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2 Minnesota high school football coaching legends retire

Brainerd's Ron Stolski and Jeff Ferguson of Totino-Grace are retiring.
Ron Stolski (left) and Jeff Ferguson (right)

Ron Stolski (left) and Jeff Ferguson (right)

Two legendary high school football coaches in Minnesota announced their retirements Wednesday: Ron Stolski of Brainerd and Jeff Ferguson of Totino-Grace. 

Stolski is retiring after 57 years of coaching Minnesota high school football teams. He's best known for his 45 years at Brainerd High School, and leaves the coaching scene with 389 career victories, second most in state history, according to the Minnesota Football Coaches Association. 

​"It's hard to find words," said Brainerd Activities Director Charlie Campbell when asked by BMTN what Stolski means to the Brainerd area. "His influence and impact has been extraordinary and will continue to inspire boys and men for years to come. Brainerd is a better place because of his service."

Stolski, a member of eight halls of fame, received the American Football Coaches Association's (AFCA) Power of influence Award in 2005, the highest honor a coach can receive from the AFCA. 

Ferguson, a two-time winner of the Minnesota Coach of the Year Award, led Totino-Grace to eight state championships and 187 wins (just 35 losses) during his 18 years at the Fridley-based school. In all, he coached for 42 years, having previously worked at St. Agnes (1979-1980) and Blaine (1981-1996). 

Ferguson said in a statement

“It has been a privilege to coach at this school and in this program. Totino-Grace is a special place because of the people...teachers, coaches, administrators, parents, alumni, and especially the students. I fully realize that my football staff is second to none and that our players are amazing young people. I appreciate the trust that players have put in me over the years. It is the relationships with players and coaches that I cherish the most. I am blessed with an amazing wife, Barb, and four children — Jenna, Kelli, Mike, and Katelyn...all TG grads — and now two sons in law and three grandkids. I look forward to continuing my work in Advancement for our school and spending more time with my beautiful family.”

He will continue working at Totino-Grace as the associate director for advancement. 

Jay Anderson will take over as head coach at Totino-Grace, a promotion from his role as offensive coordinator. 

Stolski and Ferguson are the second and third coaching legends to retire since the end of the 2019 prep football season. In December, Minnetonka's Dave Nelson, who won 267 games in his career, stepped down after 42 years on the gridiron. 

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