The Wadena-Deer Creek High School Athletic Department announced the retirement of head football coach Howie Kangas.

Kangas has served as the Head Coach of the Wolverines since the 2012 season and accumulated a 16-48 record at Wadena-Deer Creek. He led the Wolverines to their first playoff win since 1998 when WDC downed Staples-Motley 42-20 to start the 2017 playoffs. Prior to WDC, Kangas led the Perham Yellowjackets to a 119-65 record over 18 seasons and five state tournament appearances.

Kangas took over a Wolverine team in 2012 that had dressed 17 student-athletes to end the 2011 season and had won only four of its previous 53 games. Under Kangas, the Wolverine football program has doubled participation and won three games in each of the last three years.

More than wins and losses, Kangas has brought about an atmosphere of hard work and respect. He has demonstrated the virtues of kindness, respect, and care for his athletes and fostered a positive culture within the program. His leadership has brought about stability within the program. He has been consistent as a leader; athletes and parents knew where he stood and they could count on it.

Former Perham High School Activities Director Fred Sailer commented, “He has legions of young men who go through life a better person due to their association with him.”

“I knew the type of football coach we were getting when we hired Howie,” said Wadena-Deer Creek Activities Director Norm Gallant. “The thing I didn’t realize is what a great man and leader of young men we hired. The care, concern and respect he has shown to his players are what set him apart from others. In the era of InSideOut Coaching from the Minnesota State High School League, Howie has truly led our program in an educationally, ethically sound way. I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with Howie.”

The Wadena-Deer Creek Athletic department appreciates Kangas for his service and contributions to not only their football program but to their school.

Wadena-Deer Creek will start the search for a new head football coach immediately.