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Tom Mix, Published April 14 2012

Deacons boys basketball coach Knodel resigns

FARGO – After six years on the Fargo Shanley bench, Deacons boys basketball coach Leon Knodel is stepping down.

Shanley athletic director Randy Nelson confirmed on Saturday that Knodel, who guided the Deacons to a runner-up finish in North Dakota Class A last season, resigned from the position.

Knodel, who also serves as the assistant principal at Sullivan Middle School, is pursuing his master’s degree in education administration and said coaching, along with his other duties, got to be a lot for his schedule.

“It’s a time thing,” Knodel said. “I still teach and I’m taking classes to get my degree. Being an administrator and trying to see your family and coaching, there just wasn’t enough time to do everything.”

Knodel informed Nelson midseason that he’d be stepping down as coach of the Deacons.

The move also means more time with his family. Knodel and his wife, Kellie, have an 18-month-old daughter, Lillie.

Knodel leaves behind a talented team that only graduates three seniors and will be returning their top two scorers, A.J. Jacobson and Patrick Strom.

Shanley had a 19-6 record last season and won the East Region tournament championship. The Deacons lost 78-74 to Grand Forks Red River in the state title game.

“I had a great time coaching at Shanley,” Knodel said. “All the kids that I coached there were great to work with.”

Don’t expect Knodel to vanish from the Shanley basketball scene. He said he plans to attend Deacons games next year and is excited to cheer from the stands.

“He has put together some really good teams,” Nelson said. “Trying to find someone to replace him is going to be tough. The thing that I thought really stuck out about Leon was that he was a great role model for our boys.”

Nelson said the school is currently looking at possible internal candidates to replace Knodel and that the position has yet to be posted externally. He said he hopes to find a replacement before the end of the school year.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562