Randolph blames parental pressure, lack of administrative support for resignation

Duluth East boys hockey coach Mike Randolph resigned from his position Tuesday and would not take any questions from media members who were present at the news conference Friday.

Former Duluth East boys hockey coach Mike Randolph addresses his recent resignation during a news conference at Heritage Center in Duluth on Friday, June 4, 2021. (Samantha Erkkila/
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Former Duluth East boys hockey coach Mike Randolph held a news conference Friday at Duluth Heritage Center blaming pressure from some parents and a lack of administrative support for his exit.

Randolph resigned from his position Tuesday and would not take any questions from media members who were present at the news conference Friday.

Randolph read from a printed statement and started by thanking his former and current players, his staff and the parents who have supported him through the years.

“There have been so many great parents who shared their kids with us,” Randolph said. “I’ve met so many over the years and enjoyed coaching their kids. It’s true that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”


Former Duluth East boys hockey coach Mike Randolph pats his son Jake Randolph's back as they walk out of Heritage Center in Duluth following a news conference Friday, June 4, 2021. Jake played for his father at East and was a captain during his senior season in 2011-12. (Samantha Erkkila/

Randolph went on to say that there are, “sadly,” parents who try to ruin it or others and have run other coaches, from across the state, out of their jobs, referencing recent coaching changes Brainerd and Lakeville South. Brainerd head boys hockey coach Dave Aus and Lakeville South head boys hockey coach Janne Kivihalme both resigned in April. Lakeville South lost in the Class AA state championship game in 2021 and went to the state tournament three years in a row.

Randolph told the media and a small group of community members Friday that, while he has loved his 36 years of coaching high school hockey, it has grown tiresome.

“Until recently, it’s been rewarding and fun,” he said. “But when the negatives start to outweigh the positives, it gets to be exhausting and no longer worth the time I put into it.

“I’ve given my all each and every year, but without administrative support, it’s a losing battle that is tiring and takes the joy out of it.”


Former Duluth East hockey players, parents, and supporters listen to former coach Mike Randolph give his formal resignation from the boys hockey program Friday, June 3, 2021, at Heritage Center in Duluth. (Samantha Erkkila/

Randolph, just 49 wins behind state record-holder Lorne Grosso of Rochester Mayo, did not mention if he would pursue other coaching opportunities.

The Duluth School Board was scheduled to hold a special meeting Thursday for the preliminary consideration of allegations against an individual subject to its authority. Duluth Superintendent John Magas said he could not confirm or deny the meeting was in regards to Randolph, but the meeting was canceled Thursday morning.

The district confirmed Randolph had been under investigation most of this spring after complaints were filed against him. The nature of those complaints is unknown.

Magas said the district supports Randolph's decision to resign and thanks him for his many years as the Duluth East coach.

"We understand any transition is a stressful time. We will support our students, families and staff as we search for a new hockey coach for this great program while ensuring student health and well-being are a priority for the district," Magas said. "We are committed to the Duluth East hockey program and its players. We look forward to an exciting future for the Duluth East boys hockey team, and will begin the search process for a new coach this summer."


Randolph played for Duluth Cathedral (now Marshall) in the late 1960s.

He was one of the final two cut from the 1976 U.S. Olympic team before going on to begin his coaching career at St. Scholastica under his former Cathedral coach, Del Genereau.

He followed that with a two-year stint as head coach at Cathedral, an assistant’s role at Minnesota Duluth and as an assistant at Duluth Denfeld in the late 1980s.

Then he was hired at Duluth East. He coached the Greyhounds to 18 Class AA state tournaments, two championships (1995, ’98) and six runner-up finishes.

But Randolph’s tenure was never without controversy. He was not retained as coach after the 2002-03 season after various complaints from parents and questionable documentation on the sale of Christmas wreaths.

Randolph was rehired in the spring of 2004.

He surpassed 600 career wins early in the 2017-18 season, though victories weren’t plentiful his last two seasons as East finished with sub-.500 records for the first time in 67 years.

LeVearne Hagen embraces former Duluth East boys hockey coach Mike Randolph Friday, June 3, 2021, outside Heritage Center in Duluth. Hagen's son Jayson Hagen played hockey for Randolph from 2017-19. "My son learned everything from him in life and in hockey," Hagen said. "I'm very sad. At the end of the day he's a great man and a great hockey coach." (Samantha Erkkila/

Adelle Whitefoot is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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