After playing basketball for and graduating from Carleton College, Lynn Krafve arrived at Minnetonka High School as a new math teacher in the fall of 1958 eager to do what he could to make the school a better place.
So when the school's athletic director asked him to coach the boys' cross country team, he gladly obliged.
"I'd been on the track team in high school in Fairbault (Minn.) but had not been a distance runner," Krafve recalls. "But I did my best to find out how to coach (cross country) as best I could, and we had a nice run there, with plenty of good runners in both cross country and in track." A year later, he took over the track and field program as well.
His cross country team won the section in 1964 and took third at the state meet; a performance it repeated the next year.
Included in the lineup of fine athletes Krafve coached were: Marty Benson, who won the state 800-yard dash in 1963 to capture Minnetonka's first individual state championship; and Bruce Johnson, who won the state mile run in 1966.
Interestingly, Benson won his state title while Krafve was away from MHS for a year, working on his master's degree at Rutgers University.
"Marty would send me telegrams updating me on his meets during the year," Krafve says, "including one very good telegram when he won the state 800-yard dash."
Seven years later, the news concerning Benson, by then a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, was of a tragic note. Enemy fire had killed him in February 1970. "It was a very sad day for me and the entire community," Krafve recalls.
The tragic news came during Krafve's run as head coach of the boys' basketball program from 1965 to 1980. It was a stint that included plenty of good years, including a section runner-up finish in 1972 and a couple of conference championships, as well as some rough ones.
"There were just some years when we weren't as talented as some of the other teams," he notes.
"But I always gave our boys credit because we played hard and improved as the year progressed. I always felt my job was to make it a positive, fair and good experience for the players who had come up through our program."
Krafve felt the same about his role in the classroom, where he taught a variety of mathematic classes until retiring, or as he likes to call it, "refocusing," in 1996.
His teaching philosophy included a nice touch, perhaps an unnoticed technique: each day, he'd interact with each and every student to make sure "they felt they were part of what was taking place," he notes. Also, in preparing to deliver his lessons, Krafve would "imagine myself as a student listening to what I was saying" so everyone understood the lesson.
These days, Krafve and his wife, Jacie, a retired Minnetonka teacher, are enjoying retirement with travel, golf, and spending as much time as they can with their five grandchildren, who live with their son Michael (MHS '93) in Seattle and daughter Alyson ('88) in Duluth.