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Randolph is back in the game, at Class 1A boys hockey co-op

The chase continues for Mike Randolph.

His pursuit of Minnesota's record for most victories by a boys hockey coach will go on next season at Northern Lakes, a co-op of athletes from Aitkin, Crosby-Ironton, Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus.

Randolph ended the 2023-24 season with 707 victories, tied with Lorne Grosso for most in state history. His St. Thomas Academy team played for victory No. 708 but lost the Class 2A, Section 2 final 3-1 to Cretin-Derham Hall.

Randolph, 72, coached three seasons at St. Thomas Academy, where he went 49-30-3. He has said St. Thomas Academy used "lame excuses," including Randolph's lack of a presence on campus, when it decided not to renew his contract after last season. Randolph's address is in Duluth, but he rented an apartment in Eagan during the season.

Most of his victories came in 32 years as coach at Duluth East, where he led the Greyhounds to the state tournament 18 times and won championships in 1995 and 1998. He left there in 2021, resigning because of what he called "parental pressure." Randolph was inducted into the Minnesota State High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2018.

Northern Lakes competes in Class 1A. Randolph takes over a team that went 18-10 last season.

"[Randolph] brings an extensive hockey coaching background, which includes a focus on player development," the Pequot Lakes School District said in a release provided by activities director Byron Westrich. "The coaches and advisors of the Pequot Lakes School District have a rich history of developing student leadership and competing at a high level."

Randolph is back at work, just as he said he would be.

"I'll be coaching somewhere next year," he said after St. Thomas Academy let him go. "I'm open to a head coaching job anywhere, whether it's single-A or double-A."