Johnston is State Football Coach of Year

Won fifth state title, 20th game in October

<p>Chad Johnston, who guided the Minneota Vikings to the Class A state football title with his 200th career win, was named the Minnesota Football Coaches Association State Coach of the Year for all classes at a banquet Saturday at Double Tree Hotel in St. Louis Park. Johnston thought he was attending the banquet to receive only the Class A Coach of the Year for the fourth time. Instead, he got a big surprise as his assistant coaches and family kept it secret from him. Johnston attended the banquet with his wife, Nicolle, as they have done in past years. &ldquo;When Jim Dotseth (the Master of Ceremonies and secretary-treasurer of the MFCA) announced my name, I looked at Nicolle and I could tell by her smile that she already knew about this.&rdquo; Johnston might have needed a trailer to bring home all the hardware he received at the banquet, which included a silver football for Class A Coach of the Year that looks similar to the Lombardi Trophy given to Super Bowl champions, a plaque to commemorate his 200th career football coaching win that he achieved in the state championship game, a Coach of the Year ring, and an impressive gold trophy shaped like a football for Coach of the Year. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s quite an honor and I really appreciate it, but let&rsquo;s not kid ourselves,&rdquo; said Johnston, &ldquo;this really should be a program award, not an individual award. I could never have done this without great coaches and players.&rdquo; Johnston is only the third coach from a Class A team to receive this prestigious award. He is the second head football coach from Minneota to be recognized as State Coach of the Year. Gerhard Meidt won the award in 1988 when Minneota was a Class C team prior to the restructuring of the current seven-class system. Johnston&rsquo;s other Class A Coach of the Year awards were in 2009, 2015 and 2017. Besides the Class A state title Minneota won this past fall, Johnston also guided the Vikings to state crowns in 2009, 2014, 2015 and 2017. He has also been the Conference/District Coach of the Year seven times. Others to be named Coach of the Year for their class this year were: Dan Zubich, Mountain Iron-Buhl, 9-Man; Bryan Strand, Barnesville, 2A; Chad Gustafson, New London-Spicer, 3A; Chris Mensen, Simley, 4A; Steve Hamilton, Elk River, 5A; and Matt Lombardi, Maple Grove, 6A. Charlie Reed of Woodbury was named the State Assistant Coach of the Year. This year&rsquo;s MFCA Hall of Fame inductees were: head coaches Terry Bahlmann of Marshall, Randy Kuechenmeister of Blue Earth Area and Chuck Ross of Underwood. Doug Ekmark of Spring Lake Park was inducted as an assistant coach, and former Minnesota Gopher great Darrell Thompson was inducted for his contributions to high school football. Johnston has been the head coach at Minneota for the past 21 seasons and has amassed a career record of 200-41. His .830 winning percentage is among the best in state history among coaches of all classes.</p>

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