Brainerd Warriors head football coach Ron Stolski, who ranks second in career victories and is the longest-tenured head coach in Minnesota State High School League football history, informed his 2019 team of his decision to resign Wednesday morning, Jan. 22.
Stolski, a head coach for his entire career which spans 58 seasons, steps aside with a record of 389-182-5, a winning percentage of .6797. He ranks behind only Verndale’s Mike Mahlen in career victories. Mahlen has compiled a 401-124-3 mark (.7623) in 51 years as the Pirates’ head coach.
Stolski, Mahlen and Becker’s Dwight Lundeen, who ranks third on the all-time wins list with 367, are the only individuals in MSHSL football history who have been head coaches for 50 seasons.
The 80-year-old Stolski coached at Kensington, Slayton, Princeton and Park Center before coming to Brainerd in 1975. As the Warriors’ head coach, his record was of 317-147 (.683). He guided the Warriors to 11 state tournaments, 10 section championships, 10 section runner-up finishes and 15 Central Lakes Conference championships.
During his tenure Brainerd finished the regular season unbeaten four times. Only six of his 45 Warrior teams finished under .500, including 3-6 in his final season in 2019.
Stolski was Brainerd’s athletic director from 1975 to 2000. He will remain executive director of the Minnesota Football Coaches Association.
He has served as president of the Minnesota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association and was a member of the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association’s Board of Directors.
In 1996, Stolski earned the Minnesota High School Athletic Director of the Year Award. A year later he was named the Nike Minnesota Athletic Director of the Year.
He is a member of eight halls of fame.
In 2009, Stolski was named coach of the year by the Minnesota Vikings.
Two years later, the MFCA named him its coach of the year.
In 2005, Stolski received the American Football Coaches Association’s Power of Influence Award, the nation’s most prestigious honor for a high school coach. The award is presented annually to only one high school football coach.
In 2012, he received a Distinguished Alumnus award from his alma mater, Macalester College in Minneapolis.
In 2013, he received the Gagliardi Award presented by the National Football Foundation.
Stolski has been a frequent speaker and clinician throughout Minnesota and the U.S. He also serves on American Football Coaches Association committees.
Check back later at www.brainerddispatch.com for a full story on Stolski's announcement.
MSHSL 300-game winners
Through 2019 season
Rank, wins-losses-ties, coach, school, years, win %
1, 401-124-3, Mike Mahlen, Verndale, 51 years (.7623)
2, 389-182-5, Ron Stolski, Brainerd, 58 (.6797)
3, 367-161-3, Dwight Lundeen, Becker, 50 (.6940)
4, 351-74-0, Mike Grant, Eden Prairie, 37 (.8259)
5, 312-148-0, Merrill Pavlovich, Delano, 44 (.6783)
6, 307-66-6, George Larson-retired, Cambridge 40 (.8179)
7, 304-150-0, Carl Lemke-retired, St. Croix Lutheran 46 (.6696)