ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

College basketball: Long-time Ridgewater women's coach won't return

Carrie Ogdahl confirms she will not have her contract renewed for the 2023-24 season, ending a 28-year run with the college

Ridgewater Warriors women's basketball 110822.001.jpg
Ridgewater head coach Carrie Ogdahl talks to her Warriors during a team practice on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, at Ridgewater College in Willmar.
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR β€” When she was in elementary school, Carrie Ogdahl would cheer for her father's teams at Willmar College. Her dad, Mike Johnson, was a long-time basketball coach for the Warriors.

Ogdahl went on to star as an athlete for Willmar College, now known as Ridgewater, excelling in tennis and basketball. She then had a long career coaching the Warriors' teams and working as a physical education instructor. She has a master's degree from St. Cloud State, a bachelor's degree from Southwest Minnesota State and an associate's degree from Ridgewater.

That tenure is coming to an end.

Ogdahl confirmed that she has not had her contract renewed. After 28 seasons of coaching mostly women's basketball but also women's tennis and softball, she'll no longer be associated with the college.

"I've gone through all the different phases and I will miss Ridgewater," Ogdahl said. "I will miss the student-athletes big time. I love teaching and I love coaching. This will hurt. But it's a business."

ADVERTISEMENT

Carrie Ogdahl (1).jpg
Carrie Ogdahl

Ogdahl returned as head women's basketball coach three years ago after a six-year absence. The team struggled, going 0-14 in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference and 1-24 this past season and 1-27 in the MCAC and 3-41 since her return. The team did not play in 2020-21 when the season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hurting the program was the lack of student-athletes. Ridgewater often played games with five or six players available. She said she was continuing to recruit hard for next season until she learned of the non-renewal and hoped to fight a national trend of NJCAA Division III programs often having less than 10 players on their roster.

"The national average is nine," she said.

Related Stories:
A wet spring and the late seeding of grass in 2022 at the Willmar Civic Center softball/baseball fourplex has delayed the opening to prevent a muddy mess.
A total of 830 people graduated from Ridgewater College earlier this month. Among 2022-23 graduates, 442 were from the Willmar campus, 271 from the Hutchinson campus and 118 were online students from all over.
A total of 830 people graduated from Ridgewater College last week, with about 350 people participating in commencements at Willmar and Hutchinson.
Warriors fall to Century 10-2 and St. Cloud 9-2 in the Region XIII tournament in St. Cloud

The non-renewal was disheartening, Ogdahl said.

"It is was it is," Ogdahl said. "I was very, very taken aback. I know that numbers have been an issue, but I was excited about getting them back up. We had some great girls coming in to visit."

Before the program's recent downturn, she coached from 1995-2015 and had a 274-236 record. Along the way, the Warriors featured seven NJCAA All-Americans, won three Region 13 championships and competed in the national tournament three times, finishing third in 2001, sixth in 2002 and fifth in 2006.

MORE TOM ELLIOTT COVERAGE:
Here are recent stories by Tom Elliott.
Baseball report for Thursday, June 1, 2023, in west central Minnesota. Jaguars pull off 2 walk-off wins in Section 6A, beating KMS 6-5, and USA 8-7
Cardinals shoot a 376 after the first round Thursday in Park Rapids
Ty Schuler of Montevideo, Justin VanEps and of Kandiyohi and Zach Schultz of Grove City place first in their divisions at KRA Speedway
Prep track and field report for Thursday, June 1, in west central Minnesota. Six Thunder Hawks are headed to state, as well as Avery Koenen in the girls' triple jump
Paynesville has two athletes advancing after top performances in the Section 5A championships in Collegeville
Four pitchers hold Blues to 5 hits as Rockets rally from an early deficit
Prep golf report for Wednesday, May 31, 2023, in west central Minnesota. Eagles earn their 5th straight Section 5A championship
Litchfield's TJ Christensen, Lillia Chvatal and Grace Schmidt are heading to the Class AA state championships at St. Michael-Albertville
Second-seeded KMS beats No. 7 Trojans 19-2 in the Section 6A-South playoffs in Sunburg
Singles player Hunter LeClair and doubles pairing of Blake Brehmer and Max Young are heading to the Class A state individual tournament

As Ridgewater's tennis coach for 10 seasons, she led the Warriors to a national championship in 1997 was named the NJCAA Division III national coach of the year. The school dropped the program a few years later, she said.

She also has been an assistant softball coach, including this season. With her teaching position also gone, she said she's not sure what her next step will be. She lives in Willmar with her four children, Caitlin, Dalton, Landon and Brielle. Landon and Brielle currently attend Willmar High School and are involved in multiple sports. Caitlin and Dalton are graduates.

ADVERTISEMENT

"The community has been very, very supportive," Ogdahl said. "The people I've talked to can't believe it (the non-renewal) as well. They've told me I've been the face of Ridgewater for so long."

Tom Elliott has been the sports editor at the West Central Tribune since September 2019.
Contact him at telliott@wctrib.com or leave a message at 320-235-1150.
What To Read Next
Get Local

ADVERTISEMENT