Flyers coach to concentrate on activities director position
By Tyler Ohmann
Following a 6-4 season, including a 5-3 Granite Ridge Conference record, and the first home playoff victory in nearly three decades, Little Falls head football coach Jay DeCann stepped down from that position this past week.
DeCann, who is also the Little Falls activities director (AD), cited those two positions conflicting, and creating some long hours. He said a typical fall week was 75-80 hours of work.
“I felt at times that I wasn’t able to give 100 percent to football, and I felt at times I wasn’t able to give 100 percent to the activities director job in the fall,” DeCann said. “I have a philosophy that if you’re going to be average at different things, and be average at all of those things, that is not what I want to do.”
But still, DeCann, who has coached in various capacities for the past 25 years said it was tough.
“It was a big decision, a hard decision,” DeCann said. “If I was teaching, and didn’t have the activities director job, I wouldn’t have even considered giving up coaching, I love football.”
DeCann made college coaching stops as an assistant at Mayville State and Minot State in North Dakota and Northern State in South Dakota. He then became a coach at Melrose High School in Central Minnesota for 11 years, including six as the head coach.
He has been the Flyers’ coach and AD for the past three years, and led the Flyers to a 13-15 overall and 12-10 conference record during that time. The stretch was the best three-year span for the program in 20 years.
DeCann does not take the credit for that, though he helped expand the numbers on the team, from a mere 56 to more than 100 kids.
“Coaching football is not a one man show, and without a great coaching staff nothing is going to happen,” DeCann said. “We have a great coaching staff, and I’m very confident that they’ll stay on board.”
DeCann said that the assistants will stay in place, and though Human Resources Director Aaron Sinclair will head up the replacement search, DeCann will have a hand in selecting his successor. He believes it would be a great job for someone.
“There are a lot things that are going on right now that make this a job for someone to look into,” DeCann said.
He said who will become the coach is unclear, as the school has yet to receive any openings from resignation or retirement. The search will likely begin in the spring according to DeCann.
Looking ahead, DeCann discussed his resignation with other ADs that were formerly coaches, including Milaca AD Jerry Westphal and Foley AD Michael Johnson.
“They basically said that August is going to drive you nuts, you’ll basically go bananas,” DeCann said. “But they said that once school starts, and all the other activities are going, you’ll be so busy that you won’t have time to miss it.”
They also told him he might actually have some time to relax, and DeCann already has a plan that includes a visit to his kids in Bismarck, N.D. (his daughter already attends the University of Mary in Bismarck, and his son is planning to begin next fall).
“I’ve already got a plan as to where I’m going to store my duck and goose decoys out in Bismarck,” DeCann said.