New coaches to lead local football teams
Before the start of a new sports season, the Herald-Dispatch often publishes previews of the local high school teams. This fall that preview for football has an additional focus. Both high school football teams will have new head coaches as long-time football coaches, Cory Haala at Sleepy Eye High School and Brent Kucera at St. Mary's High School, decided to step away from those roles after last season.
Leading the Indians this year is Joe Hoffmann, a long-time assistant coach on Haala's staff. Across town, Kevin Currans will lead the Knights. Currans has coached at the junior high level for many years. Both new coaches know the kids on their teams quite well.
Currans and Hoffmann answered a few questions about their motivation and the upcoming season.
What is your football background?
Currans: I'm a Catholic farm boy from NW Iowa. The majority of my education growing up was at a public school in the small town of Graettinger. We were known as a football school and my teams enjoyed plenty of success in my years there. I've enjoyed every minute of my 14 years coaching at the Junior High level. In addition to that I also have officiated a few varsity games the past couple years which I also enjoyed.
Hoffmann: I played football at Sleepy Eye Public School, graduating in 1999. My senior year was the first year SEPS made a state football appearance. I played college football at the University of Minnesota - Morris [where his younger brother Marty Hoffmann is Head Football Coach now] from 1999-2003. I was a linebacker there which is why I am defensive minded. I started coaching football in 2004 as a volunteer helping with the JV at Sleepy Eye Public. Then I was hired as Junior High coach in 2005 and coached there a few years—then I was moved back to JV. I started as Varsity Defensive Coordinator in 2009 and have had that position since.
Why did you accept this position?
Currans: It's a combination of these kids that I coached when they were in Junior High and the mission of the school—I absolutely love both.
Hoffmann: I love the game of football and I want to pass that on to the players. Football teaches teamwork, discipline and the value of hard work.
Who else is on your coaching staff?
Currans: Adam Armbruster, Mark Simon, Gary Kosak, Cole McKeown, and Mark Schwartz.
Hoffmann: Cory Haala is Offensive Coordinator and Troy Vangsness is the JV coach.
What are some of your expectations for this season?
Currans: We have to replace multiple starters on both sides. We're going to need sophomores and juniors to step up to fill those roles. We also return multiple guys at the skilled positions who were productive last year so I feel we can field a competitive team if we embrace hard work.
These kids didn't have a normal football season last fall; hopefully this fall feels normal to all our area teams.
Hoffmann: We expect to be competitive in the SW football district. We have a good-sized senior class with some athletic kids and our junior class is small, but will contribute a lot on varsity. We did lose a solid senior class last year with some 2-way players, like Kegan Heiderscheidt, Kadon Strong, and David Gonzalez, that we hope we can replace with our seniors and juniors. We are excited to play a few new teams in the SW football district like Martin County West and St. James.
Currans is a pharmacist at Randy's Family Drug. He and his wife Marnee have six kids—Carter (20), Emma (18), Caroline (15), Elizabeth (12), Clara (9) and Charles (6).
Hoffmann works at Minnesota Valley Testing Laboratories in New Ulm as a Special Chemistry Supervisor. He and his wife Karri have three kids—Eli (11), Audra (9), and AlleeJane (6).