Archived Story

FF Coach Risbrudt steps down [UPDATED]

Published 9:25am Monday, November 12, 2012 Updated 11:27am Monday, November 12, 2012

Thirty-five years, 202 wins, 11 state tournament appearances, six championship appearances, a state title and numerous section and conference championships. This is a resume of a very decorated and accomplished coach. But now he is hanging up his whistle.

Fergus Falls Otter football Coach Richard Risbrudt has decided to call it a career as, pending school board approval Wednesday, he is stepping down from his helm as Otters football coach for the past eight seasons.

“After 35 years of enjoying every minute of coaching 350 football games, I knew it was time,” Risbrudt said. “Coaching requires a lot of energy and time commitment. I am now looking forward to being a grandpa for the first time in December, watching my sons, play (Nick) and coach (Jeff) football, spending more time with my family and fishing with friends.”

Hired in 1976 by Hillcrest Lutheran Academy Principal Bill Colbeck to teach and coach at the school, Risbrudt enjoyed early success as the Comets played in the state championship game in both 1976 and 1977.

Risbrudt took a leave from coaching in 1985 and 1986, but came back to coach Hillcrest, leading them to the 9-man state championship in 2001. In 2005, Risbrudt an icon in the town and at the school, left for the same position, cross town when the head coaching position for the Otters opened up.

After some growing pains, the Otters went undefeated in the 2008 season, winning the Central Lakes Conference championship, Section 8AAAA title and a state tournament appearance.

This past season, the Otters captured a portion of the CLC title and finished the season with a 6-4 record.

Risbrudt sensed at the beginning of the Otters’ June football camp that this would be his last season coaching. Even though he will not be roaming the sidelines next season, Risbrudt will continue to teach science at Kennedy Secondary School.

“He teaches so much more than football,” said Fergus Falls Athletic Director Gary Schuler. “He teaches life skills. He is a great football mind, but that is secondary to what he has taught the kids. He will be dearly missed.”

Asked what he will miss most about coaching, Risbrudt mentioned his players, his assistant coaches, sports persons, parents and fans. “It has been a total pleasure. I have been blessed to coach hundreds of young athletes over the years. I have gained valuable friendships too numerous to mention.”

“First of all, my wonderful wife, Denise for the last 34 years for her support, patience and being my number one fan; my children, Lindsay, Jeffrey and Nick; Bill Colbeck at Hillcrest, who supported me and gave me wise counsel for so many years, Paul Levang and Dean Erkenbrack, long-time assistant coaches at Hillcrest, Mark Levang, my statistician for all 35 years, Gary Schuler, Dean Monke, and Jerry Ness for all their support, Dan Prischmann for his work with the football program at all levels, Craig Olson for all his interviews and game write-ups, my current assistant coaches here at Fergus Falls and all the players that gave me the opportunity to coach and influence their lives and many other parents, fans, custodians and community people.”

In parting, Risbrudt gave some advice to his predecessor. “Fergus Falls is a great place to coach, work, attend school and raise a family. The football program is strong and has great administrative support,” Risbrudt added.

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