High school sports: D-G-F coaches still baffled
DILWORTH - There was one question Steve Molstre and Jason Sunde were still asking Friday.
Why were they terminated by the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton school board as the high school's basketball coaches?
"No, no one has told me why," said Molstre, one day after being ousted as D-G-F's girls basketball coach. "I asked for specifics and (D-G-F superintendent Randy Bruer) was kind of vague and didn't expand on his answers."
Like Molstre, Sunde did not have his annual boys basketball contract renewed on Thursday following a school board meeting.
Molstre was told by Bruer that a complaint alleged he was "playing mind games" along with "picking his team for next year."
Bruer didn't give specifics but he did say multiple complaints against Molstre and Sunde were built up prior to the board meeting.
"There wasn't always a letter," Bruer said about the complaints. "But sometimes you get them verbally."
Bruer acknowledged that he did tell Molstre about the allegations without going into specifics. As for Sunde, Bruer said those things were discussed and were brought to his attention.
"Each of them has their own issues to work with," Bruer said. "It was a sad night. There was a no-win situation."
Sunde said Friday he felt he didn't do anything that was grounds for non-renewal.
"They did not narrow it down to one specific thing," Sunde said. "The board, they have an idea of what they want and you have to respect that.
"I felt like I did things the way they should be done. If they want to see something different, they can see something different."
Molstre said he was told by Bruer nearly 12 hours before the meeting that he was not going to be retained. Bruer said no board members contacted him prior to the meeting and informed him of their decision.
He said that he had a "feeling" that Molstre wouldn't be retained.
"I know the school board members I talked to said they got phone calls both good and bad," Bruer said. "You know I felt that it was going to be a major vote and I wanted to be up front with Steve."
Board members Jerry Anderson, David Brown, Sandy Hawk, Keith Kennedy, Karleen Mjolsness and Tracy Tollefson all voted for the contracts to not be renewed.
Rich Hanson was the only board member that voted to have the contracts renewed.
Phone calls and messages were left to every board member. Board member Jerry Anderson, who answered his phone, declined comment.
Tollefson, the board president, told The Forum on Wednesday that the board's goal was to make the best decision for the district.
"As a board member you get a lot of people who have comments and they say that are concerned about sports," she said. "My No. 1 job as a board member is to listen to the students, staff and the district patrons that have put us in these elected positions."
Among the complaints made about Molstre, Craig Casler admitted he spoke with school board members about an issue he had with the coach.
Casler and Molstre confirmed that Casler sent an email to Molstre, but that's where the stories differ. Casler alleged Molstre failed to communicate and that Molstre's wife emailed his comments to other parties.
"I don't take any pleasure in this," Casler said. "I am not happy but I wish it could have been handled better."
Molstre claimed he and his wife never saw the email and the only people that viewed the email were his assistant coaches and D-G-F activities director Craig Anderson.
Molstre said he forwarded the email because he thought it could turn into an issue. He said the email was in regards to Casler's daughter, who played on the basketball team.
"Right away, I forwarded it to my assistant coaches and my AD because I figured they needed to know," Molstre said. "I said to them in the email that this sounds like it could be a problem and I left it at that."
Sunde said he followed procedure in regards to the e-mails he received regarding playing time, other players or strategy. He said the district's policy is that parents should talk to coaches in person and not by email.
"We are instructed as coaches to not respond to those emails," Sunde said. "That's just the way it is. I don't think any coach will tell you they made mistakes in the overall scheme of things and I don't think I did anything that was grounds for non-renewal."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548.
Clark's Force blog can be found at slightlychilled.areavoices.com