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Duluth East's Mike Randolph resigns

06/04/2021, 1:15pm CDT
By Bryan Zollman

The third winningest coach in the State of Hockey cited parental pressure and negatives outweighing the positives

Mike Randolph has coached at Duluth East for 32 years. PHOTO BY TIM KOLEHMAINEN/BREAKDOWN SPORTS

The third winningest coach in Minnesota High School Hockey history held a press conference Friday explaining his departure from the sport. Longtime Duluth East coach Mike Randolph, who coached 36 years of high school hockey, 32 of them for the Greyhounds where he led them to 18 state tournament appearances, resigned Tuesday. In his official statement to the media, Randolph thanked his family, former coaches, current coaches, trainers, bus drivers, rink managers.

He especially thanked the thousands of players and parents he has met over the years.

Randolph pointed to parental pressure and lack of administrative support for his resignation as well as recently the negatives far outweighing the positives.

Quotes from Randolph's press conference::

“I’ve benefitted from the support he assistance from thousands of parents who coach children, clear snow off rinks, pull flooding hoses, staff concession stands, doing all that is needed to maintain our youth hockey programs. Thanks to all of them.

"I want to thank the parents who supported me. There’s been so many great parents who shared their kids with us. I have met so many over the years and enjoyed coaching their kids. It’s true that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

"Sadly, there are those who tried to ruin it for others. We all know what’s going on here. Coaches across the state are being run out by parental pressure. The most recent is Lakeville South and Brainerd. And now, me. This is getting tiresome.

"But the number of supportive parents always far outweighed the others.

"To the players, thank you. To the parents, thank you for trusting me with your kids. It’s been nothing but a joy to take these players up and down the road. We traveled more than any other team in the state, including 18 state tournaments. Eighteen state tournament appearances without a single incident with one of our players. They’ve represented you with class both on and off the ice. It was so much fun to coach them. But just as importantly is to get to know them as people.

"I was able to coach one of my sons three years. And those are the best three years of coaching. It made it all worth it. He as well as all my kids have made me so proud. Now I am blessed with five grandkids, all ages three and under. 

"Hockey has been my life. I was one of seven kids. My first skates were girls figure skates. My dad told me if I made the high school team he’d buy me hockey skates. Back than Tacks were it. Then he had a stroke, and my high school coach Del Genereau  became a father figure to me. I tried to model that love for my players.

"I think hockey is the greatest sport. The best is playing, and I was fortunate enough to play six years beyond high school. My last year was with the '76 Olympic team I recall sitting in hotel with Ginny, my wife, in Fort Wayne, wondering where we were going to go. Got a call from Del Genereau, who was the AD at CSS. He told me get into school and come back to Duluth and be an assistant coach for their hockey team. That phone call changed my life. I accepted and we headed to the next chapter of our lives. Stayed at CSS for three years and I coached three years at UMD, and then high school for 36 years. Two at Denfeld, two at Duluth Cathedral and 32 years at Duluth East.

"Up until recently, it’s been rewarding and fun. But when negatives start to outweigh the positives, it gets to be exhausting and no longer worth the time I put into it.

"I have given my all each and every year. But without administrative support, it’s a losing battle that is tiring and takes the joy out of it. 

"My great memories and my relationships with parents and players remain. I have had so many calls so many texts and so many emails from past players thanking me for teaching them life lessons and how to handle adversity. That is the most rewarding part that goes beyond playing the game. 

"I am not going to take questions today. I don’t want to focus on the negative. I want to focus on the positive relationships with the players, the parents and the great experiences we have shared together the past 36 years.

"I want to thank you all for coming. It means a whole to me, and have a great summer. Ok, thank you.”

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Tag(s): State Of Hockey