Athletics: Pierz’s Zimney gets another call to the hall

Former cross-country coach for Pierz is going into the Cross-Country Hall of Fame

Rey Zimney
Rey Zimney poses with his trophies at Pierz Healy High School.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
We are part of The Trust Project.

Rey Zimney is headed to another hall of fame.

The long time Pierz cross-country coach and now 71-year-old was inducted into the Pierz Hall of Fame in the fall of 2019. He will become a member of the Cross-Country Coaches Hall of Fame for the state of Minnesota Monday, Aug. 8, at Eastview High School.

“It just speaks well for the overall program,” Zimney said. “I had a lot of support throughout the years. I had a lot of assistant coaches over the years and had a lot of support from the administration.”

Zimney spent 46 years coaching cross-country and track and field at Pierz. He started the cross-country program in 1974 and in his 46 years won 22 conference titles, 8 subsection titles and one section championship.

He sent four boys teams and one girls team to state as well as 33 individuals. His lone state champion came in 1979 from John Perleberg.


“My first year when I was asked to start the program, I had a football background and did not know much about cross-country,” Zimney said. “They were looking to start the program and I took that on and the first year coaching and we had seven boys come out including three freshmen. And those freshmen included Steve Faust and I was really fortunate to start with an individual who ended up being a four-time conference champion and second in state as a senior.”

As a coach, Zimney was conference coach of the year twice and section coach of the year five times in cross-country. He was also a one-time head coach of the year for the state and a one-time assistant coach of the year in track.

He coached basketball for 23 years at Pierz and was the district boys basketball coach of the year one time, too.

As an AD, he was named the Region 5 AD of the Year once.

The yearly meet Pierz hosts called the Pioneer Stampede, which Zimney started in 1974, is now named after him as well. In 2023, it will be the 50th annual Rey Zimney Pioneer Stampede, and usually has close to 30 teams competing in it.

“When I started it there were around six teams and now we have close to 30 teams with over 1,000 runners,” Zimney said. “That’s the legacy I’m probably the most proud of is getting that meet going.”

Zimney said he’s been blessed to be in the Pierz for as long as has.

“Sports are important, but there are a lot of other things that are important in this community,” Zimney said. “I didn’t really have any issues with parents, of course, cross-country is unique in that the clock doesn’t lie. The community itself has a lot of hard working people and they expect a lot from their kids.”


CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or Follow on Twitter at

Started at the Dispatch in June of 2019.
What To Read Next
The Brainerd Sports Boosters meet most Thursdays during the school year.
Brainerd's Eli Knapp is coming off recent success as he heads into the Section 8 meet.
Lucy Peterson's first varsity goal came in the state semifinals as an eighth-grader.
Eli Laposky hit an off-balance shot as time expired to win the game for the Patriots.