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In a mutual agreement, Lake Region State College athletic director leaves school

Lake Region State sent out a release announcing the move on Friday, Dec. 17. Mertens, who was also the women’s basketball coach, had been placed on leave by LRSC President Doug Darling on Oct. 29.

Lake Region State College logo
Lake Region State College logo
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Daniel Mertens, athletic director at Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, has decided to part ways with the school in a mutual separation.

Lake Region State sent out a news release announcing the move on Friday, Dec. 17. Mertens, who was also the women’s basketball coach, had been placed on leave by LRSC President Doug Darling on Oct. 29. Administrators there said Mertens was placed on leave “pending a review of information brought to the college’s attention.” Administrators have not said why such action was taken against Mertens.

According to Friday’s release, Darling and Mertens signed a mutual separation agreement. He will be paid out for the remainder of his contract which runs through June 30, and will also be compensated for any unused vacation days.

“We wish Danny the best in the future,” said Lloyd Halvorson, LRSC vice president for academic and student affairs. “He was a big part of our women’s basketball program and their longstanding tradition of success.”

In a Friday afternoon phone call with the Herald, Halvorson said he could not discuss why Mertens was initially placed on leave.

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“I'm not in a position to identify the nature of the information we received that led to the review,” he said.

The Herald has submitted a request for records of the review initiated into Mertens, per state open records laws. A school administrator has acknowledged receipt of the request. The review has been terminated, as Mertens is no longer with the college.

According to the release, men’s basketball coach Jared Marshall will remain interim athletic director until a permanent replacement has been named. Colden Hutton will continue to serve as interim head women’s basketball coach.

In the release, Mertens said LRSC has been a home for him for most of his adult life.

“This is a difficult day for me and my family,” he said. “... I will continue to be a fan of LRSC athletics and am proud to have coached so many talented Lady Royals these past 17 years.”

Mertens was in his eighth season as head coach of the Lady Royals and in his 17th season overall at LRSC. He earned two Mon-Dak Conference championships, two Region XIII championships, and two District D championships. His teams qualified for the national tournament during the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons. Mertens was the 2015 and 2016 Mon-Dak, Region XIII and District D coach of the year.

Lake Region State College will take some time to assess the overall structure of the athletic department before looking at options to fill the head coach and athletic director vacancy, Halvorson said.

Related Topics: LAKE REGION STATE
Adam Kurtz is the community editor for the Grand Forks Herald. He covers higher education and other topics in Grand Forks County and the city.

Kurtz joined the Herald in July 2019. He covered business and county government topics before covering higher education and some military topics.

Tips and story ideas are welcome. Get in touch with him at akurtz@gfherald.com, or DM at @ByAdamKurtz.

Desk: 701-780-1110
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