Bio: Anderson, Ken (Award - 2011)
Contact: Robert Lipprandt
Surnames: Anderson, Jensen, Thompson, Wall, Zorn
----Source: The Tribune - Phonograph (Abbotsford, Clark Co., Wisconsin) Wednesday, September 28, 2011, page 17, columns 3 & 4
Coach Ken Anderson will be inducted into the Abbotsford Wall of Fame at halftime of the October 7 Homecoming game versus Greenwood.
Ken Anderson, a 1951 graduate of Abbotsford High School, had a long and storied career as a high school and college basketball coach throughout Wisconsin.
After graduating from Abbotsford, Anderson attended Eau Claire State University, where he was active in sports during his undergraduate years. Anderson graduated with a physical education major. His first position was as a teacher and coach in Auburndale.
After two years in Auburndale, he coached one year in Plymouth. His next stop was Superior where he coached from 1958-1964, with a one year stint in the Army during the ’61-62 school year. While serving in the Army, Anderson coached the Fort Lewis Rangers, which won the U.S. AAU Championship.
Anderson moved on to Wausau following the 1964 season and served as head basketball coach there through 1968. During his 13 seasons as high school coach in Wisconsin, he compiled a record of 239 wins to only 75 losses, taking teams to state in 1959, 1963, and 1967.
In April 1968, Anderson was appointed the head basketball coach at Wisconsin State University-Eau Claire, replacing the legendary coach Bill Zorn. He held that position for 27 years. His accomplishments at Eau Claire remain unmatched as he set the standard for excellence in the conference and nation for small college basketball.
At Eau Claire, he compiled an astounding 631-152 record, winning over 80 percent of his games. His career at Eau Claire included five trips to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Final Four, 21 NAIA All-Americans and seven Academic All-Americans. He won of shared 14 WSUC Championships, won 14 NAIA District titles and made 15 rips to NAIA nationals in Kansas City. He teams twice finished second at the NAIA national tournament, in 1972 and again in 1990.
Anderson was named Coach of the Year in the NAIA on three separate occasions, the first in 1972, and again in 1980 and 1981. He served as the head coach for the USA National Team that competed in the 1979 World University Games in Mexico City, bringing home the gold medal for the USA Team. In 1978, he assisted with the USA National team at the National Sports Festival. Coach Anderson was a member of the selection committee that assembled the 1988 Olympic Team coached by Georgetown’s John Thompson.
Anderson was inducted into the NAIA Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990. He is also a member of the Blugold Hall of Fame and the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame. He is married to Gloria (Jensen) and has two grown children, Jeff and Wendy.
In 1995, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire hosted a salute to Coach Ken Anderson, with long-time supporters and many of his former players in attendance. One by one, the testimonials to his success described his passion and commitment not only to the game of basketball, but to his players, coaches and fans of the game.
His competitive spirit and drive can best be summarized with this story from Woody Wall, longtime radio voice of the Blugolds. One morning in the 1970’s after a tough loss to UW-Platteville, a well-meaning Blugold backer walked past Coach Anderson and offered his condolences, saying to coach "You can’t win them all." Coach Anderson’s simple yet telling response was, "The heck you can’t."
Anderson continues his long-time association with Abbotsford and the School district of Abbotsford. He recently helped organize the Class of 1951’s 60th reunion, held last spring. He has volunteered to serve on the Alumni Weekend Committee, an event the Abbotsford Education Foundation is exploring for June 2010.
While driving though the area, he often stops at the school to visit and chat, always interested in the school, the kids, and the families of the Abbotsford School District.
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