Loyalty, commitment, and passion are at the heart of who Bart Larson is. As the long time coach and teacher at Edina High School is honored as the MHCA's Cliff Thompson winner, he does so having earned it through his dedication to the hockey and the the kids he coached.
As a you boy who cut his teeth at Sibley Park in Minneapolis, Larson wnet on to play hockey at Roosevelt High School. He anwound up playing college hockey at North Dakota. Larson's 1959 North Dakota team captured the school's first national championship and Larson went on to obtain a teaching and coaching position with Little Falls High School.
Coach Larson took a job with Valley View Junior High as a math teacher in 1964. He was given his first varsity head coaching position in 1972-73 at Edina West when the distrct added the second school.
His teams would go back and forth with his former coaching partner, Willard Ikola's Edina East teams, and it was in the late 1970's that the Edina West Cougars began to become a power house program. Larson's teams were rewarded with a berth to the 1981 State Tournament and wound up capturing the consolation title and while they were on the verge of becoming a major power, the districts merged back to one school.
Ikola was named the head coach of Edina where Larson, the consummate team player, took the role as assistant coch. The first Edina team from the merger was a star studded unit that demanded attention to bringing a team of stars that were rivals one year before together. Larson and Ikola found the magic and guided their team to the state title in 1982.
Larson took over the reins as head coach at Edina high school in 1991-92 and captured the 1997 state title in his last year of teaching. He stayed on as coach for two seasons and retired having committed the majority of his coaching career to the Edina hockey program.
That did not last long as Mike Gibbons lured Larson back to the bench at Eastview High School where he coached from the start of the millennium until the 2008-2009 season.
Forever a teacher first, Larson was known as a meticulous math instructor who learned a lot about the character of his players in the class room and it carried over on the ice. With an infectious way about himself, Larson could bring out the best in his players in a fashion that allowed them to succeed to the best of their abilities.
Larson notes the numerous relationships he has developed over the years and the number of players that showed the committment of the game and shared his passion for being on the ice. There was always one constant when playing for this hall of fame coach and it was that every player was accountable to the team and for their actions. As a coach and teacher, Larson was truly a developer of young men and hockey players.