Over the past week I got to spend some time photographing legendary Mitchell basketball coach Gary Munsen for a long feature The Daily Republic’s Sports Editor, Luke Hagen, did on his coaching career. First was a set environmental portraits of him in the Corn Palace.During the shoot we talked about my hometown, joked about his career and talked about the state tournament. He couldn’t have been nicer or more pleasant as he climbed the Corn Palace stairs, bad hip and all, to get the picture I had envisioned for him..
Once on the court a different side of Gary Munsen appears. Fiery, boisterous and at times downright angry. A fellow photographer, that is not familiar with Mitchell, asked me during Munsen’s last regular season home game, “Does this guy ever smile?” I shook my head no. In fact, while pointing my camera at the coach for an entire quarter that night, there wasn’t one moment where I could have captured anything that even resembled a smile. Perhaps it his will to win or his drive to always improve that brings on this all-business persona while he is on the court.
After his last regular season home game however, Munsen once again flipped the switch. He laughed, he smiled, he hugged and joked. “I wouldn’t have been this happy if we would have lost tonight,” he said for a crowd of around 2200 that turned out to bid him farewell. Gary Munsen has a complexity and a passion that absolutely makes him a joy to photograph (just don’t plan on getting a smile from him while he is on the court)