Athletics Hall of Fame

Gail (Hecimovich) Nucech

SPORT(S) Softball, Track and Field, Field Hockey, Women's Basketball
YEAR INDUCTED 2015-Alumni Coach
Hibbing native Gail (Hecimovich) Nucech participated in softball, field hockey, volleyball, women’s basketball and track and field at Bemidji State and pioneered many of those teams from their transitions from extramural programs into varsity sports. That spirit extended into her career as a physical education teacher and coach at Hibbing High School. Hired in 1969, Nucech began coaching the school’s gymnastics, track and field and volleyball programs. She started the school’s girls basketball program in 1974 and guided it to the 1976 Minnesota State High School League tournament, the same year she also started Hibbing’s softball program. The bulk of her coaching career was devoted to volleyball. She was head coach at Hibbing High from 1969-2012, compiling an overall record of 884-254 en route to becoming the MSHSL’s all-time winningest coach. She led the Bluejackets to 26 Iron Range Conference championships, 23 Region 7 AA/AAA titles and 23 appearances in the state tournament, which included a state championship in 1975 and a runner-up finish in 1998. For her efforts and teams’ successes, Nucech was awarded Region 7 AA/AAA Coach of the Year honors 11 times. She was named MSHSL Coach of the Year in 1975 and Minnesota Volleyball Coaches’ Association Coach of the Year in 1998. In addition, Nucech organized and coached the Hibbing Junior Olympics Volleyball Program from the start to 2013 and continues to coach Junior Olympic volleyball in Virginia, Minn. with her daughter. In 1990, Nucech was inducted into BSU’s Athletics Hall of Fame as a student-athlete. She also is a member of the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the Greenway High School Hall of Fame and the Minnesota State High School Coaches’ Association Hall of Fame. In 2008 she was recognized for 25 years of service to the Minnesota State High School Coaches’ Association. In 2009 Nucech was selected to receive the North Country Region USA Volleyball Founder’s Award. Her influence was felt beyond the volleyball community, then-Governor Rudy Perpich proclaimed Oct. 16, 1990, Gail Nucech Day in Minnesota. Active in National Girls and Women in Sports Day activities, she was awarded with a Special Merit Award in 2008.