If Gene Klinge reaches his latest coaching frontier this week, he certainly will have earned it.
“This is kind of the week from hell for us,” said Klinge, the girls basketball coach at Waukon High School.
Klinge, 76, needs one more win to become the first coach in Iowa history to reach 1,000 for a career. He stands at 999-237 in 51 seasons — 41 at West Central, 10 at Waukon.
He takes his first shot at the milestone Friday, when the Indians (13-3 overall, 7-3 Northeast Iowa Conference) face New Hampton (11-4, 6-3). Tipoff is scheduled for about 7:30 p.m.
Waukon is at Caledonia, Minn. (13-5) at 5 p.m. Saturday.
“The kids are smart; they know what’s going on,” Klinge said. “Sometimes I think they’re trying too hard. After our game Tuesday (a 57-44 win at Decorah), all they could say was, ‘One more win. One more win.’
“I thought to myself, ‘Aw, geez.’ They’re really into it, and that’s nice, but I don’t want them being uptight about it Friday. It’s going to happen, sooner or later.”
Waukon rallied to beat New Hampton, 60-51, on Dec. 18. The Chickasaws shocked league leader Waverly-Shell Rock on Tuesday.
“Who knows, that might be a good thing,” Klinge said.
According to the National Federation of High Schools record book, five coaches in the nation have reached 1,000 wins. Leta Andrews of Texas leads with 1,345.
Waukon’s Daneshia Snitker is the state leader in scoring, at 25.4 points per game.
The year changed, and so did the fortunes for Elkader Central.
Central headed into the holiday break at 2-7, then responded with six straight wins since the calendar switched to January to move into the upper division of the Upper Iowa Conference.
The Warriors host Clayton Ridge on Thursday, then travel to MFL MarMac on Friday.
MILESTONES ALL AROUND
Two area girls reached milestones in the past week.
* West Liberty’s Kristi Feldman scored her 1,000th career point in a 58-56 loss to North Cedar last Friday.
* The same night, North Fayette’s Vicky Kapnisis broke the school’s single-season record for blocked shots with 11 swats in a 52-31 win over Valley Community. She has 94 blocks this season, breaking the old record of 85, held by Tammy Lansing (2005).