Athletics: Westrich to become new Pequot AD

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Byron Westrich knew he wanted to move up to the Brainerd lakes area when he and his wife, Trudy, stayed at Breezy Point Resort for their honeymoon.

Now 30 years later, Westrich will replace Marc Helmrichs — who is retiring — as Pequot Lakes activities director and high school assistant principal starting July 1.

“(My wife and I) told each other that this is a gorgeous area, if we ever get the opportunity to move up here we should,” Westrich said. “That’s why I applied and during the interview process I grew fonder each time I drove up there.”

Westrich has been serving as an activities director for the last eight years. Most recently, he has been the activities director at Kimball for the past six years. He also served as Upsala’s activities director for two years.

He plans to make a positive environment at Pequot Lakes.


“I stand for creating an equal opportunity for all students in activities,” Westrich said. “That they get the same benefits and same enjoyment the same leadership qualities and the same character building lessons whether they are in speech or football or whatever activity. I just want to provide a positive experience.”

Byron Westrich.jpg
Byron Westrich

Being the assistant principal along with activities director is something Westrich thinks will be a good balance.

“The benefit is not being in the classroom and wearing so many hats, and just being assistant principal and activities director so I can focus on those two areas,” Westrich said. “They go hand in hand, just the ability to work with students and staff with that role makes it a little easier.”

Along with being an activities director, Westrich taught physical education for two decades and served as an assistant men’s basketball coach at St. John’s University in Collegeville for five seasons.

Westrich said this time of uncertainty with the pandemic makes a transition to a new school challenging.

“We are so uncertain with our future,” Westrich said. “We have no idea if we will have any events happening in the summer and maybe not even in the fall. It’s not how I would like to start and I’m sure it’s not how Marc would like to end his career either.”


Still, he’s excited about starting.

“I know Pequot Lakes has a super strong tradition as being a great school for educators,” Westrich said. “Probably the most exciting thing is the growth the town has had and also the enrollment increase the school has had. I’m excited to be a part of that.”

Westrich loves fishing, so he expects to be on a lake somewhere when he moves up to Pequot Lakes.

“I’m really looking forward to the type of personalities that live in the area,” Westrich said.

Although he has a background in coaching, at Pequot Lakes Westrich plans to not coach. He doesn’t want coaching to get in the way of other tasks he might have as assistant principal and activities director.

“I think I can do a much better job and be on call for coaches to help them if I’m not sidetracked in coaching,” Westrich said. “It was a great experience at St. John’s, but at the same time I wasn’t always there for my coaches or at a home event.”

Helmrichs and Westrich knew each other when Westrich coached boys basketball at Holdingford and Helmrichs was the head basketball coach and AD at Isle. The two of them would set up a preseason scrimmage with their two teams and they ran into each other at coaching events, too.

“Marc has been very open with me and he feels confident in his coaching staff and said it’s a great job,” Westrich said. “That really helped me during the interview process that this was the right place for me. He sold it well.”


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