During a coaching career that spanned 52 seasons, Gene Klinge taught generations of high school girls how to play basketball. His teams were known for their discipline, fundamentals and winning.

In the annals of Iowa prep sports, Klinge is the only coach to win 1,000 games. According to the National Federation of State High Schools (NFHS) record book, only nine other girls basketball coaches in the United States have won at least that many.

This week, the state of Iowa lost the coaching legend. According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Klinge died of complications from an infection at Veterans Memorial Hospital Wednesday afternoon (Jan. 16, 2019). He was 82.

Klinge compiled a 1,009-252 record during a career that began in 1962 and continued for 52 seasons, 41 at West Central of Maynard and 11 at Waukon. Klinge's teams qualified for the state tournament 16 times. His 2003-04 Waukon squad won the Class 3A title.


Klinge is survived by his wife, four children and seven grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Sources: Cedar Rapids Gazette; National Federation of State High Schools (NFHS)