MARSHALL - Five people who have made a major impact on Marshall Public Schools and the surrounding community will be recognized for their efforts next month.
Carol Purrington, Sandi and Brian Hoffman, Lowell Ziemann and Jeff Kruse will be inducted into the Pride in the Tiger Foundation Hall of Honor during a 5:30 p.m. dinner Saturday, April 6, in the banquet room at TK's Steakhouse in Marshall.
Every two years, the Pride in the Tiger Foundation selects individuals for its Hall of Honor. Honorees can be nominated in three categories: faculty/staff, alumni and community.
The Pride in the Tiger Foundation awards scholarships to Marshall High School seniors and helps support projects/initiatives in Marshall public and parochial schools. The Pride in the Tiger Foundation will award more than $90,000 in scholarships to Class of 2013 members this year.
The Philip, S.D., native was head coach of the Marshall High School speech team for 22 years. She coached 158 state speech tournament qualifiers and of those, 14 were crowned state speech champions.
"I enjoy seeing students develop poise and confidence," she said. "You can see what it does for them as individuals, and it gives me a great deal of satisfaction to feel I had a part in that success."
Purrington began her teaching career in Marshall in 1979 and taught and coached the speech team until 2001. She was elected president of the Minnesota Speech Coaches Association (MSCA) from 1991-93, served as the Fine Arts representative on the Minnesota State High School League Board of Directors from 1992-96, was named MSCA Speech Coach of the Year in 1996 and received the Communication and Theatre Association of Minnesota's Outstanding Individual in Communication and Theatre Award that same year.
"I've known Carol for a long time," said Bill Swope, the Pride in the Tiger Foundation executive director. "She's been an educator for as long as I have. She's a solid English teacher. She put the speech team on the map. She was instrumental in putting together the Schwan Speech Spectacular, which is now a nationally-renowned speech tournament."
Purrington has two sons, Rick, a teacher and the current speech coach at Marshall High School, and Rob, who also lives in Marshall and who helps with the speech team as well.
Purrington continues to be a substitute teacher in the district.
Hoffman, a Mountain Lake native, began her educational career as an English teacher and librarian in the Marshall School District in 1967. When the new high school (current Middle School) was completed, she worked as the middle school librarian until her first child was born in 1971. She worked part time at West Side Elementary and later, from 1981-95, one or two days per week as librarian at Hendricks High School, which would become Lincoln HI.
Former Marshall Superintendent Tom Tapper then approached her to head up the new Mentor Program, which paired high-achieving students with mentors within the community. The program catapulted many promising students to earn college and post-graduate degrees. She headed that program from 1996-2003.
"Sandi has been employed at Marshall Public Schools in various capacities," Swope said. "She directed the Mentor Connection, an excellent program which paired seniors who were interested in a specific area with mentors who they would shadow. She was a very successful cheerleading coach and was active in the Minnesota State High League."
Hoffman began working with Marshall cheerleaders in 1994. Two years later, she approached the administration about adding a competition cheer team to the Marshall program. She worked with the Marshall cheer team through the 2006 season and earned Minnesota State Cheer Coach of the Year honors during that time.
Sandi and husband Brian, also a 2013 Hall of Honor honoree, are the parents of three grown children: Megan Donovan, Allison Hoffman and Michael Hoffman.
"I was privileged to work with so many hard-working, high-achieving students over the years," she said. "They wanted to do their best, and it's a privilege to have worked with them. I am truly honored, and humbled, to be selected to the Hall of Honor."
Hoffman is a Marshall native and a 1962 graduate of Central Catholic High School. After earning an undergraduate accounting degree at St. Thomas and an MBA at St. Cloud State, he returned to Marshall to work at his father Lee's accounting business for several years. He teamed with John Brobst to form the accounting firm Hoffman & Brobst, PLLP, in 1972. Brian worked there for 40 years until his retirement last year.
Hoffman spent two years on the Marshall Planning Commission, eight on the Marshall City Council, four on the Economic Development Committee and 10 on the Economic Development Authority. He was one of four co-chairs of the fundraising committee that built the YMCA.
Hoffman is married to Sandi, another 2013 Hall of Honor recipient.
"Brian grew up in Marshall," said Swope. "He worked with the school district as an auditor. He is involved in many areas; he's on many committees. He is very committed to Marshall Public Schools. He and Sandi have three children who graduated from Marshall High School and are very successful."
Lowell Ziemann knew he had big coaching shoes to fill.
He came to Marshall as a math teacher and head boys' basketball coach in 1964, the year after Marshall won its only state basketball title. Turns out, he filled Glenn Mattke's shoes nicely.
Ziemann coached from 1964-1976, compiling a 180-84 record, including state tournament trips in 1970 and 1974. The Tigers lost to Sherburn in 1970, the final one-class state tournament, and were beaten by the Mark Olberding-led Melrose team in 1974. He taught one more year before getting into the investments and insurance business.
His Tiger teams were known for tenacious man-to-man pressure defense that capitalized on opponents' turnovers.
He taught and coached in Paynesville for four years before coming to Marshall. He was also head golf coach at Marshall for several years.
He is especially proud of former players who have gone on to become great coaches.
"Rick Manke up in Detroit Lakes, Tom Doyscher (in Waconia and Norwood-Young America) and Terry Culhane in Marshall have all been very successful coaches. They're good guys," he said.
"This nomination was supported by the most letters," said Swope. "They wanted to see him in the Hall of Fame. He was the basketball coach from 1964 to 1976 and many of those players will be at the banquet from all over the United States."
Ziemann is semi-retired now and lives in Happy Jack, Ariz. He recently had a book of western short stories published.
"I really enjoyed my time in Marshall. The community was very supportive of the program," he said.
Ziemann and his wife Jean are the parents of two children: Jay, and Suzanne Schultz.
Kruse is a longtime Marshall resident who served on the Marshall School Board from 1988-2002. He worked a good part of his professional career with the Schwan Food Co. and was a corporate trainer and a human resources manager for the route system. He teamed with Linda Nelson to form a human resources consulting firm, Customized Consulting.
Kruse was on the Marshall Community Services Advisory Board for several terms and was a key player on the Southwest Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission board of directors, whose efforts resulted in Marshall becoming the eighth regional amateur sports center in Minnesota.
"I said when I first came to town that if anyone asked me to do something I'd say 'yes.' I don't know if I'll be any good at it, but I'll say 'yes,'" he said.
Always ready to lend a hand, "that's Jeff," said Swope. "When he was on the school board he was critically important to getting the new school."
Kruse has been active in the larger community as well.
"He's been on the (Prairie Home) Hospice board," said Swope, "the Marshall Community Services advisory board, he's active with amateur sports and very active with the Methodist church as a lay leader."
Kruse has been active in the Methodist Church, and his faith has carried him during his recent challenge. He has been fighting cancer for the past three years and underwent a second stem cell transplant in late March. The Veterans Administration determined that the cause of the cancer can be traced to Agent Orange, which he was exposed to while serving in Vietnam in 1968.
"I am blessed to have the support that I do," he said. "God will call me for this, or something else. I am almost 66 and have had significant opportunities in life to do things people haven't done. I'm thankful for that."
Kruse and his wife Cathy (Hammond) have three sons: Brandon of Minnetonka, Brad of Marshall and Matthew of Rochester.
Information and quotes for this story were provided by the Pride in the Tiger Foundation in a news release. Staff writer Karin Elton contributed.