Award Honorees

Charlie Kanan '69 and Frank Kuzma '79
Charlie Kanan '69 and Frank Kuzma '79

In a few years, the Minnetonka Diamond Club will have paid off its debt for the construction of Veterans and Legacy Fields, leaving Minnetonka a jewel of a sports complex and something else: a means of generating $250,000 annually for district programs.

The $4.4 million project has worked out just the way it was planned, thanks in great part to the leadership of two men.

But don't try to thank Charlie Kanan and Frank Kuzma for all their hard work. They say it's been a true team effort.

"It all comes down to having phenomenal volunteers," says Charlie. "Minnetonka has a large passion to give back to its community. Volunteers donate time, they donate effort, they sacrifice time with their families--all to leave something behind."

"It's amazing what you get accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit," adds Frank.

Both men were athletes in high school, heavily influenced by legendary coaches like Bud Leak and Einer Anderson.

"Bud was constantly motivating you and would never accept anything less than your best," says Charlie. "He taught me discipline and self-respect."

Frank remembers his Minnetonka years as a chance to dabble in lots of things and find out where he could excel.

"It was an age of diversity, rather than specialization," he says. "It was also an age of opportunity. You'd get a chance to do everything. It made me more well-rounded than I would have been if I had been locked into one thing."

"Along with the great academics, I learned so much from the teachers and coaches about life," Charlie says. "They taught you the intangibles—how if you worked hard, you'll achieve growth and success. We got constant reminders of that. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to."

Frank and Charlie set their minds to helping shape a community that transcends baseball.

"The sports are almost incidental," Frank says. "They help teach kids to become good young human beings. People's passion for baseball is a great metaphor for life."

As pleased as Charlie is about the success of the Diamond Club's centerpiece project, he sees a much bigger payoff than mere dollars.

"The biggest benefit to come out of all this has been the friendships," he says.

Watch Charlie and Frank's acceptance speech

2017 Alumni Award Honorees
Lori Palmer '65

Received the Distinguished Alumni Award on Sept. 16, 2017.

Marty Benson '63

Inducted (posthumously) into the Skippers Hall of Fame on Sept. 16, 2017.

Howard Young

Inducted into the Faculty Hall of Fame on Sept. 16, 2017.

Walt "Doc" West​

Inducted posthumously into the Faculty Hall of Fame on Sept. 17, 2016.