Former Grand Forks coach and athletic director Ken Rio is a member of several halls of fame, a tribute to his work.

“A lot of people had a lot of respect for Ken for his coaching and administrative career,’’ said Ron Bergh, who played on Rio’s teams in the 1960s.

Rio died Monday at the age of 93.

While Rio had abundant success as a coach, Bergh remembers him more for his people skills than the wins and losses.

“Ken was low key,’’ said Bergh, a 1963 Grand Forks Central High School graduate who was on Rio-coached football and track teams. “I never saw him lose his cool. He treated people the way they should be treated. He didn’t put people down. He never swore. Guys who played for him really enjoyed it.’’

Alex Cooley was a member of Rio’s Central track teams.

“Ken was very good with kids,’’ Cooley, a 1964 Central graduate, said. “He had a lot of patience. He never yelled at people. He got a lot of people involved. He was really hands-on coaching the runners and they always were good at the end of seasons.’’

Rio also had a competitive side. Bergh and Cooley remember indoor spring track practices that often ended with pickup basketball games.

“Ken loved to play in those,’’ Cooley said. “It was a lot of fun. We played with no-foul rules. He was a little guy, but he was pretty aggressive and physical.’’

Rio was born and raised in Michigan, N.D., graduating from the high school there in 1944. He still helped on the family farm a few miles west of Michigan when he was in his 80s.

Following high school, Rio saw action in the Pacific in his two years serving in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. After the war, he attended Mayville State, competing in basketball, track and football. Rio gained all-conference honors in football.

Rio took a teaching job in Grand Forks in 1950. He remained in the school system until retiring in the spring of 1985.

Rio resigned in 1966 after 12 seasons as the school’s head football coach, posting a 72-21-5 record.

A year later, he resigned as Central’s boys track head coach. In 13 seasons as track coach, his Central teams won six state titles and finished second four times.

He also was the school’s cross country coach for seven seasons.

“Ken was an excellent coach,’’ Bergh said. “We had a lot of good athletes. He found the best ways of getting the best out of all of them. He spent a lot of time making sure everybody was assignment sharp. He always had his teams ready to play.’’

After Rio stepped away from coaching, he became the Grand Forks public schools athletic director in 1967, a position he held for 18 years until retiring in the spring of 1985.

“He took care of us as far as the wants and needs of the programs,’’ said Bergh, who was Central’s head football coach for several seasons when Rio was athletic director. “He was dedicated and very thorough.’’

Rio was an inaugural member of the North Dakota High School Coaches Association, the North Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators and the Grand Forks Central Athletic halls of fame.

He’s also a member of the Grand Forks Public Schools Teachers and Mayville State University Athletic halls of fame.

In 2005, he was inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame.