JACKSON -- Veteran Jackson and Jackson County Central high school cross country coach Gary Hildebrandt was inducted Monday into the Minnesota Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Hildebrandt was nominated by Pete Janiszeski of Luverne, who made these comments in recommending him: “Gary is an outstanding coach but even a better person. He always takes a genuine interest in you when he is talking with you and he is a supporter and cheerleader of our sport regardless of what ‘team’ you are on. Gary is one of the most positive and friendly people you will ever meet. He cares deeply for his athletes and helping them to be successful beyond running. Gary carries himself with a high level of character and humility, and he is most definitely the type of person and coach who is deserving of the Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame.”

Hildebrandt was the head coach at Jackson from 1992 to 1996, then at JCC in 1997 until 2003. He then was head coach at Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin for four years before having the same position at Mountain Lake Christian. After two years as an assistant at Heron Lake-Okabena, he’s been head coach there since 2018.