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Prep boys hockey: St. Thomas Academy the ‘right fit’ for former Duluth East coach Mike Randolph

The Greyhounds’ legend has 658 career victories and led the program to state titles in 1995 and 1998.

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Former Duluth East boys hockey coach Mike Randolph addresses his resignation during a news conference at Heritage Center in Duluth on Friday, June 4, 2021.
(Samantha Erkkila / File / Duluth News Tribune

Almost a year after his split with Duluth East, former head coach Mike Randolph has found where he will continue his coaching career.

St. Thomas Academy announced Tuesday that Randolph was hired as the boys hockey coach after the school parted ways with former coach Trent Eigner in April after three seasons with the team.

Randolph coached the junior varsity team and was an assistant under Eigner during the 2021-22 season for the private Mendota Heights school.

“My wife and I are planning on moving down there,” Randolph said. “We have two daughters and a son down there and we’re soon to have five grandkids. So it’s a natural move for us and then I was hoping that over time I would be able to find a head coaching job not knowing that this job was going to open up. So I applied and I felt it was the right fit for me.”

St. Thomas athletic director Reed Hornung said the school is “excited” about the prospect of Randolph leading the Cadets’ program and touted the “intangibles” he brings to the program.

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“We’re very process-driven — we believe in the process and we thing the results are a byproduct of the process,” Hornung said. “I’m so excited to have Mike involved in that process and really build our program. He’s obviously done at an extremely high level, he knows what it looks like, he knows what it takes and he’s going to help us get there.”

Randolph was a standout at Duluth Cathedral (now Duluth Marshall) in the 1960s and was one of the final two cut from the 1976 Olympic team. He started his coaching career at St. Scholastica under former Cathedral coach Del Genereau.

Following that, Randolph spent two years coaching Cathedral and time as an assistant at Minnesota Duluth and Duluth Denfeld before he was hired to coach the Greyhounds in 1989.

Randolph led East to 18 Class AA state tournaments and two titles (1995, ‘98), six runner-up finishes and 658 career victories.

Randolph resigned June 1, 2021 amid an investigation into complaints against him. The nature of those complaints remains unknown.

Mike Randolph was the coach for Duluth East from 1988-2003 and then from 2004-2021.

Randolph was not retained as coach after the 2002-03 season after complaints from parents and questionable documentation on the sale of Christmas wreaths.

He was rehired in the spring of 2004.

Randolph joins a St. Thomas program that has won five Class A titles since 2006, most recently in 2013. The Cadets have appeared in the Class AA tournament six times in the last eight seasons, but missed the tournament in 2022.

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Randolph said the position at St. Thomas “came out of nowhere” but his familiarity with the school and the program was part of why he applied.

“I was very choosy about my next position I was going to take — I needed it to be the right fit,” Randolph said. “I had a really good feeling about this going through the process. They had a very complete process when it came to picking the final person for the job. I was very impressed, but I’ve been impressed with this school from afar for a long time. For me to have this opportunity, I’m very excited.”

In a statement, Duluth Public Schools communications officer Adelle Wellens said the district wished Randolph “well in his future endeavors,” but the district had no further comment.

Jamey Malcomb has been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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