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Chris Murphy, Published April 09 2013

Moorhead removes interim tag from boys hockey coach Cullen

FARGO – Moorhead High School certainly didn’t make it easy on Peter Cullen, but the Spuds officially took off the interim tag and made Cullen the head boys hockey coach at the Moorhead School Board meeting Monday night.

After going 16-12-2, winning the Minnesota Class 2A, Section 8 championship, earning the section coach of the year award and leading Moorhead to a fifth-place finish at the state tournament as the Spuds interim coach, Cullen got a chance to interview for the job he had just done.

And he was completely understanding as to why.

“It’s just one of those things they have to do to make sure they are doing things the right way,” Cullen said. “During the season, I never once thought about it. What kind of made me think twice was at the end of the year when I asked to come back and they said, ‘OK, well there’s some steps we need to take here.’

“That kind of made me worried a little bit, but I understand administration and the school board and the higher-ups have to go through their processes. I totally understand, but the end result is good.”

There were three other candidates for the job, two of which interviewed for it, but Moorhead went with Cullen.

“It was great to see our team progress as the year went along last season,” Moorhead Athletic Director Dean Haugo said. “He has a really solid vision for what Moorhead hockey should look like going down the road and a great understanding of what our program is about and what it needs to become in the future.”

Now, the 1995 Moorhead graduate and former Spuds hockey player is ready to lead the Spuds as the coach rather than a coach.

“Ever since (Dave Morinville) left it a year ago, I’ve wanted this job,” Cullen said. “It’s a huge sense of relief. I’m very proud of what our whole team and staff accomplished this year. There’s a sense of Spud pride. Just that little bit of a burden of being an interim coach is off my shoulders, and it’s a big relief.”

He’s not the only one relieved.

“He has an ability to identify with what our program needs and can share the vision of what Moorhead hockey needs and where it needs to go,” Haugo said. “I’m so excited that I can sit down with our head hockey coach and start looking in the future. It is a relief, but it’s a very fun time because for the first time in my position as AD, I get to look at the big picture and the future.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548