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Ryan S. Clark, Published September 12 2010

Force hire Herter to be head coach

There were countless phone calls, e-mails and resumes sent to Fargo Force owner Ace Brandt.

When it came time to find a new head coach, Brandt just looked in his back yard and found Jason Herter.

Herter, a former Force assistant, was hired Saturday as the team’s new head coach, capping a week that saw Steve Johnson leave the Force to become an assistant at St. Cloud State.

“I got a hold of Ace and told him I was interested,” Herter said. “There was a process. They had 500 people interested. Ace called me (Friday) and asked me to come in and talk.”

The deal, Herter said, was finalized Saturday.

Herter, 39, was an assistant when under Dean Blais during the team’s first season in Fargo.

When Blais left to coach at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, Herter took a job as at a local financial firm.

“I am still trying to wrap my head around it all,” Herter said. “I still have to talk to my current employer. My other boss does not know what is going on so I have to discuss it with him.”

Herter’s soon-to-be old bosses might already know.

He agreed to coach the team shortly before 10 a.m.

A few hours later, players such as Colten St. Clair had already heard the news.

“I found out through a text message,” St. Clair said. “I was talking to Jimmy Murray and we found out through our housing coordinator.”

St. Clair, who is entering his third year with the Force, worked with Herter.

He said Herter is a coach that knows what he’s talking about and is someone that’s organized off the ice.

St. Clair added that Herter’s pedigree, which includes being a first-round NHL draft pick in 1989, could serve as a teaching tool.

“He was obviously a great player when he was growing up,” said St. Clair, who is committed to play at North Dakota, Herter’s alma mater. “You’ve got a lot of guys in the same position and Coach Herter knows what it takes.”

Herter said he will be with the team when it opens training camp Monday at the West Fargo Veterans Memorial Arena.

That’s also the day the Force will hold a news conference introducing him as the head coach.

He will be charged with the task of taking a team with nine returning players to the Clark Cup Finals for a third year a row.

“I don’t find it intimidating. There are big shoes to fill,” Herter said. “The most intimidating part is when you put your career in the hands of 16-year-old kids. You have to win everywhere you go. That is the pressure part of the game.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548