Duluth East football coach put on leave, banned from team activities

Duluth East head football coach Joe Hietala
Duluth East head football coach Joe Hietala(Northern News Now)
Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 4:58 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - Duluth East’s head football coach has been placed on administrative leave and banned from participating in any team activities.

According to an email sent to parents, Joe Hietala was placed on administrative leave due to allegedly violating the school’s policies and ethics.

On Saturday around 11:45 a.m., Duluth Police received a report that Hietala was believed to be intoxicated inside the school during a volleyball tournament.

Authorities say several parents and staff had concerns and wanted him to be removed.

When officers spoke to Hietala, he showed signs of intoxication.

After speaking with officers, he agreed to voluntarily leave the school, which he did on foot.

School officials say the decision to place Hietala on administrative leave was made following the organization’s policies and procedures to ensure a fair and thorough investigation.

During the investigation, Hietala is prohibited from participating in any coaching activities, attending team events, or having any contact with the athletes.

It is unknown how long that ban is in place.

Police say he was not arrested and he’s not facing any charges.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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