Pioneering Palmer Honored for Role at Central Lakes

Pioneering Palmer Honored for Role at Central Lakes

St. Paul, MN-

Pioneering coach and athletic administrator Darlene Palmer was honored by the Minnesota Coalition of Women in Athletic Leadership during an inspiring National Girls and Women in Sport Day ceremony held at the Minnesota History Center on Wednesday, February 6. 

Palmer founded the women's athletic programs at Brainerd Community College - now Central Lakes College - in Brainerd, Minnesota, beginning in 1974, shortly after the enactment of Title IX.  Palmer established and coached golf, softball, basketball and volleyball teams for the Raiders at various times in her career.  In 1976 she also earned the title of Women's Athletic Director.  Like many of her colleagues, Palmer also served a wide variety of roles on campus in instruction and other duties. 

The career of Darlene Palmer at Central Lakes was thoughtfully narrated by her daughter, Betsy Krause, who recalled the impactful moments of her childhood in Brainerd, following her mother to the gyms, courts and playing fields at CLC.  Like many of the honorees at the National Girl's & Women in Sport Day ceremony, Krause noted the important role women such as Darlene Palmer had in the formation of their own careers and personal lives. 

Carol Howe-Veenstra, a fixture in Minnesota college athletics for three decades, also had high praise for Palmer and spoke to the long-lasting impact Darlene had on her education and career.  Howe-Veenstra served for 30 years as the athletic director at The College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota. 

For the full 2019 Minnesota Girls & Women in Sport Day press release, please click here or go to:

To learn more about the Tucker Center  at the  Unviersity of Minnesota can be seen at:


    (Darlene Palmer, above; Betsy Karuse, right)

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This release sponsored in part by Gopher Sport. 

Gopher Sport, based in Owatonna, is an industry leader in Physical Education, sports and fitness equipment.  Gopher Sport is dedicated to providing programs and departments with the products to improve fitness, develop skills, create fun and reach a high standard of learning and living. Gopher Sport has diligently served teachers, coaches and athletic directors around the world for over 65 years. 

About the Minnesota College Athletic Conference

The Minnesota College Athletic Conference is the organizational body for NJCAA-affiliated two-year technical and community college athletic programs in the Minnesota State system.  The mission of the Minnesota College Athletic Conference is to advance intercollegiate athletics by providing an engaging and supportive environment for success of our student athletes and competition among member institutions.  The MCAC is committed to the guiding principles of encouraging the development and success of student athletes, promoting the integrity, honesty and loyalty to member schools as well as upholding the sustainability of conference athletic programs.