Troy Pieper, Merrill native, coach and teacher has accepted a coaching and academic support position at Northland Pines in Eagle River. He will leave his current role as basketball coach at Merrill High School and Special Education paraprofessional at Kate Goodrich after the academic year is complete.
Troy has been coaching basketball and baseball for a long time; he has coached many different levels for about 10 years in Cottage Grove, Wis., and then moved back home to Merrill where he coached the past two years at the high school level for boys basketball and this past season finished the year coaching the Varsity team. He is also currently coaching freshman boys baseball.
“They offered me the same job I do at Kate Goodrich which is a Spec Ed Paraprofessional,” says Troy. “I’m excited to be able to continue to be able to work with the elementary kids during the day, I love my job at Kate so it’s nice to be able to keep my same job there.
“It was a tough decision,” he added. “I wanted to stay here in Merrill, I interviewed for both openings on the same day a couple weeks ago, I knew after leaving Northland Pines they wanted me, they called a couple days later and offered me the job, I asked for a few days to think about the offer, after weighing both positions it was clear that Pines really wanted me to lead their program, and with Merrill I had mixed feelings on what they wanted. I am extremely excited about what Pines has to offer and their facilities are second to none, they are looking for someone to come in and change the culture and the mindset and that is exactly what I intend to do, they are known as a hockey school, it’s my job to make the kids in the basketball program realize it can also be a basketball school, I truly believe we can turn the program around, I look forward to the challenge!”
Two things made the decision extremely difficult, Pieper said.
“First, I will miss the kids and my coworkers so much at Kate Goodrich, the past two years I’ve met so many amzing kids and my co-workers are so awesome and supportive, two years ago when I started there the staff I worked with were co-workers, now they have become true friends and family to me and I will miss them so much. The second thing that made the decision so difficult was the kids that I’ve coached the past two years here in Merrill. I probably would have stayed for a lot less if I was offered the job here because I truly love each and every kid in the program here, they are truly an amazing group of young men and I wish them nothing but the very best. I want them and their parents to know how much I appreciate how they accepted me at the end of last season and I will miss them all very much. Even though Pines made a very good pitch for me to come there it was still very difficult because I grew up here in Merrill, played here, and coached here, it was a tougher decision than some might think. I thank everyone here for their support in my new adventure at Northland Pines!”