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Coaches on the move: Former Central wrestling standout and assistant makes the move for head job at Red River

Slowly but surely, Andrew Kennedy is adjusting to the change. Kennedy has always been associated with Grand Forks Central High school, first as an athlete, then as a coach. But, in late May, he accepted the position of head wrestling coach at Gra...

Andrew Kennedy
Andrew Kennedy

Slowly but surely, Andrew Kennedy is adjusting to the change.

Kennedy has always been associated with Grand Forks Central High school, first as an athlete, then as a coach. But, in late May, he accepted the position of head wrestling coach at Grand Forks Red River High School.

"I bought my first Red River t-shirt and shorts a little while ago,'' Kennedy said. "That was a big deal for me. You don't usually see me in red. At Central, that was a forbidden color. But I think I look good in red now.''

Kennedy inquired about the Red River position when Stephen Holten stepped down after one season as the Roughriders' head coach.

Kennedy was offered and accepted the job. He moves crosstown after a long run at Central.

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He was a starting lineman as a junior on Central's 2005 state championship football team. As a senior, he was all-state in football and the 285-pound state wrestling champion. He's been a member of Central's wrestling coaching staff since graduating.

Kennedy said getting used to the switch took awhile. "But the people at Red River have been really good. It's been an easy transition,'' Kennedy said.

"I'm used to (being a Roughrider) now. But I still see some surprised faces when they hear about it. And I'll always have a part of Central in me.''

Mikkelsen steps down

Merle Mikkelsen is going out on top.

Last week, the 72-year-old Mikkelsen turned in his resignation as Grand Forks Red River's boys head golf coach. He's held the position since the 1998 season-longer than any of this season's players have been living.

Mikkelsen's Roughriders repeated as state champions this spring.

"That's the way to go out, a winner,'' Mikkelsen said. "I'm getting too old for the job. It's time to give somebody else a chance. I've had a very good time coaching. But it's time for me to relax a little more and get to go see my grandchildren when they're participating in sports.''

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His replacement has not been named.

Grand Forks athletic director Mark Rerick said the Red River wrestling and boys golf positions are the only head coaching changes as of now at either of the Grand Forks high schools.

Familiar faces at EGF

East Grand Forks Senior High has filled all three of its varsity head coaching openings. And all three have been filled with familiar faces.

In boys hockey, Scott Koberinski resigned so he could have more time to spend on his duties as athletic director. After a three-season hiatus, Tyler Palmiscno returns to coach a program that he led to state championships in 2014 and 2015.

Jim Enright resigned as girls hockey coach and has been replaced by his long-time assistant, Brian Larson.

Paula Devine has been named head volleyball coach. She replaces Cathy Kolness, who resigned after one season. Devine had been the Green Wave volleyball coach for 23 seasons before resigning prior to the 2010-11 school year when she was recuperating from knee surgery.

No Sacred Heart changes

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As of now, Sacred Heart athletic director Blake Karas said there will be no turnover in head coaches at the school. Karas said this will be the second consecutive year that there will be no turnover in any of the head varsity athletic coaching positions at the school.

Related Topics: GF CENTRALSACRED HEART
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