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Chisholm boys basketball coach Bob McDonald claps in response to his team's play during a game on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013, in Hibbing. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

After 59 seasons, Chisholm's Bob McDonald coaching career comes to an end

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sports Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

Bob McDonald’s remarkable career came to a close this afternoon as Bigfork bounced Chisholm from the Section 7A boys basketball tournament.

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The Huskies (21-5), seeded third in the north subsection, led throughout en route to a 47-39 quarterfinal victory at Hibbing Lincoln Middle School that sent McDonald into retirement after 59 successful seasons as a prep coach.

Chisholm came into the postseason seeded second, but had to sweat out an opening-round win over Cherry in which Mitch Rusten’s buzzer-beater prolonged the Bluestreaks’ season — and McDonald’s career.

Ultimately, though, Chisholm (18-9) never could get on track Saturday against Bigfork.

McDonald now heads into retirement with an astounding mark of 1,012-428. In his 53 seasons of coaching the Bluestreaks, he guided them to 11 state tournaments and won three state titles. Earlier this winter, the affable Iron Range icon became just the 13th boys basketball coach nationwide to reach 1,000 wins.

And he did all of that while never compromising a strict devotion to his “moral code.” His teams were renowned for their discipline, both on and off the court — they wore close-cropped hair on it and shirts and ties off it.

And they won.

Just six times did a McDonald-coached team post a losing record.

Now, the Bluestreaks’ patriarch hands off the reins to longtime assistant Larry Pervenanze.

"I think it's come time for me to watch my own kids instead of - not that I didn't enjoy it - watching other peoples' kids grow up," McDonald told the News Tribune in November when he announced that he'd step down after this season. "I've got some grandkids I want to watch play. ...

"I've enjoyed every minute of it. I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed the kids who have played for me and the ones who still do play for me."

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