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An event to celebrate and honor a local pioneer of women's athletics will take place on Nov. 13

A free throw tournament followed by a banquet will take place Saturday, Nov. 13 to celebrate women's athletics and honor Bev Grossman, a teacher and coach who helped pioneer the women's athletic program during the 1960s and 1970s at the Alexandria Area High School

A celebration of the pioneers who were responsible for creating the women's athletic program in Alexandria will take place Saturday, Nov. 13 at the Alexandria Area High School.

Set up by the Beverly Lohrman-Grossman Foundation, it's called the "B" event.

It will feature a free throw tournament for both single competitors and teams for all ages 12 and up, with prizes awarded at the end. Participants can qualify for both single and team events, with each team member pre-registering as an individual. Pre-registration can be done on the Alexandria Education Foundation's web page, and there is no fee to register.

There will be four groups for the team event:

  • Age 12 to 15 team.
  • Women's team — at least three of the team members must be women.
  • Alumni team — at least two members must be alumni of AAHS; men or women.
  • Open team — members can be of any age or gender.

The free throw tournament will begin at 1:30 p.m., with the gym opening up for warm-ups at 1:00 p.m. Each participant will shoot 30 free throw shots and will be required to keep track of their score on a scorecard to present to the gym's registration desk. The scorekeeping will be on the "honor system."
To set-up up a team, contact Michael Lohrman at (320) 290-0146, Larry Novotny at (320) 815-1122, or Rick Nilson at (320) 250-4219 before November 10.

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Following the event, a banquet will honor 50 years of Alexandria women's basketball programs. It will feature speakers Carol Hughes and Rachel Gaugert-Knutzen, players from the original Title IX basketball team, and Wendy Kohler, Alexandria's current girl's basketball coach.

The speakers will talk about both past and present operations of the women's athletic program. The banquet will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the banquets can be purchased at Elden's Fresh Foods or online at alexeducationfoundation.org.

"I am very honored to have been selected to speak at an event that will honor Bev Lohrman, one of the greatest teachers and coaches in the history of Alexandria Women's Athletics," said Hughes, "She helped open the doors for so many women who wanted an opportunity to compete in sports at the same level as their male counterparts."

Beverly "B" Lohrman-Grossman grew up in Osakis as Bev Flynn. She taught physical education in Alexandria from 1960 to 1983 and was awarded "Teacher of the Year" by the student body in 1973. Grossman passed away on Jan. 27, 2020; she was 91.

Grossman fought to develop the women's athletic program after Title IX was passed — a federal civil rights law in the United States passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972. It prohibited sex-based discrimination in any school or education program that receives federal money. Grossman coached with no pay to get the programs started.

Grossman started and coached the first women's interscholastic track and field team and the first gymnastics team while also coaching the first women's basketball team in Alexandria.

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In an article from the Echo Press in 1973, Grossman says, "The physical education programs are very important to me. It educates mentally and socially as well as physically, and it teaches leadership to the hilt."

"Bev fought for all of us girls so we would have the opportunity to compete in athletics. She didn't back down from the all-male school board, which, despite Title IX, were reluctant to provide funding for our activities," said Hughes. "The board had no choice, however, but to fund the track program because of Title IX. B had a passion for what she was teaching and an even bigger passion for her students."

After High School, Hughes received her bachelor of science degree in physical education and a coaching certificate from the University of Minnesota Moorhead.

"I think we all wanted to be like B!" said Hughes. "I returned to Alexandria in 1981, where I still am a substitute teacher, and I coached seventh-grade volleyball and basketball, seventh-grade boys basketball, and ninth-grade and junior varsity fastpitch softball for 32 years."

Rachel Knutzen, 65, of New Hope, played guard/forward on Alexandria's first women's basketball team, described Grossman's open-door policy as wonderful and created a friendly environment where anyone could come to talk to her, and she would always listen.

"I think everyone would say, 'If it weren't for Bev.' She gave us many opportunities to participate in athletics and always encouraged us to be the best we could be. She was always there for you," said Knutzen.

After High School, Knutzen went on to play basketball at Concordia College in Moorhead, where she studied social work. She eventually transferred to the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where she spent two years playing for the Golden Gophers.

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Grossman impacted the lives of many young women during her years as an educator. Testimonials from former students and athletes often echo similar sentiments: "We loved B," "B made a difference in my life," "Her enthusiasm was contagious," "B believed in me."

In 2010, Grossman was inducted into the School District 206 Hall of Fame.

Before her funeral, her son, Michael Lohrman, 66, and other family members met with former athletes of Grossman's and decided to raise funds for women's athletics and education. During her funeral, funds were received and matched by family members from both the Lohrman and Grossman sides. The funds were given to the Alexandria Education Foundation.

"My mom's enthusiasm for whatever I did has always stuck with me," said Lohrman, "She always stood by me. I was a pathetic kid, I was, but she was always there for me. No matter what new thing I was trying, she was always excited and encouraged me. When I look back and think about what touched all the girls my mom has helped, it is the same thing she did for me. Encouragement; she believed in the girls like she believed in me, and that inspired them as it has me."

The funding sparked Lohrman and other family members to create the Bev "B' Lohrman Grossman Foundation — partnered with the Alexandria Education Foundation — to complete Grossman's mission to support education with a special emphasis on young women in both academic and athletic settings. The purpose is to encourage women's accomplishments by providing college scholarships, grants to help open doors for young women and support the women's athletics program.

The foundation's goal is to raise $30,000 annually to impact women students in the classroom or on the athletic field by using the donations for women's educational and athletic needs for all ages from elementary to high school, along with scholarship dollars, and other educational needs.

Related Topics: EVENTSDOUGLAS COUNTY
Thalen Zimmerman of Alexandria joined the Echo Press team as a full-time reporter in Aug. 2021, after graduating from Bemidji State University with a bachelor of science degree in mass communication in May of 2021.
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A new episode is released every Tuesday and Thursday, giving readers a brief look at the stories found in Wednesday's and Friday's papers.
A new episode is released every Tuesday and Thursday, giving readers a brief look at the stories found in Wednesday's and Friday's papers.
Organizers hope to make this an annual event.
A new episode is released every Tuesday and Thursday, giving readers a brief look at the stories found in Wednesday's and Friday's papers.