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ISSUE 121 VOL 20 PUBLISHED 5/9/2008

Head coaches sought

By Barrett Kennedy
Sports Editor

Friday, May 9, 2008

An uncommon carousel of changes among St. Olaf's head athletic coaches has picked up this spring. The St. Olaf athletic department is currently searching for two new coaches and has already hired one coach since February.

This year's coaching adjustments began in August when Dave Stromme '83 was hired to lead the women's basketball program, replacing 19-year coach Pat Buresh.

Next came head football coach Chris Meidt's Feb. 11 announcement that he would move to the NFL coaching ranks as a member of the Washington Redskins. Meidt coached the Oles for six seasons, the past three of which he led the men to an 8-2 record.

Then Bill Thornton declared just nine days after Meidt's announcement that he would retire from coaching following the conclusion of the spring track and field season. Thornton has coached the men's track and field team for the entirety of his 35-year tenure at St. Olaf, while also spending the majority of his fall seasons coaching the men's cross country team. National searches for replacement coaches began immediately following each decision. One of the two positions has been filled thus far.

Jerry Olszewski joined the St. Olaf sports community March 31 to take the helm of St. Olaf's football program. Olszewski, the former defensive coordinator at the University of Wisconsin -- Steven's Point, will look to continue the program's recent success under coach Meidt, who had a 40-20 record at St. Olaf.

Less than a month after securing one critical coaching position, the athletic department found itself with yet another void to fill. Men's and women's Nordic skiing coach Ollie Garrison '06 resigned April 24, sparking a third coaching search.

What do all these changes mean for the sports department? Is the athletic department heading in a positive direction? That question remains unanswered as two head coaching positions sit open this spring.

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