skip navigation

Barry Wohler, early ’80s tournament hero, entering High School Basketball Hall of Fame

By RON HAGGSTROM, Star Tribune, 04/04/22, 3:00PM CDT


The Bird Island-Lake Lillian standout is among 15 who will be honored Thursday, when the third class is inducted.

Barry Wohler’s bright smile was as big as they come, overshadowed only by his perfectly feathered hair. He personified the GQ look of an All-American kid.

That was the Barry Wohler of 1980 and 1981, when he led Bird Island-Lake Lillian to two Class A boys’ basketball championships. Expect that same look to be displayed again Thursday, when Wohler joins 14 others in the third class to be inducted into the Minnesota High School Basketball Hall of Fame.

“I was kind of surprised when I was notified, honored,” Wohler said. “I wasn’t expecting it. It’s going to be pretty cool.”

The ceremony will be held Thursday at the Lumber Exchange Event Center in Minneapolis starting at 3 p.m. Tickets ($25) will be available at the door.

Bird Island-Lake Lillian won each of those titles in double overtime, defeating Lake of the Woods 78-74 in the final in 1980 and Winona Cotter 49-47 in 1981.

“It was really kind of storybook,” Wohler said.

Wohler, a point guard and lefthanded shooter, made a 23-footer with five seconds remaining to beat Winona Cotter for the second title. He finished with 28 points.

“It’s amazing how many people remember our run and still bring it up 40 years later,” he said. “All our games were close.”

Wohler, a native of Bird Island, didn’t just celebrate those championships with his childhood friends but also with his coach and father, Jerry. Barry Wohler has compiled a 363-209 record as a high school coach himself, currently at Orono. He also won a state championship (Class 3A) with his son, Brady, in 2011.

“I had a great opportunity playing for my dad and the excitement we shared together winning those two state titles,” Wohler said. “I really have great memories from my playing days.

“It was a group of kids that grew up together and had a dream. It’s a bond that never breaks. The camaraderie is still there 40 years later.”

He’ll be inducted alongside basketball standouts ranging from a woman who dominated as a girl in the ’80s to a coach fresh off a state championship game only days ago to a game official who made a difference in high school and then took his skills to college.

“When I saw the names, I was like, ‘My goodness,’” Wohler said. “I am fortunate to be going in with these people.”

Also to be inducted Thursday:

• Annie Adamczak-Glavan: Adamczak was named 1982 Miss Basketball. As a senior she led the 1981-82 Moose Lake basketball, volleyball and softball teams to state titles with a combined record of 79-0. She played in four Class 1A basketball tournaments while scoring 1,535 career points.

Brian Cosgriff: In his 21 seasons as Hopkins girls’ coach, Cosgriff compiled a 569-67 record. He won seven state titles in 14 tournament appearances. Cosgriff posted a 35-6 record in state tournament play, the second-highest winning percentage (.854) for coaches with a minimum of four state tournament appearances.

• Vicki Davis: The 1967 St. Peter graduate — before there were organized high school sports for girls in the state — was a pioneering official and administrator of girls’ and women’s basketball. She served 45 years at Hastings and was an official in 21 state tournaments, 14 in basketball.

Tayler Hill: Hill guided Minneapolis South to the Class 4A title in 2009. Her 106 points in the state tournament and 3,888 career points were state records at the time. She went on to play at Ohio State and was the fourth overall pick in the 2013 WNBA draft by the Washington Mystics. She played five seasons with the Mystics before being traded to the Dallas Wings.

• Sam Jacobson: Jacobson scored 2,461 points and grabbed 1,013 rebounds (averaging a double-double) in his career at Park of Cottage Grove. He played for the Gophers in the 1997 Final Four and was selected in the first round of the 1998 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. He also spent time with the Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors.

• Ziggy Kauls: Kauls has the fifth-most basketball victories among boys’ coaches. He compiled a 739-357 record that included 12 state tournament appearances during his 45-year career at Mounds View. He directed the Mustangs to the Class AA title in 1972 and the Class 4A crown in 1999.

• Terry Kunze: He led Duluth Central to the 1961 state championship and played for the Gophers and Minnesota Muskies in the ABA. Kunze averaged double figures in each of three seasons with the Gophers. He served as an assistant coach with the Gophers under Jim Dutcher and was head coach of the Minnesota Fillies of the WPBL.

• Mark Landsberger: The power forward led Mounds View to state tournament appearances in 1972 and 1973, winning the Class AA championship in 1972. He averaged 26.1 points per game in 1973 and finished his career with 1,290 points and 910 rebounds. He played for the Gophers and Arizona State in college and was selected by the Chicago Bulls in the 1977 NBA draft. He played professionally for 16 years, including championship seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1980 and 1982.

• Kevin Lynch: Lynch led Bloomington Jefferson to back-to-back AA titles in 1986 and 1987. He had an outstanding career with the Gophers and helped them to the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight in separate seasons. He played for the Charlotte Hornets in the NBA.

• Larry McKenzie: McKenzie coached Minneapolis Henry and North boys’ teams to six state titles in 10 tournament appearances. He was the first coach to pull off a four-peat, from 2000-2003 at Henry. He owns a 23-4 record in state tournament play, a winning percentage of 85.2. His career record is 481-167.

• Tom Nordland: Nordland was regarded as the greatest jump shooter in Minnesota history when he led Minneapolis Roosevelt to back-to-back state championships in 1956 and 1957. It landed him a scholarship to Stanford.

• Jimmy Robinson: Robinson was a longtime high school and college official and was supervisor of officials for the Minnesota State High School League. He began his career as an official in 1956, working his way from high school to Division II, Division III and eventually the Big Ten Conference, where he was an official from 1971 to 1987. He became the first Black man to officiate in the Minnesota state tournament.

• Dave Tschimperle: The 6-3 center led Hopkins to three consecutive state tournament appearances and back-to-back titles in 1952 (averaging 19 points per game) and 1953 (23 points per game). 

Frank Wachlarowicz: Known as “Frankie Alphabet,” the 6-6 forward led Little Falls to the 1975 AA state title, averaging 22 points per game. He was a four-year starter at St. John’s, scoring a MIAC-record 2,357 points en route to two conference championships.

Basketball Hub Headlines