Coaches: Big better than smallPublished 11:20am Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Despite the fact that Fergus Falls High School is smallest school in it, the majority of coaches Monday said they would prefer to stay in the Central Lakes Conference.
Fergus Falls coaches met with school board members Monday night in an open forum to discuss the athletic program’s affiliation with the Central Lakes Conference.
Eleven of the coaches at the meeting expressed their support of staying in the CLC, while five voiced their opinions against continuing membership. Two were neutral on the subject.
For those coaches who supported staying in the conference, the reason was clear: The Central Lakes Conference offers competition that keeps Fergus Falls athletics relevent at the state level.
“The Central Lakes Conference represents the best outstate competition we can have,” said swimming and diving coach Tom Uvaas.
With other coaches expressing the desire to face smaller schools like Pelican Rapids and Perham, head girls basketball coach Brad Strand said the school would have trouble convincing those schools to play.
Strand, who previously coached in Pelican Rapids, a member of the Heart of the Lakes Conference, said those schools will be in a similar situation as Fergus Falls is in now if the move is made.
“Having been my home conference for the last 16 years, I feel that I have a strong pulse on the HOL, with coaches in more than just basketball,” said Strand. “I really do not think you’re going to see HOL schools wanting to schedule Fergus Falls.”
For a majority of coaches in favor of staying with the CLC, travel and tradition was also a factor in staying with the conference.
But for those in favor of leaving the conference, the fact that Fergus Falls has the second-smallest enrollment in the CLC has created an unfair advantage that their teams might not be able to make up in the coming years.
Steve Olson, who has been an assistant in the football program for several years, said the football staff is looking to leave the conference because the size differences have created an “incredibly unfair” situation and other members are not willing to help find a solution.
The school board plans to vote on the issue at its next meeting on April 22.