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Grand Forks Red River coach placed on administrative leave, assistant tapped for interim

Bill Chase stands behind the bench in a game in 2016. Forum News Service file photo

GRAND FORKS - Grand Forks Red River boys hockey assistant coach John Dvorak will serve as the team’s interim head coach in the wake of head coach Bill Chase being placed on indefinite administrative leave.

The move came just hours before the start of the East Region tournament in Purpur Arena on Tuesday, Feb. 12.

Red River assistant coach Danny Ray also was on the bench for Red River’s 4:30 p.m. playoff opener against West Fargo.

The coaching shakeup happened Tuesday morning.

Chase was informed of the decision by school administration and the players were told in a meeting at Red River High School.

When asked why Chase was put on leave, activities director Mark Rerick said: “Nothing I can share at this time.”

Rerick said the situation has developed “over the last couple of days.”

Chase is only on leave from his position as the boys hockey coach, Rerick said, not from his position at South Middle School.

"My only comment is I let the administration work out whatever they need to," Chase said in a text message. "The kids and parents are great. Always have been and always will be."

Red River finished the regular season with a 12-8 mark and is the No. 4 seed in the East Region tournament.

While Grand Forks Central is the heavy favorite in the state, the Roughriders are expected to be among Central’s top challengers. Red River is the only team to stay within a goal of Central this season, losing 4-3 in overtime on Jan. 26.

Chase is in his 10th season as head coach at Red River. The Roughriders won state championships in 2011, 2013 and 2016 under Chase. The 2016 team was just the second in state history to go undefeated, finishing 27-0.

Chase was named North Dakota state coach of the year in 2013.

Red River is the second top Eastern Dakota Conference school to part ways with a head coach in the last six days.

Fargo Davies coach Scott Petersen suddenly resigned Wednesday with one game left in the regular season. Petersen was in his third season at Davies.

He was replaced by longtime Fargo South boys hockey coach Dean Wilson. Wilson coached the Bruins from 1990-07, leading the Bruins to three state titles in 1994, 1999 and 2006.

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