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New football coaches have big shoes to fill

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New football coaches have big shoes to fill
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Day 1 of the Jamie Lunsetter coaching era went smoothly. On Tuesday's second practice of the high school football season, however, Lunsetter found himself wondering how Mark Kroulik would handle things.

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"We had a great first session on Tuesday," Lunsetter, the new head coach at Minnesota 9-man power Stephen-Argyle, said. "The kids worked hard and were really focused. It was just the kind of practice a coach wants. Then we took our break and the kids came back flat. They were making mental errors, blowing repetitions, stuff like that, and I found myself wondering what Mark would have done at that point.

"So I did my best Mark impersonation, telling the kids we have higher expectations than that, to get focused. And they responded to it."

Lunsetter knows he stepped into a bit of a hot seat as the coach who replaced Mark Kroulik. And he's not alone -- Cory Waling at Kittson County Central and Scott Olsen at Hillsboro are also replacing coaches who set high standards.

E Kroulik teams won seven 9-man state titles and posted a 168-12 record in 15 seasons.

The Storm are defending state champions and had a run from the 2003 through the 2007 seasons during which they set state records with 76 consecutive wins and five consecutive state titles.

Lunsetter, 33, has been an assistant coach at Stephen-Argyle the past seven seasons. This is his first head coaching position.

E Waling replaces Terry Ogorek, who posted a 207-92 record and won two state championships in a head coaching career that began at Hallock in 1980. Waling, 32, has been an assistant to Ogorek the past three seasons. He has one year of experience as a head coach, at the old North Star (Minn.) co-op.

E Olsen takes over for Mark Rerick who, in his eight seasons at Hillsboro, took a team that was 2-7 in his first year to a state championship in 2008.

Hillsboro also reached the state semifinals last season and was eliminated in the quarterfinals in 2006-07. Olsen, a 1999 Hillsboro High graduate, had been an assistant to Rerick the past four seasons.

"Pressure? Sure," Lunsetter said. "There are expectations that go along with the job. The community and the kids have come to expect a level of success, and Mark took it up to a higher level. He won six state titles in the last seven years -- the next guy, whoever it was going to be, had to expect some pressure."

Waling and Olsen agree -- there is pressure, there are high expectations. But none of the three consider that to be a bad thing.

"I think there is pressure," Waling said. "Look at the successful program Terry built. You have to live up to what he accomplished. And I accept that as a challenge. That's what you want. That's what football is about, the challenge to go out, prepare the kids and do your best."

Greg DeVillers is a reporter at the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald. The Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer are both owned by Forum Communications Co. ­

Day 1 of the Jamie Lunsetter coaching era went smoothly. On Tuesday's second practice of the high school football season, however, Lunsetter found himself wondering how Mark Kroulik would handle things.

"We had a great first session on Tuesday," Lunsetter, the new head coach at Minnesota 9-man power Stephen-Argyle, said. "The kids worked hard and were really focused. It was just the kind of practice a coach wants. Then we took our break and the kids came back flat. They were making mental errors, blowing repetitions, stuff like that, and I found myself wondering what Mark would have done at that point.

"So I did my best Mark impersonation, telling the kids we have higher expectations than that, to get focused. And they responded to it."

Lunsetter knows he stepped into a bit of a hot seat as the coach who replaced Mark Kroulik. And he's not alone -- Cory Waling at Kittson County Central and Scott Olsen at Hillsboro are also replacing coaches who set high standards.

- Kroulik teams won seven 9-man state titles and posted a 168-12 record in 15 seasons.

The Storm are defending state champions and had a run from the 2003 through the 2007 seasons during which they set state records with 76 consecutive wins and five consecutive state titles.

Lunsetter, 33, has been an assistant coach at Stephen-Argyle the past seven seasons. This is his first head coaching position.

- Waling replaces Terry Ogorek, who posted a 207-92 record and won two state championships in a head coaching career that began at Hallock in 1980. Waling, 32, has been an assistant to Ogorek the past three seasons. He has one year of experience as a head coach, at the old North Star (Minn.) co-op.

- Olsen takes over for Mark Rerick who, in his eight seasons at Hillsboro, took a team that was 2-7 in his first year to a state championship in 2008.

Hillsboro also reached the state semifinals last season and was eliminated in the quarterfinals in 2006-07. Olsen, a 1999 Hillsboro High graduate, had been an assistant to Rerick the past four seasons.

"Pressure? Sure," Lunsetter said. "There are expectations that go along with the job. The community and the kids have come to expect a level of success, and Mark took it up to a higher level. He won six state titles in the last seven years -- the next guy, whoever it was going to be, had to expect some pressure."

Waling and Olsen agree -- there is pressure, there are high expectations. But none of the three consider that to be a bad thing.

"I think there is pressure," Waling said. "Look at the successful program Terry built. You have to live up to what he accomplished. And I accept that as a challenge. That's what you want. That's what football is about, the challenge to go out, prepare the kids and do your best."

Greg DeVillers is a reporter at the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald. The Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer are both owned by Forum Communications Co. ­

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