Hermantown's Bruce Plante (left) celebrates with fans after winning the 2016 Class A boys' state title. Credit: Nick Wosika.
Beloved is not typically an attribute bestowed upon those who dominate their opponents.
But after exhausting both a thesaurus and a dictionary, there’s nothing more apt to describe the ultra-quotable Bruce Plante.
After 28 seasons, the iconic Hermantown coach has stepped down from his post, leaving behind 547 victories and numerous quips from highly entertaining and refreshing press conferences and interviews.
Plante built Hermantown into a Class A power in his nearly three decades at the Hawks’ helm, making the trip to St. Paul for the state tournament 14 times and earning three state championships, including the 2016 and 2017 titles.
Hermantown extended its winning streak against Class A opponents to 56 games with its latest title run, which included three thrilling overtime wins over Luverne, St. Cloud Cathedral and Monticello-Annandale-Maple Lake.
Plante’s coaching reach includes having a hand in the development of former Hawks Jared Thomas and Neal Pionk from this year’s NCAA national championship runner-up Minnesota Duluth.
“When I wrote the (resignation) letter, I was just bawling,” Plante told Louie St. George of the Duluth News-Tribune. “I’ve done this for a long time, and it’s just kind of my identity.”
Longtime assistance coach Daryl Illikainen will also leave the Hermantown bench for the 2017-2018 season.
As for his plans in retirement, Plante has said that he’ll be spending more time with family, traveling with his wife Sandy and fishing.