March 5, 2010
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
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
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
Hill said the football position was especially
“[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
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
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).