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Published May 25 2011

Spuds tab new head wrestling coach

MOORHEAD – Moorhead High School athletic director Don Hulbert said he likes to get a feel for the people he’s about to hire.

Hiring George “Skip” Toops to be the school’s next wrestling coach was something he felt good about.

“I also relied on my colleagues and what they had to say,” Hulbert said. “I wasn’t the only guy making the decision.”

Whatever Toops said or did was impressive as it was announced Tuesday he will be Moorhead’s next wrestling coach.

Toops takes over from Joe Gaughan, who retired from the position after the season. Gaughan coached the Spuds for two seasons.

It will be Toops’ first head coaching job, Hulbert said.

“Our No. 1 goal is to develop champions on and off the mat,” Toops said in an email to The Forum. “We want to teach character, integrity, hard work, dedication, perseverance and sacrifice.”

Hulbert said Toops was one of the “really good” candidates considered for the position.

Toops was an assistant coach at Crookston, which enjoyed one of the best seasons in school history. Crookston sent six wrestlers to the Minnesota state wrestling tournament, the most in school history.

In 2010, Crookston sent five wrestlers to state.

“With the athletes coming back we will set a goal to make it to the state tournament as a team,” Toops said. “I believe that is a goal we can realize.”

It also helps that Toops is a pretty familiar figure in the area’s wrestling scene. He was a four-year letterwinner and team captain at Minnesota State-Moorhead, helping the Dragons to three conference championships.

Toops, who is a math teacher at Crookston, will be a physical education teacher at Moorhead.

Inforum searchword: Spuds

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548.

Clark’s Force blog can be found

at slightlychilled.areavoices.com