Everything seems to have fallen into place in Brett Cloutier’s career in education.
After student teaching and coaching freshmen boys basketball at Edina in 2011-12, the Brainerd High School graduate landed a position teaching eighth grade social studies at Princeton for the 2012-13 school year. The job initially included no coaching but a vacancy opened days before the basketball season started and Cloutier was named head coach of the Tigers’ junior varsity.
Following last season, Tigers varsity head coach Eric Bjurman stepped down after 12 seasons. Cloutier applied for the position and was hired the second week in June.
“I’m super excited,” Cloutier said. “It will be a big adjustment. (Princeton is going) from the Granite Ridge Conference back to the Mississippi 8 Conference after a 2-year hiatus. (The Mississippi 8) has bigger schools so it will be a little more of a challenge. We definitely will have our work cut out for us.”
Cloutier lettered three years in basketball and two in baseball for the Brainerd Warriors. He was an All-Central Lakes Conference basketball player as a senior. He went on to play four years of baseball at Augsburg.
“At the age of 25, I never thought this would happen. I went to Augsburg to play basketball. Playing baseball was kind of an afterthought. I think I got kind of burned out playing basketball year round. I just needed to recharge my batteries. Ever since I coached ninth grade at Edina, I re-discovered my passion for basketball. I wanted to be a head varsity coach and I just ran with it.”
The last two summers, he has coached the Nisswa Legion baseball team. In addition, at Princeton he coached middle school football and was the varsity baseball team’s volunteer pitching coach.
Cloutier thanked former Warrior boys basketball coach Matt Urbanek, former Edina coach Pat Dorsey and current Warriors boys coach Scott Stanfield for helping and mentoring him in his coaching career.
“They all helped me get where I am now,” Cloutier said. “I couldn’t thank them enough. (Urbanek and Stanfield) were coaches of mine, I coached under Dorsey, and now they’re my colleagues in the coaching world.”
MIKE BIALKA, sports editor, may be reached at 855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark.