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Former pro baseball player to coach at alma mater in Cottage Grove, Minn.

COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. - Former major league closer Kerry Ligtenberg has been hired as the new baseball coach at his alma mater, Park High School in Cottage Grove, Minn.

Ligtenberg, a 1989 graduate of Park, was a three-time letter-winner in baseball. He went on to be named an All-Big Ten performer at the University of Minnesota, and in 1998 he became the first baseball player from Park to reach the major leagues. Ligtenberg finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting as a relief pitcher for the Atlanta Braves and also appeared in the World Series for the Braves.

Ligtenberg takes over for Reid Tschumperlin, who resigned this fall. Tschumperlin had been a part of the baseball program for the past 23 years, serving as the head coach the final nine years of his time at Park.

"Reid has been a huge part of the success of our baseball program over the past twenty-three years," said Park Activities Director Phil Kuemmel. "He cares so much about Park High School -- he just bleeds green. I appreciate all that he has done for Park and he will be missed. I have all of the confidence in the world that Kerry can come in and continue the rich tradition of the Park baseball program."

Patrick Johnson is a repoter at the South Washington County Bulletin in Cottage Grove, Minn., which is owned by Forum Communications Co.