Iowa Girls Coaches Association offering Gene Klinge Scholarship

Gene Klinge ...
Gene Klinge ...

The Iowa Girls Coaches Association has announced that it is partnering with the Klinge family to offer an annual scholarship in memory of Gene Klinge, the winningest coach in Iowa high school girls basketball history. The value of this scholarship will be $500 and must be used to pay expenses of a college/university of the recipient’s choice. Deadline for applications for the scholarship is April 1 of each calendar year.

Klinge accumulated the greatest high school girls basketball coaching record in the state of Iowa, which also ranks 10th nationally. In 52 years of coaching high school girls basketball that included 41 years at West Central of Maynard and his final 11 years at Waukon, Klinge compiled a record of 1,009 wins against just 252 losses. His career included 16 State Tournament appearances, highlighted by a Class 3A State Championship in just his first year coaching at Waukon High School in 2004. Klinge passed away January 16, 2019 at the age of 82.

Klinge is an Iowa Girls Coaches Association and National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame member. In 2011, he became the first Iowa girls coach to receive the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Morgan Wooten Award for lifetime achievement. The West Central High School gymnasium bears his name where he spent 41 years coaching the Blue Devils.

Klinge was known as a fierce competitor who instilled tough discipline and insisted his teams play hardnosed defense. After coaching the six-on-six game for 30 years, he transitioned to the five-player game and loved to press teams and run on offense. He firmly believed in the importance of high school sports and what they could teach kids about life.

Criteria for the Gene Klinge Memorial Scholarship include the following:

• Female currently enrolled in a public or private Iowa high school
• Lettered in high school girls basketball for at least two years
• Grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale), verified by unofficial high school transcript
• ACT score of 20 or higher, verified by unofficial high school transcript
• Rank in top half of graduating class, verified by unofficial high school transcript
• Submit a 500-word essay reflecting on what involvement in high school basketball has meant to her and/or what impact her high school basketball coach has had on her as a player/person
• Include two letters of recommendation, one of which must be from her current high school basketball coach
• Applications will not be accepted in parts. Applications should include completed materials together, including application, copy of transcript, essay and letters of recommendation. Partial applications will be deemed incomplete and discarded upon receipt.

All of those application materials must be submitted by April 1 and can either be emailed to or mailed to:

Gene Klinge Memorial Scholarship
P.O. Box 356
Harpers Ferry, IA 52146.

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