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Legislation aims to protect high school coaches from parents

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Parents have grown so vocal about the high school coaches who oversee their teens' sports teams that the Minnesota Legislature is considering what might be a first-of-its-kind bill designed to protect the coaches, the Star Tribune reports.

The newspaper reports that the measure, introduced by former high school cross-country coach Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, is part of a House omnibus bill and would add a single line to a law on coaching contract renewal: "The existence of parent complaints must not be the sole reason for a board to not renew a coaching contract."

The legislation has been introduced at a time when dozens of Minnesota coaches have left their jobs, often amid pressure from increasingly demanding parents who want more playing time or better team roles for their kids, the Star Tribune notes.

Urdahl's legislation is rooted in part in two widely publicized resignations of boys’ hockey coaches last spring — Jeff Pauletti at Roseville and Tony Sarsland at Elk River, both of whom had dealt with long-running parent complaints, the Star Tribune reported.

In two other cases, Gary Stefano lost his job as Maple Grove boys’ hockey coach after an off-ice incident involving players at a private home; and Cloquet boys’ hockey coach Dave Esse retained his job despite parent complaints that he had "bullied" players.

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