Leading classrooms by day and coaching fields by night, Al Amdahl’s loyalty to Albany is undeniable. He holds numerous titles, including: Huskies head baseball coach, Huskies assistant football coach, high school government and economics teacher, college political science and microeconomics professor, Economics and Finance Challenge Manager, and mock trial adviser.
“The high school is big enough to have a lot of offerings, not just sports. There’s a variety of extracurricular activities students can partake in. Something for everyone,” said Amdahl.
Originally a farmer, Amdahl recognized he didn’t have much luck tending to animals or nature; therefore, he saw this as a sign to make a career change. Today, he celebrates 30 years of coaching, and 29 years of educating, proving his conspicuous zeal for cultivating the youth.
Amdahl’s deep-rooted passion for coaching began during his time playing high school football and basketball. His coaches mentored and inspired him both on and off the field and little did he know this would spark a lifelong career.
“I see coaching as an extension of the classroom, a way to give them a chance to learn life lessons, commitment and other valuable attributes,” Amdahl said.
Whether it’s dawn on Monday morning, or dusk on Friday night, Amdahl isn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves and get to the nitty gritty. This unwavering attitude led the Albany Huskies 15U baseball team to the 2018 and 2019 Midwest Regionals and Babe Ruth World Series. The latter was quite the triumph, as years prior 15U teams were only allowed to compete through the regionals. Summer 2018, the Huskies experienced a major victory, winning the Babe Ruth World Series — a memory Amdahl will forever cherish.
This summer, the Huskies were unstoppable in their regular season, outplaying venerated teams such as Moorhead, Fergus Falls and the St. Paul East Twins. During the finals, the Huskies mashed up against Moorhead and lost; however, both teams earned a spot in the Midwest Regionals, and there, the Huskies outplayed Iowa, Missouri and North Dakota.
“I understand the drive it takes. Some of it may be a fear of failure,” Amdahl said.
Thereafter, the Huskies competed in bracket play against Colorado and won in the last inning. Afterward, the team played in the championship against Moorhead and won, 6 to 4. So, for the second summer in a row, the Huskies earned a spot in the Babe Ruth World Series.
Here, the Huskies were placed in a new pool, where each regional champion played four games. The Huskies beat the New England Region (Connecticut) and the Southeast Region (Virginia). They lost to the Pacific region (California) and the Mid-Atlantic Region (New Jersey).
Three teams advanced to the next phase — the Huskies being one of these. There, they beat the Southeast Region, but lost to the New England Region, making them the runner-up in the 2019 Babe Ruth World Series.
“Really proud of the kids, I like to call them ‘grinders’. Although last year was our first year at the World Series and we won, there was just as much excitement this year coming in second place with a new group. As a whole, they play really well together,” Amdahl said.
With only six total losses and 40 wins, this team has experienced tremendous success. Winter months were spent in the classroom covering plays and individual lessons, while spring and summer months were times of execution.
“They enjoy being with their friends, the social part of it. I think it’s a sport they’ll play beyond their youth. Even if they don’t play at the college level, they’ll likely play for their town’s team,” Amdahl said.
Needless to say, Amdahl is a true inspiration to look inward, transition as needed and persevere when the future is unclear. He advises leaders, mentors, coaches and educators, to give employees, mentees, players and students a generous amount of autonomy as amazing results will ensue.
“My team really hustled, got at it all the time. Now they know they can work hard and achieve. Most of life is not accomplished by the most talented, it’s accomplished by those who show up and get the work done,” Amdahl said.