After winning five Southwest Conference titles in eight years, Kori Pearson is stepping down as the Marshall head boys' hockey coach.
Amassing a record of 128-72-10 since becoming head coach in the 2004-05 season, Pearson and his family are relocating to the Twin Cities, where he will take an assistant coaching job at East Ridge High School in Woodbury. In their third year of existence, the Raptors went 8-17-2 in 2011-12.
"It was a family decision," Pearson said. "My family and I planned on going back there. I was looking for a coaching position that I really wanted. The situation came up and I pursued it and I got the position.
"The school's only three or four years old, and it's a great situation over there," Pearson added. "I'll be running the defense and I get to get back to focusing on one particular part of the game and not the overall part of being the head coach. I can work specifically with the players and I'm looking forward to getting back to the teaching part of it more."
In the 2011-12 season, Pearson led Marshall to a 16-8-1 record and the team's second straight Southwest Conference title. During Pearson's tenure, the Tigers also won conference titles in 2005-06, 06-07, 07-08 and 10-11.
"It's a big loss for us," said Marshall High School Athletic Director Bruce Remme. "Kori has done an excellent job. Certainly, he's an educator and a teacher of the game ... He did a good job as hockey coach in helping move our hockey program forward competitively in the conference and section."
Pearson, also a physical education teacher at West Side Elementary, was stricken by tragedy on Nov. 26, 2009 when his then-wife, Sadie, died from meningitis, which was complicated by lupus.
Since that time, Pearson has remarried, and having a chance to get closer to family was another factor in his departure.
"She's from St. Paul, and it worked out with her major to come to Southwest State to get her degree, which she got in May," Pearson said. "She was in criminal justice and sociology, and the opportunities for her to get a job there are better."
Remme said the boys' hockey coaching vacancy has been posted on the Minnesota State High School League's job board, but the school will take the time it needs to find a replacement coach.
"We do have a few teaching vacancies right now, which may attract some candidates, but it's certainly not a prerequisite," Remme said. "The sooner we can find a replacement, the better, but we'll let that process play itself out."
Since starting off as an assistant coach in 2003-04, Pearson admitted it was tough to leave the position he's held for close to a decade.
"It's definitely one of the hardest decisions I've had to make," he said. "I got my start here in Marshall, and my teaching career started here, too. It's been a great run. I knew one day it was going to end, but it's tough when it actually happens."