Lenarz steps down as Cloquet football head coach after 19 seasons

After 19 seasons at the helm of the Cloquet football team, Tom Lenarz is closing the book on his Lumberjack legacy. Over the holiday weekend he told his team he’s stepping down as head coach.

"Other guys that I’ve played for in the past who have had long careers [I was] just kind of asking them, how do you know when you’re ready to be done? The answer I got back most often is, you’ll just kind of know and I felt like that was the case this time," Lenarz shared. "Certainly am happy with where we’re at and some of the things we’ve accomplished, but I’m ready to step back and just be a fan."

Having served as an assistant coach before taking over the head coaching gig, Lenarz has spent over 25 years with the program. From 2013-2017 he led the Lumberjacks to four section titles, including a Class AAAA state championship appearance in 2017.

He said community support was what made his career a successful one.

"We were fortunate enough where the community here really saw what we were trying to do and believed in it and they gave us a chance to get better each year," Lenarz recalled. "The kids recognized it and our numbers got better every year. Without some patience and some grace early on, we might not have got to where we are now."

Lenarz’s final win came during the on Oct. 26, 2021 in the Section 7AAAA quarterfinals against Duluth Denfeld. Cloquet earned the 34-12 win at home handing their head coach his 100th career victory.