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Published January 12 2011

Fargo Shanley coach Steve Laqua says he applied for MSUM football coaching vacancy

Fargo Shanley High School’s Steve Laqua has applied for the vacant Minnesota State Moorhead head football coaching job.

“I think there are a lot of things they have going for them,” said Laqua, the coach who led Shanley to North Dakota Class 2A state titles each of the last two seasons. “Fargo-Moorhead is a great place to live. And I think that the athletic director and president are really committed to moving the program in the right direction.”

Laqua, 32, was a quarterback and linebacker at North Dakota State from 1997-2000. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Bison in 2002.

Laqua was hired as the outside linebackers coach at NCAA Division III St. Olaf in 2003. A year later, he headed to Minnesota-Crookston as offensive coordinator.

Laqua spent three years coaching running backs and tight ends at NDSU before he was hired at Shanley in 2007. He is 25-18 with the Deacons.

Shanley combined to go 3-16 in Laqua’s first two seasons. Shanley rebounded to finish 22-2 en route to titles the last two years. The Deacons moved from Class 3A to Class 2A in 2009.

“I think I could bring energy, excitement and local recruiting ties,” Laqua said. “… To be able to reconnect, not only with alumni, but with local coaches in general is really important for the (Dragons) program right now.”

Laqua had recruiting duties at Crookston and NDSU. Laqua said the Shanley administration has been supportive of his decision to apply at MSUM.

Laqua said he has several connections that could help fill out a college coaching staff. Laqua’s brother-in-law, Rob Hunt, is a former All-American center at NDSU who is now the offensive coordinator at Valley City State.

MSUM was 2-9 last season under interim coach Joel Beard.

Dragons athletic director Doug Peters said he would not comment on any potential candidates until finalists are named. Peters said the goal is to have a head coach named by the end of the month.

MSUM began reviewing applicants last week.

“If you start to show progress (at MSUM) I think there are a ton of people out there willing to show support,” Laqua said. “And it will snowball from there.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562.

Hotzler’s blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com.

Forum reporter Eric Peterson contributed to this report.