Seeing as how Coach Halley coached more than fifty State Champion teams and individuals, he is no question the Dean of Southwest Sports. His teams accounted for 18 of 23 State Championships won by all Southwest teams, 13 more than all other coaches combined.
While the bulk of his work was done on Cross Country courses, where he was head coach at SW from 1943 to 1970, and with Track and Field which he coached for 21 years, he also did more.
He was assistant principal for eight years and basketball coach for another eight. And he is credited with developing the advanced math program at Southwest, a program that led to today’s highly accredited Baccalaureate Program. He even filled in as head hockey coach for a few games in the mid- 50’s when then Coach Paul Wolford was ill.
"And he did a heck of a job," said Tom "Rocky" Hall, a member of two state tournament hockey teams and a three sport star. "Al was a great motivator and when he spoke everyone listened."
Halley gave his runners two choices: Be the best you can be . . . or quit! "And you didn’t dare quit", Wayne Sullwold, a three time State Champion once stated to the Minneapolis Star and Tribune.
Jack Thommen, who played three sports under Halley in the mid-1940s, said when Al died in 1986, "His dedication was tremendous. On Monday, he’d have an individual workout sheet for every kid, covering Monday through Friday. You knew he spent his whole weekend doing that."
Whether on the field, at the track, pushing his runners around Lake Calhoun, or in the classroom, Al Halley was a motivator of thousands. For his dedication, inspiration, and life guidance lessons, he was inducted into Minnesota State High School Coaches’ Hall of Fame in 1983. He was the first Southwest Coach to enter the Hall.