Dennis Weimerskirch

by Randy Olson, Bonanza Valley Voice

Dennis Weimerskirch was born October 9, 1940 to the late Henry and Theresa Weimerskirch on the family farm just north of Belgrade. He was the youngest of 10 living children. He attended country school through grade five and graduated from Belgrade High School in 1958.

Dennis continued his education at St. John's University, earning a BA degree in Mathematics and Education in 1962. The day after graduating, he married Renee Thompson, and they were blessed with two children, Michele and Steven, before Renee died in a car accident in December, 1964.

Much to his surprise, Dennis's high school superintendent, O.E. Dahl, offered Dennis his first teaching contract for the fall of 1962.  He eagerly signed the contract, which included junior high football coaching.  Thus began a 27 year coaching career that progressed from junior high level to head coaching in the fall of 1978.

During the summer months, Dennis enjoyed playing amateur baseball.  The 1959 Belgrade team made it to the state tournament, winning their first game but losing in the second round.  He was a playing manager and treasurer of the Belgrade-Brooten Bombers for many years in the 1960s and 70s.

In 1970 Dennis married Nancy Thostenson and they were blessed with two children, Jeff and Theresa.  But tragedy again struck Dennis's family when Michele died in a truck-train accident in May, 1979.

Dennis's football coaching career advanced in the fall of 1965 when he became the assistant varsity coach to Dave Sieben.  The 1965 team was the only Belgrade football team to go undefeated.  Then in the fall of 1978,Dennis became head coach for the next 11 years, compiling a record of 83 wins and 26 losses, a 76% winning average.

Under Coach Weimerskirch and his able assistant coach, Julius Evenson, Belgrade-Elrosa won 5 conference championships and finished in second place five years.  The team made the state tournament in both 1982 and 1983.  

The 1982 team completed an undefeated regular season for the second time in school history with a 9-0 record and a solo Prairie Lakes Conference championship. 
In a snowstorm to open playoffs, the 1982 Redmen blasted Eagle Bend 32-6 to qualify for the state. In the state opener, the Redmen dominated Battle Lake, outrushing the Battlers 284 to 62 yards in a 16-0 win.

Another snowstorm blasted the Belgrade area the night before the state semifinals, which were to be played in Belgrade. On the frozen home turf, the Redmen outmanned St. Paul Academy 20-12.

In the Class C state finals at the new Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, the 12-0 Redmen were shellshocked when Truman put up a 13-0 lead in the first quarter. After regrouping, a Bruce Duevel-touchdown capped a go-ahead 80-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter for a 14-13 lead. The dream season crashed hard when Truman kicked a 29-yard field goal with 59 seconds left. Final score: Truman 16, Belgrade 14.

The 1983 team won the second of three straight conference titles and beat Swanville 26-16 in the state-qualifying game. In the state quarterfinals, the Redmen lost 20-18 to Glendon-Felton.

During his years as head coach, Dennis was honored as coach of the year in both the West Lake Conference and also the Prairie Lakes Conference, but his biggest surprise was being name the 1982 Minnesota Class C Football Coach of the Year, even though Belgrade lost in the championship Prep Bowl I game.  In his final year of coaching, 
the Belgrade Redmen and Brooten Buccaneers (rivals since 1938) combined into one team, the B-B-E Jaguars.  That team won the Prairie Lakes Conference championship with a 4-0 record and ended the season with a respectable 8-2 record.

Dennis credits his coaching success over the years to very talented, coachable, and dedicated football players.
Throughout the years, Dennis has been active in many school, church, and community organizations including:
-Belgrade Education Association Past President
-St. Francis De Sales Catholic Church Past Trustee
-St. Francis DeSales Catholic Church Past Religious Education Teacher
-Lion's Club Member since 1965 and Past President
-Myrtle Mabee Library Director since 1964 and Past President
-Bel-Plex Housing Association President
-Crow Lake Township Clerk
-Crow Memorial Director
-Belgrade Museum Director
-Stearns Electric Project Round-Up Four-Term President

Dennis and Nancy's immediate family includes Steve & Lisa and their children, Adam, Kelsey, and Kaitlyn of Brooklyn Park, MN, Jeff of Portland, OR, and Theresa of Mpls., MN.
In retirement, the farm boy in Dennis continues to be evident in his vegetable and flower gardening. In addition, Dennis and Nancy have taken three trips to Europe, including a pilgrimage to Rome and the Holy Land.  They enjoy spending time with their family and friends, following their grandchildren's activities, and attending community events including B-B-E Jaguar athletic contests throughout the year.