Award Honorees

Mark "Lunch" McKenzie ‘70

 

From champion player to champion coach, Mark “Lunch” McKenzie truly stands out as one of Minnetonka’s most accomplished former athletes both on and off the field.

 

McKenzie played for the Minnetonka High School baseball team in the 1969 and 1970 seasons. In both years, the Skippers won the conference and regional championships. In 1993, McKenzie led the Skippers as their head coach to conference championships in 1993, '94, '96 and '97, along with regional championships in 1993, '94, '95 and '96. 

 

After stepping down from the Minnetonka team following the 1997 season, McKenzie led the 1997 U16 United States National Baseball team as their hitting coach to win 5th in the World Championships in Taipei, Taiwan. The next year as head coach, McKenzie led another U.S. National Team to first place in the World Championships. “It was an amazing experience standing on that line with a gold medal around your neck and USA across your chest hearing your anthem and realizing what the kids had just done,” says McKenzie.

 

In international competition, McKenzie has helped U.S. athletes earn 14 gold medals, two silver and one bronze. In 1998, he was named United States Olympic Committee’s Developmental Coach of the Year. After accepting the head coach position at Concordia University in St. Paul, McKenzie led the Golden Bears to multiple championships. In 2005, he was named Conference Coach of the Year. In his time at Concordia, 21 of McKenzie’s players have gone on to sign professional baseball contracts. In 2016, McKenzie became Director of Athletics at Concordia, while continuing as head coach until his retirement at the end of the 2019 season. In December of 2019, he received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the university.

 

Many of McKenzie’s former players remember him as a coach who stressed how to deal with hardships on and off the field. “Baseball, like many sports, is a microcosm of life itself: life can be hard,” he says. “Competing in a sport where if you succeed 30 percent of the time as a hitter you are considered to be successful, can be difficult. Dealing with the 70 percent failure and moving on to the next pitch, the next at bat is easy to say and hard to do.”

 

McKenzie notes that dealing with the failures within the game can help one succeed in achieving success, and is something his players knew well. “The proof is in the results they have achieved since leaving the programs,” he says. “At the end of the day, these lessons can assist a person when a real life low situation arises.”

 

Givng advice to today’s students, McKenzie encourages them to “pay attention to details and to remember that how you do one thing is how you do everything. It goes by fast, so enjoy the ups and deal with the downs.”

Awards

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Joan Larson

Inducted into the Faculty Hall of Fame on October 10, 2020.