Two of UAA’s top ski coaches set to resign this year

Photo by Patrick McCormick

After seven years head ski coach Trond Flagstad is throwing in the towel and resigning. He isn’t the only memorable ski coach at UAA resigning however. Assistant ski coach, Mandy Kaempf will also be  leaving after five seasons with the team.

Kaempf who is leaving to pursue her career after she graduates with a masters degree in the spring is not only leaving behind a coaching career but her own athletic career with the ‘Wolves.

She is the most decorated UAA athlete in history with two NCAA titles and five All-American honors in skiing and a conference title and All-American honors in track and field as well. “I figured this was going to be a good time to switch career fields.” Kaempf said.

Flagstad, of Hamar Norway, has a different story however.

“I am going to be a stay at home dad for at least a year.” Flagstad said happily. “I want to spend more time with my family. It’s a job that is a 24/7 job all year round. We aren’t racing in the summer but we still have to work behind the scenes because we are recruiting in the summer and you never have a weekend off and we travel a lot so its gotten to the point that I definitely want to spend more time with my wife and family. I have two little sons.”

He is putting up his ski boots to put on his tool belt and finish building his house. As well as making time to see family that lives on the east coast and in Norway.

Flagstad leaves behind the legacy of creating 30 All-American athletes as head coach and 57 since he joined the program as the assistant coach in 2001.

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In 2009 the coaching duo led the team to a fourth place finish. “That was very special, one of the best moments,” Kaempf said.

According to Flagstad that along with Kaempf’s 2005 NCAA titles in 2005, when she was a student were both very memorable.

What does this mean for UAA athletics?

“I think there is a saying that change is always good, I am confident we will find someone that will be good coaches. And then its kind of up to them to carry on the tradition but also find there own style and philosophy. They will do well, its always hard the first year the tradition year cause people are uncertain about who is going to be coaching and whats going to happen so we will be here until june to help with the transition and help to get everything to go smooth.” Flagstad said.

The coaches will be helping the team with June, and due to the small community Flagstad figures he will know the new coaches, which have yet to be determined.

“The first year might be hit or miss for results and stuff but then after that it should settle.”Flagstad said.

Both coaches know they will miss the coaching and working with each other but not the paperwork, Flagstad added with a smile on his face.

Kaempf and Flagstad are both resigning on a good note with the athletic department as well as the athletes.

“We didn’t tell the athletes we were leaving, we didn’t want it to affect there season and I think they were a little shocked.” Flagstad said.

Kaempf was quick to add “They understood our personal reasons though, they were just disappointed.”

For the juniors who are about to be seniors the coaches figure this transition will be easier than it will be for the freshman who are soon to be sophomores.

This sort of legacy is one that cannot be easily forgotten, or replaced by the athletes the school or the community. “We will always be UAA fans, and who knows we could be back one day.” Flagstad said.