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No contract for Frazee head wrestling coach

FRAZEE — Without a single word of discussion, the Frazee-Vergas School Board voted unanimously not to renew the head wrestling coach contract with John Barlund.

Barlund, who sat throughout the meeting in the front row with his wife and daughter, has served as head coach of the wrestling program since 2005, when he came to the district. Late this winter, he was suspended without pay for one week in late February for kicking a seventh grade student in the groin during his physical education class after the student hit Barlund in the face with a badminton birdie.

Barlund denied the action, saying he was in defense mode and didn’t kick the boy.

Besides the week suspension, Barlund was not allowed to coach wrestling the remainder of the season. He missed the wrestling team’s trip to state, and Assistant Coach Marty Aho filled in for him.

At the school board meeting Monday evening, Superintendent Terry Karger said that he and Activities Director Nick Courneya carefully looked at whether it was best for the district to not renew Barlund’s coaching contract and decided that was the case.

“Obviously not much discussion can happen,” School Board Chair Matt Bauer said, insinuating data privacy restrictions.

He read the resolution aloud, which stated that not renewing Barlund’s contract “is in the best interests of the program and the district.”

A unanimous roll call vote was taken, with board member Ken Fett adding, “This is one of those things that makes this job not fun.”

“I have enjoyed the opportunity to coach this team for the past nine years. We have had tremendous success with excellent teams and individuals over this span,” Barlund said after the decision was made. “I thank the people that have expressed their support for me and my family.”

Barlund has earned several accolades throughout his years as head wrestling coach in Frazee including Minnesota State Coach of the Year in 2011 and 2009, and Section 8 Coach of the Year in 2011, 2010 and 2009.

The team has been named Section Champ 5 AAA 2006, earned six HOL titles, been section team champ eight times and placed in state team competition eight times, including champs once.

He has also initiated several programs in Frazee as coach.