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Mike Randolph, a state champion as a boys hockey coach and a coaching Hall of Famer, is between jobs after St. Thomas Academy chose not to renew his one-year contract for the 2024-25 season.

"I'll be coaching somewhere next year," Randolph said Thursday. "I'm open to a head coaching job anywhere, whether it's single-A or double-A."

St. Thomas Academy moved to replace him Thursday, announcing the hiring of former Wisconsin player Mark Strobel.

Randolph, 72, ended last season, his third with the Cadets, tied with Lorne Grosso for the most boys hockey victories in Minnesota history at 707. The Cadets had a chance to get him to 708, but they lost the Class 2A, Section 2 final 3-1 to Cretin-Derham Hall.

"The record doesn't mean anything," Randolph said. "I love going to the rink and making it a classroom where I not only teach the game but also teach young men about life."

Randolph called St. Thomas Academy activities director Reed Hornung "the best AD I've ever had" and cited Hornung's drive to a Duluth-area coffee shop on April 30 for a face-to-face meeting to discuss Randolph's ouster as an example of why "we'll be friends forever." However, Randolph said, he believed Hornung was just a messenger.

"I'm not sure he is able to do the job he does so well," Randolph said. "That's because that school is run by a board and a headmaster, and the headmaster just stamped the board's decision."

Hornung listed what Randolph called "lame excuses," including Randolph's lack of a presence at the Mendota Heights private school. Randolph kept a full-time residence in Duluth, though he rented an apartment in Eagan, less than 10 minutes from the Cadets' on-campus ice arena. Hornung also cited Randolph's failure to attend the season-ending banquet because of a snowstorm in Duluth. Randolph sent his congratulations through an assistant coach.

"The only regret I have is not knowing up front about what was really going on," Randolph said. "But [Hornung] might not have known what was going on."

As word traveled this week, Randolph was told of behind-the-scenes conversations with prospective successors, including Strobel.

"The coach is getting handed a pretty good roster," Randolph said "I only really played two seniors."

After a 13-13-1 first season, Randolph wound up 49-30-3 with the Cadets. He stacked up victories in 32 years as coach at Duluth East before joining the Cadets, leading the Greyhounds to the state tournament 18 times and winning 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.

Randolph became associate head coach at St. Thomas Academy in 2021-22, supporting head coach Trent Eigner for one season before becoming his replacement.

"I had an unbelievable amount of support when I started here," Randolph said. "But after that first season, the honeymoon ended."

Strobel, the Cadets' new coach, played for Hill-Murray in high school and went on to Wisconsin, where he finished in 1995. He's a former assistant coach for Wisconsin, Minnesota Duluth, Omaha and Colorado College. He also worked for the USHL's Twin Cities Vulcans.

"We are excited to welcome Coach Strobel to the St. Thomas Academy community," school President Brian Ragatz said. "He has a championship pedigree and next-level experience, which will bolster our hockey program and benefit our student-athletes, particularly those with aspirations to compete beyond high school."