ST. CLAIR — Gene Glynn and Dan Ireland are back on the sidelines of the basketball court, and they’re together, just like 32 years ago.
Glynn has been hired as the boys basketball coach at St. Clair, and Ireland will be his assistant.
“Dan and I were together at (Mankato) Loyola, and he took over when I left,” Glynn said. “We have confidence in each other. It’s going to be fun together again.”
St. Clair was 14-3 last season and reached the section championship game. Coach Charlie Freitag resigned shortly after the season.
Many of the Cyclones’ key players were underclassmen.
“Charlie did a great job,” said Glynn, whose nephew Mason Ward was a starting guard on last season’s team. “Believe me, this was unexpected.”
Glynn, a Waseca native and Hall of Famer as a basketball and baseball player at Minnesota State from 1975-79, retired from Major League Baseball during the offseason, having spent seven seasons as a player and 34 seasons as a coach with several organizations, including the Minnesota Twins from 2015-18. He retired in November from the Miami Marlins.
Glynn, 64, coached the boys basketball team at Loyola from 1989-1992, earning region coach of the year in 1990 when he led the Crusaders to a runner-up finish at the state tournament. He also coached boys basketball at Waseca in 1997 and 1998.
“I still feel good, healthy and strong enough to do this,” said Glynn, who lives in Waseca. “The thing about retiring is you miss the competition and being around the athletes. Hopefully, I can add something to their careers. If I didn’t think that, I wouldn’t be doing this.”
Ireland, 68, was Glynn’s assistant at Loyola, and he took over when Glynn left. Ireland coached at Loyola for 12 years, guiding the Crusaders to four state tournament appearances, including a state championship in 2003.
He resigned in 2004, but then returned to coach boys basketball at St. Clair in 2007 and coached three seasons.
“I don’t think either one of us would be doing this any other place,” said Ireland, who still lives near St. Clair and attends a few home games every season. “Gene is a lot of fun to be around. He has a lot of knowledge, a lot of common sense. Coming to practice, being around the kids, it keeps you young.
“Charlie has done such a great job with this group. It’s not a difficult situation to come into.”
Ireland said he doesn’t view this as a long-term commitment, but he’s happy to help out until a new generation of coaches is ready to take over. Austin Nagel is remaining on the staff, and another assistant will be hired before the season.
“It’s coaching, but you’re also trying to prepare these kids for the future,” Ireland said. “It’s hard to find coaches who want to do this for a long time. Hopefully, we can pass along some of the things we’ve learned that carries over to more than just basketball.”
Follow Chad Courrier on Twitter @ChadCourrier.