Athletics: Twigg follows in father’s footsteps

Former Crosby-Ironton High School graduate Cley Twigg began his first week as the school district's activities director.

Cley Twigg is the new activities director at Crosby-Ironton Schools.
Cley Twigg pauses a moment Friday, Oct. 7, 2022, in his office at the Crosby-Ironton High School. Twigg is the new activities director for the Crosby-Ironton School District.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
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CROSBY — Cley Twigg felt he needed to get back to being a Ranger.

The 1993 Crosby-Ironton graduate didn’t realize it meant becoming the school district’s activities director.

But the former coach and business owner began his new position this week, which just so happened to be C-I’s Homecoming. Twigg moves in for Lynk Downing who accepted a job with Minnesota United FC, a Major League Soccer club based out of St. Paul.

While the timing hasn’t been perfect, the former cross-country runner, boys basketball player and track and field athlete at C-I is taking things in stride.

“We had five games on Tuesday,” Twigg said as he was preparing to help conduct C-I’s cross-country meet Thursday, Oct. 6, at Emily Greens. “Four volleyball games, a junior high football game, it was interesting. Let’s just put it that way.”


Dad will be invaluable in situations that I have never been in, but he has numerous times.
Cley Twigg

Twigg is no stranger to the demands of the job despite how much it has changed over the years. His father, Roger Twigg, was the Ranger AD for about 15 years while he continued to teach and coach.

It was the elder Twigg who alerted his son to the job opening.

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“About two and a half weeks ago, Dad called and someone had told him that Lynk was moving on and found a really good job with Minnesota United and decided it was his time,” Twigg said. “I had been thinking about a change in my life and just thought maybe I’m interested in this. It’s Crosby-Ironton and it’s something I thought would be a good opportunity to come back home and give back to a program and a town that really did a lot for me.

“When we’re young, I don’t think we think of those things, but truthfully this town was good to me. I thought it was a wonderful opportunity.”

This is Twigg’s first experience as an AD, but he feels his past experiences have prepared him for the rigors of this job. As a former business owner, he understands budgeting, ordering products and scheduling. As a former coach at Minnesota State University, Moorhead, he also knows the demands coaches face. And if he has any questions, he knows who to ask.

“I can’t even try to begin to say how much he has already helped,” Twigg said of his father. “Things are different. Does he know how to use all the computer programs? Of course not. Dad can barely work email, but that’s not the stuff where he’s helpful. It’s the stuff like dealing with problems as they arise. What priorities do you need to make sure things are being done? What do the refs want at halftime? Lynk helped me a lot, too, during the two days I got to train with him.

“Dad will be invaluable in situations that I have never been in, but he has numerous times. I told (C-I superintendent Jamie) Skjeveland that my goal is to be here longer than my father was in this role.”

The Crosby-Ironton School District names the track at John Davies Field after long-time track and cross-country coach Roger Twigg.
The Crosby-Ironton School District names the track at John Davies Field after long-time track and cross-country coach Roger Twigg.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Twigg said the transition won’t be terribly difficult as Downing made sure things were in order before he departed. The learning curve is still steep and Twigg was complimentary of the school district staff and coaches.


That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have concerns about doing a good job. He equated it to running his first marathon. He said if you’ve never run 26.2 miles you really don’t know what you’re doing until you do it.

“I’m extremely nervous,” Twigg said. “I still do some personal coaching with athletes on the side and they heard about this job while they were preparing for the Twin Cities Marathon and asked me how nervous I was. I asked them how nervous they were about their race. They laughed. It’s an excited nervous because I’ve never done this before, but this is Crosby-Ironton. This is my hometown. This is where I grew up. This means a whole lot to me. I’m nervous to let people down, but I know if I do the job correctly and ask questions and develop relationships and work with the community I think this is going to be a very successful thing — not only for myself, but for the school and the community as a whole. But yeah. I’d be lying if I didn't say I was nervous, but it’s an amazing opportunity and not one that I even thought I would ever have.”

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or Follow on Twitter at

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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