Athletic Director Shelly Anderson awarded Athletic Administrator of the Year

By : 
S. Lee Epps

Spring Grove athletic director Michelle Anderson was honored last week as the Region One Athletics Administrator of the Year. 

Region One encompasses the Class A and AA schools in southeastern Minnesota. The official recognition came at the Athletic Administrators Annual Meeting in Rochester on Oct. 25.

Anderson has been the athletic director (AD) at Spring Grove since 2000 along with a long tenure as teacher and head coach for both volleyball and softball.

She is also the business administration teacher at Spring Grove Public Schools. Students were taught word processing, sports and entertainment marketing and many more skills.

She was introduced by former Spring Grove athlete Lonnie Morken, who was Anderson’s volleyball assistant coach for one season before he moved a few miles west to establish a highly celebrated volleyball program at Mabel-Canton. 

“With her glowing letter of recommendation, we tricked Mabel-Canton into thinking I knew something about volleyball,” he recalled.

Morken noted Anderson has been “a friend, mentor and source of stability” to those who had come to celebrate the occasion with her.

Anderson’s stature and legacy may best be understood by the words from those whom she has influenced as their beloved teacher, coach and friend for many years and seasons.

Retired teacher and coach Gary Glasrud offered “congratulations to my fellow teacher, coach, my assistant – but most of all, my friend. I’ve had the privilege of knowing Shelly since she first came to Spring Grove, and there’s not an ‘educator’ more deserving of this award. 

“She makes me proud to have been a coach guided by her and been a witness to the many lives she’s touched through her dedication to all Minnesota sports.”

Adin Solum wrote, “She was one we’d look to for advice on anything. I would take just about every course I could with her … Oh, and another thing, never dunk and hang on the rims in practice while she’s watching.”

Bethany Morken recalled,  “getting my special talks every Friday before a tournament. Spring Grove is such a small school, more like family. Her sports kids and classroom kids are just that, her kids! Much deserved award!”

Blaine Storlie admitted, that as an elementary school student, Mrs. Anderson could be intimidating as a disciplinarian, but added, “As you progress in high school, she quickly becomes one of your best go-to people for recommendations, classes and life advice … I do not know where I would have been without her!”

Cassie Glasrud said, “Shelly was a second mother to so many of us. She was tough, and we didn’t always like what we heard. But looking back, she was, and still is, the kind of strong, smart woman we all aim to be!”

From Jody Otterness Todd, “Shelly was a coach on and off the court. She was always available to talk to and treated you like a friend and not just a student or player. I knew if I asked her something, she would tell me the truth.”

Karla Tweeten wrote that Anderson “always saw the best in people. Whether it was on the court/field or in her classroom. She always wanted to push people to their potential. … I also loved her no nonsense and to-the-point attitude. We had fun, but we always knew when it was time to work.”

From Mabel-Canton softball coach, Kati Tweeten Bergey, “Shelly is one of the biggest influences in my own coaching. She was one who not only showed an interest in our sports and academic lives, but (also) family, friends and big events outside of school/sports, etc.

“As a coach myself, I find myself trying to be more like that and make those connections with my players ... I also find myself saying many of the things that she would say to us when we played.”

Anderson’s three adult daughters supplied insight from a family perspective.

Jacey Anderson said, “My mom is selfless, caring and literally the best friend a girl could ask for. She is brave, so strong and everything I aspire to be.”

Youngest daughter Jordan added, “My mom is my role model. She is the most brave and hardworking woman I know. I really don’t think I could do life without her.”

Kelsey Anderson (Morken) noted, “My mom is my rock, the strongest person I know and my mentor in all areas of my life – whether it be as mother, teacher, friend or coach.”