Often times talented educaters go on to become very successful politicians. Such is the case with Larry William Haws, a high school math teacher and four-sport coach who was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives.
Larry was born January 12, 1940, in the southwestern Minnesota town of Tracy. After he graduated from Mankato Loyola High School, he enrolled at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Recreation and Biology. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and another in biology from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
After his college graduation, Larry taught at Cathedral High School in St. Cloud. He was also a youth coach for five sports: wrestling, track and field, cross-country, football, and soccer. He left his position at the high school to join the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, where he worked for 32 years. In his position there, Larry coached at both the high school and collegiate levels, where he took several teams to state and national championships. “My claim to fame,” Larry once remarked, “was I coached the reformatory wrestling team for three years. I said we weren’t very good, but we had a killer instinct.”
Larry was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in a 2005 special election held to replace Representative Joe Opatz, who had resigned to become the interim president of Central Lakes College in Brainerd. Larry had coached Opatz in wrestling when Opatz was a student. A Democrat, Larry represented District 15B in the north central part of the state. The former teacher was re-elected in 2006 and 2008. While in the House, one of the committees Larry worked on was the committee for higher education. He was also a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee on Finance for School District 742. Of his work in the legislature, Larry once remarked that he was proud of the work he accomplished with Governor Tim Pawlenty and Representative Dan Severson in 2007. The group passed a major veterans benefits bill on behalf of Viet Nam veterans. Many of these veterans, recalled Larry, had been youngsters he had coached when they were children.
This remarkable educator and politician was diagnosed with brain cancer in January, 2011. He passed away on March 27, 2012.