Newton resigns as Tiger head coach

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Los Lunas head football coach Jeremy Newton, who led the Tigers to the Class 4A Football Championship game in December, confirmed Monday night he has stepped down to accept a position as head coach at a Sheyenne High School in West Fargo, N.D.

His resignation ends a fruitful three-season stretch that saw the Tigers go 30-7 and finish with a 12-1 season in 2012. The run ended with a hard-fought and heart-breaking 17-14 loss at home to Goddard for the state title.

“It’s just an opportunity to go back home and be close to the family,” said Newton, who graduated from nearby Moorhead High School, just across the North Dakota-Minnesota border in Moorhead, Minn. “It’s a new high school, they’re in their first year next year. They had the position open, I applied and got offered.”

Newton said he broke the emotional news to LLHS players on Monday afternoon.

“The players were happy for us as a family,” he said. “I think they understood where we’re at. We’re sorry to leave the team and we wish it was better timing — though there’s never really a good a good time.

“I just wanted to thank the players and people in the community who’ve been so great over the last three years.”

Newton’s wife, Lynn, who led the Los Lunas High volleyball team to the District 6-4A title last season and a top seed in the state tournament, is also leaving LLHS to take the head volleyball coaching position at West Fargo Sheyenne High.

Los Lunas School Athletic Director Wilson Holland said the community is thankful for the Newtons’ contributions, both on and off the field and court.

“We’re very saddened that they’re leaving,” said Holland, who wished them success in their new ventures. “They both did an outstanding job here.”

The Newtons will be the first coaches in their respective sports at West Fargo Sheyenne, a new high school that is starting with only freshmen and sophomores in the Fall of 2013, but will eventually house 2,000 students.

As for the head coaching job at Los Lunas High, Wilson said Wednesday the position has been posted and he hopes to have a head coach in place by June 3.

“Because of the lateness (of the resignation), it’s very important that we make sure that the word is out there,” said Holland. “We’re moving pretty fast with this, but I say cautiously because want to take our time.”

Holland said he feels both teams are contenders for state titles going into the 2013-14 season, which makes both positions highly desirable.

“What we’re doing is replacing two coaches in two programs that are at their peak, so it’s not like someone walking into a rebuilding process,” he said.

“They have great kids,” Newton said of the Los Lunas athletes. “They’re in shape and working hard. They’re going to go out have a great year next year — have no doubt.”

Newton said the football team is well positioned to improve upon the considerable success LLHS had in 2012, with nine starters returning.

All in all, Newton said he and his family will move on with nothing but fond memories of Los Lunas High School, its students and community as a whole.