by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Ryan Holmgren, a nine-year coaching veteran and son of a well-regarded local sports booster, is the new Elk River Elks baseball coach.
Holmgren, 36, who was head coach at Spring Lake Park the last three seasons, and assistant for six years before that at Champlin Park, where he teaches, was named Thursday by ERHS activities director Mike Cunningham.
“I’m pretty excited. From what I know and have seen, prospects are good here,” said Holmgren, who’s taking over a program that’s struggled in recent years.
He succeeds Barry Hohlen, who resigned after three seasons.
Holmgren, a St. Francis native and Bemidji State graduate, has strong Elk River connections. He’s been Elk girls basketball assistant coach for six years. His father, Roger, who died in 2008, was a city councilman, longtime umpire, organizer and booster. Step-mother Brenda Holmgren has coached at ERHS for many years.
“My dad would have loved this,” said Holmgren. “He’d be pretty proud.”
Holmgren said that he’s coached against Elk River at the VFW level and saw “good young talent” here, adding that the city has a very committed youth baseball organization.
An infielder for St. Francis, Anoka-Ramsey Community College and Bemidji State, Holmgren has remained active the last two summers as a member of the Elk River Pioneers town team.