When Einer Anderson started working in Minnetonka in 1950 after graduating from Hamline University in St. Paul, he never could have envisioned the lasting impression he would make on the students, staff and the entire community. A long time physical education teacher, junior high and high school coach (basketball, football, baseball and hockey) and driver education instructor (one of the first in Minnesota) he impacted the lives of many students and is still known today as being one of the most genuine and caring teachers at Minnetonka High School.
"Einer Anderson was an amazing person. He knew ALL of his students by name, and even had nicknames for most of them," remembers one former student.
As a coach, Einer's philosophy was simple - everyone should play and it should be fun. When he was the Boys "B" Squad basketball coach and was asked in a 1960s newspaper article why he plays every kid in every game, "Anderson modestly admitted that he doesn't feel he is qualified to judge what 10th grader will have the ability to make varsity when he is a senior. 'All I do is give them a chance to play and try to keep them in them interested in basketball and hope they will improve.'"
Students flocked to his warm personality and Einer had a sincere love for his students. When not coaching or teaching, Einer and his wife Elaine, also a former Minnetonka teacher, could be found attending any number of school events. The two were Excelsior residents for 30 years.
Today Einer is remembered through three MHS senior memorial scholarships. One is given out by the MHS Teachers Association and the other two were set up by his wife, Elaine, and are awarded to senior athletes who best exemplify the qualities Einer valued most - courage, humor, generosity, humility, faith and dedication. The Minnetonka football stadium was also named in his honor in the early '80s.
Einer Anderson's legacy in Minnetonka stretches beyond scholarships and stadiums, however. The people who knew him remember him for his skill and insight with students, his enthusiasm and his dedication to Minnetonka Schools.
In 1974, after 24 years of teaching, Einer was asked in another newspaper article why he'd spent so many years coaching, which meant many evening and weekend hours. He replied, "Because it's fun. That's the key to the whole thing."
Einer Anderson passed away on May 12, 1981.