball, football and basketball teams at Concordia College in the mid-1950s, playing for such legendary Cobbers coaches as Jake Christiansen in football and Sonny Gulsvig in basketball.

Quenette was an assistant basketball coach at Moorhead High School under Shocky Strand in Strand’s final season of 1966-67. The following year, Quenette took over as head coach.

During his 15 seasons at the helm, the Spuds went 211-91 and went to the state tournament twice.

His tenure as head coach ended in 1982, but Quenette returned to the boys basketball bench years later as an assistant to longtime Spuds coach Chuck Gulsvig, who is Sonny’s son.

Quenette ended his coaching career in 2005.

“He was innovative from the standpoint of doing things for certain types of players,” Bolger said. “Making special plays or special types of patterns for the type of players we had. He matched the players with the game.”

Quenette is a member of the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame and the Concordia Athletic Hall of Fame.

In October, he was inducted into the Minnesota State High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

“This one kind of means more to me, because it encompasses all of the sports that I coached,” Quenette said at the time.

“He kind of was the jack of all trades in the coaching profession,” Bolger said. “His approach to coaching was the same as it was in basketball. He was tireless in preparation. He wanted to do the best that he possibly could for the players.”

In recent years, Quenette could often be seen with Bolger at area basketball games.

“When you’re with somebody that long, you get to be pretty good friends,” Bolger said.

“We went to every game. I don’t think anybody went to more basketball games than we did. It would be about impossible because we went to them all. … We enjoyed the sport we worked in for all of those years.”

A memorial gathering will be from 5-7 p.m. Thursday at Wright Funeral Home in Moorhead. A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Friday at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Moorhead.

Readers can reach Forum Assistant Sports Editor Hayden Goethe at (701) 241-5558