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Football: Red Wing AD announces hire of new coach

Activities Director John Miller announced via Twitter just after 8 a.m. that Nate Freier will be the new football coach at Red Wing High School. The position had been open since the end of the 2016 season.

“We were very fortunate in that we had more than 20 applications for the job,” Miller said. “Of those, I reached out to six for interviews, and four accepted and came in for interviews. We liked all of them. They all had positive things to say, and all wanted to build this program. But Nate really stood out.”

Freier, a Red Wing graduate, was a co-captain on the 1983 state tournament team as a senior and completed a 20-year career in the Army in 2008. Freier then served as a visiting research professor at the U.S. Army War College's Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute under the provisions of the Inter-Governmental Personnel Act until July of 2012, and is currently a senior associate in the International Security Program at Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS).

Miller said that age and coaching background were not as key to the hire as much as a vision for the future.

“Head coaching experience, age, those didn't weigh one way or the other,” Miller said. “We sought someone to help the program now and into the future. That was a big thing for everyone we interviewed. Nate really stood out with that. He has two middle-school kids, so they'll be part of that. I don't want to hire coaches every two years. I don't want this to be a stepping stone, and that's not the cased with Nate.”

Freier will take over a program that was winless in 2016, and, like many other schools, has seen a drastic decline in participation numbers. Red Wing is different than when Freier was on the field, but his last coaching job at Boiling Springs, Penn. has Miller confident that those numbers will turn around.

“That was a big piece of it,” Miller said. “The demographics and enrollment are similar to where he's coming from. Red Wing is different than it was in the 80s. And having one of their own come back, that's big for the community. Our numbers are down, have been going down for the last few years. Nate and I are going to get together to see what can be done, we need to see what the plan looks like. We need regain trust in the program and get those numbers back up.”

Freier is the fifth head coach in four years for Red Wing. Rickey Foggie coached two seasons after Matt Schultz stepped down, and Clair Austin and Kyle Blahnik co-coached the final four games of last season after John Ott resigned on Oct. 5, two days after allegations of political harassment and unfair treatment were announced during a school board meeting two days prior.

Freier's hiring leaves one open coaching position at the school. The boys' tennis team is still without leadership.

This post will be updated with comments from Freier.

Kyle Stevens
Kyle Stevens is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, Kyle worked at the Owatonna People’s Press, as well as KWLM and KLFN in Willmar. You can contact Kyle by phone at (651) 301-7879, via e-mail at kstevens@republican-eagle.com, and follow him on Twitter @RE_KStevens.
(651) 301-7879
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