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Three RHS coaches step down, one replacement set

The school year is over, but the work for Rosemount athletic director Mike Manning just got a bit tougher.

Three Rosemount High School coaches recently announced they were stepping down from their roles as coaches.

In May, Irish volleyball coach Kristin Helgeson let Manning know that she wouldn't return. Smokey Vitek has already been hired to take over the program.

During the past week, boys tennis coach Jeanne Ewen and softball coach Jim Matheson also decided to resign as the head coaches for their respective programs.

While Helgeson's departure didn't come as a shock to Manning, the loss of Ewen and Matheson was unexpected.

"We had two coaches step aside," Manning said. "This is a tough one for me."

Helgeson said family reasons were the reason for her departure. She is a teacher in the school district, but also lives over an hour away in Wisconsin.

She has led the volleyball team for the past four years.

"I stepped down to spend more time with my family," Helgeson said. "It takes a lot of hours being a head coach.

"It was really hard decision."

Helgeson has led a solid program that has been competitive in the Lake Conference. She also believes the pieces are in place for future success.

Vitek has run the youth program in Rosemount and was the directory of the Junior Olympic volleyball program. She coached the Irish JV team for the past four years after coming aboard during Helgeson's first season.

"I've been thinking about becoming a head coach for the last couple of years," Vitek said. "I've been happy here in Rosemount. I've truly enjoyed working with Kristin, coach (Jason Hackenmueller) and everybody else.

"I wasn't really looking to change schools. When Kristin stepped down, it was tough. Those are big shoes to fill, but I'm excited for the opportunity."

Meanwhile, Manning hopes to begin interviewing for the boys tennis and softball positions starting next week.

Ewen addressed her resignation in a letter to players and parents.

"Mr. Manning has chosen to take the boy's tennis program in a different direction than I see it going," Ewen wrote. "Therefore I have resigned from the position of boy's head coach. I am very pleased about the growth of tennis, facilities and players in our community of Rosemount in the past three years. You have to be proud of the growth of tennis in Rosemount. I know I am."

Ewen coached for three years and led the Irish to an 8-8 regular season mark this past spring. During the past three years, participation has doubled from 20 players to 55 this spring and facilities have improved within the community.

Ewen declined further comment.

Matheson was also quiet about his departure, declining to offer specifics about his decision to step down.

He was a fixture among Rosemount coaches. He's spent the last nine years as softball coach and served as a girls basketball coach for several years.