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Greg DeVillers / Forum Communications Co., Published June 09 2010

Rerick accepts Dickinson’s athletic director position

HILLSBORO, N.D. – Mark Rerick returns to Hillsboro today from Valley City after spending three days at a football team camp.

As it has turned out, this will also be Rerick’s day with the Hillsboro High School football team.

The 32-year-old Rerick has accepted the position of athletic director at Dickinson High School. The Hillsboro School Board released Rerick from his contract Tuesday. That ends an eight-season career as the Burros’ head coach that started with a 2-7 record and culminated with a North Dakota 9-man state championship in 2008.

“Leaving Hillsboro – the school, the community, the football program – will be tough as heck,” Rerick said. “I’ve got a close bond with the kids I’ve coached in football and baseball. The parents have been very supportive.

“But I’ve been looking to get into administration. The timing of this is unfortunate for Hillsboro. But to be an AD for a large school, I think it will be a good fit for me.”

The 2008 state championship was the first for Hillsboro under the current North Dakota playoff format. Success wasn’t instant for Rerick’s Burros teams, however.

His first team was 2-7 in the 2002 season. That was followed by records of 0-9, 1-8 and 3-7. But the latter was a key stepping stone in the program, as Hillsboro was a playoff qualifier.

“When I started, football was just something the kids did until they got to their winter sports,” Rerick said. “I didn’t want to take away from the success Hillsboro had in wrestling and basketball; I just wanted to get the kids to understand that they could have that same success in football.

“After that first season, I told a friend that we’d be in the playoffs in 2005 and I figured we could be there for the next 10 years. We saw the chance for long-term success.”

The program turned around after 2005. The Burros were 8-3 in 2006, 10-1 in 2007, 12-1 in 2008 and 10-3 in 2009. Hillsboro won region titles and was eliminated in the state quarterfinals in 2006 and 2007, won the state championship in 2008 and was eliminated in the state semifinals last fall.

The biggest game was a 46-8 win over Williams County in the 2008 state championship, a game in which Andrew Grothmann rushed for 159 yards and four touchdowns and Aaron Meyer rushed for 88 yards and passed for 141.

For Rerick, however, the most memorable game was a regular-season win against Richland in 2006.

“For me, the pinnacle was probably the night in 2006 when we beat Richland to clinch the region title,” Rerick said. “The way the kids and the crowd reacted, the excitement, and to see that we were back on top in the region is what stands out. That will be my favorite memory of Hillsboro football.”

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Greg DeVillers is a sports writer for the Grand Forks Herald.