In an interview with the Star Tribune in 1989, John Hansen said, "When I graduated from college, I had two great interests: music and football.
"I told myself, 'OK, teaching music will be the main course, my job, and coaching football will be the dessert.' I can't imagine anything that could have been more delicious."
Hansen enjoyed success in both jobs in his 40 years at Osseo High School. As the coach of the football team, he led the Orioles to 17 conference championships and six berths in the state playoffs. At the time of his retirement, following the 1991 season, he had the most victories of any high school football coach in state history with a career record of 259-105-13.
As the school's director of music and choir, Osseo's choirs routinely earned top ratings at state competitions and toured the country.
"I put the same principles into directing the choir — discipline, preparation — as I do coaching football," Hansen said in 1989. "We have performed at colleges and churches all over the country and I remember fine choir performances as I remember fine football games."
Hansen, who also served as the choir director at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Osseo for 41 years, died on Oct. 8 at his home. He was 91.
"I always enjoyed being around John," said retired Stillwater football coach George Thole. "Our teams played each other four or five times. He and his teams were first-class and he was a gentleman. I kidded him about being the music teacher. I didn't know any other football coach that taught music. He definitely was a talented man."
Hansen was born to Alice and Herman Hansen on Oct. 12, 1927, in Minneapolis. At St. Louis Park High School, he was a four-year letterman in football, basketball and track. After high school, he served in the Navy for two years.
Hansen graduated from Hamline with a degree in education. At Hamline University, he competed in football for four years and two years each in basketball, tennis and track. Hansen, a tenor, also sang in a quartet called the Squires.
After leaving Hamline in 1952, he accepted a teaching and coaching position at Osseo.
Hansen said he was amazed by the changes at the school over the next four decades.
"I've never worked anywhere else," said Hansen, "but it seems like I've changed jobs. I've gone from a small school to a medium-sized school to a huge school, without ever having to leave Osseo."
During his football coaching career, the Orioles dominated the Skyline Conference — winning 34 consecutive conference games in one stretch. In 1970, two years before the state started using a playoff format, the Orioles went 9-0 and were named the "mythical" state champion by the Minneapolis Tribune. The Orioles were the Class 2A runner-up in 1986.
Hansen is a member of the Minnesota State High School Hall of Fame, the Minnesota State Football Coaches Hall of Fame and the Hamline Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2011, Osseo named its football field after Hansen.
Hansen is survived by his wife, Beverly; sons Tim and Todd, and daughter Tarin; five grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and two sisters.
Services have been held.