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Val Swanson, left, was the head volleyball coach at Ridegwater for many years, while Mary Hanson was the Willmar High School volleyball coach for several years. They are now both officiating the sport. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton

Whistling from the other side of the net

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Retired coaches whistle another tune when they become referees.

"I never missed a call when I was coaching," quips junior college hall of fame volleyball coach Val Swanson with a straight face.


"Me neither," confirmed Mary Hanson. "Now I understand why officials miss things; I can understand their complaints," adds the Willmar Cardinals head coach from 1989 to 2008.

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Rand Middleton

Covers Willmar and area high schools and Ridgewater College, plus amateur baseball, stock car racing and fitness events in summer. Writes weekly column since 1980. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 

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