(Editors Note: The story regarding Mike Van Diest’s retirement originally debuted on 11/12/18. The story regarding Troy Purcell’s hiring at Carroll College debuted on 12/7/18)
It was officially the end of an era 20 years, 203 wins, 14 conference titles, 6 national championships and 1 emotional goodbye as Mike Van Diest announced his retirement at Carroll college on Nov. 12.
“It’s a part of me, that emotional part comes out, in situations like this. My care and passion for the game of football, for my players and my family, there are so many people to thank,” said Van Diest. “I didn’t get to thank all of them today. What I‘ll remember most, as you said, are the relationships. The emotions are tough.”
When Van Diest announced his retirement, he admitted he could still coach. But Van Diest mentioned the timing as his son, Clay, is a senior on the St. Norbert’s college hockey team, and his other son, Shane, is a new father in St. Louis. Now Van Diest the coach, is dedicating all of his time to being Van Diest the father and grandfather.
Following Van Diest’s departure, the Carroll College Fighting Saints needed a new football coach for the first time in 20 years, and just a few weeks later the Saints tapped former player, Troy Purcell. As a former player, and Helena product, it’s easy to understand that Purcell’s new job is a dream come true.
“This has always been a dream job,” said Purcell.
A welcome reception in a room full of Saint’s fans is nothing new, having played for the program in the late 80’s, but to envision himself on the sideline is something that he has been looking forward to.
You went to C.R. Anderson, You went to Capital High, and then your next step was Carroll College,” said Purcell. “Coach Petrino gave me that opportunity, it’s just been an exceptional, great opportunity to learn from him and be apart of this great college and the mission that it represents.”
Purcell will don the purple and gold for the first time as a coach in 2019.