Former New Richmond state track champion Bruce Emerson passes awayIn the record books, Bruce Emerson’s legacy will date back to a rainy June day in 1969 when he won the WIAA state track championship in the 880-yard run.
In the record books, Bruce Emerson’s legacy will date back to a rainy June day in 1969 when he won the WIAA state track championship in the 880-yard run.
But for those who knew of Emerson’s long commitment to New Richmond sports, his legacy reaches much farther.
Emerson died unexpectedly last Tuesday at the age of 61.
Emerson’s state championship was won during his junior year, when he ran a time of 2:00.9 to win the 880-yard run. His state track championship was the first one in several decades by a New Richmond athlete.
Emerson was part of a strong group of middle distance runners for New Richmond in that era. He teamed with Jon Ziemer, Jim Sager and Steve Ulrich with a time of 8:10.40 in the 3,200 meter relay in 1968. That time stood as the school record through 2000 and it still ranks as the Tigers’ second best ever in that event. In 1969, Emerson teamed with Pat Moe, Kelly Stephens and Jim Sager for a time of 3:25.5 in the 1,600 meter relay. That stood as the school record through 1982 and still ranks as the third best time in that event in NRHS history.
Tom Munson graduated with Emerson in 1970.
“Bruce was easily the best athlete in our class,” Munson said.
Emerson was involved in a wide variety of sports and that continued after his high school years. He played softball and basketball and coached a number of sports. Emerson, Munson and Steve Campbell were the leaders in getting youth basketball rolling in New Richmond more than 30 years ago, developing the forerunner to the Community Education and New Richmond Youth Basketball programs.
“He was so much geared toward the kids,” Munson recalled. “He’d say the biggest reward was when a kid ‘got it,’ whether it was the first kid or the 21st kid.”
Emerson rose through the Tiger coaching ranks, becoming the girls varsity basketball coach for several years in the 1990s.
Emerson was a meticulous student of all his interests. He worked in lawn care, snow removal and handiwork in recent years. He is survived by his wife, Pam, and two children, Michaela Ellevold and Scott Emerson.