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Published February 02 2011

Longtime Cavalier coach Oksendahl interested in Shanley coaching vacancy if "situation was right"

North Dakota high school football legend Rod Oksendahl is considering a return to the head coaching ranks at Fargo Shanley.

Oksendahl, who has spent the last four seasons as a Deacons assistant following 31 years and four state titles at Cavalier and Wyndmere, said Tuesday that he will meet with Shanley athletic director Randy Nelson today to see if he would be the right fit for the job.

“I would love to do it if the situation was right,” Oksendahl said. “There is no better place to do it than Shanley right now. They have great kids, great facilities and great tradition. That’s about everything a coach could want.”

Oksendahl, 59, retired in 2006 as the head coach at Cavalier with a career record of 261-73.

He coached at Wyndmere for three seasons before moving on to Cavalier.

Oksendahl led Wyndmere-Lidgerwood to the 9-man title in 1987. His Tornadoes captured Class 2A crowns from 2002-04.

Cavalier had a 47-game winning streak under Oksendahl snapped in the Class 1A title game in 2005.

“There might be some candidates on staff,” Nelson said. “I would love to be able to not skip a beat. I think there are some people on our staff that if they desired to apply, we could come close to picking up where we left off.

“(Oksendahl) is one of those people we would consider.”

Oksendahl also won three state titles as Cavalier’s baseball coach, and had more than 200 victories in that sport.

He is a member of the North Dakota Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Oksendahl said the primary thing he would need to take over the Shanley program is a talented coaching staff. Many of Shanley’s assistants could be headed with former Shanley coach Steve Laqua to NCAA Division II Minnesota State University Moorhead, Oksendahl said.

Laqua, who led the Deacons to Class 2A state titles in each of the last two seasons, was recently hired as the Dragons head coach.

“I think Steve (Laqua) has set a good foundation here,” Oksendahl said. “I would like to see someone come in and continue that.”

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

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