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Olszewski named Augustana head football coach

A sense of shock was sent around the state when former Augustana football coach Mike Aldrich was fired in early November.

After weeks of the interview process, Athletic Director Bill Gross announced that Jerry Olszewski is the new face of Vikings football Wednesday at a press conference in Sioux Falls.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the Augustana football program," Olszewski said during the press conference. "My family is looking forward to becoming part of the Sioux Falls community and the Augustana family. Faith, family and football will be the cornerstone of our program. We look forward to meeting the alumni and engaging in the Sioux Falls community."

Olszewski had previously coached seven years as an assistant coach with Minnesota State University, Mankato and just finished his fifth season as head coach with St. Olaf College.

At St. Olaf, Olszewski led the team to a 32-18 record in five seasons, leading all five teams to .500 or better records. His latest team was 7-3 overall and finished fourth in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference at 5-3.

Justin Greenway, a 2012 Mitchell High School graduate, said he is excited about where the program is going.

"He's headed in a different direction like we are, and he wants to win like every coach," said Greenway, who played for the Vikings as a true freshman this fall. "But he's going to go about it a different way than we're used to, and I'm curious to see how it goes."

Olszewski is the 21st head coach in Augustana football program history.

Jason Greenway, Justin's twin, said the team was able to have some input in the selection process.

"We met with some candidates and filled out surveys, so our administration could see how we rated them," said Jason Greenway, who also earned time on the field this season has a true freshman. "I'm not sure how much that played into the process, but it was nice to be considered."

The new coach met with the team Wednesday, but the players have yet to individually meet with the new coach. But Olszewski will do so within the first few weeks of the spring semester, added Justin Greenway.

Jason said he is excited about having a coach from an academically challenging school.

"St. Olaf and Augustana are both challenging schools, academically," he said. "He knows how the smaller schools work, and I think this will be a good fit for him."

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.