Interim Co-Head Coaches named for Duluth East Football

Head football coach Joe Hietala placed on administrative leave
Interim Co-Head Coaches named for Duluth East Football
Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 3:44 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 26, 2023 at 3:57 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - Duluth East Principal Kelly Flohaug has announced new interim leadership for the East football team.

Bryan Kallevig and Joel Brekken will serve as Interim Co-Head Coaches as the 2023 football season continues.

In making the Interim Co-Head Coaches announcement Flohaug said, “We have full faith in Coach Kallevig and Coach Brekken to lead this program during this difficult time. We ask players, parents, and the community to give their full support to these interim Head coaches.”

The move is because Duluth East’s Head Football Coach Joe Hietala was 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 Hietala to be removed.

Police tell Northern News Now Hietala was not arrested and he’s not facing any charges.

In a news release Tuesday, the Duluth School District laid out their goals in the investigation into Hietala’s alleged actions:

Since 9/23/23, our district has been working diligently to ensure a fair and transparent process.

As part of the investigation, we have:

● Conducted a comprehensive review of the matter.

● Interviewed relevant parties, including students, parents and staff members.

● Collected and examined any available evidence and related materials.

● Prioritized the well-being and emotional support of the students affected by this situation.

Also in the news release the district statement read, “We understand the community’s concern and desire for timely information. However, to maintain the integrity of the ongoing investigation and protect the rights and privacy of all involved, we cannot disclose specific details at this time. The school district is committed to a fair and expeditious resolution of this matter... We will continue to provide updates as the investigation progresses and appreciate the community’s patience and understanding during this process.”

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.

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