East head football coach Joe Hietala on leave since Saturday, investigation continues

The Duluth Schools confirmed their head football coach for Duluth East, Joe Hietala, is on administrative leave.

They sent a statement Tuesday, saying, “The school district remains committed to ensuring a safe and inclusive environment for all students, staff, and community members. We take all allegations seriously and are conducting a thorough and impartial investigation to gather all necessary facts and information related to the matter.”

It went on to say, “The school district is committed to a fair and expeditious resolution of this matter. We assure our students, parents, staff, and community that we will take appropriate actions based on the
findings of the investigation. The safety and well-being of our students remain our top priority. We will continue to provide updates as the investigation progresses and appreciate the community’s patience and understanding during this process.”

On Monday, Duluth East Principal Kelly Flohaug announced new interim leadership for the East football team as the 2023 season continues.

Flohaug and East Activities Director Shawn Roed addressed the team and presented Bryan Kallevig and Joel Brekken as interim co-head coaches.

Flohaug is requesting players focus on elements they have control of, while leaving the rest up to school and district leaders as the investigation into Mr. Hietala’s leave continues.

“We have full faith in Coach Kallvig and Coach Brekken to lead this program during this difficult time. We ask players, parents, and the community to give their full support to these interim Head coaches,” said Flohaug.