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Hollod returns to Stingers for fifth season

Tribune photo by Ben Brewster Willmar Stingers’ manager Matt Hollod, right, argues with an umpire in a game against the Alexandria Blue Anchors on June 19 at Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar.

WILLMAR — Matt Hollod has completed only four seasons as a Northwoods League manager but he’s already reaching elite levels.


 The Willmar Stingers’ manager, who has led the team since its inaugural 2010 season, finished 2013 with 160 wins to put him at ninth all-time in league history.


 He’ll have a chance to add to that in 2014, agreeing to return for a fifth season, the team announced Wednesday.


 “I enjoy Willmar,” Hollod said. “It’s just a good spot for me, it’s like a second home.”


 Hollod has consistently put winning teams on the field with the Stingers. His career winning percentage is .573 (160-119) and he has never finished worse than .557 (39-31 in 2010 and 2011). The team has had just one playoff berth (2012) but has been in the hunt every season.


 “I think there are a lot of things that go into (consis- tency),” he said. “Being able to recruit top players every year, being able to stay healthy. We’ve managed to put together teams that are going to be competitive every single year and we’ve put together teams that are deep enough that if we do have injuries we’re still going to be competitive.”


 Hollod said he enjoys the longevity he’s had with the Stingers.


 “There are a lot of coaches (in the Northwoods League) that only do one or two years and they’re out,” he said. “I think it’s kind of special. You’re in an elite class as a manager to coach multiple years.”


 Despite his success and longevity, he has never agreed to manage the Stingers for more than one year at a time, preferring to re-assess the situation after each season.


 “The way things can change so fast with young coaches in the (Northwoods League), a coach could get a full-time position somewhere which happens a lot,” he said. “Multiple-year contracts are kind of pointless in that league because it’s young coaches working their way up.”


 He said his head coaching position at Division-III Wilkes University (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) allowed him to stay with the Stingers.


 “They wanted me to come back and offered me the position again before I left,” he said. “(But) I wanted to take some time and think about my situation here and what the school is going to do here with me. I’m actually fulltime here but for a ninemonth period, so it enables to me go (to Willmar) and coach in the summer.”


 The recruiting process at the D-III level is also an important factor, taking place from September through January, whereas recruiting is year-round for a D-I program.


 “The recruits get their packages in February, where they know how much money they’re getting from the school, and then we try to get verbal commitments around March or April,” he said. “When you get those commitments then your recruiting for that class is pretty much done.”


 He will be recruiting for Willmar at the same time, and the Stingers are already working on confirming players to return for 2014 and signing a new group of recruits.


 “We’re talking to guys,” he said. “We have a long list of guys we want for next summer. It’s just a matter of sitting down and figuring out a good fit.”

Ben Brewster

Ben Brewster covers the Willmar Stingers and other area sports, as well as laying out the daily sports section cover for the West Central Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @benbrewster.

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