Arthur G. Kronshagen (Class of 1940) - 2023 Hall of Fame Inductee
It has been said that those who can do, and those who can’t…. do something else. In Arthur “Art” Kronshagen’s situation – because he couldn’t do it anymore due to polio leaving him with a shortened leg as a child – he found other ways to be involved with athletics. Art became a manager for the sports teams in high school. His passion after that was coaching baseball and officiating high school football and basketball games.
Art’s career as a baseball coach spanned nearly a half-century. The impact he had on nearly 3,000 youth over that span in the Pana community was nearly immeasurable. Art volunteered his time as a coach of youth baseball, a program he helped establish, for 48 years. He also coached American Legion baseball before there was an organized baseball team at Pana High School. Art coached the Pana Merchants in the Chris-Mont League, and when he wasn’t coaching, he was an official, umpiring boys’ baseball and girls’ softball at the youth and high school level for 30 years. Art umpired the state finals in softball when the championship was played in Taylorville. Additionally, he umpired districts, regionals, and sectionals in high school baseball. Art was also a football and basketball official for 30 years. He officiated state series at the district and regional level in high school basketball as well.
Arthur and his brother August were the timekeepers for many years for the Pana High School football team. The year 2003 saw their last time as controllers of the score board. The Quarterback Club honored the brothers for many years of service to the Pana football program.
Over the course of his coaching career, Art coached sons of grown men whom he had as youngsters. While he was still alive, Art enjoyed going out and watching the boys play – some of those children were third generation baseball players. In 2001, the traditional Youth Baseball Organization’s 9-10 Boys Baseball Tournament became known as the Art Kronshagen Invitational.
Art was very involved with the community of Pana, serving as the Grand Marshal of the Pana Labor Day Parade in 2003. He was also a Scout Master, and a 50+ year member of the Pana Lions Club. As a lifelong supporter of Pana athletics, Art said in an interview for the Pana News-Palladium, “I’ve enjoyed every bit of it. What was most enjoyable was working with the kids and keeping them out of trouble. I wasn’t disappointed with any of them.”