John's Journal
Coaching News And a Personal Plug4/8/2010
We’ve got some coaching news today from one of the state’s newest high schools, but first let me put in a plug for something that will happen on Friday in St. Cloud.

The Minnesota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association is holding its annual conference today through Saturday in St. Cloud, and I have been invited to take part in a workshop session titled “Teaching Coaches to Work with the Media.”

We’ll talk about lots of issues and ways in which coaches and the media can work together. Statistics, interview procedures, trust … we’ll hopefully cover a whole bunch of ground. We’ll have two sessions, and I look forward to seeing a room filled with administrators.

Now, on to some coaching news. Here’s a press release from East Ridge High School in Woodbury…

East Ridge High School is proud to announce that Mike Pendino has been hired as head football coach. Mike brings more than 25 years of coaching experience and educational leadership to the Raptors. He served as a collegiate level assistant coach for 15 years, including six years at the University of Minnesota. He was also the head football coach and a business education teacher at the Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield for eight years.

During his tenure, Holy Angels won two conference titles and advanced to two state tournaments. Mike was instrumental in the development of future collegiate and professional players that included Larry Fitzgerald, Jr. (Arizona Cardinals) and John Stocco (University of Wisconsin).

Most recently, Mike served as assistant coach/offensive coordinator at East Ridge in the inaugural 2009 season. He is also director of security on campus. Mike is described by colleagues and students as passionate, organized, and a great motivator.

A meet-and-greet event with coach Pendino will be held on Thursday, April 29, at 6:30 p.m. at East Ridge High School. Refreshments will be served, and details about the summer calendar will be discussed.

John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn
Facebook and Twitter; Get Connected4/8/2010
If you haven’t joined the MSHSL on Facebook or Twitter, now’s the time.

On Facebook, simply search for “MSHSL” and become a fan. We post news and other updates on Facebook, which is a great way to keep in touch with what’s happening with the MSHSL and schools around the state.

On Twitter, my home base is MSHSLjohn. I post all manner of things on Twitter… in 140 words or less. It’s an art form.

If you have news from your school that you’d like to share with others around Minnesota and the universe, send me an email (the address is at the top of this post) and I’ll act as town crier.

Have a great day.

John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn
Inside the MSHSL: Sports Medicine4/7/2010
It’s amazing how much activity there is here at MSHSL World Headquarters. I sat in on another interesting gathering this morning as I continue to learn more and more about the administration of high school activities in Minnesota.

If you’re thinking that these programs take place with little behind them other than whistles and scoreboards, think again buckaroo. So much happens behind the scenes in order to provide the best possible experiences for student-athletes, and safety is a big part of it.

Which takes us to this morning’s meeting of the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. The committee includes physicians, athletic trainers and coaches; the medical professionals’ affiliations include the Mayo Clinic, the University of Minnesota and St. Cloud State University. The committee is chaired by Dr. William O. Roberts from the University of Minnesota.

As with Tuesday’s region secretaries meeting, the agenda for the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee was full. The topics ranged from the MSHSL "Anyone Can Save a Life" program to injury surveillance to pre-participation physical exams and beyond.

Each committee member began the meeting with a large packet of information in front of them, and the committee paid full attention to every item on the agenda. It was an impressive process to watch.

John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn
Inside the MSHSL: Region Secretaries4/6/2010
Most people don’t have a good sense of everything that goes into maintaining and improving school athletic and activity programs in Minnesota. I was certainly one of those people before I came to work for the MSHSL a few weeks ago. I’m learning more every day, including a new experience this morning.

The MSHSL region secretaries met today here at MSHSL World Headquarters in Brooklyn Center. This group of 16 men and women meets with MSHSL staff at regular intervals each year; each of the state’s eight regions has a person who represents the small (A) schools and another person who represents the big (AA) schools.

The group met for about three hours this morning, covering an agenda that included more than two dozen items. MSHSL staffers Dave Stead, Rich Matter, Chris Franson, Kevin Merkle, Jody Redman and Craig Perry briefed the group on many items and answered questions from the region secretaries on a wide range of issues.

I spoke to the group briefly about my new position with the League, my duties and some of the goals I hope to accomplish. They asked some good questions, which I hope I answered to their satisfaction.

The meeting agenda ranged from financial reports to rule discussions to tournament dates and beyond. The region secretaries are a key link in the chain that connects all the schools in our state with each other as well as the MSHSL.

The gathering of region secretaries is more informal than meetings of the MSHSL board of directors. The secretaries sit around the six-sided board table, with Class A representatives on one side and AA folks on the other side of the table. They sit next to each other in order, from Section 1 through Section 8.

Throughout the group’s wide-ranging discussion, one thing was clear: student-athletes – and providing them with the best possible experiences -- are always the focus of the region secretaries as well as the MSHSL.

John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn

Whither the Weather? It's Perfect4/5/2010
It’s a quiet day here in Minnesota, with many schools closed on this Monday for an extended holiday weekend. But whether school is in session today or not, there is one theme that spring sports participants around the state will agree on: this is the finest weather imaginable.

Winter retreated early this year as spring came in like a lamb and has remained all warm and fuzzy.

“I can’t remember a spring this great,” said Bucky Mieras, athletic director and baseball coach at Orono High School. “It’s been fun, we’ve been outside.”

Most spring sports teams were able to practice outdoors as soon as the season began, rather than working inside while waiting for the weather to improve. Most teams are already involved in competitions; Thursday is the first available competition date for boys’ and girls’ lacrosse.

This weather is a far cry from 2008, when the spring was cold and wet across Minnesota.

“It’s going fantastic here,” said Minnewaska Area athletic director Bill Mills. “It’s as good as I’ve seen, especially relative to two years ago when it was something like Armageddon every day.”

Orono and Minnewaska both are home to defending state team golf champions; Orono has won the past two Class AA boys’ titles and Minnewaska is a four-time defending girls’ champion (A in 2006 and 2007, AA in 2008 and 2009).

“They were out pretty much right away,” Mills said of the Minnewaska girls’ golf team. “The course here opened March 27. The last time I remember that happening, I was in high school and that was more years ago than I care to remember.”

If there is any weather concern today, it’s a lack of rain. The state has been dry for an extended period, and concerns about forest and grass fires are growing.

“That’s our only issue,” Mieras said. “It’s too dry. That sounds crazy but it’s honestly the truth.”

Rain is forecast to fall beginning tonight, and no one would be overly upset with some precipitation at this point.

“It’s incredible for me to say this and I’ve never said this before and maybe I never will again, but we need rain,” Mills said. “It is bone dry. If we get a little over the next couple days, that’ll be fine with everybody.”

John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn