BY BRUCE STRAND
Dan Ohlgren, a coach in the Rogers system since the school opened nine years ago, is the Royals’ new activities director.
"This is what I’ve always wanted to do, be in charge of athletics at a school," said Ohlgren, 34, who was named last week to succeed the retiring Paul Gustafson.
Ohlgren has been head softball coach and assistant football coach at RHS since 2003-04, with the exception of one year he spent at Zimmerman as A.D. He said he gave up that ZHS post largely because he missed Rogers.
"Dan has an admin degree and has often helped us out in the office when the principals had to be at meetings, and with supervision of athletic events when we needed help," said principal Roman Pierskalla, a member of the hiring committee. "He has coached in two successful programs, and he seems to be well-liked by the kids.
"He still had to interview well, which he did. It can be tough to interview with your colleagues."
Ohlgren and his wife Amanda have two children, Justyce and Davin. He is a business teacher but will leave the classroom for his new post.
At RHS, Ohlgren and his softball team had the distinctions of being the first program with a winning record and a state tournament trip (in 2005). His involvement with football under Marc Franz has also been rewarding as the Royals grew from two 0-9 seasons to their current status as three-time conference and section champs.
Ohlgren is a native of Menagha, where he played football, basketball, and baseball. He was a college baseball outfielder with Central Lakes Community College (Brainerd) and Concordia-Moorhead. He taught and coached in Wayzata (girls hockey assistant) before joining District 728.
Pierskalla said there was "a very good group of candidates" to pick from. He said the strong field was probably attracted by Rogers earning a good reputation for successful sports programs in a short time.
Gustafson, having worked with Ohlgren throughout his own nine-year tenure, applauded the choice.
"Dan knows the school and he will do a great job," said Gustafson.
Ohlgren said he learned much about being an A.D. from dealing with Gustafson and John Barth, who retired at Elk River a year ago. "They will still be on my call list," said Ohlgren. He added that the year at Zimmerman also taught him a lot.
Ohlgren’s first coaching hire will be the softball job that he vacated.