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Hinrichs resigns as Alexandria Cardinals baseball coach

Russ Hinrichs encourages one of his players during a playoff game against Big Lake on May 29, 2014 at Knute Nelson Ballpark. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

The Alexandria Cardinals varsity baseball program will be looking for a new coach for the 2015 season after Russ Hinrichs let Activities Director David Hartmann know of his plans to resign on Tuesday.

Hinrichs has been the head coach for the Cardinals for seven seasons and was an assistant before that, dating back to 2001. He also served as the Alexandria Legion baseball coach in the summers from 1999-2007. The decision to step away is something Hinrichs said he thought about throughout the season and after their run to the section title game.

“I just felt the time was right for me personally, professionally,” Hinrichs said. “I’ve got two young boys, and we’ve had a lot of success over the time, but I thought the timing was right. I feel good about it. Certainly it’s on my own terms. I’ve been the head coach for seven years, and nine years of Legion before that and I think it’s just time for me to take a little break.”

Hinrichs’ two sons are 4 and 7 years old now. They love baseball and spending time at the park during Cardinals’ games.

Hinrichs said he went through the process by taking a little time after the season to make sure he was 100 percent certain he wanted to step away. In the end, he felt it was the right decision. Coaching also takes up a lot of his time in the fall with his role as an assistant on the football team.

“I’m comfortable with this,” Hinrichs said. “It was a decision that’s good for me and good for my family. You only get one chance to be a dad and a husband, so I want to do that right. It’s time to spend a little more time with my two boys. I’ll still be involved with things. I’m still going to be involved with football. I just think it’s time.”

Hinrichs will leave the program after winning a share of two straight Central Lakes Conference championships the past two seasons. He guided the Cardinals to three section title games during his tenure and amassed a career record of 87-60. He wanted badly to be a part of an Alexandria team that made it to a state tournament, but felt good about where the program is at as he leaves.

“I think we’ve established expectations for how to play and sportsmanship and respect and we’re producing great kids who have gone on to be very successful,” Hinrichs said. “Over the years, I’ve been so fortunate to coach some good kids and good families. Absolutely we would have loved to go to the state tournament, but we’ve lost to some good teams and some good programs. It’s not always all about winning. You would sure like to get that accomplishment, but it will happen someday for this program.”

Hinrichs made it a point to mention all the assistants that served with him over his time as a coach. He also said he appreciated the support he got from Hartmann during his tenure with the program and when he resigned.

“I’ve had a really good group that’s been there and been very supportive,” he said.

Hinrichs said he plans to coach baseball again at some point. For now, he’s ready to step away and let someone else take over the reins.

“I think we’ve got this program in a good spot and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished,” Hinrichs said. “I think the program will continue to flourish with whoever steps in as the head coach and will be in a good position to continue with the winning and the tradition we’ve established.”

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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