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Mistic retires as boys basketball coach in Blackduck

Grant Mistic, head coach of Blackduck boys basketball team, will retire after this year. Photo by Jillian Gandsey.

After 11 years of coaching, including nine as head coach, of the Blackduck boys basketball team, head coach Grant Mistic has handed in his resignation.

Before Mistic took to the sidelines for the team, the Drakes went 0-22 the previous season.

In fact, the Drakes had only won one game in those last two years.

“The program was about as far on the bottom, in my opinion, as it could be,” Mistic said.

It only took Mistic two years to get the Drakes to be a winning team and he kept it that way for most of his years as head coach.

“I played basketball here at Blackduck myself and so I was personally very discouraged when the program was down and I wanted to try to make a difference,” Mistic said.

And he did just that. Mistic hoped to get the program back on its feet and was even able to accomplish 100 wins in his career, reaching that number during this past season.

He said achieving the milestone wasn’t a goal of his while coaching, but it was a goal to get the program going and to teach the team life skills.

“Nobody wants to win more than me, but the satisfaction that I tried to instill and tried get out of it is learning life skills for the kids,” Mistic said. “Learning the ups and downs and learning the competitiveness and learning the working together, all of that type of thing, and I felt like I accomplished that with a good majority of the kids.”

A good majority of the kids included his son, Brad Mistic, who graduated from Blackduck High School in 2009. Mistic coached the junior high team for two years, which his son was on, before moving up to varsity.

“I was fortunate enough to coach him from his junior high days all the way through his (junior varsity) and varsity days,” Mistic said.

Mistic was surprised with a cake after the School Board meeting on Monday night in the high school commons area. “I was very appreciative,” he said with a laugh. “I didn’t know that was coming.”

Mistic said he felt that he was going to resign at the end of this year, but waited to hand his official resignation in.

“I tossed it around,” Mistic said. “I gave it quite a bit of time to make sure that I thought my decision was correct and I definitely think it is.”

Mistic said that he will support whoever takes over the position and will continue to cheer on the Drakes.

The Drakes went 16-11 this past season, losing to Fosston in the section playoffs.

“I feel it was a great run,” Mistic said. “I have no regrets and I wouldn’t change a thing of what I did. It was time and I’m very comfortable with my decision.”

Jillian Gandsey

Jillian Gandsey is the Multimedia Editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is an Iron Range native and a 2013 graduate of Bemidji State University. Follow Jillian on Twitter and Instagram @jilliangandsey. Contact her at 218-333-9786, 218-996-1216 or at 

(218) 333-9786