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Football: Former Gopher Foggie named Wingers' head football coach

Red Wing football will be leaning on a University of Minnesota great to lead the team back into the Big Nine Conference this fall.

On Thursday, Red Wing Activities Director Matt Schultz announced that former Gophers quarterback and Park Center head coach Rickey Foggie will be the Wingers’ new head football coach in 2014.

After trying to revitalize the football program at Park Center over the last three years, Foggie will try to resurrect a Red Wing program that went 1-17 over the last two years.

“I see Red Wing as a school and a program that I can build from the youth organization up and make the high-school program better,” said Foggie, who also will run the school’s winter and spring strength and conditioning program.

Foggie replaces Schultz as the head football coach. Over six seasons, Schultz led the Wingers to a 10-46 record.

With the Pirates, Foggie faced an uphill climb in the Northwest Suburban Conference. Coaching the only Class 4A school in a conference full of 5A and 6A schools, Park Center went 3-24 in Foggie’s three seasons. In 2014, the Pirates went 2-7 with a 16-7 win over Andover, which went on to play in the Class 6A state tournament.

Facing similar size challenges at Park Center that Red Wing experienced in the Missota Conference, and will experience in the Big Nine, Foggie said it boils down to hard work to compete with the bigger schools. That’s something he plans to implement both on and off the field.

“You have to come in and put the work in,” Foggie said. “I came down and watched a game last year, and Red Wing has got some big kids, but they have to get in the weight room and get in better conditioning.

“With a smaller school versus a bigger school, it comes down to personal pride and the will to win. I want to come down, meet the kids, get the weight room set and get going. … I got the mentality that I believe in myself and I know what it takes to win.”

As far as candidates go, Schultz said few can match Foggie’s credentials: a former quarterback for the University of Minnesota (1984-87) as well as playing stints in the Canadian Football League (1988-95) and Arena Football League (1996-2004). After his playing career, Foggie coached for four years in the AF2, the AFL’s developmental league. Foggie began his high-school coaching career as the offensive coordinator at Burnsville before going to Park Center.

“Obviously, he has a phenomenal football resume. He’s done amazing things as a football player and he was honored at the pro level for his coaching abilities,” Schultz said. “And most importantly for me, (Park Center’s) AD said he was a great mentor to the young men, and that’s all I needed to hear.”

During his time at Park Center, Foggie also was the team’s quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator.

“I run the spread with four wide receivers. The thing at Park Center was we had good running backs, so we played to our strength and ran the ball maybe 65 to 70 percent of the time,” Foggie said. “But first, I got to go down and assess the talent I got.”

Foggie is used to rebuilding projects both as a player and a coach. With a new conference in 2014 and with district football looming in 2015, Foggie hopes to bring the Wingers back to respectability amid the changes.

“It’s a trying time for Minnesota football with the changes coming up. With us going into the Big Nine next year, I want to win some games and build some confidence, and that will trickle down,” Foggie said. “Not only do you have to change the atmosphere – and that’s the same thing we had to do at Park Center – you have to change everything in the community. We kind of changed things at Park Center because we got more competitive and the players took more self-pride in themselves.

Foggie added, “I want to bring a winning attitude to this program. I want the kids to understand that we’re going to have fun, but we’re going to work hard. If you have a successful football program, it builds up the whole community.”