Hindt surpasses 700 career wins

A 56-6 thumping of Luverne by the Wabasso/Red Rock Central wrestling team gave Bobcats co-head coach Gary Hindt his 700th career victory Saturday at the Luverne Duals, making him just the third coach in Minnesota state history to reach the milestone.

It’s a big deal for the state’s active leader in coaching victories, but Hindt said there wasn’t much fuss made over the win at the time. The Bobcats had some more business to take care of.

“They just announced it, some people took a few pictures and then we were on to the next round and 701, so away we go,” he said.

Ranked fourth in Class A, Wabasso/RRC won all four of its duals in blowout fashion on Saturday to improve to a perfect 19-0 on the season. The win over Luverne was No. 3 on the day.

Hindt, who now has a career record of 701-192-6 in his 45 years as a coach, joins Bill Sutter (760 wins) and Scot Davis (984 wins) as the only coaches in the state to have ever cracked 700 wins. Sutter coached 39 years at Goodhue and retired in 2008. Davis coached 34 years at Owatonna, Hutchinson, Bird Island-Lake Lillian and Belcourt (N.D.) and retired in 2011.

It’s a prestigious club, and as its newest member, Hindt appreciates its significance.

“Well, it’s kind of a large number, I know that,” said Hindt, who was inducted into Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1994. “It means you’ve been around a long time. It’s neat to hit a milestone like that. It’s like a wrestler getting 100 or 200 wins, it doesn’t happen very often.”

Hindt has had the “co-head coach” label since the Wabasso and Red Rock Central wrestling programs merged into one in the 2009-10 season. Brett Bartholomaus is the other head coach of the Bobcats and said he considers Hindt one of his close friends.

For Bartholomaus, it’s not hard to identify the reasons behind Hindt’s longevity and success.

“I think one thing that makes him such a great coach is he’s very personable,” Bartholomaus said. “Then on the technical side of things, he demands that the skills and the practicing be done correctly all the time. If we’re just going through the motions and doing things wrong, he believes it’s a waste of time. Everything needs to be done correctly and that’s one of the biggest things he talks about all the time.”

Hindt is a stickler for doing things the right way, but he’s not an overbearing leader. He likes to have fun as much as the next person. A coach doesn’t stick around for 45 years unless he enjoys what he’s doing.

The 2012-13 Bobcats have been a particularly fun group for Hindt to coach because he says that they have a true “team” mentality when they take the mat.

“This group has no state champions coming back from last year or anything like that, they’re just solid performers and they pick each other up,” he said. “One match it’s a couple of guys who are coming through and the next time maybe they are off a little bit and it’s two, three, four other people that are having their best matches of the year. It’s really a fun group to have because they’re a very goal-oriented team and not much on the individual stuff.”

The Bobcats have four events left before they begin section tournament competition, time for Hindt to pile up some more wins and move closer to No. 2 on Minnesota’s all-time list. He has 59 to go to catch Sutter, but he says he doesn’t have an eye on where he wants to finish among the winningest coaches or how many more years he has left in the tank. What he cares about is having fun, helping his kids improve, picking up win No. 702 and going from there.

“There are no goals,” Hindt said, “I just take it year by year and am thankful that I’ve had pretty good health. I know the day will come when I stop, but for right now I’m just trying to enjoy every day and keep on going, keep on coaching the kids and watching them get better.”