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After he led the football program for 14 years, coach Matt Lombardi and Maple Grove have agreed to part ways.

Lombardi compiled a 102-37 with the Crimson. They qualified for the state tournament seven times during that span, winning the Class 6A state championship in 2022, when they beat Rosemount 27-10 in the final, and finishing as Class 6A runner-up in 2021.

Lombardi has accepted the defensive coordinator position at Minnetonka under coach Mark Esch. Lombardi held the same position for 11 years at Wayzata before leaving for Maple Grove.

He said there is no specific reason for the separation from Maple Grove but rather the accumulation of "a lot of little things that added up."

"Mostly protocol-type stuff," Lombardi said. "There was nothing glaring that happened. There was an agreement between administration and myself. We saw things differently and we made a decision to try to find something else for me. …

"I want to stress that I have nothing bad to say about anything here. I could not have had a better experience, starting from scratch."

He said winning the state championship was a highlight of his time at Maple Grove, but he said that he's most proud of the consistency he built within the program.

"We've been in the semifinals in five of the last nine years, we've built up the youth program, we've got a rebuilt weight room," Lombardi said. "And there are 19 seniors coming back next year. They should probably be the preseason No. 1."

Lombardi broke the news to the players Monday, emphasizing that they remain special to him.

"That was the hardest thing," he said. "There were tears from all of us. It took me 20 seconds to get my first word out. But there is no bitterness. I love the kids. What has made this great is the relationships we have. I told them that part is not going to change. They'll forever be part of my family."