Wieck moves on: UJ coach accepts job as MSU-M
Justin Wieck wasn’t looking to leave, but an opportunity came up that was too good to pass up.
“I didn’t apply for anything. I wasn’t looking to go. My wife and I have really enjoyed our time here,” Wieck said. “It was a very tough decision, but one I felt I needed to make.”
Wieck had been the head coach of the Jimmies the past two seasons, leading them to the national tournament in his first season and then guiding the team to the North Star Athletic Association regular season and tournament titles this past year. The program did have to forfeit seven games of the 2012-13 season after learning it had used an ineligible player after the season.
Wieck had replaced Matt Murken, who took the head job at Minot State, which like MSUM is a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, generally considered the top league in NCAA Division II.
“Coach Walthall has done a great job there,” Wieck said. “He’s a great coach. We have a history together. He’s someone that does things the right way.”
This situation is similar to that of when Jeff Trumbauer left then Jamestown College to become the lead assistant at Augustana, another NSIC power. Trumbauer wasn’t looking to leave the Jimmies, but got an offer to become Tom Billeter’s top assistant with the understanding that a promotion to the top job could eventually happen.
“Obviously we have to keep winning and building what’s already been done,” Wieck said of any chances of ascending to the top job.
Athletic director Lawrie Paulson is quite familiar with the process at this point, having continually hired coaches other programs want.
“When you shake someone’s hand and tell them, ‘congratulations, you got the job,’ you understand at some point you might be shaking their hand thanking them for doing a good job as they leave,” Paulson said. “It’s frustrating, but that’s part of my job and I understand that.
“I like Justin personally. He’s my friend and we wish him nothing but the best.”
Wieck said he informed his players of his decision before they dispersed for the summer.
“That’s tough because you preach family, being a good teammate and then all of the sudden you tell them you’re leaving,” Wieck said. “We have a lot of good players and good kids in this program. Leaving and not coaching them in anymore is hard.”
Wieck had been an assistant at Northern State prior to coming to Jamestown. This was his first head coaching position.
“Lawrie (Paulson) took a chance on me two years ago and I’ll always be thankful for that. The last two years have been really enjoyable professionally and just living here in this community,” Wieck said. “I’m definitely going to miss it. I’ll be the Jimmies’ biggest fan 90 miles to the east.”
Assistant coach Danny Neville will run the program in the interim. Wieck praised Neville for his performance. Paulson also spoke highly of Neville, although went on to say a thorough search will be conducted for the job.
“I owe it to the institution and the players to find the best person we can,” Paulson said. “I’m confident we’ll find a very good coach.”
Sun sports editor Dave
Selvig can be reached
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