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Roger Lipelt

Paul Klauda,

Former coach remembered as a caring builder

  • Article by: JIM PAULSEN
  • Star Tribune
  • September 25, 2012 - 4:32 PM

The death of former Wayzata and Providence Academy football coach Roger Lipelt, who died of cancer Sept. 19, touched many in the west metro sports community.

Lipelt coached football and tennis at Wayzata until 1998, then came out of retirement to develop the football program at Providence Academy in 2004.

Benilde-St. Margaret's hockey coach Ken Pauly and Wayzata football coach Brad Anderson played for Lipelt at Wayzata and Providence Academy athletic director Kurt Jaeger worked with Lipelt until illness forced him to step away from coaching. All three shared memories of Lipelt.

Ken Pauly: "I was a guard and I wasn't that good, so I wasn't going to go out for football in my sophomore year. Roger called me a week or two before the season and said it would be a big mistake if I didn't. He always cared as much about the worst players on the team as the best. He didn't need to make that phone call. He had no idea I'd be voted a captain two years later. All of us coaches have teachers whose voices we still hear. I still hear his."

Brad Anderson: "He was known for incorporating music into his social studies class. Right before our senior year, he chose a song the wasn't real popular at the time, "In The Air Tonight," by Phil Collins, to play before games. It was a different approach that people weren't thinking about back then. That song has become our theme song. We've played it before home games for 31 straight years. He was such a positive spirit."

Kurt Jaeger: "In 2003, Roger was being interviewed for the football coaching position. As he turned to leave, one of the hiring committee members said, 'I have one more question, Coach. What do you want with this job? What's in this for you?' Roger had his hand on the doorknob and he turned around and said, 'I'm a builder.' I marvel at what Roger built here. It is so much more than a successful football team. He built character, touched countless young men and women and gave constantly of himself."

Big swim meet

One of the biggest girls' swimming and diving meets of the season, the Maroon and Gold Invitational, will take place Saturday at the University of Minnesota. Thirty-four teams will swim across three divisions -- Bronze, Maroon and Gold. The meet begins at 12:45 p.m.

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