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Athletics: Freeman the new AD at Brainerd

Jack Freeman set to be new AD at Brainerd High School

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Jack Freeman has Brainerd blue in his blood.

After graduating from Brainerd High School in 2007 and spending the last two years as Warrior girls hockey head coach, Freeman was announced as the new activities director at his alma mater Monday, Aug. 9, at the school board meeting.

The 32-year-old Freeman, who with his wife, Kayelee, lives in Brainerd, is currently transitioning into his new role.

“I’m a product of this community and a product of this school district,” Freeman said. “To give back to the programs and the people that have meant so much to me plays a huge role in it. I see things through the lens of an alum, a current staff member and of a future parent of some future Warriors. All those connections just increase your love and passion to want to take this job.”

Freeman will step down as girls hockey coach as he takes over as AD.

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“That’s been the tough part, having to step down from my duties as head girls hockey coach.” Freeman said. “That’s been a big part of my life and there are so many great memories and relationships that I’ll cherish forever, and to step back from that was tough, but I view this as an opportunity that aligned with my passions and I wanted to give it go and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity.”

Brainerd principal Andrea Rusk said Freeman impressed the hiring committee in interviews on how passionate he was about making Brainerd activities a better place.

“I think first and foremost Jack has a commitment and loyalty to Warrior activities and Jack had communicated a goal that he wanted students to have a high quality experience no matter what they are in,” Rusk said. “And I think that’s really important, that no matter what students are in, whether it’s an athletic team or whether it's music or one of our clubs or activities, he talked about the importance of the student having a good experience.”

Freeman was not only a great athlete when he was a student at Brainerd, but also was in choir and in the highest acapella group as well.

“He talked about the experiences in choir that contributed to who he is,” Rusk said. “He also spoke eloquently about how activities make our students better and not only enhance their experiences, but who they are as a person. It resonated with our committee that Jack is not interested in just having the best hockey team. He wants to have the best group of hockey players as young people and community members. I think Jack has a commitment to making us all better, not just the students that we will support, but I think he wants to make coaches better and make me better as a principal.”

Freeman takes over for Charlie Campbell, who left the position Aug. 1 to be an associate director with the Minnesota State High School League.

“He’s been on speed dial for me,” Freeman said. “I want to make sure to say thank you to him because I’m inheriting a great activities program and that’s a credit to what he’s done and I have big shoes to fill there. But he’s been so helpful and supportive in answering my questions and providing my guidance when I need it.”

One of the pieces of advice from Campbell that Freeman mentioned was the value of the community relationships he’s about to build.

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“I’m most excited to build relationships with our community through activities,” Freeman said. “That’s what has got me really excited. I’m also excited to provide a great interscholastic experience for our kids and add to their education and enrich their education at Brainerd.”

Freeman said he’s going to be doing a lot of listening as he learns the ins and outs of how he’s going to tackle being the new AD.

“I’m trying to learn all the different roles and duties that go with the job and learn from the great people that are around me,” he said. “The staff that we have in place and the administration that we have in place, but right away I’m just listening a lot. Ultimately my mission is going to be to try and provide every student with a great experience in interscholastic activities and prepare them for life and the vision for these programs are we want to be standards of excellence in our conference, section and state and we want to recognition for excellent in the classroom, community and competition.”

Overall, Rusk was pleased with how the hiring process went.

“It’s always a challenge to have a late posting at this time of the year,” she said. “We were very grateful for having a quality candidate pool. We had 25 candidates, invited eight in for the interview process and all eight were top quality candidates.”

Freeman has a lot of gratitude for the ADs who came before him like Campbell, Todd Selk and Ron Stolski.

“I care a lot about the history of this program and this office,” Freeman said. “I want to add to that tradition.”

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CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or conrad.engstrom@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.

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