Familiar face in a new role

Eagan’s new Athletic Director was a part of a very successful volleyball program from the beginning

by Jason Olson
Thisweek Newspapers

How often does that dream job come along?

For newly-hired Eagan Athletic Director Sandra Setter-Larsen it came on July 1, her first official day on the job.

Setter-Larsen should be a familiar name to Eagan athletics as a staple
in the school since its opening in 1990 as a social studies teacher and
assistant volleyball coach.

She’s giving up both titles to combine her passion for coaching and
teaching into one role as the lead administrator in the athletics

“I have a great passion for athletics and for kids and in this role
I’ll be able to educate in a different fashion than I have in the
classroom,” she said.

Her top priority as an Athletic Director is to make sure she hires good people to coach and help the student athletes grow through athletic competition.

Setter-Larsen will be busy during her first school year with four new head coaches taking over their respective sports including Ben Heil in alpine skiing, Shelly Eklund in gymnastics, Lesley (Mills) Bonin in volleyball and Josh McLay in wrestling.

“I’ll be a mentor and support for the new and the veteran coaches we have here,” she said. “I get to be a true supporter of all of the teams and an advocate for them.”

Originally a Hopkins High grad she went on to Gustavus Adolphus College before beginning a teaching career in Shakopee prior to moving east to help open Eagan High School.

“I’m really excited to be here and I love this building, the staff and the students. There is a great passion in the air and its just a great place to work and there is never a day I don’t want to be here,” she said.

It’s that passion that she hopes to translate into continuing to build a high quality and well-rounded education for the student athletes.

“Coaching has always been a passion of mine and athletics is a great opportunity for kids to excel at something and test themselves,” she said.

During her time with the volleyball program the team, along side former head coach Kathy Gillen, the pair helped the Wildcats win four state titles (1997, 1998, 2001, 2003), nine section titles and six Lake Conference championships.

Peaking her head into practice once or twice is about all of the volleyball practice Setter-Larsen said she’ll be doing this fall.

“I’ll miss coaching, but there are other things to do besides being on the floor.
“I had to put my coaching days on hold for now because I’m a supporter of all of our sports,” she said. “But I’ll peak my head in the door once in a while.”

Having started her new position 33 days ago, Setter-Larsen has many ideas for the Eagan athletic department, but wasn’t ready to reveal any of them.

“We have some things in the works right now and we’ll be looking at the growing area of financial revenue which is a big issue now days,” she said.

Jason Olson is at sports.thisweek@ecm-inc.com.

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