The Gustavian Weekly

The new face of Gustavus Football | The Gustavian Weekly

By Andy Keenan Sports Editor | December 12, 2008 | Sports & Fitness

Minneapolis Washburn coach Peter Haugen has been named the 17th head coach in the history of Gustavus football

<em>Photo courtesy of Sports Information</em>

Photo courtesy of Sports Information

The Gustavus Adolphus College Athletic Department officially announced Peter Haugen as the new Head Football Coach for the Gusties, replacing the retired Jay Schoenebeck. Haugen has served as the head coach at Minneapolis Washburn High School  for the past 15 seasons, transforming a struggling program into one of the most heralded in the metro. He comes to the hill with an 111-44 record overall, including an astounding 76-8 mark in the Minneapolis City Conference, as well as 11 city championships. His influence in Minneapolis stretched further than the football field, as he saw his players succeed in the classroom and in the community.

“It’s fair to say that Coach Haugen is one of the most well-known and respected coaches in the metro, as well as across the Minnesota State High School League,” said Athletic Director Al Molde in his formal presentation of the new coach.

“We look forward to his implementation of success and we are confident that the plan he brings will see results. …As we stand here in the [Gustavus] Hall of Champions, I look forward to shaking this man’s hand in time, as he adds to our distinguished history of excellence.”

A 1991 graduate of Bethel University, Haugen was a three-year starter at tight end for the Royals, as well as the starting goalkeeper on the ice and the crouching backstop for the baseball team.

He recognizes the importance of collegiate athletics and comes into this position with a heralded stance of returning the program to where its traditions started.

“I expressed interest in this job 9-10 weeks ago when it was posted because I was aware of the longstanding tradition this school has, as well as the reputation of the league. I wanted to get back into college football, to work with great student athletes on such a scale. It’s a very humbling opportunity,” said Haugen. “The athletic tradition here is unbelievable, one that’s recognized everywhere. I plan on working towards honoring that tradition.”

Haugen inherits a team that went 6-4 last season, finishing in a tie for fifth place in the MIAC. The Gusties will graduate 11 starters from this year’s team in the spring, six of whom were named to the All-Conference team. Led by first team All-MIAC and d3football.com All-West Regional first team Junior safety Joe Welch, Gustavus returns a host of strong underclassmen talent, including Junior standout linebacker Tony Palma, a young and talented receiving core, and three-fifth’s of the starting offensive line.

The challenge placed in front of Haugen is to take a team that has gone 45-47 since 2000, finishing no higher than third place, and turning it into a MIAC heavyweight able to go toe-to-toe with the conference elite—something that has evaded the Gusties for quite some time.

“He is a winner and a real person. He brings a toughness but is fair with the right instincts for the game,” said Junior safety Hamada Omar, the only current Gustie to have played for coach Haugen. “He’s going to bring diversity and he’s going to do his job.”

The other candidate interviewed for this position, former offensive coordinator Tom Brown, will reportedly step down from his position to take on more of an administrative role. Reportedly, the fate of the remainder of the coaching staff will be decided in time, but most indications point toward their return.

“We had a wonderful opportunity that we had such outstanding candidates to choose from,” said Gustavus President Jack Ohle. “When we know one candidate so well, when he has been such an integral part of this team for as long as he has, it made for a very tough decision.”
Haugen will officially take over the position in the second week of January, after seeing his work at Washburn through.

“We are going to have a focus on where we are heading with a great respect for the past. We will function under a new vision and focus on recruiting,” said Haugen. “There is an unbelievable environment and heritage here. The facilities are incredible, and there seems to be an exciting plan for expansion…I’m excited to be a Gustie.”