Denfeld News

March 5, 2010
Duluth News Tribune

Duluth school district names coaches; Denfeld football coach cut
By Rick Weegman

On Thursday, Frank Huie was notified of his selection as an assistant coach for the Minnesota all-star football game, the first time in 35 years a Duluth Denfeld coach has received such an honor.

On Friday, Huie was notified he no longer was head coach of the Hunters’ football team.

The Duluth school district released the list of fall sports coaches for the 2010-11 school year Friday, and Huie’s name wasn’t on it.

“I’m very upset,” said Huie, 48, who has spent 28 years with the Denfeld program. “I’m disappointed in the process, and I’m disappointed in the fact, from what I could tell in looking at the list, that I am one of — or the most — senior person that was let go from a position.”

Joe Hietala was retained as football coach at Duluth East, and Chris Vold will coach the Denfeld team, which will pair with students from Central next season as the district consolidates from three schools to two.

“Where it became challenging was when we had three quality coaches interviewing for two spots,” said assistant superintendent Joe Hill, who led an eight-person selection committee that interviewed candidates a week ago Friday. “We had to make some very difficult decisions. I do believe in looking at the needs of our programs as we move forward, I’m excited about those who were selected.

“In the end, we have a very solid group of individuals.”

Hill said the football position was especially difficult.

“[Huie’s] a fine quality coach, and it did make for an anguishing decision on behalf of the entire interview team,” he said.

Vold, who coached Central the past seven years and has taught in the district for more than a dozen years, knows several of the Denfeld players from his days as a teacher at Morgan Park Middle School.

“I’ll get to work with them from a different perspective,” he said. “That will be fun getting to know them again, and bringing everybody together for a common cause.”

Huie, who also is Denfeld’s track and field coach, said he’s considering his next move. He hasn’t ruled out coaching football in another district, but definitely won’t seek an assistant’s position here in town.

“In my particular situation, where I was an assistant for 23 years and I’ve given the district a lot of things, I don’t feel like giving them another few years of assistant coaching just because they choose not to have me be a head coach,” he said. “I would like to help those kids out, but not when I’ve been treated the way I feel I’ve been treated.”

Despite feeling slighted, Huie said he will tell his players to give their all to their program when he meets with them next week.

“I expect them to give their very best to their school, and be prepared to play football whether it’s me or Tony Dungy or anybody else coaching,” he said.

Winter and spring coaches will be chosen later this year. Other fall coaching assignments:

- Denfeld: Chris Vold (football); Scott Anderson (boys soccer); Ron Weber (girls soccer); Kim Swanstrom (volleyball); Joel Holman (boys and girls cross country); Paul Sandholm (girls tennis); Nicole Scharte (dance line); Tricia Neubarth (cheer advisor).

- East: Joe Hietala (football); Nic Bacigalupo (boys soccer); Steve Polkowski (girls soccer); Kevin Flynn (volleyball); Dave Wicker (boys and girls cross country); Lee Kruger (girls tennis); and Jeannine Maki (dance line).

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